I recently started writing a series (1, 2, 3,) of posts about the possibility of Long Beach falling prey to a newly proposed rental control petition. In my last post regarding the proposed rent control initiative in Long Beach, I said: “You’ll most likely hear from me next on this matter when the City reports back with their findings!” Well, the impact memo is out and City Attorney did not mince words.

Before I go into the City Attorney’s findings, here is a quick summary of the situation:

After 2-years of persistent failure and several unsuccessful attempts, in January of this year, a small advocacy group (lead by Josh Butler and Jordan Wayne) finally successfully submitted a rent control petition initiative to Long Beach City Hall. Thankfully. the Mayor, all City Council members (which rarely happens,) the City Attorney’s office, Chambers of Commerce, and countless other local Trade groups all are united and are working together to ensure Long Beach isn’t persuaded down a wrong road.

Currently, Josh and his small group have until July 30 to gather 27,462 signatures of registered voters in Long Beach in order to make the initiative eligible for the November ballot. Meanwhile, in March of this year, the City Council voted 8-0 in favor of the Clerk’s office, City Manager (and or) City Attorney’s office to review the initiative and develop impact reports within 30 days.

The City wants to get in front of the petition initiative as they have major concerns over the poorly written proposed initiative. [It is important to note that a successfully submitted petition initiative doesn’t mean that if it were to pass there wouldn’t be major legal challenges and or conflict with the City Charter.]

So, like I stated, the requested impact report dated April 19th from Development Services and Deputy City Attorney’s office is in. The 28-page report which was sent to City Manager Pat West for the Mayor and City Council paints a dim picture for the City in the event the petition goes to the ballot and passed in its current form. The report states “the proposed initiative “if” passed will likely trigger many legal challenges.”

The final section of the memo states "potential conflicts with the City Charter," and states that "the establishment of the “proposed” Rental Housing Board, and the extent of powers granted to it, are inconsistent with (and likely violate) provisions of the City Charter. Lengthy and potentially costly legal actions would be necessary to address such inconsistencies." The report also goes on to say the City will need funds in excess of $30k to front additional City staff time and outside legal expertise to thoroughly explore this issue further.

My feelings are clear. It is unfortunate, dire, disastrous, deceitful, harmful, etc, that Josh Butler chooses to put his own agenda (with a false narrative to boot) ahead of what’s actually good for the people of Long Beach. But what’s even more clear are the facts (and Josh absolutely knows them, too!) “rent control is a failed and harmful policy.” And behind the harmful cries of dishonest propaganda is one of worst and poorly written petition (if passed) would put the City in peril and major legal jeopardy, as well!