LocationAlhambra , CA
The Alhambra City Council voted unanimously Thursday evening to approve an urgency ordinance that would temporarily prohibit evictions, both residential and commercial, arising from “financial impacts” related to the COVID-19 emergency.
Those impacts, the ordinance language stated, include “non-payment of rent, arising out of a substantial decrease in household or business income” caused by layoffs or a reduction in the number of hours an employee would be working. It also covered losses in business income or substantial out of pocket medical expenses. Read the full text of the council agenda and the measure as it was prepared for discussion here.
The ordinance, which is retroactive to March 4, the date of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s state of emergency decree — is similar to moratorium measures passed in Pasadena, South Pasadena and El Monte.
The Alhambra ordinance, approved on a 5-0 vote, will take effect immediately and will remain in place through the end date of Newsom’s order, which is now May 31, unless extended by the governor or if any action occurred on the federal level.
After the emergency measures are withdrawn, a tenant would have six months to pay the delinquent amount of rent, in add-on to any then currently due rent. Also included in the Alhambra ordinance are safeguards for renters that would prohibit late fees.
The meeting was billed as special in the notice posted online by the City Clerk’s office and it was special, not only for the unusual day of the week it occurred — Thursday instead of the normal Monday evenings — but by the very nature of the way it proceeded.
Mindful of the “Safer at Home” orders now in effect to flatten the curve of COVID-19, the meeting was for all involved-council members, city staff and community members — a conference call made from a conference room at City Hall.
Participating in the call were Mayor Ross Maza, Vice Mayor David Mejia, Councilmembers Katherine Lee, Jeff Maloney and Adele Andrade-Stadler. City Manager Jessica Binnquist and City Attorney Joseph Montes also spoke on the call.
During discussion of the proposed ordinance, council members voiced concern on how the city might help small businesses hurting with decreased clientele or forced to close by the “Safe at Home” guidelines. It seemed clear that they would be willing to look at ways going forward to help the local economy.
Residents who wished to speak on the issue were urged to email their comments to the City Clerk’s office no later than 3 p.m. Thursday for the 4 p.m. meeting. Those wishing to speak on the conference call to the council members were asked to contact the city prior to the meeting and list provide their name and the phone number they would be calling from. They would in turn be patched into the meeting when it was time for them to speak.
For some wishing to listen, a fumble occurred when an incorrect access code was listed in early postings of the official city agenda.