For the Record

Quotes Of Note From Councilwoman (State Senate Candidate) Gonzalez And Mayor Garcia At Council Meeting Directing City Att'y To Draft LB "Tenant Relocation Assistance Ordinance" is reader and advertiser supported. Support independent news in LB similar to the way people support NPR and PBS stations. We're not non-profit so it's not tax deductible but $49.95 (less than an annual dollar a week) helps keep us online.
(April 3, 2019, 4:25 p.m.) -- As previously reported by, after nearly six hours hours of discussion, the City Council voted 6-3 (Price, Supernaw, Mungo dissenting) on April 2 (actually April 3, 12:15 a.m.) to approve a substitute-substitute motion by Councilman Rex Richardson (seconded by Mungo) that directs the City Attorney's office to draft and bring to the Council for discussion and voted action a Tenant Relocation Ordinance.

The ordinance as directed by the Council majority would require landlords who own properties of four units or more (with some narrow exceptions) to pay a tenant who chooses to leave two months rent (could range from roughly $2,700 to $4.500) triggered by a rent increase beyond a city-allowed percentage (10% within a year) or by eviction beyond city allowed reasons. In addition, the Council motion specified payment of $2,000 to exiting/relocating senior tenants and those with disabilities (source of funds may come from taxpayers if available, otherwise from landlord) payable regardless of the tenant's income level.

Below are quotes of note from Long Beach elected officeholders:

  • 1st district Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez (took office mid-July 2014, runoff candidate now for 33rd dist. state Senate seat).

    ...For me particularly this has been a very tough issue for me as a Councilmember in a downtown that has expanded and grown and has really displaced so many of my residents. So many of my residents it makes me not sleep at night. I will tell you that. It's very difficult...

    [After colloquy with Assistant City Manager Modica confirming that the proposed ordinance doesn't limit rent increases] ...I just want to make sure because there are a lot of landlords that said they were keeping their rent very low. Then guess what? Then this ordinance doesn't apply to you. I'm glad. I'm glad you're keeping them low; This does not apply to you whatsoever...

    So again, just to be clear: the City Council's never engaged in a rent control or just-cause [eviction] policy. We've never engaged in that, and that's even despite the multiple resident and economic pressures, and rightfully so by our residents. We've never engaged in those discussions or policies.

    We've actually engaged in land use discussions that have aligned for neighborhood character when we wanted to and should have created a little bit more affordable housing. We've also been chastised as a Council in some regards for garnering funds for an annual homeless shelter. And even with all of that, to ensure that we have rooves over people's heads, to ensure that we were pushing when it came to affordable housing, people in our districts even now, and specifically in my district where 80% are renters are being displaced now. Now. And what I ask oftentimes is when is enough enough? When do we have to turn the curve and say, you know, while some have called this tenant welfare, some have called this you know Nazi control which is really sort of out of line and inappropriate, I would call this relief and improvement of quality of life.

    And with roughly 60% of our residents renting their homes, Long Beach has almost double the amount of renters compared to the nationwide average. And like I mentioned, the 1st district has 80% renters. ,P>This has been an issue personally, professionally for me that I'm sure we're getting right, not just to offer protections as the true spirit of the item when we first brought this forward in January 2018 but also as people mentioned here to create housing stability. It's really unfortunate when people are being consistently being, constantly displaced at a very rapid pace with absolutely no relief. And espeically people with seniors, people with disabilities and very low income individuals. So well I'll just say here, and I know that there's been a lot of misinformation about what this policy says and what it includes...

    [Scroll down for further.]

  • Mayor Robert Garcia (took office as 1st dist. Councilman May 2009; took office as Mayor mid-July 2014):

    ...I have also been very open and supportive that Long Beach needs to pass a tenant relocation ordinance...

    First I think when you think about where Long Beach is at today, the Long Beach economy by any measure, most would say is doing well. Whether you're looking at Port growth which is the highest it's been in the history of the city. When you look at the unemployment rate which is the lowest we've had on record in the history of the City of Long Beach. We're looking at yhe increase of those at the lowest wage, and the minimum wage that's being increased. Those measures are signs of a robust economy. The same time you have things like overall crime being at some of lowest levels in its history. We have more businesses that are being created and built. And you certainly have a significant amount of both public and private investment that's moving into the City. So those things are happening.

    ...While all these great things are happening, the success is a shared success...As a property owner, I know that the value of my property is not just about tbe increase I've seen my property go through as the City has improved in some ways, maybe changed in some ways, but I know that the increase in my property value has also been shared, it's because maybe the streets in the neighborhood are better, because trees were planted, because it's safer.

    And so I'm a big believer that the growth and the investments that we have, we all benefit from the shared responsibility that society puts in for all of us being taxpaying citizens. So we're all responsible for each other's success, and when our properties do well in a neighborhood it's because the city, which all taxpayers put in, are all working together to make investments across the city.

    And so I think there's both shared prosperity and shared responsibility when it comes to these issues.

    ...I believe personally that as a city, and I'll take personal responsibility myself, we have one, failed to lead appropriuately in the past and we have not done enough to rectify the planning mistakes that have been made not just in our own city but across the state of California. And so I think Mayors and governments are trying to as fast as possible try to fix and address the systemic issues that are happening.

    A lot of folks said we should be building more housing. I agree. I have supported every single unit brought forward before this body to get built. I have supported, whether it's been a market rate building, whether it's been an affordable unit, I support every single unit. I wish that there was as much enthusiasm to build housing as there is on this policy because almost every time that we try to propose a project to build more affordable housing, we get a lot of folks come out and oppose it. We want to build a shelter, it gets opposed. We wast to put more housing for low income seniors, it's too high or too dense. We want to densify our transit system and build more housing along even just a moderate amount of density across the communtiy and we fill the Chambers again because nobody wants to build additional housing.

    So if we're not going to allow the creation of more affordable housing, which many neighborhoods don't want any, then that leads us to try a multi-faceted approach. So I would first encourage us all to continue to support building every unit of housing possible and to continue to support smart responsible density in the City. I also believe that we should redouble our efforts at building more affordable housing which we are doing... >p>And I would encourage us to realize that a tenant relocation policy is not the magic solution that's going to fix all of our issues. It is one piece of building more housing, tenant relocation assistance, state support, action by the Governor and the legislature to begin to try to fix the crisis that we have we're having across the state of California right now and in Long Beach...








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