Members of a Burbank tenants group want a judge to order that an eviction-protection measure either be adopted as law by the City Council or placed on the November ballot.
The Burbank Tenants Rights Committee, along with local registered voters Margo Rowder and Konstantine Anthony, filed court papers Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court against the city, the City Council and City Clerk Zizette Mullins.
The 2020 Burbank Just Cause Eviction and Rent Regulation Measure would prohibit landlords from evicting tenants for no reason and provide protection against retaliatory actions or evictions. Rent regulations would apply to units built before Feb. 1, 1995, and permit annual rent increases based on the Consumer Price Index, but no greater than 7% per year.
The group began circulating its initiative petition last September, but although about 7,750 people signed it — more than the 10 percent of registered Burbank voters needed to place the matter on the Nov. 3 ballot — Mullins rejected the petition on grounds that some of the wording did not comply with the state Elections Code, the BTRC court papers state.
On June 3, BTRC lawyers wrote Mullins explaining that she had “fundamentally misread” the Elections Code and that both the printing of the initiative petitions and the publication of the notice of intention to circulate had fully complied with the law, according to the BTRC court papers.
But Mullins refused to rescind her rejection of the petitions or certify the sufficiency of the initiative to the City Council at its June 9 meeting, according to the BTRC court papers.
As a result, the BTRC has been “left with no choice but to file the present action in order to protect and to vindicate the constitutionally reserved power of the initiative for themselves and for all of the voters,” according to their court papers.
A Burbank representative issued a statement Tuesday, saying the city would let the case play out in court.
“This matter arose from the City Clerk, as the elections official, exercising her ministerial duty to reject the initiative petition for failure to follow the dictates of the Elections Code,” the statement read. “It is up to a court now to exercise its discretion in determining whether there was substantial compliance with the Elections Code or not.”
A trial-setting conference is scheduled Oct. 8 before Judge Mary H. Strobel.
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