We Are Just On Different Planets

Tuesday night was a true learning experience as I realized I was just on a different planet.

Let me give some context to this story and set the stage before I explain. For quite some time a small advocacy group is on the attack; their mission “Rent Control in Long Beach.”

Recently this year, the City Attorney’s office had no choice but to clear the submitted proposed initiative, titled the Long Beach Rent Control Ordinance. That’s not to say the City Attorney’s office backs the initiative or trust its legality. All that means is the advocacy group did everything that’s demanded to clear the way for the initiative to be put on the ballot.

It is clear the Mayor and Members of City Council do not support the purposed initiative as they are on record as saying this initiative would be harmful to the growth and future of this city. The advocacy group also faces staunch opposition from LB Area Chamber of Commerce, California Apartment Association, Pacific West Association of Realtors, local Banks, and many other trade groups here in town.

Without the support from City Council and other local leaders, the small advocacy group now turns to the voters of Long Beach. The group has 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.

In front of the group gathering enough signatures, City Council members want to get ahead the proposed measure and start researching what the impact could be “as well as” the legality. So, on Tuesday, City Council members were to vote on whether or not they needed clarification with regard to the proposed initiative (which brings me to Tuesday night and my learning experience.)

I gave myself plenty of time because I knew there were going to be a lot of people at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. I arrived 30 minutes early only to find they were not letting any more people in because the room was already at capacity. Outside the building, there were plenty of folks gathered and that’s where I met Jordan Wynne.

Jordan along with Josh Butler head up the small advocacy group. I had recognized Jordan from his picture and I introduced myself. I gave Jordan my card and I told him that I would appreciate a meaningful discussion if possible. Jordan measured me up a bit (remember I’m on the other side/team and I think he was trying to see if I was sincere) and then agreed.

Right off the bat, I told Jordan that I believe in assisting those in need of assisted living, especially the elderly, handicapped. And I am so on board with getting the city to make some small zoning changes, implement affordable housing plans and then have builders bid for the jobs. And of course, we need to curb nefarious landlords. I then asked Jordan -besides curbing nefarious landlord behavior how does your proposed initiative solve the rest of the problems?

Needless to say, after a long respectful debate, I realized that we are on different planets when it comes to ideology and that would be our biggest challenge. And despite wanting the same things we were not able to agree on how to get there. Regardless, I told Jordan it was nice meeting and talking to him as I shook his hand and wished him all the best!