Better Housing for Long Beach / Joani Weir File Fed'l Court Lawsuit Challenging Long Beach "Tenant Relocation Ordinance" And Statewide "Rent Cap/Just Cause Eviction" Law (AB 1482), Alleges They Violate Provisions Of Fed'l & CA Constitutions
|(Oct. 16, 2019, 6:05 p.m.) -- Better Housing for Long Beach, a grassroots group that has consistently opposed efforts to enact rent control or measures similar to it in Long Beach, and its founder/president Long Beach property owner Joani Weir, have filed a federal court lawsuit challenging the Long Beach City Council majority-enacted "Tenant Relocation Ordinance" (June 2019) And CA's newly enacted "Rent Cap/Just Cause Eviction" law (AB 1482) recently signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom.
The federal court lawsuit, filed Oct. 15 by attorney Paul J. Beard II of the downtown L.A. law firm of Alston and Bird, alleges LB's Tenant Relocation Ordinance and the state legislature enacted/Governor signed AB 1482 ("Tenant Protection Act of 2019") violate provisions of both the U.S. and CA constitutions.
The federal court complaint alleges LB's Tenant Relocation Ordinance violates the Takings Clauses of the U.S. (5th amendment) and CA constitutions, the seizure clause (4th amendment) of the U.S. constitution and due process clause (14th amendment0 of the U.S. constitution. It alleges CA's "Tenant Protection Act" violates the takings clauses (5th amendment) of the U.S. constitution and the CA constitution and the seizure clause (4th amendment) of the U.S. constitution and due process clause (14th amendment) of the U.S. constitution.
As a remedy, it seeks an order permanently enjoining the City's enforcement of its Tenant Relocation Ordinance and Governor Gavin Newsom's enforcement of the statewide "Tenant Protection Act."
The lawsuit says Ms. Weir "owns multiple rental properties in the City of Long Beach, including two four-unit buildings...that are subject to the relocation-payment provisions of the Ordinance and AB 1482." Ms. Weir doesn't seek financial damages in the lawsuit. The complaint does include a request that the court award attorneys' fees and costs incurred by the plaintiffs.
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LB's "Tenant Relocation Ordinance" was enacted (second required ordinance vote) on a
A number of property owners (who'd relied on previously statements by some LB electeds to the effect that they opposed rent control) viewed the Council majority's Tenant Relocation Ordinance vote as a disorienting betrayal. As the ordinance advanced to passage, some property owners or their representative sought tweaks and minor changes while Housing Long Beach consistently opposed the Tenant Relocation Ordinance on principle. In Council testimony, Ms. Weir argued that like rent control, LB's ordinance would ultimately harm tenants, calling it a politically exploitative ploy by some LB incumbents that ultimately invites corporate and developer property acquisition mom-and-pop-owned multi-unit buildings and discourage construction of new housing units.
LB's Tenant Relocation Ordinance was strongly supported by rent control proponent Housing Long Beach and by LiBRE and other tenant advocacy groups who said the Council's action was an overdue first-step with additional measures needed to build more "affordable housing" (below market units subsidized by other tenants or government bodies) and possible enactment of additional tenant protection measures.
In January 2018, Robert Fox (who had revitalized LB's moribund Council of Neighborhood Organizations and led a citywide grassroots efforts in opposition to increased Land Use Element housing density) chose not to file papers to run against Mayor Robert Garcia. However Mr. Fox, an outspoken opponent of rent control, held a deadline-filing-day meeting with Mayor Garcia...after which Fox announced he wouldn't file Mayoral candidacy paperwork and Mayor Garcia issued the following statement:
[Jan. 2018 Garcia statement] Over the last couple of days, I've had some great conversations with Robert Fox, the President of CONO and a longtime community leader. We have been discussing next steps on the Land Use Element and other important issues. We are working together to host a series of Mayoral Land Use Roundtables in the weeks ahead. n addition, we have been discussing ways to ensure that we focus on housing production in the Downtown, including affordable housing for seniors. We don't believe that rent control works, or is the right solution. Just look at rent controlled cities like San Francisco, the most expensive market in the country. I look forward to working with Mr. Fox on this and other issues in the future.
Mr. Fox is now among the most active candidates in the March 2020 election cycle seeking to unseat 2nd dist. incumbent Jeannine Pearce. Later today (Oct. 16), Mr. Fox is scheduled to sign the Long Beach Reform Coalition's pledge on a number reform actions he commits to advocate if elected. Pearce is the only incumbent Garcia hasn't endorsed in the March 2020 election cycle. Just days ago, former LBPost publisher/owner Cindy Allen -- a contributor to the campaign and/or office-holder accounts of Mayor and several LB incumbents -- announced her entry into the race. Ms. Allen has also contributed sums to 1st dist. Council candidate Mary Zendejas, an advocate of increased "affordable housing" who's endorsed by Mayor Garcia.
In April 2019, Mayor Garcia stated in connection with a key Council vote that directed the City Attorney to draft what would become the LB Tenant Relocation Ordinance. . Mayor Garcia said:LB needed to pass a tenant relocation ordinance. He boasted that LB's economy is doing well (cited port volume, low unemployment), claimed overall crime is low, said growth and investments had increased property values...and said that shared prosperity requires "shared responsibility." Garcia cited the recommendations of an "Everyone Home" Task Force [whose members he chose] which included enactment of a tenant relocation assistance policy that includes households impacted by rising rents. He said a tenant relocation policy isn't a magic solution that will fix all the issues, but called it one part of actions by local government and the state legislature to begin to fix a crisis now faced by LB and CA.
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