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SM Woman Identified in Sunset

Boulevard Crash

A Santa Monica woman was identified Sunday morning as the victim of a crash between a Maserati and a Honda in Westwood.

Sheri Myers Olmon, 50, was killed Saturday during the impact of the crash on Sunset Boulevard and two blocks east of Beverly Glen Boulevard. The Maserati veered sharply onto the wrong side of the road, a Los Angeles police official said.

The driver of the Maserati was not under the influence of alcohol and had minor injuries. Police said speed could have been a factor in the crash.

Olmon’s husband and daughter were also in the car and were injured.

Landlord Registration Fee up for Vote

Santa Monica residents will vote on a measure in November that would increase the registration fee landlords pay to cover the city’s rent control board administrative costs, from $174.96 to a maximum of $288 a year. The measure would also force landlords to cover up to half the fee, rather than pass it along to their tenants, as they were allowed to do until last year.

The board says without the increase it faces a $36,000 deficit next fiscal year, which would balloon to $150,000, then close to half a million dollars after that.

“The rent control law is not self-executing, and its administration is not free,” Santa Monica Rent Control Board’s General Counsel, Stephen Lewis,wrote in a memo to the city council recommending that they vote to put the measure on the ballot, which they did last week.

In the memo, Lewis notes that that the fee won’t be going up to $288 right away.

“By enshrining the maximum registration fee in the city charter, the voters would ensure a stable funding source through multiple budget cycles, avoid deficit spending, and safeguard the Board’s future ability to function at full capacity in order to secure the benefits that the voters sought by enacting the rent control law in the first place,” Lewis wrote.

Possible Vote on Rent Increase Limit

Santa Monica, by all measures, is a high-rent district but voters could get the opportunity to keep those prices in check if the City Council approves a measure designed to cap rent increases. Councilmembers on Tuesday will consider a ballot measure that would cap rent-controlled apartment rent increases at $288 per unit annually, up from last year’s $175.

The $288 rate would reportedly be a maximum increase; the Rent Control Board could decide on the any price below that on an annual basis.

Last year, the board enacted a first by requiring landlords to pay a portion of the fee hike. That portion was a mere $19, but if the measure passes, landlords would be required to pick up at least half of the tab on any rent increase, the Daily Press reports.

Last year’s fee increase was the board’s first in six years and, according to city officials, very controversial. Landlords threatened to sue if they weren’t allowed to pass on the entire fee to tenants, claiming the fee couldn’t be raised without voter approval. City officials say that fees might need to be raised again, possibly as soon as next fiscal year, which is why they proposed the charter amendment to the Rent Control Board.

“Vacancy decontrol and market forces have resulted in a steep increase in median rents,” city officials told the newspaper. “With the current registration fee and pass through, landlords are out of pocket only a tenth of one percent of the rent [1.5 percent if they forego the pass through]. Thus, landlords can likely bear an increase in registration fees and are almost certainly better situated to bear that increase than their increasingly rent-burdened tenants.”

If the Council approves the measure, it will go before the voters in November.

 

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