Vote Smart – Measure B is Bad Bait and Switch

The most controversial thing on the Culver City ballot is Measure B: Voter Approval of all Interim or Permanent Rent Control Measures. On the surface, it seems like a very reasonable gesture. Voter approval is a good thing, right? We are voters, and we like to be asked for our approval. Look a bit closer. What it means is that the city council loses the right to legislate on this matter in any capacity. 

Vote no. 

Measure B was created by Protect Culver City, a PAC that formed in direct response to the success of a group called Protect Culver City Renters, who had persuaded the city council to pass interim rent control measures. Why create a Political Action Committee and give it a moniker that could be so easily mistaken for another group?

Confusion is the goal.

PCC needs you to think that they are somehow interested in the public good. They are not. 

Protect Culver City started canvassing with local volunteers (note the attractive window dressing – just us folks) and then hired in professional canvassers – people who were paid per signature to push the petition – who presented the petition as being ‘for rent control.’

The fact that it was for “repealing rent control” was somehow not quite as clearly pronounced.

Many people who initially signed the petition called foul, and asked to have their signatures removed. Not everyone knows you can ask to have your signature removed. So, the petition  garnered enough signatures to make it to the ballot with a rather publicly blatant disregard for how those signatures were acquired. 

Sound like an upright, ethical organization? Looking out for the public interest? 

The sticky trail of footprints that leads to Protect Culver City is a combination of white supremacy, corporate money and lots of lies. There is plenty of journalism available on the white-power-men’s-rights-better-dead-than-red outlook of the PCC; there’s no need to go chapter and verse here. You know how search engines work. 

They do not want to give the voters control over rental regulations; they just need to take it away from the city council.

Bait, and switch. 

Wherever you were sitting on March 13, 2020, you probably were very glad to have a roof over your head. Imagine if we had to take a vote to see if people could or should wear masks to prevent the spread of infection. How about not allowing the city to institute any health regulations or business protection programs without voting on that? 

It’s not about empowering the voters; it’s about disempowering the council.

Bait, and switch. 

What the conservatives who decry government regulation don’t allow themselves to see is that human beings create governments for a reason. It helps us to survive. And, as many political factions have discovered to their dismay, the rules you put in place to frustrate your opposition are the rules that you will be frustrated by when you have the chair. 

Regulating businesses is actually good for business in the long term. The quarterly report, which even some Wall Street Journal editors think is the downfall of civilization, must be removed from it’s throne as the standard of good. We need to be thinking about the next decade, not the end of the fiscal year.

Housing is a complex, nuanced network of social needs and private property, and there are multiple layers that need legislation. If we have to get voter approval on every step of the process, it will never happen. That is what PCC wants to see. 

In the past, studies of rent control in California noted that the group most helped by it were the people already in place. Anecdotally, it’s a way to help the current population at the risk of making it more challenging for the people looking to move in. 

But we are in the middle of a health crisis, and an economic crisis, and a cultural crisis, and a climate crisis, and rent control is as essential as food stamps and unemployment insurance.  

Ironically, PCC also categorizes the homeless as “criminal vagrants,” so if you are in need of housing, they are very targeted on preventing affordable rent. 

The emotional challenge of rent control – people in need of housing, people wanting the freedom to do what they like with their private property, is a crucial point for regulation. Yes, the city AND the County AND the State are all trying to find a way to resolve this issue.

Anyone who introduces themselves in a fashion designed to confuse you about who they are or what they are doing is someone who cannot be trusted. Whatever they say after that, don’t even listen. 

Measure B is just a bad bait and switch. 

Vote Smart.

Judith Martin-Straw

The Actors' Gang


  1. I just love the pretense that the out-of-city property management companies that are bankrolling Prop B are doing so not because they favor rent control, but just because they’re so passionate about direct democracy in Culver City. Sure. Richard Glaser– the property manager who lives in the 90035 area code (Beverlywood)– has donated $10,000 to this Culver City measure simply because he’s JUST THAT COMMITTED to deliberative governance in a neighboring town. That’s all it’s about! RENT CONTROL?! Heck, he doesn’t care one way or the other about that!

    Personally, I don’t mind these mega-donors trying to roll back rent control. I’d just prefer not to have my intelligence insulted while they’re doing so.

  2. When you can’t argue your position, attack the other side. I will argue the merits of Measure B.

    There is no means test. Renters can stay in their existing rent-controlled units long after they become wealthy enough to leave, sometimes becoming better off than the rental owner. This actually happens in the westside.

    Housing costs to renters remains controlled and housing costs to rental owners remain uncontrolled. The cap is CPI. The cost to provide housing rises faster than CPI.

    The business case for older building owners like me makes selling to a developer more attractive to rescue our retirement income. The developer will replace older rentals with townhouses for sale, reducing the number of available units.

    Council did *not* commission a study to determine if rent control is the proper way help burdened renters. The new law may not be the best way.

    Renters are not the only residents needing assistance. Some don’t have a home.

    I can’t think of any reason a city government would enact legislation that favors one group over another when clearly “studies of rent control in California noted that the group most helped by it were the people already in place,” as the op-ed quotes.

    Let’s enact legislation that helps tenants, rental property owners, business owners and all Culver City residents.

    Vote YES on B.

  3. Hang on, wait Dennis, are you telling me that Measure B *IS* about rent control after all?! I’d been led to believe that it (and its proponents) are 100% neutral on the question of rent control, and instead are motivated solely by the principle of direct democracy wrt housing policy.

    Now I’m all confused.


  4. In all seriousness though, Dennis, thank you for (implicitly) acknowledging what Measure B plainly is: an anti-rent-control measure. Though I may disagree with your opinion, I at least respect you for making an argument about Measure B that doesn’t hide behind bogus process complaints. You’re for Measure B because you’re a landlord who simply doesn’t want rent control in Culver City! The end! I genuinely appreciate you not pretending otherwise.

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