Anti-Rent Control, Anti-Tenants’ Rights Forces Line Up Behind Wendy Greuel’s Bid for Los Angeles Mayor
It was nearly two month ago that the Coalition for Economic Survival (CES) expressed great concern over LA City Controller and Mayoral Candidate Wendy Greuel’s enthusiastic announcement about receiving the endorsement of the landlord group, Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles (AAGLA).
Those concerns has been increased with the announced on Monday that the Central City Association (CCA) has endorsed Wendy Greuel’s bid for Mayor.
The CCA is a business advocacy group that lobbies city and state government to grease the wheels for development in downtown. Besides landlords and developers, it also represents large corporations, such as Chevron, Walmart, Verizon, JP Morgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo and Bank of America.
The Central City Association has been a consistent opponent of tenants’ rights, rent control and restricting condo conversions that displaces tenants.
Some examples of CCA’s efforts include opposing a temporary rent freeze introduced by LA City Council Member Richard Alarcon that would have given the City Council time to debate potential amendments to the rent control ordinance without saddling LA tenants with more unjust rent increases.
CCA opposed LA City Council Member and Mayoral Candidate Eric Garcetti’s amendment to a local provision of the Ellis Act (state law prohibiting local jurisdictions from preventing landlords from going out of the rent business), which would require developers the choice of constructing a new, rent stabilized building (where rent control would extend to every new unit, regardless of size of demolished building), or replacing the lost rent stabilized units one for one with units that would be affordable to those making 80% of AMI or less, up to 20% of the total building units. It was a provision that CES strongly supported and was passed.
CCA opposed a moratorium on condo conversions and demolitions in Los Angeles. From 2001 to 2007 nearly 15,000 LA rent control units were lost due to condo conversions and demolitions to build new condos. City Council District 2, represented by Wendy Greuel at the time, had the third largest number of rent controlled units lost in the City.
“A moratorium sends absolutely the wrong message at absolutely the wrong time, because the condo market is slowing down significantly,” said Carol Schatz, who heads the CentralCity Association. “And while there may be some projects still in the pipeline, there aren’t that many. It scares investors anytime you talk about a moratorium, and let’s not forget that housing drives the L.A. economy.
CES Executive Director Larry Gross responded, “In other words, CCA was essentially saying when the condo market is hot, it is unfair to destroy pending investments by enacting a moratorium. When the market cools, it is unfair because it will deter the formation of new speculator groups seeking to profit by evicting tenants and eliminating rent-controlled housing.”
Gross observed that, “It appears that Greuel has been able to coalesce the forces that have been at the forefront of the fight to destroy rent control and undermine tenants’ rights behind her mayoral candidacy.”
Besides AAGLA and CCA, the Beverly Hills/Greater Los Angeles Association of Realtors Local PAC, the Los Angeles County Federation of Business (Biz Fed), the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce’s Jobs PAC, and the Valley Industry and Commerce Association (VICA) PAC are all supporting Greuel.
All these endorsements are based on the belief that Greuel will support them on issues of concern to them,” said Gross. “They clearly believe that Wendy Greuel would be a better Mayor for landlords and developers. This is a very important factor that tenants must keep in mind when they cast their ballots for Mayor on May 21, Election Day.”
In addition, homeless advocacy groups, such as LACAN, have been actively opposing the CCA’s “Downtown 2020” plan, which they state calls for no affordable housing to be built in Downtown, and increased police and criminalization efforts against homeless and poor residents.
CCA was also a key opponent to labor unions and supporters efforts to extend the City’s living wage ordinance to hotels near LAX.