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Tenants Need Protection From ‘Renovictions’

The Burbank Leader’s concise 9/18/23 report “Council Approves Tenant Protections Ordinance” was thorough and fair. This City Council passed its urgency ordinance which forms the helpful foundation for further needed Burbank tenant protections.

All legislation to regulate any complex social system (such as local rental housing) is equivalent to playing games of make-believe since the Council has to act as though provisional and uncertain information were certain while retaining conscious awareness of its provisional and changing status. The urgency ordinance is helpful to those Burbankers currently enduring expulsion from our fair city.

However, “urgency” and “emergency” are distinct and when dire times arise, Burbankers must act more forcefully, restraining their common desires to delegate major afflicting problems to a befuddled, perhaps ignorant, City Council.

Whatever “property” is, it involves people doing something with material things, things that are needed and wanted by multiple generations of Burbankers. “Property” is a social custom which clearly differentiates “mine” from “yours.”

The opportunistic investor-owned LLC intruders are ruining the architectural features — long-standing Burbank apartment buildings — with quick and cheap “renovations” after evicting long-term tenant Burbankers. The ongoing process is exactly like the post-1947 baked enamel aluminum siding fad that has led to modern-day vinyl fences and plastic building cladding. That is, claptrap LLCs produce only claptrap “renovations”!

Cast your minds forward a few years and think how badly these places will appear to the human eye and sentiment. I recall seeing beautiful Art Deco shops “modernized” in appearance, only to look horribly shabby a decade or so later. That is what will happen to many of Burbank’s “renoviction” properties. Even the cheap interior “upgrades” will age rapidly, possibly creating costly new public hazards and health problems needing to be addressed by the Fire Department and other city agencies, funded by taxation naturally.

Richard B. Cathcart


First published in the September 30 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

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