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Rent control measures fall short in Inglewood, Long Beach, and Pasadena

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Voters won’t decide on rental regulations this November

Inglewood aerial
View from above the 105 freeway looking northwest toward Inglewood.
Trekandshoot | Shutterstock

Voters in Pasadena, Long Beach, and Inglewood won’t get a chance to vote in November on whether to adopt rent control policies in those cities.

Supporters of ballot initiatives calling for rent control in all three cities did not garner enough valid signatures to qualify the measures for the fall election.

Rent control advocates in Long Beach and Pasadena missed deadlines to turn in petition signatures for the November ballot. A coalition of activists in Inglewood did turn in nearly 14,000 signatures—but more than half were found to be invalid, according to Inglewood City Clerk Yvonne Horton.

In an email to Curbed, Woodrow Curry of Uplift Inglewood, the organization behind the petition drive, wrote that the group was “pursuing every available option to challenge the results” of the county’s signature verification process.

Josh Butler, director of Housing Long Beach, points out that supporters of the Long Beach initiative still have another month to qualify the measure for the March 2020 ballot—but he says he’s not sure if it’s worth submitting signatures so far in advance.

“We’re trying to decide if we move forward, or do we halt and pick the effort back up when it makes more political sense?” says Butler.

Butler and Pasadena Tenants Union member Allison Henry say the signature-gathering process was not a waste of time.

“We built really strong coalitions,” says Henry. “I’m very optimistic about next time.”

Butler says tenant advocates in Long Beach will have to be better prepared for fierce resistance from landlord advocates and vocal opposition from city officials moving forward.

“There’s no leadership from the city on the housing issue right now,” he says. “Our job is to continue making this a problem.”

One issue that will go before voters across the state this fall is whether to give California cities tools needed to expand existing rent control policies.

A ballot measure repealing the Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act wouldn’t have much immediate impact on residents of Pasadena, Long Beach, and Inglewood, but it would give those cities new policy options if rent control efforts gain more traction in the future.