Aug 4, 2020
Ms. Lilliana Garcia, Executive Director
Southeastern Diamond BID
415 Euclid Avenue, Suite K-13
San Diego, CA 92114
Dear Ms. Garcia:
Unfortunately, I have not received a response to my original email dated July 28, 2020 and forwarded to you by SDBD Board members Jamal Jackson, US Bank and Jr. Minister Hugh Muhammad, regarding the area in and around the intersection of Imperial Avenue and Euclid Avenue; specifically Huffman Plaza. I am writing to again ask for your response to my email as well as clarification on certain items related to the operation of the Southeastern Diamond Business Improvement District.
According to the SDBD website your Mission Statement is as follows:
The Mission of the Diamond Business Association is to foster economic prosperity by advocating for and promoting the growth of businesses in the Diamond District.
The Diamond name is derived from the geographic location of the corridors, which as depicted by your map, is a diamond. That brings me to my first set of questions.
1) Representation: It appears that the make-up of the Board of Directors (minimum of 7 and maximum of 13) includes only three businesspersons whose business are actually located in the SDBD. Three others use the Ochi Courtyard (5003 Imperial Avenue: The BID Cowork Space) as their business address. Finally, the Board Chair is an associate member and also the head of Civic San Diego.
The Diamond Cowork is owned and operated by the Diamond Business Association, Inc. We manage the manage the Diamond Business Improvement District (BID). We are the first BID managed cowork and the first cowork in our district. (Source Diamond Cowork website).
Question 1-A: Isn’t it a conflict of interest for BID Board Members to also rent space in The Diamond Cowork?
Three of the current seats are expired and it appears that McCord has already served two terms beginning when he was co-owner of the Alpha Club.
Question 1-B: What is the marketing that occurs to attract new members and then to encourage participation on the board? Where are you in implementing the schedule identified in the By-Laws Article VII Election of Directors?
Question 1-C: Please explain why there isn’t more diverse geographic representation on the board? The boundaries include two industrial parks Gateway Center East (anchored by Costco and Raven Street), businesses along Logan Market street, Federal Blvd. etc. giving us the opportunity to have corporate support where currently there is none. Cox Communications, Coke Cola, KGTV Channel 10 are all businesses that could be a big help to the area and would add substantial presences to the SDBD board.
2) Vision: I started with the Mission Statement for a reason: the words economic prosperity stick out. What is the vision? Not to compare apples and oranges but Little Italy has a very successful BID. Yes, there are many reasons why; one of the strongest being the celebration of the history of the area.
The Diamond BID was created in large part due to the late Brooks Huffman, working with the late Councilman George Stevens. Why is this important? Because he started his own business, Huffman Barbeque, in 1967. Three of the BID members are located in an office immediately east of Brooks Huffman Plaza. It was Brooks Huffman who convinced Councilman Stevens to install the lights on the overpasses in 1999. The website speaks to none of this, and the plaza is currently a disgrace to his name and what he tried to do.
Ochi Nursery will be remembered because it is now the site of apartments that carry the same name, but who knows the story? There is historic significance to Ochi Nursery. Bronze Beauty Salon, Gentry Barber Shop are 2nd generation businesses still operating… who knew?
Question 2-A: When will you use the history of the area to make the community proud again, and enlist their support in the effort to generate economic prosperity?
Question 2-B: Why isn’t there a strong plan to finally and creatively take care of Huffman Plaza? There are at least three plans on the books that are implementable and can serve as the catalyst to encourage support of a Maintenance Assessment District (MAD). There was support in the early 2000’s and if residents and business owners can actually see what the funds (in part) would be used for, they would support it. This would help to attract new businesses to all of the ground floor retail that is currently empty.
3) Final Questions
Question 3-A: We would like a copy of the latest SDBD Strategic Plan.
Question 3-B: Is there a reason the Valencia Business Park RFP is not noted on the SDBD website under Available Commercial Property?
Question 3-C: What is the SDBD’s official position on the proposed Wellness Center on Market Street and why?
Question 3-D: How does the BID interface with the Chollas Valley and Southeastern San Diego Community Planning Groups?
The economic heart of our community rests in the strength of our businesses. We need to understand what is being done and how it can be improved.
Thank you in advance for your responses.
Francine Maxwell, President
NAACP San Diego Branch
Cc: Board of Directors, SDBD
Monica Montgomery, Co-Chair City-County Reinvestment Task Force
Nathan Fletcher, Co-Chair City-County Reinvestment Task Force
Mayor and San Diego City Council