Knock, Knock – Who’s There? ‘Protect Culver City’ Gets County Clearance for Ballot Measure

With the verification of signatures on May 1, 2020, the Los Angeles County Registrar’s office has approved the controversial proposal to put Culver City’s authority to have a rent control ordinance on the ballot in November.  According to a press release put out by Protect Culver City, “We still have a few steps to go before it’s all official, but the major hurdle has been cleared. “

The initiative is expected to come before the City Council as an agenda item on May 11, 2020, but the meeting agenda has yet to be finalized by the city. 

The original city council ruling on rent control, which featured a moratorium on rent increases and evictions extending for a year from April of 2019, has been eclipsed by the Emergency Proclamations by the city in response to the pandemic. The current order allows for a year of nonpayment of rent for both residential and commercial tenants, with repayments to begin after that period. 

The original ordinance, which was only to cover residential renters, saw a backlash from landlords and the creation of a political action committee – Protect Culver City- that set itself up in opposition to the original organization advocating for rent control, Protect Culver City Renters. 

The petition that was circulated to gather the signatures created considerable acrimony in the community, with many people saying that it had been misrepresented by the canvassers. The signature gatherers had been hired by a third party, paid for by Protect Culver City, and how accurate or inaccurate their presentation was rolled up a wave of anecdotal evidence on both sides of the issue. 

While the city council will address the ballot initiative at some point soon, the overarching emergency regulations that are also reflected by county and state mandate will hold it as a moot point. Even if it succeeds on the ballot in November, the law may not stand until the pandemic has subsided – and there is no accurate timeline on that. 

Judith Martin-Straw

The Actors' Gang

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