The first of the action items on the agenda for the Culver City Council meeting on Monday, Feb. 27, 2023 was to create an end to the COVID pandemic ’emergency’ that the City has been negotiating since March of 2020. The two most urgent matters attached to this – the commercial tenant eviction moratorium, and the third-party fees on food delivery, were put on the agenda to be considered for a potential ‘urgency ordinance.’
Darrel Menthe of the Downtown Business Association spoke from the floor, saying, “The state of emergency is going to end – if not tonight, then some other day. During the pandemic, a lot of effort was made to help find a solution for businesses that had trouble paying their back rent…whether these were good rules, I can’t say. But promises were made, and I think it’s important those promises be kept.”
City Attorney Heather Baker noted that without an ordinance, “the city would lose the ability to protect a business if their landlord is attempting to evict them…there is also a 12 month grace period.”
Karim Sahil, addressing the meeting online, noted that small businesses were becoming a kind of endangered species. “Small businesses are essential for the city…We have a social responsibility to protect [small businesses.]”
Several council members thought more research from businesses and restaurants would be the best way to determine if third party fees should remain banned, and Mayor Albert Vera, Jr. “I deal with that at my store and it is problematic… maybe it’s not a bad idea to cap it…we could do some outreach and bring it back by April first.”
The council will come back to the rent moratorium and food delivery fees when the emergency is lifted.
The State of California ended the emergency on Feb. 28, 2023, and Los Angeles County will be ending their COVID State of Emergency on March 31. The Council voted to end our local emergency four to one, with Vice Mayor Yasmine Imani McMorrin voting against.