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I’ve gotten a good number of letters from readers responding to my story on maintenance assessment districts in San Diego.

Some of you have said that MADs are a great way for communities to identify their needs and take a direct hand in addressing them. That process has a snowballing effect that allows groups to secure grants from local governments that can be used for further improvements.

One Talmadge resident said this in an e-mail:

The advantage of having individual MADs is that the same model does not have to be used across all districts. It opens the way to be creative in how funds are generated and projects defined. Also, starting with a small project, like graffiti removal and control can lead to more ambitious projects. I would hate to see the ability of MADs limited because we are unable to be creative enough to figure out how to expand it to all communities.

Some of you have expressed concerns over laws that give larger property owners more suction in determining whether entire neighborhoods are assessed, and have raised questions about the city’s involvement in pushing their formation. You’ve asked about transparency rules that apply to groups charged with administering MAD money.

A reader in Pacific Beach had this to say about the formation process:

The other important thing to remember is that the voting is done by mail, and if you don’t return your ballot it doesn’t count, so if people don’t know about it and think the ballot is junk mail it is possible to vote a MAD in without a single returned vote.

When it comes to the debate over maintenance assessment districts as public policy, there’s no shortage of opinions.

What’s yours? What have been the impacts of a MAD in your neighborhood? If you don’t have one, do you think you could benefit from one? Have controversies similar to the one in Golden Hill arisen in your own neighborhood?

I want to know. E-mail me your thoughts, stories, and suggestions for future coverage at adrian.florido@voiceofsandiego.org.

ADRIAN FLORIDO

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