Russell Brown

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES - Russell Brown, the now former executive director of the Historic Downtown Business Improvement District, was voted out of the position today in a closed session meeting of the organization's board.

In the same meeting, the board hired Roberto Saldana, who until recently served as the in-house counsel for Downtown Management, a major Broadway real estate holder owned by Australian investor Joseph Hellen.

Brown was hired to lead the BID, which taxes area property owners and uses the funds to provide street cleaning, security and other services, in 2007.

Members of the board said the move was part of an effort to "move in a new direction" that will devote more district resources to economic development efforts, including retail tenant recruitment on Broadway.

"The new direction involves a lot of helping what happened on Spring and Main [streets] extend more to Broadway," said board president Boris Mayzels, who represents property owner Zuri Barnes.

Brown was not immediately available for comment.

The BID recently failed in an effort to expand its borders to add the Pacific Electric Lofts as well as the SB Spring and SB Main residential projects at Seventh and Spring streets. The June election was decided by a very slim margin. Among those who submitted a ballot, those controlling 50.31% of the property represented in the vote were against the expansion. The supporters accounted for 49.69%.

The BID recently submitted paperwork to hold another election to expand its borders. Participation in the expansion vote was low. Among 738 property owners, only 195 cast ballots.

The BID expires in Dec. 2013. It would have to have another election in two years, and get support from property owners in the area who control more than 50% of the real estate, in order to be re-established for an additional five years.

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