"Protect Culver City" PAC Formed
Group Addresses Rent Control and Homeless Crisis
August 8, 2019
By Protect Culver City Political Action Committee
On July 15, Culver City residents created a new PAC, Protect Culver City: an association of residents and business owners concerned with the current trajectory of our city council. Our beginnings can be traced back to the night of June 24, when the council decided 4-1 to phase in rent control in Culver City.
It's the manner they did this that should concern everyone. None of the Councilmembers ran for office on this agenda. They gave the minimum legally required warning that this was coming while organizing for months in advance to push this proposal. Even then, dozens of desperate retirees came to protest the measure. Their pleas fell on deaf ears. The measure was passed in the dead of night – 1:30 am.
Unfortunately, this lack of transparency is something we've grown to expect from the "gang of four" councilmembers who voted YES on the measure.
Meanwhile, the vagrancy epidemic is threatening to spill over into our suburb, and yet the council is giving our police department orders not to disturb vagrants in our parks. Indeed, as with the city of Los Angeles, the council is pretending the vagrancy epidemic is some "homegrown humanitarian crisis," caused by rising rents forcing out residents.
This is utterly disingenuous. Culver City first responders all agree that the majority of the populations in homeless encampments are seriously mentally ill and/or drug-addicted and need skilled intervention. The LAPD SLO has called the vagrants under the 405 "service resistant." And the famous Dr. Drew has also been pressing this point, citing a health hazard and a need for the power to get these people into treatment.
None of this matters to a council which no longer listens. They have a 4-1 agenda to radically transform our city – from the haven we love, to something indistinguishable from the rest of Los Angeles. Other residents may try to appeal to their better nature to stop this. We think that the avenue has closed.
We must stop reacting to what the council does and start anticipating and preparing ourselves for what they will do. As Protect Culver City, we want to forewarn our neighbors of issues coming down the pipe and inform them of the facts. We do this in the name of the forgotten resident, the moderate resident who feels spurned by the council.
In doing so, we want to hold the council's feet to the fire, hold them accountable, and explore any ballot measures necessary to do so.
We stand on a couple of basic issues. First, our vagrancy laws are on thin ice. Municipalities everywhere are being sued for the simple act of keeping their streets clean, regardless of how sensitively they do it, and regardless of the menace, these camps present to residents. Our council responds by giving our police orders not to disturb vagrants camping in our parks. This spells disaster.
We stand as defenders of our vagrancy laws and will fight to hold them up in court if necessary.
We also stand in defense of our covenant with homeowners and businesses. We agree that Los Angeles is getting more crowded, and we need more housing built to match demand. Council's current rent control proposal is not the way to do it. This is a punitive measure directed at older multifamily units. These are generally mom and pop operations, owned by retirees, and are the most affordable housing left on the market. We expect soft-story retrofit mandate to come soon enough – a $100K project. This one-two punch will leave multifamily owners in the lurch, and force them to sell to developers of luxury condos. If people can't afford current rents, they will be far less able to afford these luxury condos.
We're also concerned with the council's new obsession with unlimited upzoning. They support eliminating R1 zoning – so developers can build 4 houses over any single-family home. Council also supports turning our parks into more housing – a dangerous precedent. If they succeed in this, no homeowner will be safe.
We fear this comes from the council's new adversarial relationship with homeowners and businesses. This is not healthy for anyone. People buy homes and start businesses in our city based on a covenant that the rug won't be pulled out from them once they've established. Destroying this covenant will dry up private enterprise and leave our city in the lurch.
Whatever the issue, these days people are confused about what's happening. Nobody knows what to believe anymore. Be it housing, vagrancy, policing, our oil fields, commerce, etc. - we want to collect real data to present to residents, not biased agenda-driven anecdotes. We want people to be informed about the changes in our city and the greater city of Los Angeles which surrounds us.
A common understanding of facts is the first step to healing our community.
Editor’s Note: Protect Culver City is an association of Culver City residents and business owners who have expressed concerned with the current direction of our city council. Their beginnings can be traced back to the night of June 24/25th, after council decided 4-1 to phase in rent control in Culver City.Protect Culver City is a political action committee registered with the California secretary of state (FPPC #1419783) and the city of Culver City.