On the surface, a BID can appear attractive to communities that have experienced disinvestment. Private companies (who benefit from annual service contracts) often provide technical and marketing support to convince communities to get them. Add in community gatherings filled with charismatic local figures and power players, the pitch can be quite intoxicating.
There is, however, a sobering body of academic research and investigative journalism that documents how BIDs also cause great harm in cities across the US including San Fransisco, Washington D.C., NYC. As these areas gentrified, the people who live, work, and exist in these spaces are displaced and priced out. Community, connection and local culture are lost through the replacement of existing residents. This has been shown to particularly impact Communities of Color.
Redlining and Urban Renewal have already caused tremendous harm in our community that we have only started to address. These government policies financially benefitted white residents, but denied the same opportunities to Black, Brown, and Immigrant residents. This disparity in access led directly to extremes in wealth and poverty as well as the ongoing segregation in our neighborhoods today.
We simply cannot afford to make the same mistake again.
A BID will hyper-invest in Downtown — predominantly owned by wealthy developers, and large corporations like RG&E— permanently locking those funds from being spent in other neighborhoods of longstanding need. This policy is a rebrand of redlining and will worsen the inequality sowed by past policies. Advocates have called the BID “20th Century Redlining” and Corporate Redlining.
Downtown development, especially “upscale” and “luxury” offerings that cater to wealthy suburban populations, has surged in recent years, rapidly transforming our community. There are already studio apartments on Main Street that cost nearly the full median income of residents just 2 blocks away.
Why are our leaders trying to do this to Rochester when more than 50% of our community already struggles to pay rent?
Across the country, people are pushing back against BIDs. Communities with BIDs are struggling to get rid of them because of how powerful they become. Rochester has a unique opportunity to stop one from happening, if we act NOW.
A TERRIBLE TRIFECTA
If you are not a wealthy property owner, your voice does not matter in a BID. Property owner’s power and influence is based on the value of property that they own. The biggest owners call the shots.
The BID will take away power to decide how our streets are controlled and how money is spent. If you are not a consumer who fits the vibe, you will no longer be welcome downtown.
BIDs prioritize profits over people. Every decision, every policy is focused on making a small group of property owners richer. Community projects are just a way to sell the BID to the public.
The B.I.D. is C.R.A.P.
Corporate Redlining and Privatization
Artists were one of the first groups targeted by the RDDC to win over with the promise of paid work. Funding for the arts is often hard to come by, but “not all money is good money” especially when it has strings attached.
Recognizing the long term community loss that could follow a short term financial gain, artists have directed their skills and energy towards educating the community in creative and occasionally cheeky ways. (Be sure to follow @DowntownDubiously for more)
The NO BID Movement has grown
Social Justice Orgs, Unions, small business owners and neighbors have joined together to protect the best part about our community: our people.
Once people learn that the BID is really about power, control and greed, they are quick to say NO BID! No way, no how.
WE NEED YOUR HELP TO SPREAD THE WORD