Burbank Measure on “Rent Control”

• By Linda Bessin , Medium.com • View Original »

I am a nearly 30-year resident of Burbank and a City Council candidate. I am voting against the Burbank “Rent Control” measure on the November ballot and I urge my neighbors to do the same.

If this measure was only focused on creating more stringent rent control in Burbank, we could have a fact-based discussion on that topic. But this is not a measure about rent control. Its objective is to create a new structure of power in our City government. It aims to give five unelected individuals unchecked control over our local economy, our housing supply, and ultimately the future of Burbank.

If passed, this measure will pull millions away from our City’s budget and revenues at a time when our Burbank economy is experiencing the worst crisis in our recent history. These funds will be under the exclusive control of these five individuals who can spend this money in whatever way they wish with no accountability. City budget cuts will have to be part of any future City Council budget discussion due to our plunging revenues and this measure, if it passes, will make a bad situation much worse.

It will immediately halt any incentives to build affordable housing in Burbank. Residents who wish to build an accessory dwelling unit or secondary house to rent will find themselves subjected to the whims and control of these unelected individuals. The one definite way to bring rent under control is to build more housing and this will stop any efforts by the community to accomplish that. Anyone who wants to add housing will be forced to pay hundreds of dollars in fees to support a bureaucracy that will exist without culpability.

There was no need to include this commission and how it is structured in this measure. It could have been strictly about rent control. But its inclusion clearly communicates the true intentions of the measure. It is about creating six-figure salaries for a select few. It is about having total control over the Burbank housing market. It is an attempt to polarize and demonize renters to landlords and landlords to renters. This is not about helping the Burbank housing market or Burbank renters.

If we could not act as a community to help our struggling school district survive, then why should we instead pay to line the pockets of a few?

There are problems in Burbank. This does not solve them. There is a need for more affordable housing in Burbank. This does not create that. We have severe economic challenges now and will continue to have those challenges in the years ahead. This measure adds avoidable burdens on top of those challenges.

The proponents have admitted that the legality of this measure can be questioned and that there will be a lengthy legal challenge. This will be another useless use of our tax dollars at a time when we are struggling as a city.

Let’s find solutions that help everyone and do not alter the structure of our government, misuse our tax dollars, and create a bureaucracy that will exist with impunity.