Long Beach Property Management Company Accidentally Emails Tenants Urging Them to Donate to Anti-Rent Control PAC

Photos courtesy of Housing Long Beach.

In the age of accidental missile warnings being sent, it wouldn’t hurt to double-check your email lists before sending out an alert or invite—especially if you’re a rental property management company and you’re sending an email to your tenants asking them to donate to your anti-rent control, pro-eviction political action committee (PAC).

Long Beach-based Pabst, Kinney & Associates, Inc. (PKA) has joined forces with the Apartment Association of Southern Cities, the California Apartment Association, the Small Property Owners Alliance-SoCal, and the Pacific West Association of Realtors to form a PAC called the Long Beach Residents for Fair Housing.

Its sole goal?

“We as a group of committed property owners and real estate advocates are collecting funds to FIGHT this potential Ballot Measure for Rent Control. It is just not Rental Control, we are also fighting Just Cause Eviction and Relocation Funds to Tenants which is all incorporated in the Rent Control Ballot Measure,” wrote Kristie Pabst in her email.

It continued:

We cannot sit on our hands and wait to see if our opponents collect sufficient signatures, we have to start the fight NOW or it may be too late. The PAC was formed to fund a campaign against Rent Control so we can send one and maybe two direct mailings citywide to high propensity voters, polling by Fairbanks Mauslin, social media outreach via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. It is imperative that we collect these funds immediately so we can start our campaign.

Just consider this, the amount of money you donate to this PAC is minimal compared to the revenue you will lose if this rent control measure goes into effect.

[donation information redacted for this article]

This is the time to ACT to protect your property rights. Pabst, Kinney & Associates is committed to fighting this infringement upon our private properties. Let us all work together to defeat this.

Sincerely, Kristie Pabst

The email comes as renters from across the state and city are seeking some form of alleviation from the alarming rise in the cost of living. On the stateside, a bill to end statewide rent control limits ultimately failed, while in Long Beach—where renters make up for over 60% of the population, making it the seventh most renter heavy city in the nation—the answer on rent control existing in our city for the first time awaits voters as renters seek rights through a November ballot initiative.

Josh Butler of Housing Long Beach submits the paperwork to bring a rent control initiative to the November 2018 ballot.

Long Beach has not only seen rents skyrocket over the past few years—which is why, despite not necessarily curing long-term affordability, renters are allured by the stability of rent control—but renters currently need no explanation or reason to get evicted. For no reason whatsoever, any property owner can boot their tenants (as was the case at 601 Linden Ave., when the building was bought and its tenants were given a 30-day notice to vacate).

“It’s an insult to renters to ask for donations to a cause that obviously anti-tenant,” said Josh Butler of Housing Long Beach, an advocacy organization. “This just shows that landlords and realtors are afraid of the growing tenant movement in Long Beach and they are preparing for a showdown in November. So are we. ”

Perhaps the most interesting part—aside from the droll act of asking tenants to join what is ultimately an anti-tenant political group—is the name of the PAC itself. The coalition being assembled aren’t Long Beach residents in its most heartwarming sense; sure, a handful of those involved in the mentioned organizations might live in Long Beach, but California Apartment Association itself doesn’t really represent Long Beach residents.

Then there’s the “fair housing” portion, which is a term that is heavy with historical context when it comes to both Californian politics and Long Beach itself.

The Fair Housing Act of 1963, dubbed the Rumford Act after the first black Northern Californian legislator, William Byron Rumford, was passed by both the Assembly and Senate, prohibiting public and private property owners to discriminate sales based “ethnicity, religion, sex, marital status, physical handicap, or familial status.”

This eventually led to infuriated white property owners passing Proposition 14 two-to-one in 1964, one of the most vile and bluntly unconstitutional propositions every put on a California ballot. (It was shot down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1966.)

That same year, the Long Beach Fair Housing Foundation (FHF)—made up entirely of black women—came out with a mission “devoted entirely to the promotion of fair and open housing practices in our community.” Their story influenced fair housing across the state and nation.

So, again, it is interesting that this PAC uses terms largely associated with pro-housing, pro-tenant rights movements in order to advance opposite measures.

This misnomer-as-a-tactic isn’t a new thing in Long Beach: Better Housing for Long Beach, a property owner-controlled group, has long tried to muddle if not outright prompt confusion in the housing conversation by taking on opposite ends with Housing Long Beach’s goals. In fact, when I was brought on as a writer for the Long Beach portion of KCET’s City Rising series, many weren’t clear on the distinction between the two groups—so one can imagine how this shapes the conversation with voters and community members.

PKA has yet to return comment for this piece.

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Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 16 nominations and two additional wins for Best Political Commentary for his work at KCET and Best Blog for Longbeachize, a section of the Long Beach Post. Brian currently serves as a columnist and editor for the Long Beach Post.