McConnor's Corner
Rent Control Is Deciding Consideration
By Sean McConnor
Aug 14, 2002 - 7:51:00 PM

Jenna Skarzenski / Canyon News
LOS ANGELES — First of all, I am against secession of the Valley from Los Angeles. I firmly believe the multitude of problems and suffering it will cause outweigh its benefits. Primarily, I am a firm supporter of rent control. Sixty-one percent of the residents of this city rent. Most of the income of the renters goes to keep a roof over their heads. One thing is certain: After 120 days, the new city in Valley will not have rent control. Despite the promises of the secession leaders to push for it, it is a done deal that until a new ordinance is passed, the renters in the Valley will be at the mercy of the landlords. What can be done to prevent this?

Being an anti-secessionist, I was not encouraged by the recent anti-secessionist rally at Valley College sponsored by the county labor federation. Not one positive note came out of the rally.

I witnessed former mayoral candidate Antonio Villaraigosa monopolize the floor and tell how great Los Angeles is and how everyone wants to come here. He spoke partially in Spanish, so I don't know what else he said.

I heard Mayor James Hahn call the secessionist leaders snake oil salesmen. And I heard a supposed advocate of rent control say that she is not interested in the $500- to $600-a-month renters, but the $1,000- to $1,400-a-month renters. She lives in the Valley.

At the rally, I also listened to speakers from the clergy saying we had a moral obligation from God to prevent secession, and to a neighborhood leader criticize and say that the Daily News is behind secession. In addition, a politician's aide said that the "living wage" ordinance would go if the Valley secedes.

This bashing continued unabated until adjournment. No positive solutions were offered. I left the rally with the impression that if this is all the tired leadership, both public and private, can offer, then I had better prepare for a new Valley city. There was no mention of equalization of city services to those who live on both sides of the hill. There was no mention of shortening police response time, and there was certainly no mention of abolishing the current mind-set that exists in City Hall. The anti-secessionists offered nothing.

My fight to preserve rent control for all income levels continues. I don't have to bash the secession people or question their motives or sincerity. Los Angeles is a mess, and I don't blame them for wanting to get out. However, I won't let them put the poor, aged and working people out on the streets.

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