The consideration of changes to Culver City’s rental registry took the first action item spot on the agenda at the Culver City Council meeting on July 10, 2023, continuing a focus on the subject from the previous meeting. Unexpectedly, Mayor Albert Vera, Jr. recused himself from voting on the item after being identified by community members as a landlord who was not in compliance with the law.
With housing at the top of every political perspective, it continues to be on the agenda at every city council meeting. On June 20, the website CCRentals.org went live, a privately created site using data available to the public on the city’s website, with a surprising backlash of manufactured controversy.
After a push from a local organization funded by the real estate industry, the city council meeting on June 26 saw a number of people speaking from the podium, identifying themselves as landlords and objecting to having their information made public through the CCRental site. What was revealed at that meeting was that there was nothing on the CCRental site that was not already publicly available information.
The discussion of an extension for landlords to register their property was decided to return to the council on a future agenda.
That future agenda was the very next meeting on July 10, when it returned as an action item. The proposal that landlords be given an additional 90 days to file the required information with the city drew the focus to Mayor Albert Vera, Jr. the owner of several single family houses in Culver City that are rented. It was revealed that the mayor had asked the City Attorney, Heather Baker, about his properties, but the conversation was not made public.
After being named as one of the landlords who had not yet registered their properties, Vera offered that he wished to avoid “even the appearance of ethical conflict,” and recused himself from the item, turning the meeting over to Vice Mayor Yasmine Imani McMorrin.
Both McMorrin and Council member Freddy Puza voted against the additional 90 day extension, with McMorrin noting that there was already a 30 day grace period in place for those who did not file by July 31. Council members Dan O’Brien and Goran Eriksson (attending by phone) voted in favor of giving the landlords more time. With a two- two tie, the vote failed.