Santa Monica, So Near – So Far Away

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By PETER ROSENTHAL, President
V.I.P. Trust Deed Company

I’m certain that we have all enjoyed or continue to enjoy the beaches, pier and restaurants in Santa Monica. The best part about Santa Monica is that it’s so close to all of us and that one does not need a visa or passport to visit. One of the other benefits is that the currency used in Santa Monica is our own U.S. dollar and we don’t have to convert our currency.

Santa Monica is one of a handful of cities in this state that just doesn’t seem to belong in this state or, for that matter, the United States. The concept of private ownership of residential income property seems to be a concept that is totally foreign to Santa Monica’s city officials. The city seems to be on the wrong side of almost EVERY issue just like a particular woman attorney that I love to hate. Unfortunately, the city officials don’t PERSONALLY feel the cost of endless court fights that they lose time after time.

Santa Monica constantly institutes and then litigates ultra-liberal policies that sound good to the masses, but eventually cost business and property owners hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorney fees to overturn a policy that shouldn’t have been enacted in the first place. It’s truly unfortunate that the city does not learn anything from its defeats and ultimately ignores or tries to evade a court order, necessitating new expensive litigation to force the city to accept a previous defeat.

If you’re an income property owner and follow Santa Monica’s legal jousts, you will probably remember the issue of the right of a property owner to GO OUT OF BUSINESS. It would make sense to almost any citizen of this country that a property owner with an empty building should have the right to demolish it. As you will remember, many years ago Santa Monica denied such a permit on the communistic belief that it would be a hardship on the “people” to reduce scarce rental housing in the City of Santa Monica. As I said earlier, city officials don’t REALLY believe that you have rights to your own property. Though I have long ago forgotten the dates and courageous names involved, the right to go out of business was fought by the city, at GREAT expense, all the way through the State Supreme Court. The CITY LOST. As I said above, it should be obvious to most citizens that a property owner has a right to demolish his or her VACANT building. This case spurred the Ellis Act, which further stated that an owner had an absolute right to go out of business.
UNFORTUNATELY, Santa Monica still wouldn’t behave and PUNISHED property owners by enacting “relocation” fees aimed at apartment owners with empty buildings who merely wanted to “go out of business”. A recent court case “Apartment Association etc. v. City of West Hollywood” forced West Hollywood to drop this fee and further convinced the People’s Republic and Beverly Hills to drop similar fees.

Many years ago Santa Monica enacted one of the toughest rent control laws in the state. This was again in the mistaken belief, like New York City, that rent control would protect the poor and the elderly. I hope most of us know by now that WAGE AND PRICE CONTROLS don’t work. Fortunately, the state legislature enacted statewide rent control legislation designed to curb rent control abuses in cities like Santa Monica. UNFORTUNATELY, a local apartment owner had to sue Santa Monica to get final approval for a large rent increase which was originally found JUSTIFIED by Santa Monica’s own examiner. As you can see, even though justified, the city tried to block the result: i.e. another expensive lawsuit.

Is there a solution to this ongoing expensive, ultra left wing crap? Unfortunately not. Employees who work in Santa Monica would obviously love a doubling or tripling of the minimum wage law. Credit card holders would obviously love to be able to use a Bank of America ATM at no cost to take money out of their account with another bank. The homeless certainly love the ability to “sun themselves” on the beautiful beaches of hospitable Santa Monica. If the government of Santa Monica really believes in power of the proletariat at the expense of individual property rights and the entire capitalist system, nothing will change; especially if the populous itself is decidedly WAY LEFT of center. It’s a shame that people in the 21st century still believe in a free lunch, i.e. artificial wages, rent control, free (mandated) bank services, etc. etc. In the mean time, let’s enjoy the beaches and attractions of this foreign government.

I’m not usually this bitter, however writing this month’s article sure “felt good”.

Peter Rosenthal
VIP Trust Deed Company