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‘Forced-membership’ in BID benefits small group

To the editor:

From the tone of the letters I have read about Northampton’s Business Improvement District, I think some readers may misunderstand what BID is, and is not. BID is not a government agency or charitable or civic organization designed to promote the well-being of downtown Northampton.

It is a business group designed to promote the private business interests (profits) of the small group of retailers and restaurants in central downtown that control BID. A fringe benefit is a more appealing ambiance for downtown shoppers. It is somewhat similar to the Chamber of Commerce, but with what I would describe as police powers, recently (and quite shrewdly) extracted from the Legislature, and designed to promote the interests of a much smaller group, at the expense of other businesses who are forced to transfer considerable assets to this group.

The difference between a voluntary organization, and a forced-membership group, is night and day.

Joseph Curran


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