Re “Apartment Association files lawsuit against Beverly Hills over RSO,” Aug. 16 issue
Thank you for Luke Harold’s continuing attention to [the] crisis of rental housing affordability and availability in Southern California. Unfortunately, our legislators in Sacramento have taken little notice. It’s up to tenants to make change locally. That’s why we are working to better protect families who rent housing in Beverly Hills.
Our alliance marshals the available data, and we collect on-the-ground examples of malfeasance to support solid arguments for progressive change. We invite all tenants and landlords to join us to reform our outmoded rent stabilization law. That discussion will continue through two more community dialogues and will culminate in City Council action this fall.
Some property owners take a different tack. Ideologues, led by the leadership of Apartment Owners of Greater Los Angeles, are doubling-down on their failed strategy to take down our rent stabilization program. “End it, don’t mend it,” is their philosophy.
AAGLA last fall tapped a stand-in plaintiff to sue our city in superior court. Their objective: to invalidate the new rental unit registry. They lost when the judge gave the OK to implement it. Why? Because every rent control city uses a registry to certify rents in keeping with state law governing rent control cities.
Now, the gang is literally making a federal case out of it. In a lawsuit recently filed in U.S. District Court, AAGLA, with stand-in plaintiff, accuses Beverly Hills of abuses under color of authority. Does “under color of authority” sound familiar? It should: it is the federal civil rights statute often invoked to prosecute police brutality.
Self-victimization is not new to AAGLA. Landlords are an oppressed class, of course, and bloviation about persecution is standard issue. Tying our city up in needless and baseless litigation goes a step beyond, however, because it consumes city resources that would, in our view, be better spent protecting 7,700 households that rent apartments in the city.
In the end, the AAGLA’s misadventure in the federal courts will fail on the suit’s specious civil rights claims and references to irrelevant case law. The registry will prevail. That will help us nab the bad actor landlords who for too long weren’t held accountable to the law.
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