Jose E. Martinez, a former city planner, and his allies moved to take control of public space. In 1993, they won approval for a business improvement district, a special taxing area through which businesses can fund lobbying and private security. The money launched the DAA with Martinez at the helm, and in 1994, he started a “clean and safe” initiative. The hallmark feature was the Downtown Austin Rangers, essentially a group of roving cyclists supervised by the police who monitored the homeless and called the cops on them. They were “the ears and eyes for the police department,” Martinez says. The DAA also began lobbying for a citywide camping ban.