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To SDCB who writes:

Marco, as someone who gladly pays my assessment, I am happy to support your statements and congratulate you and the Little Italy Association for your efforts. The chairs, constant cleaning and landscaping, along with the community projects, supported by many businesses and residents (like the Piazza) are all examples that could and should be a model for other areas in San Diego. There are alsi the community events, like the upcoming art walk and last year’s World Cup Final on India Street. It’s not about additional taxation or bureaucracy as some readers have suggested…in my opinion it’s about self-assessing to achieve something more than the standard service and amenities provided by the City of San Diego. Quite honestly, I prefer to have it done this way, because local control ensures local needs and desires are met.

Thank you for your comments. It is clear that you understand the significance of what we are doing in Little Italy and with the Community Benefit District concept in general.

Lin writes:

when is the area of Market St. and Merlin Drive going to see any beautification…??? I don’t even see the area listed?? This area is called ENCANTO.I had a friend drive me home when my car broke down and she lives in Del Cerro and she said I NEVER KNEW THERE WAS SUCH A HORRIBLE RUNDOWN AREA LIKE THIS IN SAN DIEGO…that was in 1994..I never invited company over to my house again and I stopped remodeling.I have been “fighting” for a mass clean up since I made the mistake of buying my house in 1983…which by the way could be a “luxury property” area with the “right neighbors” and close proximity of access to freeways and large double lots and old solid houses built in 1944…

Lin: I am aware of the issues in Encanto. In 1995, my company formed the “Diamond BID,” in fact it was a suggestion I made to Brooks that designated the area as the “Diamond.” The shopping center adjacent to the Encanto trolley stop, as well as the properties lining Imperial Avenue are great candidates for mixed use development, built around the Trolley Station. I have met with Councilman Tony Young in Encanto twice to give him ideas on how to move this revitalization process forward. Don’t give up.

A comment from Sick of all those cars:

No one wants density if thrust upon them without infrastructure. Little Italy has evolved into a pleasant, walkable sub-community with a lot to offer thanks to the efforts of Marco and others. The problem though, is that downtown and the rest of San Diego still simply cater to the auto obsession without any real visionary thinking. Planting trees and picking up trash are great, but let’s get rid of parking in the urban core, force people to get out of their cars and onto an effective and efficient rail, and provide a real example of walkable day-to-day. Little Italy is like a mini-destination resort that, unless you live there, you pretty much have to drive to if you want to experience it conveniently. Face it, city building is about providing transit and transportation options first. Everything else is window-dressing until that point is reached.

There is virtually no transportation strategy in this county. The relationship of jobs, homes and traffic generators has not guided land use policies. Transportation entails the linkages from pedestrian walkways to bike paths to roads to freeways to light rail to heavy rail to air travel. People are not serious about dealing with transportation linkages in the county.

Concerned writes: 

While I applaud Little Italy’s efforts, I don’t think there’s a one size fits all solution to San Diego neighborhoods. Lets see if the downtown associations are signing a different tune when the subprime market completely melts down and the A list mortgages, with variable interest rates, end their trail periods and start to rise. Also, on the downside, I see another level of obfuscation and buck passing, and another layer of bureaucracy concerned citizens will have to struggle through. But never let it be said that San Diegans can’t find a way to squeeze a buck outta folks.

This is not an issue about “squeezing another buck outta folks” It is an issue about financing services over and above what the city is currently providing. You either want them or you don’t. It is that simple.

Jay Hyde says:

We applaud what you are doing in Little Italy. This is a model for all the communities of San Diego. You didn’t mention Hillcrest which I believe is in the second ring of development. Your plan is exactly what we want and need. You are doing an exceptional job. Keep up the good work.

Thanks for your comments Jay. I met with Hillcrest property owners about two years ago about the increasing needs in that great community. Sorry I didn’t mention Hillcrest, it is clearly one of the successful second ring suburbs in the city.

The Bard exclaims:

Hold on there Marco! I live in Allied Gardens, your putative third ring “decrepit” suburb and I love it! I wouldn’ttrade Allied Gardens for the congestion and overbuilding of Little Italy or Ocean Beach! What is your REAL agenda, sir? How about yet ANOTHER layer of taxation, another corps of superfluous gubmint desk jockeys, and yet more intense micromanagement of how people live. As a card-carrying urban planning fashionista you’d love to see us all shoved into high density condo’s, where we can all be intensively taxed and monitored by Big Brother/Sister/Non Gender Specific Controlling Entity. Screw you! I know exactly where you’re coming from, Sir!

Bard, calm down. I went to Patrick Henry and spent my high school years throughout San Carlos and Allied Gardens. I have no real agenda. I hope that you take the energy you put into criticizing my ideas and are doing something constructive in your community. Would love to see your work.

Rick writes:

Your model is an excuse for the city hall and city planners not to do their job. The city receives significant revenue each year generated from a varity of souces. Our problem is that with each increase of revenue, City Hall has a way to spend it on pet projects instead of a real plan to move the city forward and provide infrastructure and services. What you are saying is that the city does not know how to be fiscally responsible and only a model like yours will get the services to the citizens. I do not agree with that approach, until the spending is under control and there is a true plan for fiscal stability and services; we should not be making the communities pay for what they already pay for. The group that is in charge of the city lacks fiscal responsiblity.

Rick: You are alluding to the control of “general revenues” that fund “general benefits.” I am not talking about that. I am talking about “special benefits,” or property owners who vote to generate more money in their community to improve their community. This is not a strategy to increase revenues to the city, something I would not recommend unless it were based upon a vote of the people. I am just acknowledging the fact that if people want to improve their districts and neighborhoods, that there are successful models to follow. If you don’t want to do it because you don’t trust people in city government, then don’t do it.

MARCO LI MANDRI

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