By Robert Fox
There is a movement from a few individuals demanding something called “Just Cause Eviction”. The proponents are claiming that people are being summarily evicted from their apartments on a whim of development or greed. Sometimes people crave a simple solution to complex questions, and usually having not thought through the subsequent consequences create unbearable conditions for those they “supposedly” want to assist. This is precisely what “Just Cause Eviction” does. It harms the very people which it is intended to help. In their presentation you hear that a tenant may only be evicted for a cause. That sounds reasonable, in fact they list all the legal causes we can terminate a tenancy on as set forth by the State of California. What they do not say is what is BEING REMOVED. Now that is something to talk about, particularly regarding consequences. They would remove the 30 day and 60 day no cause notice. Why is that so onerous? When I first moved to Long Beach in the early 1980s, Long Beach was a mess. We had a high crime rate, and deteriorated neighborhoods. Gangs, Drug Dealers, Homeless, Felons and Gay Bashers were common in the neighborhoods outside of the “safety bubble” of the East. In response I founded Alamitos Beach Neighborhood Association to bring safety and better living conditions to our people. (Now they are trying to tell you that “Gentrification” is a bad word. Improving neighborhoods so people can have decent lives is never be a bad thing. I am proud of our community for gentrifying Alamitos Beach and all the other neighborhoods. We created safe, good quality housing for people to live in.
In order to get rid of the Gang Members (with 10 men hanging out in front of an apartment building), we tried using the specific cause ( disturbing the peace, a clause of Just cause) We got tenants to testify against these violent people, as is required for adequate proof in court, and won in court. What we did not think of was the retaliation effect. It takes 3 weeks for the notice of eviction to be posted by the Sheriffs with the lock out. In the meantime our witnesses were violently attacked. An Hispanic mother of 2 was beaten into a coma, and her children taken away to Child Services. The two gay tenants were knifed, and fled the city the moment they were released from the hospital. An older Black man was beaten so badly he was forever after disabled. We had not thought about the consequences. We put a halt to all eviction actions. In desperation we went to the City Attorney who advised us to use the 30 Day no cause notice, as we would need no witnesses to prove the case in court.
Block by block we rid the neighborhood of gang bangers, felons, drug dealers, gay bashers, and took back our neighborhood and City from the violent criminals. Our crime rates dropped to nill and the City started to heal. In celebration we painted our houses, planted flowers, repainted Bixby Park by ourselves and created strong neighborhood associations. We began the on-going dialogue with the City to improve this town. So if you want to demonize us for “gentrification” then do so with your lack of respect or understanding of the danger we faced and the need we had to live in peace without fear. We no longer have the Teams Project patrolling Broadway every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night to prevent the hate crimes.
If we get rid of the 30 and 60 day no cause notice, we might as well put a billboard up at the entrance to Long Beach, Criminals and Drug Dealers, welcome, we can never evict you.
P.S. The rich did not gentrify Long Beach the poor did. It is always helpful to learn a little history before judging.