This article was posted on Wednesday, Aug 01, 2018

Dear Mayor Garcetti:

 I’m certain that when you served on the City Council and chaired the Council Housing Committee, you always made certain that important housing legislation was thoroughly examined, reviewed and evaluated by not only tenant rights representatives, but also several apartment association staff and leaders.  Your outreach was outstanding.

On June 13, 2018, the Housing Department sponsored 16 pages of revisions and modifications to the Rent Stabilization Ordinance.  It was stealth.  There was no outreach to any of the prominent apartment associations – AOA, CAA, Fair Housing Coalition or others.  None.

Substantial and inappropriate modifications and changes were made to the code inspection protocol and of course, the authority granted to the Hearing Officer at a general manager hearing or meeting.  Apparently, inspectors were now granted the “legal authority” to place landlords under arrest if the inspector had a reasonable belief that there was a code violation or infraction.

When you were a Councilperson, on how many separate occasions were you aware that the carbon monoxide/smoke alarms were disengaged or otherwise destroyed by the tenants, with no knowledge by the landlord? Under this scenario, the landlord would be placed in custody and thereafter incarcerated.  Can you imagine the difficulty seeking and securing employment with an arrest record?  Can you imagine the expense and cost of retaining and engaging an attorney to handle the criminal proceeding and bail hearing?

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Next, these regulations were fast-tracked to the City Council, placed on the agenda as a consent vote only and the public was denied the opportunity of comment!

You grew up in a household where “fair play” and “due process of law” was always paramount and essential.  Perhaps there are reasons to modify or amend the Rent Stabilization Ordinance, but at least get the City Attorney, Housing Authority, landlords and tenant activists in a room, have a robust discussion and make an arrangement that’s fair.

Please explain how you are going to attract landlords to continue to own and maintain housing if they fear that some building code infraction is going to give rise to them being incarcerated.  Before this Bill comes to your desk, I suggest that some of your most trusted advisors who are attorneys examine this material.  Let’s set a meeting.

Again, I don’t believe you would ever promote or encourage this arrangement.  I hope you’re well; have a terrific summer.  Michael Millman

Michael Millman is an Attorney and a Mar Vista activist and can be reached at (310) 477-1201.