Shhh! Don’t tell our local landlord Anja Reinke, but we’ve gotten some interesting off-the-book responses the last couple of days to our piece about rent control and Burbank history.
It seems there’s an ad hoc effort going on to get the ball rolling with a renter’s protection ordinance for our town. Glendale has one– kind of– and so does Los Angeles, in a big way, especially in regards to just-cause eviction, which is now universally required–but people in Burbank have gotten fed up at being ignored.
The economic slowdown has lowered Burbank rents to a greater extent than most landlords will want to admit. But that’s just for now. You can be sure that when things pick up so will the increases. It’s inevitable, and thus a few tenants want to nip this habit in the bud with a comprehensive set of tenant protections and rent stabilization measures.
Since it’s time to get the ball rolling on this plan, we’ve decided to designate ourselves as a command central, or at least a mouthpiece for lobbying. There are some big elections coming up and that means there’s no better time to start publicizing a good issue like this. It shouldn’t always be bad news around here. We all need some big changes in Burbank.
Actually, we were surprised at this possibility, considering what happened a few years ago in Glendale when attorney Ken Carlson finally got tired of hearing all the doom and gloom stories and decided to get rent control on the ballot. As expected, that city’s landlord class went completely bananas at this possibility, and even went so far as to float a phony ballot initiative of their own that would have actually banned any such future efforts in that direction.
They lost in the end, but as part of the fun our bejeweled neighbors were subjected to an immensely dishonest signature gathering campaign, one that had their paid takers actively urging gullible residents to sign the sheets, “if you want to have rent control in Glendale…”
Of course, what they were signing up for was the exact opposite, but that’s the kind of dishonest tactic these desperate realtors were engaging in– sneakily trying to sell an anti-rent control ordinance as the real thing and then hoping that nobody would read the fine print.
Well, we regular Burbankers have always been much savvier than people in Glendale, and none of us were born yesterday either. We think that instituting rent control in Burbank is an idea that’s long past due, and it’s something that should be fought for. The time has come. And don’t tell Anja Reinke this one either, but the vast majority of Burbank residents are now tenants, not homeowners, which means there’s no longer any excuse for the City to keep giving them the shaft by pretending they don’t exist. There’s also something called power in numbers.
Our local leadership’s Chamber of Commerce and Disney girl fantasies may have worked 20 years ago, but this is a completely different age. These are tougher times, and they’re not going to get any better for a lot of people who weren’t expecting any of this so soon. It’s time for Burbank to grow up and start buttering everyone’s bread and not just that of their sleazy friend’s. If not, then that means some day it’s going to be catfood and Craigslist time for the rest of us, which is unacceptable.
It’s time for our local Burbank tenants to organize and win. We’ve been in contact with a few of the people who are starting a tenant’s association here in town, and we’ll be following up. We’re definitely big supporters of any kind of modern-day renter’s protections. The time to start is now when the rents are lower, and not when they’ve already gone up.
And here’s an idea. How about just-cause eviction in Burbank, and an anti-retaliation ordinance that makes it a chargeable misdemeanor for any landlord to go after a tenant for complaining? Even Glendale has that.
Check out how Glendale City Attorney Scott Howard completely lies in the second newspaper article, about how Glendale had supposedly not taken a position on the lawsuit.
Of course they did. The city council voted to place the anti-rent control initiative on the ballot despite Carlson’s pleading that it was illegal, which was later upheld on Appeal. In other words, Glendale sided with the landlords (!)
Howard, by the way, is married to Burbank’s own Assistant City Attorney Juli Scott.
Speaking of siding up, a few years ago a longtime council critic named Teresa Karam revealed at oral communications that they had both chosen to enroll their own children in Burbank schools (at our affluent Jefferson Elementary, natch) despite their living in Glendale, and despite the BUSD having an embargo on all inter-district permits, and despite Jefferson’s status of being legally “impacted” at the time and thus not eligible for additional enrollments.
Gee. Now why would an affluent, Anglo resident of Glendale not want their kids to go to Glendale schools?