The Culver City Council discussed a recently proposed initiative measure on Monday night, Nov.18, 2019, one that would require voter approval before any rent control measures are adopted and implemented by the City and abolish the current rent freeze ordinance.
The measure, proposed by members of the Protect Culver City Political Action Committee, (not to be confused with Protect Culver City Renters,) would make it unlawful to adopt a rent control ordinance, temporary or otherwise, without voter approval.
If the measure were to pass in the future, it would end the current freeze, which caps rent increases at 3%, and establishes certain tenant protections while the City explores a long-term solution.
“This was just an opportunity for us to get a little clarity on exactly what’s happening, when it would be happening and what the requirements will be,” Mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells said at the meeting. “It’s good to have a little clarification and community discussion just so we know what’s required, what the timing is.”
Protect Culver City PAC, according to their website, is “an association of Culver City residents and business owners who are concerned with the current direction of our city council.” They were formed in response to the urgency ordinance voted in by the Council on June 24.
In a Notice of Intent signed by members of Protect Culver City and submitted to the City Clerk on Oct. 9, the proponents of the measure claim that City Council members broke their campaign promise by imposing a rent control urgency measure in the first place, and suggests revising the current Municipal Code.
Protect Culver City has 180 days from submission to circulate a petition and acquire 2,801 signatures – or the equivalent of ten percent of registered voters in Culver City. During that time, the Council may ask City staff for a report on the impact the measure would have on the community.
“It’s hard to say what the impact would be for the city,” Vice Mayor Göran Eriksson said. “There’s still going to be rent control, it’s just going to be a different percentage.”
The Council ultimately decided to hold off on commissioning a report, opting to “wait and see what happens,” as Councilman Alex Fisch said.
Among those who signed the letter was Ron Bassilian, a Culver City resident and former Republican candidate for the district’s congressional seat.
“We’re here to hold this council accountable and make sure that it’s transparent and honest,” Bassilian said.
Other items on the Monday night agenda that passed were the design plans for the Rancho Higuera Traffic Management Program, and approval of the Downtown Culver City Business Improvement District Advisory Board’s annual work program and budget. A public hearing has been set for Dec. 9 to discuss the levy of the Downtown Culver City Business Improvement District Assessment for 2020.
The Council also heard an update on the Plan to Prevent and Combat Homelessness, presented by Saint Joseph’s Center, a non-profit commissioned by the City.
“It’s not about moving one tent from one side of the street to another,” Mayor Sahli-Wells said. “It’s not one city’s problem.”