Rent Control Ballot Measure Moves Forward

Petitioners Want Issue Decided by the Voters

It's been a long time since Culver City residents were so moved to sign petitions for a ballot initiative but they have done it for rent control.

Armed with a briefcase -- apparently containing the signatures -- handcuffed to his wrist, Ron Bassilian, president of Protect Culver City Political Action Committee, presented Culver City Clerk Jeremy Green this week with a petition signed by over 4100 people, far more than the 2801 signatures required for the ballot initiative.

If passed, the ballot measure would reverse the City Council's decision to freeze residential rents for one year pending the review of a possible rent control ordinance and would require voter approval for any action on rent control.

The handoff of the petition took place in the Dan Pataccia Conference Room at City Hall. For the protection city workers, the clerk's staff wore masks and requested the documents be placed on a cart where they were kept for 24 hours to make sure they were not contaminated with the coronavirus.

Surrounded by a small crowd of supporters, each keeping their distance due to the coronavirus, Bassilian said that "citizen oversight of government is the most essential activities there is."

He claimed the ballot measure is not about rent control but felt the council "overreached" their elected mandate and his group wanted to force a conversation on the issue. He acknowledged the city council may well put a competing measure on the ballot.

The City Clerk reviewed the petition on Tuesday and certified that it met the qualifications for number of signatures. It has sent the petition to the Los Angeles County Registrar/Recorder to verify the signatures and the city of residence of those who signed it to qualify the petition for the November ballot.

Once the county has qualified enough signatures, the city clerk will report on whether or not the petition qualifies for the ballot. The process is expected to take about one month.


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