The Goleta City Council has updated the city’s moratoria on residential and commercial evictions and foreclosures to align with the state’s new legislation.
Now the mandated start date for repayment of deferred rent due to COVID-19 financial distress of homeowners is set at March 1, 2021. Residents with deferred rent must negotiate with their landlords to work out how repayment is structured.
The council also directed city staff to align the expiration of the city’s commercial evictions moratorium with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive order.
Finally, it terminated its residential and commercial foreclosure prohibitions because there are already protections in place on the federal and state level for owners unable to pay their mortgage.
The council was split on its decision during Tuesday’s meeting, but agreed on the fact that “no one wants to see mass evictions during a pandemic.”
“We were anticipating they (tenants) would work something out with their landlord and make some sort of payment,” said Mayor Paula Perotte. “It’s a hard decision because we just don’t know what’s happening out there. What I do like about the 25% is if people were to pay the 25% each month, then it wouldn’t be such a large amount in the end.”
Council member Roger Aveces told the News-Press he disagrees with delaying the payment time.
“Ultimately, the full bill is going to become due, and so if you could take off some in the beginning, some people can afford it,” he said.
Council member Stuart Kasdin said, “To me, 25% is just this arbitrary number they proposed, and I understand the idea of trying to have it each way, but I can’t see that if somebody was getting relief under these provisions earlier in the year, that all of the sudden they’re going to have more money to pay later in the year.
“I don’t want to see evictions, and I don’t know if the 25% is something that’s going to cause evictions.”
In other news, the council will be appointing an ad hoc committee to assist with the development of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Plan, which creates a team to educate and advocate for equity in the workplace and community.
The DEI Team will focus on identifying inequalities in each facet of the workplace and community as a whole, collecting data, surveying and addressing the needs of Goleta.
“I’m happy that we’ve been able to get to a place where we’re doing it in a way that really gives the energy, resources and maneuver ability to do the things the role really needs to do,” said council member James Kyriaco. “We’re really investing in this position. It’s going to allow someone the opportunity to help lead us forward in a really positive way.”
Mr. Kasdin echoed the support for the DEI Team, saying, “The advantages of this is that there’s somebody there who can really pay attention to things that are not just checking the box, but to value that this is really a quality thing. It’s really going to open somebody’s eyes.”
Finally, the council decided to send the letter from Mayor Perotte to Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown, despite the topics of police brutality and racism as a public health emergency already being discussed at length in public.
Mr. Aceves told the News-Press it was sent for some closure.
“It is basically acknowledging the issues, what we talked about and asking for continued, open communication and open dialogue, transparency and accountability moving forward,” he said. “By sending that letter, it was reaffirming what we talked about.”