AAGLA Interview: Robin Rowe

BEVERLY HILLS (robinsrowe.com) 2019/12/22 – AAGLA interview with Beverly Hills City Council candidate Robin Rowe. The Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles promotes professionalism within the rental housing industry and is an advocate and lobbyist for rental housing providers.

Your top five campaign endorsements?

The enthusiastic support of my neighbors, the residents of Beverly Hills.

Please describe your fundraising efforts and current campaign budget.

Zero. My mission is to represent all the residents of Beverly Hills. Accepting large contributions from corporations or high net worth individuals could become awkward later, that they would reasonably expect special treatment in return. Accepting smaller donations from my neighbors could also become awkward for the same reason.

I’ve pledged not to seek donations and not to spend over $2,000 in campaigning.

Background information regarding yourself as a candidate…education, work experience, volunteer activities, reason for running for this office?

Served on the Beverly Hills Technology Committee since 2016, having joined at the invitation of the mayor. Lived in Beverly Hills since 2004, moving to the area to work at DreamWorks Animation.

Designed animation software used to produce major motion pictures and a hit cartoon series. Former navy research scientist. Taught computer science at the Naval Postgraduate School and the University of Washington.

The 2016 presidential election motivated me to become involved in politics.

Previous positions, if any, which you held within state or local government?

First time running for office.

Please provide your top three campaign priorities, relevant to apartment building owners, and how you would accomplish your objectives?

  • Better, cheaper, faster Internet for Beverly Hills residents and businesses, by building high speed metropolitan fibre network
  • Reduce traffic congestion and pollution, by installing Smart Cities technology
  • Avoid electricity blackouts and pollution, by building green power infrastructure

Why should AAGLA support your candidacy?

My family owns rental apartment buildings. although not in Beverly Hills. Personally, I live in Beverly Hills as a renter. As someone who understands and is sympathetic to the issues of both landlords and renters, I may be the best person to negotiate lasting agreements to benefit all parties.

The growing list of regulations has made it more and more challenging for rental property owners, particularly smaller mom-and-pop owners, to stay in business. What is your stance on the impact of rent control?

If there are any mom-and-pop apartment owner-operators left, who are residents of Beverly Hills, we should protect them. Regarding Beverly Hills generally, without rent stabilization, we’d have soaring prices and an unmanageable homelessness problem.

We have some issues in Beverly Hills with absentee landlords who seem to be known bad actors. