Urgency ordinance in Costa Mesa is designed to protect vulnerable tenants
Good morning. It’s Wednesday, Nov. 15. I’m Carol Cormaci, bringing you this week’s TimesOC newsletter with a look at the latest local news and events.
An estimated 60% of Costa Mesa’s nearly 110,000-plus residents are rental tenants and at the mercy of landlords who might seek to evict them for any number of reasons. Some evictions might well be for good cause (such as nonpayment of rent), while others might not.
The City Council, recognizing that evictions have lately been somewhat rampant, voted 6-1 during a meeting last Tuesday night to put a new urgency ordinance in place to protect tenants, according to a report by my Daily Pilot colleague Sara Cardine.
The new law requires all landlords to provide a 60-day notice to tenants, to provide the tenant with one month of fair market value rent and to inform the city of the eviction within three days of issuing an eviction notice.
The City Council’s move expands on a new state law passed in September, Senate Bill 567, that will go into effect in April and prevents property owners from displacing low-income tenants, only to replace them with new ones who will pay a higher rate.
Nate Robbins, Costa Mesa’s neighborhood improvement manager, quantified the recent concerns. Between July 1 and Oct. 16, 41 households reported receiving eviction notices. In the nine days that followed, news of another 22 evictions, impacting 76 people, reached City Hall.
On Oct. 27 the city heard from Newport-Mesa Unified School District regarding four school families that had been forced from their homes and were living on the street.
“Officials estimate that, at the current rate, the city will see another 160 to 170 evictions in the next year,” Cardine reports.
Once an eviction notice is in their hands, many people just pack up and leave, whether or not that eviction complies with existing state and local laws, Robbins said.
“Several of those families actually had a case to extend their tenancy because the notice they received was completely invalid,” he said.
The new law allocates $300,000 of the city’s federal American Rescue Plan Act funding to help rental assistance organizations already working in the city expand services to tenants facing evictions. Another $250,000 in one-time ARPA funding will go toward rental-related legal services, including court filings and enforcement of the ordinance. The council also approved an annual $600,000 to pay for staff to oversee it.
Councilman Don Harper cast the lone dissenting vote. “I don’t like penalizing property owners who may have put their life savings into something, and then we penalize them when it’s not needed,” he said.
• Several Tustin Unified School District campuses, closed for days due to last week’s hangar fire, are expected to reopen today. The district closed the schools due to air quality concerns from the blaze; the students instead participated in virtual learning. On Friday, the Tustin City Council unanimously approved an agreement with the U.S. Department of the Navy, which owns the property where the massive WWII-era hangars have stood for decades, to begin remediation procedures. According to a City News Service report, the agreement calls for the U.S. Navy to provide immediate administrative assistance and an initial $1 million to correct health and safety impacts the fire has had on the Tustin community.
• Chevron has agreed to pay Orange County $1.25 million for cleanup of Talbert Channel oil leak that occurred last year. A contractor crew working for the county’s Department of Public Works was enhancing the channel’s flood control capacity on Oct. 6, 2022, when a worker drove a segment of sheet piling into an abandoned pipeline. County officials claimed the oil company, which has owned the pipeline since the 1940s, failed to properly purge its contents when it was abandoned in the ’60s, according to this story on the settlement.
• Huntington Beach City Hall has been churning out personnel in recent months, and lost its top administrator last week. Al Zelinka announced his resignation from his job as city manager, citing a need to care for an elderly family member. It was the second time in under two years that Surf City has lost a city manager. The public works director, community and library services director, community development director, administrative services director and chief financial officer have also left Huntington Beach in the calendar year 2023. In other H.B. news, a federal judge on Monday ruled against the city in its lawsuit with the state of California over housing mandates.
• A Corona Del Mar Middle and High School student was given a three-day suspension last for remarks made to another student that included the words “Free Palestine,” according to this L.A. Times story. The incident came about a month after swastikas were tagged on the locker of a Jewish student, and after Hamas militants launched an attack on southern Israel, sparking an ongoing war. Authorities are investigating the swastika incident as a hate crime. In an Instagram post, a woman claimed her 13-year-old nephew, whom she said is the student placed on suspension, had been called a “terrorist” by a female student and that her nephew responded by repeatedly saying, “Free Palestine.”
• A $50-million gift was made by philanthropist Richard H. Pickup that will establish a new brain health center at Hoag. Construction on the center is expected to begin in the spring on Hoag’s lower campus, according to the Daily Pilot report of the gift. “Hoag is making great strides in the understanding of brain health and Alzheimer’s disease,” Pickup stated in the announcement issued by Hoag officials. “They are on the cutting edge, but there is still so much that is unknown about the brain. I trust that the passionate experts at Hoag will advance this area of medicine and give people, beyond Orange County, a place they can turn to and trust.”
• A vigil is planned for 7 o’clock tonight at the end of the San Clemente Pier for a woman whose body was found in Laguna Beach early Sunday. The body of the victim, Tatum Goodwin, a waitress at Carmelita’s, was found in a secluded spot off Ocean Avenue by a construction worker at about 8:20 a.m. Sunday. An investigation into the circumstances of her death is underway. The city of Laguna Beach issued this statement about the incident.
• A 6-year-old girl died as the result of a traffic collision in Fountain Valley late last week. Fountain Valley police said they responded to calls about a crash at the intersection of Newhope Street and Heil Avenue at around 12:15 p.m. on Friday. An Infiniti G37 sedan was traveling southbound on Newhope Street when it collided with a Mercedes C300 sedan that was turning left off of Newhope to Heil Avenue. The Infiniti split in half after striking a streetlamp. The little girl who died at the scene was a passenger in that car. The drivers were taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, according to this Daily Pilot report.
