Officials with the Pasadena Tenants Union (PTU) told the Pasadena Weekly that the group has come up short in its efforts to get a rent control initiative on the November ballot.
According to a May 9 email sent to members, the group had only collected 8,679 signatures. At least 12,300 valid signatures were required, according to City Clerk Mark Jomsky.
“We have had an influx of signatures come in.” said PTU member Nicole Hodgson. “We are going to do a final count on May 24. If we don’t have the numbers, we will come together and decide the next step. Usually it takes two times to get an initiative on the ballot.”
A similar effort in Glendale failed its first time in October after City Clerk Ardy Kassakhian deemed the petition “deficient and invalid.”
According to Kassakhian, the text of that measure did not contain the ballot title and summary by the city attorney. The text of the measure also was not included anywhere in the petition, a violation of the California Election Code, Kassakhian said. Further, the petition did not include a declaration by the author. The group has refiled the initiative under the proper format.
The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Pasadena has risen more than 51.7 percent in the past six years, with rents on some one-bedroom apartments totaling as much as $2,200 a month. Close to the same prices are being charged in Glendale.
The proposed Pasadena measure would have limited rent increases, forced the city to adopt “just cause” eviction policies — limiting the reasons a landlord can evict a tenant — and establish an independent rental housing board.
Only a handful of Southern California cities have rent control ordinances, including Los Angeles, Santa Monica, West Hollywood and Beverly Hills.
According to the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, a Californian making minimum wage would have to work 92 hours a week in order to afford the average one-bedroom apartment.
Supporters of rent control claim that affordable housing impacts everything, including local schools, while detractors maintain that it leads to a decline in the quality of controlled housing.
“We’re very proud of the numbers. It’s been pretty amazing, door knocking and meeting community members. Our goal is still to make sure people can stay in their homes,” Hodgson said.