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|Downtown Oakland, CA|
have you heard about some of the ambitious plans of the Downtown and Lake Merritt Business Improvements District boards? Take a look, they want to pipe in shitty soft country musak 24 hours a day at all the corners of 13th and Broadway to drive away "undesireables"
In July 2008, landlords in the district voted a parcel tax upon themselves to fund the "Downtown Oakland and Lake Merritt/Uptown Community Benefit Districts" to provide "special security services, cleaning of sidewalks, beautification, marketing and improvement of district identity and organizational services for businesses in the downtown Oakland and Lake Merritt/Uptown neighborhoods." Since early 2009, the districts have provided roving private security “ambassadors” to sweep up litter, help visitors with directions, and provide security support in Oakland’s downtown.
The districts are governed by advisory boards which have discussed plans and desires to displace political demonstrations following the BART Police shooting of Oscar Grant away from Oakland's downtown center of civic life, and an actual change of venue for the murder trial of former BART police officer Johannes Meserle. The board has also discussed plans to spend district treasury funds to erect a permanent memorial for four slain Oakland police officers at 14th and Broadway, and $10,000 dollars per year for a subscription to "round the clock" Muzak to "immediately drive away undesirable people from" three street corners at 13th and Broadway.
The district boards have public relations committees to "feed stories to the press." The committees have recommended "pitching stories to entertainment, business, and real estate journalist (sic), that way crime would not even be part of the scope." The committee also recommended "inviting select reporters to cover the story" of the "Uptown Unveiled" street festival.