There are two seats up for grabs on the Santa Monica Rent Control Board, which will be fought out between three candidates at the Nov. 6 general election.
Two are incumbents: Robert Kronovet and Ilse Rosenstein. The third candidate is attorney Christopher Walton.
All three candidates responded to the following questions (published in ballot order).
Question One: Why are you running for the Rent Control Board?
Question Two: What is your position on the ban on smoking in apartments and condos?
Question Three: What is your position on homeowners passing through a rent increase if Measure ES passes?
Question Four: Discuss how you see the Rent Control Board as helping the city meet affordable housing goals?
Name: Christopher D. Walton
Endorsements: Santa Monicans for Renter Rights (SMRR), L.A. County Demcratic Party Santa Monica Democratic Club, SM City Councilman Kevin McKeown, SM Rent Control Board Commissioners: Todd Flora, Bill Winslow, and Marilyn Korade Wilson.
Current Profession: Attorney at Law.
Previous Experience: Almost 20 years as a practicing lawyer.
Education: BA, MBA, & JD Degrees. Studied at Santa Monica College, Midwestern, Loyola Marymount, Southwestern and Oxford Universities.
Birthdate and place: Born 1959 at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware.
Biography: Born and raised as an Air Force Brat. Lived on many Air Force Bases from 1959 to 1972. Lived in Texas from 1st grade though college. Lived in Santa Monica Bay area since 1982 and in the city since 1985. Received first class education including college, graduate and law schools.
Spouse/Children: Married with one dog and one adult step-child in college.
Neighborhood of Residence: The Shores in Ocean Park/Main Street neighborhood.
Community Activities: Volunteer SMRR Tenant Helpline, Volunteer Attorney at Legal Aid Foundation, Former Trustee and CFO of Santa Monica Bar Association.
Answer One: MBA training and experience in financial management. Legal training and 20 years of law practice. Knowledge and experience with landlord/tenant law.
Answer Two:The Rent Control Board has no jurisdiction on this issue. This is not a rent control issue. Second hand smoke is deadly. Non-smoking residents need a remedy and the right to defend themselves from second hand smoke. However, it is quite unclear whether the new ordinance is enforceable and constitutional. I’d like to see some data from polling residents or perhaps have the voters weigh in on the issue. I’m not sure that the new law will work effectively.
Answer Three: There is already in place a system, procedures, and a formula for rent increases including an annual rent increase. If this issue comes before the board when I am seated, I will carefully consider all sides of the issue and help craft rulings that are based upon the law and the facts. I cannot and will not predict how I would vote on any particular issue that might come before the board. One of the statutory missions of the board is to ensure that landlords receive a fair return on their investments. I support all of the missions of the board.
Answer Four: Our city needs more affordable housing. Vacancy decontrol has profoundly diminished our supply of affordable housing. The Costa-Hawkins Vacancy decontrol bill was the worst thing that ever happened to rent control. The board can continue to justly rule on petitions for rent decreases and limit evictions. I think the board has done a good job of fulfilling its statutory missions but there is always room for improvement. Property developers should be required to build even more affordable housing.
Full Name: Robert Kronovet
Endorsements: Santa Monica Police Officers Association, Santa Monica Firefighters Local 1109, City Councilman Robert Holbrook.
Current office/profession: Commissioner Santa Monica Rent Board, Real Estate Broker, TV and Film DP/Director.
Previous Experience: As the only elected member working as a real estate professional I bring over 25 years of honest and even dealing with landlords, developers, elected officials, and tenants. After 30 years of discord and wasted taxpayer dollars the supply and demand sides of the housing equation finally found common ground.
Additionally I continue to serve the people of Santa Monica as Chairman of the Pico Improvement Organization as well as Vice President of our local Kiwanis and on the board of the Santa Monica Christian towers.
Education: NYU film school, Bachelor of Science degree, Ohio University.
Date/place of birth: August 1957, NYC.
Biography: I attended NUY film school before transferring to Ohio University Film school. Upon graduation I worked as a DP/Director for CBS affiliate in Columbus. In 1984 I received my real estate license and like my father, began to invest and promote quality rental housing. Since moving to Santa Monica in 1987, I have worked in TV/Movie production and as a licensed and trained Real Estate Broker, I was 2010 Realtor the year and a DGA member.
Spouse/Children: Married, three kids all Samohi graduates.
Neighborhood of Residence: Sunset Park.
Community activities: PTA, Band Parents, Chairman of the PIO (Pico Improvement Organization), Vice President of the Santa Monica Kiwanis, Board member of the Santa Monica Christian towers, Santa Monica Chamber member, Member of Friends of Sunset Park.
Answer One: To promote better policy. As the only elected member working as a real estate professional I bring over 25 years of honest and even dealing with landlords, developers, elected officials, and tenants Over the last four years as your Rent Board Commissioner I have promoted a superior level of performance, now it’s time to step it up.
When re-elected I pledge to make our parking problems my priority. We will introduce the following: All Preferential Parking Zone stickers that allow you access to on-street parking throughout the city, as well as discount parking in all municipal parking and beach lots throughout Santa Monica.
Answer Two: Simple: Smoking is a clear health hazard. I have proposed a city wide smoking ban is all multi-family apartment buildings. No smoking anywhere on the premises, period!
Answer Three: I placed this item on our Rent Board agenda, the Rent Board must approve all school bond pass through to the tenants.
Answer Four: The United States government has proven policies to assist Americans who require temporary housing assistance: Section 8, housing vouchers, low income and affordable housing incentives to builders through tax credits. The current SMRR city council only cares about building their voter block and not the true needs of our residents.
Name: Ilse Rosenstein
Endorsements: Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights, Santa Monica Democratic Club, LA County Democratic Club.
Current Office: Member, Rent Control Board.
Previous Experience: Business Economist, Commodity Exchange Authority; Teacher, LAUSD.
Education: BBA, City University of New York; Teaching Credential, Mount St. Mary’s, Los Angeles; Bilingual Credential (Span), USC.
Biography: Refugee from Nazi Germany; Grew up and educated in New York City; Living in Santa Monica (renter) since 1968; Two daughters.
Neighborhood: Mid-City, 90404.
Community activities: Volunteer, SMRR Tenant Helpline (until appointed to Rent Control Board); Volunteer Reading Tutor; Member, Mid-City Neighbors; Deliver Meals on Wheels; Take classes at Emeritus College.
Answer One: I believe I am qualified to serve on the Rent Control Board by education and experience.
Answer Two: I believe the City Council has responded to the problems presented by second-hand smoke with a balanced approach.
Answer Three: The Rent Control Board will conduct a public hearing if and when Measure ES passes. Based on that hearing, the Board will decide on the pass-through issue. I will reserve my opinion until after the hearing.
Answer Four: Because Rent Control continues to provide affordable housing for long-term tenants; it reinforces diversity in the city, and also assists the city in meeting its affordable housing goals.