Council Reject Arguments Against Rent Control
August 22, 2019
We are deeply troubled, though unfortunately not surprised, by Culver City council’s 4-1 decision to pass last night’s 3% 12-month rent freeze urgency ordinance. Regardless of one’s opinion on rent control, council’s lack of transparency and dialogue in passing this ordinance should concern all residents.
Many multifamily owners tried to argue for a good faith compromise on the rent freeze, invoking other local cities like Glendale and Long Beach. Council’s consultants pointed out that, among multifamily owners, rents only rose about 3% annually in the past five years, calling their urgency claims into question. Their own staff suggested a 4% freeze. On a 4-1 vote, council rejected all of them.
On this, mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells said: “Last night the City Council took an important step to protect tenants while we discuss long-term solutions addressing displacement and soaring rent prices in Culver City. Without this measure, no fair and meaningful dialogue can happen.”
When council rejects staff, consultants, and residents, it’s obvious there is no conversation. We at Protect Culver City are confident this one-year rent freeze is in name only. During this time, council will build a full rent control board and rent registry, before they rubber stamp the freeze into permanence. They will ignore all implications on surcharges to tenants, landlords going under and selling to developers, divisions this will deepen in our city, or any other issues that arise.
This matter is made even worse by a 4-1 council that never ran on this issue. Indeed, they gave the impression they opposed it. They misrepresented themselves as against rent control, giving false assurances to a significant number of residents, just to get themselves elected.
For a council whose very inaugural meeting was a Brown Act violation, we at Protect Culver City were planning for this situation. We believe council has undeniably become a political machine. They can’t be reasoned with or bargained with, they feel no pain, remorse, or pity. And they will not stop, ever, until we force their hand via ballot measures or litigation.
We respect and admire all the valiant efforts are fellow residents have made to plead and reason with council. That time is over. Ballot measures and litigation are the only avenues we have left.
We also plead to all residents to understand, rent control is only the beginning. Our council has an agenda on weakening our law enforcement and vagrancy laws, reckless and limitless upzoning, changing all single family home areas to multifamily homes, and gutting protections for all homeowners. Their goal is an end to the oasis we call Culver City - a city indistinguishable from the urban chaos around us.
We call on all residents to join us, ask us about our stance on other issues, and get involved. You may not be interested in this council, but they’re interested in you.
For more information, contact Ron Bassilian, president at email@example.com or at 310-347-8255.
Protect Culver City
Ron Bassilian, President
Editor’s Note: Ron Bassilian is an candidate for the 37th Congressional District which serves Culver City.