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Frustrated with overgrown trees and unabated weeds in your local business district? Are you repulsed by the graffiti tag that is now considered a public-art installation? Do you think the City has failed to provide adequate city services, and that added tax that you pay for a maintenance assessment district is not doing the job?

Those are the questions that North Park business owners and residents living within one block of the business corridor must consider when voting whether to create a Clean and Safe assessment district.

North Park Main Street Association, the non-profit that administers the business improvement district, is asking that residents vote yes. And in a June 17 editorial in the North Park News, Councilmember Todd Gloria did the same.

"A Clean and Safe district would give the community the tools needed to enhance successes and to mitigate some of the impacts of the reinvigorated business area," Gloria wrote. "The commercial property owners in these corridors are the greatest beneficiary of North Park’s revitalization and, led by North Park Main Street, they are stepping up to the plate to create this district to reduce the impact of businesses on nearby residents."

However, some residents say instead of picking up trash, the City and North Park Main Street Association wants to pick their pockets. Those residents oppose paying an extra tax for the benefit of the business district. And, because the vote is weighted and the assessment is based on land use and frontage size, they will have little or no influence over the process.

"Even in face-to-face meetings with [Todd Gloria and North Park Main Street], I have been repeatedly lied to," writes North Park resident Steve Tweedale in a June 23 email.

"I'd expect it from Main Street, as they are the instigators of this pick-pocketing; however, sadly, even my council representative was perfectly willing to smile away while spouting lies."

Tweedale believes the reason for the Clean and Safe assessment district is to "shoulder the burden of the business district and to fund projects that [Gloria] will be first to claim as feathers in his cap.

"Why did they do it? Because they figured they could get away with it and steal money from some residents to pay for their pet projects."

The ballots will be counted during a July 12 city council meeting.

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