|(July 24, 2019, 7:35 a.m.) -- Facing anger from renter-advocacy groups (and some unexpected pushback from some landlords), a City Council agenda item (agendized on short public notice in an attempt to make last-minute changes to LB's "Tenant Relocation Ordinance") was yanked off the
The lead agendizer for the item was Councilman Al Austin, joined by Councilmembers Rex Richardson, Daryl Supernaw and Stacy Mungo. So what happened? Are there plans to re-agendize the proposed amendments, or an amended version of the proposed amendments, in the coming weeks?
As of dawn July 24, there's no immediate response from co-agendizers Austin and Richardson who both cast enactment votes on June 11 for the Tenant Relocation Assistance Ordinance, but with Austin signaling at that time that he was open to amendments unspecified.
A Facebook flier from Housing Long Beach -- a renter advocacy group that had demanded the item be pulled -- called it a victory but said the item would return after August 1. "Community power was successful in pulling Tenant Relocation Assistance OFF the supplemental agenda!...The fight is not over. The item will be brought back to Council EARLY AUGUST. Plans for mobilizing to city hall are set. WE HAVE WON BEFORE, WE WILL WIN AGAIN, WE ARE HERE TO STAY! #LBRenterPower" said a Housing Long Beach Facebook flier.
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And as previously reported by LBREPORT.com, some landlord advocates who opposed enactment of the ordinance also urged the Council to vote "no" on the proposed changes, arguing that one of the proposed changes would make the ordinance worse from landlords' standpoint. On his Long Beach Politics Facebook page, Ian Sean Patton (who strongly opposed the ordinance) wrote in pertinent part (July 22):
...[T]hese amendments are absolute BS! a 180-day notice to vacate option to avoid the relocation payment means, as Lauren Boland pointed out to me today, rent payments stop the day that jerk you have to evict -- whose disturbing, scaring, harassing everyone in the building--gets that six-month notice! He knows how to work the system, and he knows that once you then give him a 3-day notice he can play out eviction court way longer than 6 months anyway!
In casting his vote for the ordinance on June 11, Councilman Austin said it was "acknowledged this is an imperfect policy and it still needs work and I look forward to making it an even better that protects tenants and gives them that flexibility."
Councilwoman Suzie Price, who voted against the ordinance on June 11, said she did so based on her concern over what she called its "just cause eviction" provisions [which aren't explicit but implicit in the ordinance's real world operation] and said she looks forward to "bringing this item back, or having somebody bring it back and so that we can make those modifications which I do believe is in the works and I will happily and proudly support the modifications made at that time."
That would make five votes in support of making some changes...at which point Mayor Robert Garcia -- who stated his support for the ordinance as enacted -- would face a decision on whether to veto the changes, an action that would require six Council votes to override.
All of this occurs in a highly charged pre-election atmosphere that could decide the upcoming political tilt of the City Council..
Councilman Austin is seeking a third Council term in March 2020 with a re-election challenge on his political left from Tunua Thrash-Ntuk and from a more centrist anti-incumbent reformer Juan Ovalle.
A few months earlier in November 2019, a winner-take-all (no runoff) special election will fill the 1st dist. Council seat vacated by now-state Senator Gonzalez. She, along with Mayor Garcia, has endorsed Mary Zendejas...who supported an unsuccessful petition-initiated attempt to enact a Long Beach rent control ordinance. Others quietly hope 1st dist. candidate Ray Morquecho might provide a way to move the Council balance more to the center, not further leftward.
And while political maneuvering takes place in Long Beach, an elephant has entered the room in Sacramento. As previously reported by LBREPORT.com state lawmakers -- including now-state Senator Gonzalez (audio here) -- have advanced a bill (AB 1482) that would impose statewide an annual rent increase cap, plus an explicit "just cause eviction" requirement plus required landlord payment of a tenant relocation sum.
Councilman Al Austin chairs the City Council's state legislation committee. He could, but at this point hasn't, agendized AB 1482 for discussion in his committee for a possible City of LB position on the measure.
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