• Avila’s El Ranchito in Huntington Beach was closed temporarily due to early morning kitchen fire last week. Located in a strip mall on the 300 block of Main Street, El Ranchito has since 1999 occupied a storefront situated between Makin’ Waves hair salon and Rockin’ Fig Surf Headquarters, the latter of which reportedly suffered from smoke and water damage. You can find the full Daily Pilot report on the fire here.
• An 18-year-old Costa Mesa man is facing a felony murder charge for his alleged connection to a fatal shooting that took place Friday. The fatal shooting of 35-year-old Costa Mesa resident Raymond Gonzalez occurred on the the 2800 block of Mendoza Drive, and police believe it was a gang-related killing. Ryan Ivan Ramos was scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday, after he and a male juvenile were taken into custody by Costa Mesa police.
• A woman visiting the Theo Lacy Facility, a maximum security jail, was accidentally locked in the visiting area overnight Saturday. While waiting to see an incarcerated person, the woman fell asleep in a booth and was overlooked when the doors were locked. The woman’s cellphone wasn’t charged, so she couldn’t call for help once she awoke. Following the incident, some changes have been made: Supervisors are now required to physically check the visiting area after visiting hours end for the day. The jail is also planning to install an emergency phone in the area.
• A third-alarm fire caused $1.5 million in damages Saturday afternoon to an industrial strip center on the 15000 block of Westminster’s West State Street. According to a City News Service report, a firefighter battling the fire was treated at the scene and transported to a hospital for an undisclosed medical condition. An investigation into the cause of the blaze is underway.
LIFE & LEISURE
• Luciana’s Ristorante in Dana Point is marking its 40th anniversary in a historic former home in the Lantern District. My colleague Sarah Mosqueda interviewed owner Jorge Luhan II, who told her the restaurant’s legacy began with an eatery run by his mother Lucia “Lucy” Luhan, who opened What’s Cooking? Bistro in Newport Beach in 1976. There she offered a menu of traditional family recipes made with fresh ingredients with the help of her mother, Mary Vallera. Luciana’s Ristorante opened in 1983 as an elevated dinner house. In 1991 Lucy Luhan moved to Italy permanently, leaving Luciana’s in her son’s capable hands.
• Pops conductor Enrico Lopez-Yañez has joined the Pacific Symphony. Lopez-Yañez made his debut at Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall on a recent weekend with a two-night performance of the “Music of Star Wars,” which included themes from John Williams and Michael Giacchino. “I am very excited that people have been so welcoming in embracing some of my new ideas and my new approach to things while still trying to embrace what has worked so well for so long,” Lopez-Yañez told Mosqueda. “I think that is always a challenge for any new conductor coming into an organization.”
• Girl Scouts of Orange County ushered in the holiday season last week by visiting Meals on Wheels Orange County‘s Adult Day Health Care Center in Santa Ana. The girls were there to deliver gift bags to the seniors served at the center, which also has locations in Anaheim and Buena Park and offers care for adults living at home who need daytime assistance. The participating Girl Scouts also sang carols and made holiday crafts with the seniors.
• The Angels signed Ron Washington to a two-year deal to be their manager, it was announced last week. Washington becomes the 23rd manager in Angels history, and their fourth since the Mike Scioscia era (2000-18), according to this report by L.A. Times sportswriter Sarah Valenzuela. The 71-year-old Washington, who leaves a position as third base coach for the Atlanta Braves, managed the Texas Rangers from 2007 to 2014.
• It’s not gone unnoticed that the UC Irvine women’s soccer team is gritty. On Friday they beat defending national champions UCLA 1-0 in NCAA tournament play. L.A. Times writer Kevin Baxter, in this commentary piece, considered the Anteaters, coached by Scott Juniper, and the reasons behind their success on the soccer field. “Now it doesn’t matter how good you are or how high a seed you have, if you have to go through Irvine [on the tournament field], you’re not getting to the second round,” Baxter writes.
• Led by senior Ryder Dodd, JSerra’s boys’ water polo team toppled Newport Harbor 16-10 in the CIF Southern Section Open Division title match Saturday. Top-seeded JSerra (27-0) kept its undefeated season going, pulling away in the second half to deny No. 2 Newport Harbor (26-4) its third straight CIF title, the Daily Pilot reported.
• Laguna Beach High’s girls’ tennis triumphed for first CIF title in 18 years last Friday afternoon. Top-seeded Laguna Beach edged No. 3 Calabasas 10-8 for the CIF Southern Section Division 2 title. The big win was attributed to an infusion of new players this season. Coach Robert Klugman said afterward of the team, “They’ll have these memories for the rest of their lives.”
• Balboa Island Museum will hold its annual Denim and Diamonds fundraiser Friday night at the Balboa Fun Zone. Hours are from 6 to 10 p.m. Organizers promise food, an open bar, carnival games, live entertainment, an auction and more at the cowboy-themed event. Tickets are $200 and can be purchased online at balboaislandmuseum.org.
• Laguna Playhouse Youth Theatre presents Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” this weekend. Show times are 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Friday; 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. The theater is located at 606 Laguna Canyon Road. Tickets, which range from $21 to $27, can be purchased here.
• UCI Symphony Orchestra presents its first concert of the season Tuesday, Nov. 21 at 8 p.m. The orchestra, under the direction of conductor Dr. Geoffrey Pope, kicks off the holiday season with an evening of music by various composers. Pope will be featured in a pre-concert conversation beginning at 7 p.m. Cheng Hall at Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine. General admission is $21; seniors, $18; students and children under 17 are admitted for $8. Tickets can be ordered here.
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