Days after West Hollywood Council Member John D'Amico's shocking proposal to raid the city's Affordable Housing Trust Fund, which provides a resource to create desperately needed affordable housing, in order to subsidize landlords by financially helping them make repairs to their building was firmly rejected by his Council colleagues, D'Amico was the featured guest at a meeting of the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles (AAGLA) West Hollywood Chapter.Addressed to West Hollywood Rental Property Owners the invite states, "We look forward to welcoming our guest speaker WEHO City Councilmember John D'Amico."The meeting held at West Hollywood's Plummer Park on April 5, urges landlords to attend to help "AAGLA build and reinforce a much stronger group of owners."Some might say that there is nothing wrong with landlords meeting with elected officials to express their concerns. While I agreed there is nothing wrong with that and clearly the meeting was planned in advance, it is extremely suspect given that the meeting did come three days after D'Amico acted as if he was AAGLA's front person for a plan to pay landlords to rehab their building with public affordable housing funds.Of course, remember that AAGLA and landlords contributed hefty amounts of money to get their guy, D'Amico, elected.Since we reported on the Council meeting where D'Amico's landlord-supported plan went down to defeat, he has rallied his supporters to criticize how the Coalition for Economic Survival (CES) has portrayed the plan and the Council meeting events.D'Amico supporters take exception to a previous story on this site that states that the people testifying in support of the landlord subsidy plan were mainly landlord and realtor organization representatives, individual landlords, homeowners, condo owners and the head of a Republican club.
Is John D'Amico the Landlord's New Point Person?
It is true that they were mainly landlord and realtor organization representatives, individual landlords, homeowners, condo owners and the head of a Republican club. We firmly stand by that statement. And, yes there were a couple of tenants who are regular Council gadfly opponents that did also speak in favor of the plan.The fact is West Hollywood tenants need to be concerned. One reason to have concern is clearly demonstrated by a position put forth by one of D'Amico's landlord supporters who testified that the City had the right to "means test" tenants to be eligible for rent control protections. That would mean the City could set an income criteria and a tenant would have prove their income qualified them to be protected by rent control. This extremist position would leave West Hollywood's working class and middle-income tenants unprotected from rent gouging and unjust evictions. No other rent controlled city in the nation has means testing a proposal, long advocated by landlord groups opposed to rent control.For way too many years West Hollywood tenants may have believed the rent control law CES fought for and won was in safe hands. But, it now appears that landlords have a point person on the West Hollywood Council who may come up with even more proposals he and his supporters will try to sell as benefiting the housing stock when in reality may be new initiatives to weaken rent control and strip away the hard fought tenants' rights the city was founded on.It is time for tenants to become active again and join CES.
Larry Gross is the Executive Director of the Coalition for Economic Survival (CES). He has been with CES for 42 years, since its inception in 1973.
CES is a grassroots, multi-racial, multi-ethnic tenants' rights organization serving low and (more...)