Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

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By Elaine Golden-Gealer
Special to the Observer 

How Come There Isn't One Landlord on Santa Monica Rent Control Board?

The Board uses appointments rather than elections to fill unscheduled vacancies, and has never appointed a landlord to serve on it.

 

Excerpt of a meeting from the Santa Monica Rent Control Board, dated Feb 12, 2016, in which Elaine Golden Gealer addressed the board.

On Thursday June 9, 2022 the Rent Control Board will be discussing the details of filling a vacancy since Board Member Nicole Phillis announced her resignation. In accordance with the City Charter, whenever there is an unscheduled vacancy on the Board, they make an appointment. They always appoint someone who will have the advantage of being listed as an incumbent in the next election. The appointee is always another SMRR (Santa Monican for Renters' Rights) member and never a landlord. SMRR started in the 1970s as an advocacy group for renters, but has evolved into a political organization that has controlled every lever of power in Santa Monica for 42 years until 2020 when their grip on the City Council was loosened.

When resigning her Rent Control Board seat in May, Nicole Phillis said, "I would ask that upon my resignation this board not fill my seat with an appointment because we are so close to the election. It would give an unfair advantage for someone to fill my seat. (...) The best way to serve democracy is through an elective process not an appointment and I want to conclude with my gratitude for you all."

However, most likely the Board will end up appointing yet another SMRR insider, who will have an advantage four months later during the November election.

No landlord has ever been appointed to serve on the Rent Control Board even though rent control affects landlords as much as tenants. I know a lot about this subject because as a landlord I applied to fill a vacancy in 2016 but was not appointed. Check out my attached video if you want to see and hear why I was a good candidate for the Rent Control Board who would have given a touch of balance and input from an owner's point of view. The Board passed on me and chose Anastasia Foster, a voiceover actress renter who is now pushing to extend the term of service on the Rent Control Board from 8 to 12 years so she can serve another four years.

Editor's Note:

The Santa Monica Rent Control Board meeting will take place on Thursday, June 9, 7:00 p.m. via Teleconference

For written comments, email the Board at [email protected] by 4:30pm on June 9, 2022 and note the agenda item in the subject line (12-A is the vacancy item).

Access the agenda and zoom link here: https://www.smgov.net/uploadedFiles/Departments/Rent_Control/About_the_Rent_Control_Board/Agendas_and_Minutes/2022/RcB060922.pdf?mc_cid=f3402d1440&mc_eid=bb44982048

 

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