“Rent control opponents torpedo rental rates talks” is a perfect headline for Gary Walker’s article in last week’s paper. A torpedo is launched against “enemy ships” and explodes on contact, as we witnessed with members of the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles who spoke at the Culver City Council meeting on December 8.
Mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells was their enemy because she, unlike other council members, advocated for a “community dialogue on rental housing shortage and rental rates.” They saw the cities of Berkeley and Santa Monica as their enemies, too, because they have established rent control stabilization ordinances.
These combatants went to war against even having a dialogue, with three councilmembers as their allies (Clarke, Cooper & Weissman). They stood staunchly against engaging in Staff-recommended DISCUSSION TOPICS that could foster hearing the voices who have been silenced by moneyed self-interest groups:
How many communities in CA have enacted laws impacting rental rates?
What is the Culver City rent profile?
Does Culver City have a jobs housing balance?
What is the history of rent stabilization?
How does rent stabilization work?
What are the pros & cons of rent stabilization?
Does the implementation of rent stabilization impact the availability & affordability of rental housing? Especially for low-income renters?
What is the financial impact to communities to implement and enforce rent stabilization?
What are the impacts of rapidly escalating rents on a community?
I wondered what could possibly be so scary about having such an educational conversation. Speaker after speaker, armed with the rhetoric of right-wing think tanks, warned against the danger of government regulations that stand in the way of “free enterprise” and the “free market.” They actually demanded that there be no discussion of rent control whatsoever, and even laughed derisively at Mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells while she was articulating her reasons for supporting such a dialogue.
George Lakoff, distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science & Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley, explains their motivation this way: “Right-wing idealogues need to divide our country via a nasty cultural civil war. They need discord and shouting and name calling and put-downs.”
In contrast to this “cultural civil war” mentality, our progressive Mayor Sahli-Wells invited us, on the occasion of her installation, to join her to en-VISION the kind of city we want to see our children grow up in, a place where they can all thrive and feel a sense of community or what I like to call “common unity.”
“The basic progressive vision is of community—of America as family, a caring, responsible family,” writes Professor Lakoff. “We envision an America where people care about each other, not just themselves, and act responsibly both for themselves and their fellow citizens with strength and effectiveness. . . . The progressive core values are family values—those of the responsible, caring family.”
I invite you to join Mayor Sahli-Wells and the rest of us progressives to embrace Culver City renters as an integral part of our “responsible, caring family.”
Response to Mr. Gotz
I had to read Mr. Gotz letter several times to determine if his logic was intentionally slanted or if he actually believed what he said. I tried to determine if he left out the facts unintentional or if he intentionally did so to deceive the readers.
Mr. Gotz starts off by brushing aside enforcement, since that is inconvenient for his cause. He then goes on to say, “… the Church attendees have the right to park on a public street anywhere and anytime they feel like it, it is their right as a citizens and especially as a taxpayers.” Also stated, “I have received an outpouring of support for my first letter from a variety of members of the Culver City community. So I will dare to write on behalf of all of us.” With around 100 streets in Culver City having RESIDENTIAL Parking Permits, I believe those citizens have rights they pay for annually. They have the right not to bullied by any and ALL business entities. So just to be clear what I mean, here is what the dictionary says about bullying: To use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants.Mr. Gotz claims the following, “The Farragut St. homeowners on the block in question feel that they have the right to a congestion-free, and in fact a parking-free street, thus the “No Parking Anytime” signs. Mr. Gotz confidently and intentionally failed to mention that there are NO parking restrictions on Saturday and Sunday.
Mr. Gotz mentioned the idiom, “good neighbors.” So anyone who disagrees would by implication be considered “bad neighbors.”
“There are two ways we can go about resolving this conflict of rights and views; we can go to war over it, an extremely unpleasant option involving attempting to convince the City Council of our extreme positions, including rescinding all parking restrictions, where there would be winners and losers; or, as I tried to communicate in my last letter, we can try to work out an acceptable compromise, where we could all win. Folks, it is the nature of the concept of compromise that each side has to give up something from their extreme positions.”
So a bully wants to compromise? Several clichés came to mind while reading his logic. Give somebody an inch and they’ll take a mile. The compromise or surrender would be 100 percent residents. The bully one-sided solution, “The Church people would have to give up their right to park in front of public street homes as they please, and the homeowners would have to give up their no parking policy in favor of limited parking. And don’t forget, the homeowners would not have to give up their permits allowing them and their visitors to park anywhere anytime. So I see it as a net gain for Farragut St.”
To make it perfectly clear, 200 people got INSTANT tickets on the street in question, in a 6-month period! Mr. Gotz’s one-sided solution is to open up parking restrictions to allow it to make it easier for parking cheaters to cheat. “For example, the Church could maintain a very strict policy for all meeting attendees, especially in the evening, that they are not to exceed the two-hour parking limit. The Church could send someone out after each meeting to oversee that policy.” So they would self-regulate? So would they ALSO regulate ALL other business parking in the neighborhood? An idiom comes to mind, “fox to guard the henhouse.” Were was the self-regulation when 200 people got tickets?
Mr. Gotz ends by writing, “I have been around Culver City a long time, and I think I can guarantee that any parking compromise we come up with will be enforced. Let’s be good neighbors and retain our rights and privileges at the same time.”
Downtown Culver City Residents compromised by allowing A Street (behind the Town Plaza Movie Theatre) to be opened up to CCUSD ONLY Permit Parking from 6AM to Midnight during the week. Weekends are No Stopping Anytime. Tow Away. Since 2003 the street had been a complete red curb. What has happened? Non- CCUSD cars have been parked while their driver’s have a two-hour dinner. CCPD was called but failed to write an INSTANT ticket during the two-hour meal. CCUSD Employees recently violated the Midnight cut off time, so they could go to bars. One drunken CCUSD Employee flipped me off with both hands when I told him the cars were in violation. When a group of 5 people’s verbal bullying failed, they tried to bully me by calling 911. Four CCPD Officers showed up. Guess what? Not one of the 6 illegally parked cars present (3 CCUSD) got towed or ticketed. Mr. Gotz, is this what resident compromise looks like?
Response to Greenbergs
Well, Greenbergs et al, through your letters to the editor of this newspaper you have certainly shown exactly what type of “good neighbors” you are. The facts speak for themselves: you wish to retain “no parking” restrictions on your block, you do not wish to engage in any compromise, you prefer to have me and other Church supporters take this issue to the City Council.
Fine. No more letters to the editor. Instead, I shall work with anyone who supports the Church position to respectfully request the City Council to rescind all parking restrictions on your street. I am very aware that there is a legal process involved, but it is doable, especially after the City Attorney’s ruling on the issue.
So now, once again, I call on all good citizens of Culver City to request that the City Council, in conjunction with the City Engineer, remove the “no parking” signs and conduct the necessary traffic study in the area. You see, and I assume Mr. Greenberg learned this in law school, there really are bad laws. The law that allows people who live on a public street to prohibit taxpayers from parking on the public street is a very bad law. While it is impossible to overturn the law itself, the City Council does have the authority to review and revise its implementation. I strongly urge them to do just that.