Judge Mary Strobel’s ruling in California Apartment Association, et. al. vs. City of Pasadena, et. al. on March 28 was a resounding victory for our majority-renter city.
By Editorial Board
Dozens of tenants have reported that their landlords have refused to honor the requirements of Article XVIII of the Pasadena City Charter (which became effective on Dec 22, 2022). The landlords cite the pending lawsuit. The lawsuit expressly does not block the immediate applicability of the law. The petitioners had asked the court for a temporary restraining order to stop implementation immediately; Judge Strobel denied their request, but that fact did not stop landlords from making false claims and scaring tenants into retreat.
Even now, many landlords are unable to accept that tenants finally have some protections against predatory landlords. Notably, three of the five landlords named as petitioners in the California Apartment Association lawsuit—Ahni Dodge, Simon Gibbons, and Tyler Werrin—have applied for seats on the Rental Housing Board. The Pasadena City Council is due to make the appointments on April 17.
Purpose of the Rental Housing Board
The purpose of the Rental Housing Board is to set regulations, hear appeals, and provide for the enforcement of Article XVIII. The court upheld the specific composition of the Board—seven seats for tenants (one from each council district) and four at-large seats.
It is the at-large seats that these three landlords are seeking. They want us to believe that they will act in the best interests of the City of Pasadena and its residents–especially its tenants–when they have just tried to overturn the law which was passed by a majority of voters. Will they now suddenly support the full implementation of the law?
Party to ongoing litigation
The California Apartment Association has said that it is keeping its options open with regard to an appeal. Therefore, it is a party to ongoing litigation. The City of Pasadena’s Measure H website reads, “The litigation is still pending.” The petitioners have not accepted that Measure H is the law of Pasadena, and they still are involved in trying to stop it.
Ahni Dodge, Simon Gibbons, and Tyler Werrin want us to believe that they can be good faith participants in a Board whose role it is to act fairly and impartially, a Board which they are presently seeking to overturn in court. The City Council should reject the applications of all three of these plaintiffs. How can they reasonably be trusted to work on behalf of a successful Rental Housing Board?
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