CES Backs Mayor Garcetti’s Choice of Rushmore Cervantes as Housing & Community Investment Department General Manager
On August 13, the Los Angeles City Council Housing Committee considered Mayor Eric Garcetti’s nomination for General Manager of the Housing and Community Investment Department (HCIDLA), Rushmore Cervantes.
Cervantes has been serving as the Interim General Manager for HCIDLA and previously was the executive officer at the Department. The Coalition for Economic Survival (CES) has had an extremely good working relationship with Cervantes since he’s been at HCIDLA.
At the hearing, Housing Committee Chair, LA City Council Member Gil Cedillo, asked the question: “What’s the most vexing problem for housing?”
Cervantes responded by saying: “There is not enough housing in the City of Los Angeles for all the residents of the City. Whether it is for the low income or the working middle income.” Cervantes said that all the housing being built in the downtown area may look good, but will not be accessible to middle or low-income residents.
Cervantes added: “The solution is that we need to come up with a goal. Both for housing as a whole and for affordable housing and then agree upon the 3 or 4 tools that can achieve that. That means preserving existing affordable housing. That means looking at the Rent Stabilization Ordinance and strengthening it to make it more difficult for property owners to remove it (units) from the marketplace.”
Cedillo followed up by asking: “So how do we get out of the way of developers? I hear a lot of them say that it is impossible to do business with the City.” Cervantes answered: “We need to have Housing, Planning, and Building and Safety (Departments) try to work on a process in which we can expedite, to the greatest extent that we can, the approval process for housing, while ensuring that we, obviously, protect what’s valuable to the City, relative to the environment and affordable housing.”
Probably the most interesting aspect of the hearing was in regards to the public comments. The heads of two organizations that have been long-time adversaries were demonstrating common ground and unity in support of Cervantes’ nomination.
The two people testifying that day were Coalition for Economic Survival Executive Director Larry Gross, representing renters, and Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles Executive Director Jim Clark, representing landlords.
In his testimony CES’ Gross praised Mayor Garcetti for providing an extremely qualified choice for General Manager stating: “With this City facing a severe housing crisis, particularly when it comes to the lack of affordable housing, you need a special person to lead us. Thus, this position requires someone with a very unique skill-set who is committed to and has the ability to effectively take on these challenges. I believe Rushmore Cervantes is that person and, I know he is up to these incredible challenges. Rushmore is well-respected and has the trust of the key stakeholders that are working to address our housing needs.”
On August 19, the full LA City Council unanimously, on a 14 to 0 vote, confirmed Rushmore Cervantes as the new permanent HCIDLA General Manager.
Listen to CES Executive Director Larry Gross Testify in Support of Rushmore Cervantes’ Nomination