Led by Councilmember Hume and Vice Mayor Detrick, Elk Grove's proposed Coronavirus eviction moratorium killed

Elk Grove Vice Mayor Steve Detrick (left), and Elk Grove City Councilmembers Stephanie Nguyen, Pat Hume, and
Darren Suen rejected a proposal to aid small businesses and residential renters during the Coronavirus economic crisis. |

In a special meeting held last night where all five city council members participated by telephone, by a 4-1 vote, the Elk Grove City Council rejected a staff recommendation to adopt a temporary moratorium on evictions caused by the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic. Mayor Steve Ly voted against the motion to reject the moratorium.

Had the recommendation to place the temporary moratorium in effect been adopted, as several other municipalities nationwide have done, landlords would not have been able to evict tenants for non-payment caused by the Coronavirus and Elk Grove's action would have provided temporary relief from the disconnection or late fees applied for garbage collection services. While the eviction process would have been temporarily suspended, tenants would still be liable for any unpaid rent or garbage collection fees.

Leading the charge to block the adoption of the moratorium was Councilmember Pat Hume and Vice Mayor Steve Detrick. Even though the eviction moratorium would have been for commercial and residential properties, Hume and Detrick focused their efforts to kill the proposal on commercial properties and referenced an email they received from Elk Grove commercial property owner John Wallace.

Hume said Wallace was working with his commercial tenants on payment plans should they fall behind in rent payment and that in such landlord-tenant disputes the city should not intervene on behalf of tenants. The letter was read into the record by city clerk Jason Lindgren.

After the reading of Wallace's letter, Hume said the ordinance would be unfair to landlords, and the moratorium would unduly burden them.  

"As the law exists today an eviction if the tenant is disagreeable, the eviction can be a protracted six-month process with very little recourse for the landlord," Hume said. "And now we are adding an additional two months for the term of this for the moratorium."

He added, "I am wondering how this doesn't become a slippery slope."

Supporting Hume was Detrick, who said the government should not further interfere with landlord-tenant relations and that it was unfair to landlords.

"Pat, I agree with you, 100-percent," Detrick said. 

Arguing in favor of the moratorium was Elk Grove Economic Development Director Darrell Doan. When asked by Councilmember Darren Suen what his thought process was in developing the moratorium, Doan, who acknowledged there would are unscrupulous actors on both sides, but added it would assist small businesses in the city.

"This will level the playing field, and by definition, it is temporary in nature," Doan said. "Nobody is relieved from having to pay rent or interest, or penalties if they miss their payments, it just means there is a moratorium on the eviction. You are still liable legally and financially for those payments."

Suen asked city manager Jason Behrmann what he heard from the community. Behrmann said the number one call they have received in the last week has been from small businesses contacting the city expressing concern about the downturn and the effects on their establishments. 

"We've had a number that have responded or have sent questions or concerns that they were either facing eviction or concerned they would face eviction," Behrmann said. 

Doan added, "there have been several calls that have been specific to rent and evection issues" from business owners.

During his arguments to defeat the proposal, Hume also chastised workers whom he suggested could be feigning hardship to collect benefits.   

"Darrell [Doan] you mentioned unscrupulous landlords and unscrupulous tenants, there could be a third layer of this, and that is the unscrupulous employee," Hume said. "So somebody ditches out of work because there is an edict that says the business has to pay them sick leave or paid absence or you can't fire them because of what is going on." 

Copyright by Elk Grove News © 2020. All right reserved.


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D.J. Blutarsky said...

Mr. Hume and Detrick, talk about a moral compass gone haywire!

Elk Grove landlords can live the "Proud Heritage, Bright Future" dream, but the little people...step aside and pack it up, there's money to be made here!

Spoons and Forks said...

I can't help but think that the California Northstate University group will use this crisis and the city's landlord green light to put a squeeze on their tenants. I am also waiting for them to start a "we told you so" marketing campaign. Of course as the saying goes, you don't build a church for Easter services.

Steve L said...

Wow, talk about man's inhumanity to man!

So much for empathy and compassion for those who need it most. Council is looking for the worst in man and not the best in man. I guess that's where this country has been headed for 3+ years. So much for leadership and believing in you fellow man. This says a lot about this community's leaders.
Certainly a time for change. Is anyone listening?

Connie said...

So much for the city of Elk Grove being a "Compassionate City." Where is the compassion here Elk Grove City Council members?

D.J. Blutarsky said...

The City's PR Spin Machine sent out notices to the local press about this hearing, and I know Channel 10 was at the meeting last night and reported on the pathetic vote this morning.

Dollars to donuts, the City Council reschedules this item for another future meeting and comes equipped with written soundbites to help walk back their bad look.

White Hat said...

Cheers to the city council! At least they were thinking about the property owners.

Randy Bekker said...

Not sure if there is anything to be done at this time. I thought Newsom already put a stop to any evictions until some time in May. I guess anyone can throw mud but there is no sense in redundancy.

Unknown said...

These folks are evil and need to be evicted from office

Unknown said...

Typical for Detrick, a little surprised by Humes. Thankfully Derrick is not running again! Lynn Wheat would be a great change from the lack of empathy and compassion we have in there. The home owner is covered under the mortgage forgivenesss. They probably have rentals! Remember Humes name when you vote! He obviously has no moral compass either and needs to be voted out! Lynn Wheat!! She is for all of the people that live in this city. She has lived here for a very long time! She has compassion and common sense! I’m soooo glad Derrick is going!!

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