Thank you for reaching out. And thank you for being an engaged voter in Burbank.
Here's a brief overview of my position on affordable housing, rent control, and measure RC.
Affordable housing - In California, especially in areas like Burbank, housing costs have been driven up by high demand and low supply. We have a 3/1 jobs/housing ratio, and we have a high quality city, so there is a large demand to live here. With a 1% vacancy rate, the supply is not available, and it creates a high cost market. This is not just here, but everywhere in the world, actually. The more jobs and the better quality city, the higher the cost of housing.
The solution is more housing. I have a comprehensive view on that, but to put it briefly - we need to build middle income and workforce housing both near transportation corridors and hubs, as well as "gentle density" which is a combination of ADUs, small scale upzoning, and small mixed use projects. The way to do this is somewhat complicated, due to the cost of building and zoning restrictions. We can talk about more if you'd like to go more in depth.
Rent Control - I support AB1482 as a price gouging and housing stability measure. I don't support rent restrictions meant to control housing market costs. Simply put - it doesn't work. The data doesn't support it as a tool to bring down housing costs, and in fact, shows the opposite in California. The individual situations of rent being increased is complicated, but most of those individual situations can be addressed with AB1482, and mediation. That's why I support expanding our current landlord/tenant commission to 7 members, and marketing it more broadly, including requiring that all renters in the city are provided information by their landlord of this commission, as well as the Housing Right Center's information, to make sure that everyone is on an even playing field.
Also, about 50% of our renter market in Burbank is owned by "mom and pop" landlords, not large scale landlords. Those are the ones who would be affected by rent restrictions because they own the majority of the older housing. The large scale developers would be largely unaffected, as they have newer housing, and might actually benefit, because they would be able to raise their rents even higher without the competition of the mom and pop landlords. What that means, is that some renters will benefit at the expense of others.
Measure RC - I have questions and concerns about the details of the rent control portion of the measure, but the most problematic part is the third portion of it, which will change the city charter without using a charter amendment petition process. It will also create an unelected, unaccountable governing body, in the form of a commission that would encompass a new city department, to specifically manage rent regulation, rent hearings, litigation, and enforcement. It would create its own budget, and whatever budget it came up with would have to be partially, or wholly, funded by the general fund, depending on what the commission decides. The council and city manager don't have any way to reject their budget except with a lawsuit. We are already in a $20M+ deficit in the city budget. And even if the commission decided on a conservative budget, which is estimated $4-6M, I'm not sure where the extra money will come from. This is about what it costs to fund our public library. This commission would also be able to hire staff, set their salary, and pull staff from other departments. They would also have the freedom to give themselves a salary if they deem it necessary. They would be a governing body over policy, while also hosting hearings with judicial authority, and direct authority to use staff resources. The city council has the first two powers, but the third is very limited. The new commission would technically have more power in the city than council. And lastly, once this is set in place, it is permanent. And the only way to change the structure, is to put another ballot measure up for the next election. So, for this reason, regardless of whether rent control is good or bad for our city (and that's a discussion I believe absolutely necessary to have in our city), this measure is not good governance.
As a parting note, whenever I get this question, I never know where people stand on the issue, and often times they are asking if I agree with them. I want to share that whether or not you agree with me on this issue, I do believe that we need to have the conversation around housing costs and availability. My view is that we, as a city, need to adopt policies that work to that end. I start from there and work backwards to see if the policies put forward will work to address it. So if you have a differing view on this, I am more than willing to discuss it with you. And if you do agree with me, I hope that as we move forward we will all keep an open mind to do what's best for our city as we get more information and have more discussion.
Thank you again for reaching out! Have a wonderful rest of your weekend.