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Landlords sue Alameda County over eviction ban

The state’s most powerful landlord group, the California Apartment Association, on Thursday sued Alameda County to end its broad eviction moratorium.

The suit marks the latest step toward dismantling COVID-19 protections for tenants, as health risks have diminished and many state and local programs and efforts have expired.

The Alameda County moratorium, enacted in March 2020, is one of the few surviving protections in the state. It essentially bans all evictions, either for nonpayment or other reasons, to keep renters from being displaced during the health crisis. Los Angeles also has a moratorium in place, and has been sued by the local landlord association.

LA Tenant Groups Are Suing California Over Decision To End Rent Relief

Los Angeles tenant groups are suing California’s housing department, alleging that the state’s decision to wind down its rent relief program on April 1 unlawfully cut off applicants waiting for funds and put them at risk of eviction.

California’s Housing and Community Development Department stopped taking new rent relief applications at the end of March. It also denied requests from April onward. The program had previously distributed relief for “prospective” rent that applicants couldn’t pay.

PRESS RELEASE: Tenants-Rights Groups Sue CA For Failing To Provide Rental Assistance To Eligible Tenants

Los Angeles, CA – The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) is being sued by tenants’ rights groups Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE Action) and Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE) over its failure to provide the full amount of rental assistance intended by the law establishing the state’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), putting tenants at increased risk of eviction and homelessness. ACCE and SAJE are represented by Western Center on Law & Poverty, Public Counsel, and Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles.

As people waited for HCD’s often onerous system to process applications, HCD abruptly stopped accepting applications on March 31, 2022, cutting off people in need of assistance after that point even when they qualify for but have not yet received their full 18 months of rental assistance. Specifically, the suit says HCD is not providing assistance for prospective rent or expenses incurred after March 31, 2022, even for eligible households that submitted an ERAP application before applications closed.

This means applicants who were unable to pay April rent or beyond could still face eviction even if HCD approves their application, thereby defeating ERAP’s goal of preventing eviction and stabilizing households.

As LA City Hall Reopens, Virtual Public Comment At Meetings Has Gone. Not Everyone Is Happy About That

After being closed for more than two years due to COVID-19, Los Angeles City Hall has reopened to the public.

However, the reopening has brought mixed feelings to those wanting to participate in civic engagement.

While some visitors were excited to talk to City Council members face-to-face, several others believe the decision to strip away virtual public comment is a big problem.

"People have jobs; they can't just come in here to do one public comment when people already got used to being able to do that over the phone, at their work or at their home where they're safe," said Sergio Vargas, the lead organizer for the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment.

Public able to attend LA City Council meetings in person for first time since March 2020

The public was able to return to meeting at the Los Angeles City Council chambers Wednesday for the first time since March 2020. 

With COVID restrictions lifted, the council has allowed members of the public to return in person and has also ended the ability for people to comment remotely which some people say should still be an option.

Adam Smith of West L.A. spoke at the meeting saying "good to be back in the room," but added:

"I do think it's really troubling that, accessibility-wise, people can't call in and give public comment anymore. ... Accessibility has always been an issue at these meetings, and folks that are disparately impacted by the policies coming out of this room have trouble coming in to give public comment on a weekday morning."

LA City Council lets public into meeting for first time since March 2020

LOS ANGELES (CNS) — With COVID-19 restrictions now lifted, the public was allowed into the Los Angeles City Council chambers during the body's meeting Wednesday for the first time since March 2020 — but with people no longer able to comment remotely, most of those who spoke urged council members to reverse that decision.

Adam Smith of West L.A. was the first to speak at the meeting Wednesday, and told council members that it's "good to be back in the room." But he added:

"I do think it's really troubling that, accessibility-wise, people can't call in and give public comment anymore. ... Accessibility has always been an issue at these meetings, and folks that are disparately impacted by the policies coming out of this room have trouble coming in to give public comment on a weekday morning."

Alcaldía de Los Ángeles reanuda el ingreso del público a sus reuniones

El público podrá ingresar a las cámaras del Concejo Municipal de Los Ángeles durante la reunión del Concejo Municipal de este miércoles por primera vez desde que COVID-19 cerró el Ayuntamiento al público en marzo de 2020.

Sin embargo, las personas ya no podrán brindar comentarios públicos si participan en la reunión a distancia.

El Concejo Municipal tuvo reuniones virtuales por teleconferencia durante el primer año de la pandemia, y las reuniones en persona continuaron para los miembros del consejo en junio de 2021 antes de regresar brevemente a un formato remoto en enero debido a la rápida propagación de la variante Omicron.

Sin embargo, desde marzo de 2020, el público tiene prohibido ingresar a las cámaras y ha podido hacer comentarios públicos llamando a las reuniones. Con las reuniones abiertas al público, las personas ya no podrán dar comentarios públicos de forma remota, según la agenda de la reunión del miércoles.

L.A. City Hall is reopening after two years. But security will be tighter

For nearly 26 months, tourists, residents and other visitors have regularly approached the doors of Los Angeles City Hall, only to be waved off by police officers at the building’s Main Street entrance.

On Wednesday, the building will finally reopen to the public. But security will be more restrictive than it was before the COVID-19 pandemic.