Measure B Proponents Maintain They're not Against Rent Control
October 15, 2020
Leaders of Protect Culver City, the much-maligned, local political action committee that placed the rent control initiative on November 3 ballot, told the Observer this week that Measure B was never meant as a “statement for or against rent control, but as a simple demand: City Council let us (voters) have the final word on it.”
Ron Bassilian, president of Protect Culver City (PCC), said his group -- composed of local business owners,
residents and landlords, wanted to have “proper citywide conversation about the issue and let people decide
if it’s a good idea for our city” but the City Council ignored “our pleas to put this on the ballot, preferring to
say this measure is anti-rent control.”
“Other cities like Santa Monica took this route,” he continued. “West Hollywood did their rent control through
popular votes. Burbank is putting its own tenant protections on the ballot.”
If approved by the voters in November, Measure B would nullify the comprehensive rent control ordinance
that the Council adopted by a 4-1 vote last month, offering strong tenant protections to more than 7000 renters
in Culver City.
“The four opposing councilmembers ignored our repeated pleas to put their rent control on the ballot. They
are now treating this measure as a de facto repeal of rent control, scaring people with bugbears of ‘waves of
evictions’ and ‘skyrocketing rents’ if our measure were to pass. All false,” said Bassilian in a statement.
“Meanwhile, we have statewide rent control and ample Covid emergency tenant protections. Measure B leaves all of these in place.”
In its website, PCC states that it would accept the will of the voters. “Our simple position is: if the people vote
for it, we can accept that. We can’t live with a council passing it without discussion.”
Bassilian said that his group was formed “shortly after midnight, June 25, 2019, when Council laid bare its
plans to phase in rent control. At that late hour, a number of us gathered outside Council chambers,
determined something must be done. That was the genesis of Protect Culver City.”
“What should concern everybody is, nobody had run on this issue,” he continued. “Now they were
now fully obeying the demands of some obscure group nobody had heard of.” He is referring to Protect
Culver City Renters, a local volunteer group advocating for renter protections.
Bassilian also objected to the criticism that PCC is an “outsider-funded” organization.
“Our Yes on B supporters page shows how homespun we are, and accurately reflects our public record
of contributors,” he said. “When you threaten residents’ homes and livelihoods, they will pool their
resources to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
“Measure B places the ultimate decision-making power in the hands of the people,” he added..