The following story on last night’s City Council meeting doesn’t quite get the facts right. The story states, “Tuesday's meeting was abruptly ended by Mayor Tom Butt after councilmembers who support rent control wanted to extend the meeting past 11:30 p.m. Butt, who opposes the ordinance, did not and announced that the meeting was over.”
The mayor does not have the power to end a meeting. The meeting ended because there were not enough votes to continue it. The City Council Rules and Procedures require a supermajority ( 5 votes) to extend a meeting past 11:30 PM. The votes were simply not there.
Then, Eduardo Martinez was quoted as criticizing those who did not vote to extend the meeting for not being interested in conducting essential business. “It seems like there were only four of us tonight who are interested in conducting essential city business," he said, alluding to the four councilmembers who support rent control and voted to extend the meeting.”
The fact is that before that vote was taken, Vinay Pimple offered a substitute motion to extend the meeting to take up the essential items of City business (worth about $55 million), and the RPA3+1 voted against it. They were willing to sacrifice nearly a million dollars of essential City business to show their displeasure at not being able to vote on the Rent Control and Just Cause Ordinance. The RPA3+1 are obsessed with Rent Control and Just Cause to the exclusion of anything else.
Critical City business that needs immediate action includes:
- · ItemJ-2, Special Assessments ($600,000)
- · Item K-1, Sewer Service Charges ($19 million)
- · Item N-1, Tax and Revenue Anticipation Notes ($35 million)
The RPA3+1 acknowledge it is a substantially flawed ordinance and needs multiple revisions to eliminate errors, omissions and inconsistencies. They know they have the votes to pass it, so why don’t they take their time and get it right?
Richmond council hammers out details on new rent control ordinance
RICHMOND - It was supposed to be a routine vote, a formality on the way to becoming a law.
Instead, the Richmond City Council, which last week voted 4-1 to approve rent control, becoming the first Bay Area city to do so in nearly 30 years, could not get through a reading of the ordinance at its meeting Tuesdaynight.
Two readings and two separate votes in favor, are needed before an ordinance becomes law.
Instead, Tuesday's meeting was abruptly ended by Mayor Tom Butt after councilmembers who support rent control wanted to extend the meeting past 11:30 p.m. Butt, who opposes the ordinance, did not and announced that the meeting was over.
The rent control and just cause for eviction ordinance is meant to go into effect Dec. 1. It applies to nearly 10,000 rental units in the city and would limit rent increases to 100 percent of the area's consumer price index, or roughly 2 percent year. Under the new ordinance, tenants would have an opportunity to petition the rent board if they feel the increases are too high and landlords would be able to apply for upward rent adjustments if they believe they aren't earning enough on their investment.
The city needs to create a rent board, hire a housing director and send guidance to both renters and landlords byDec. 1. But since rent control has not officially been approved, it remains unclear how staff will proceed implementing a law that is not technically on the books.
Complicating matters is the fact that the City Council typically goes on break during the month of August.
Councilman Eduardo Martinez, a member of the Richmond Progressive Alliance who favors rent control, said he was frustrated with the abrupt ending of Tuesday's meeting.
"The mayor is voting to end the meeting when we have vital financial matters to discuss," Martinez said.
These included a plan about how to implement the Richmond Promise program, which will give grants to graduating Richmond residents to attend college, and a vote on tax revenue notes, aimed at giving the city a temporary cash flow during periods when the city has less cash on hand. Martinez said the tax revenue notes resolution had strict deadlines, which would result in late fees if the city failed to act.
"It seems like there were only four of us tonight who are interested in conducting essential city business," he said, alluding to the four councilmembers who support rent control and voted to extend the meeting.
Reposted from Mayor Tom Butt's "E-Forum"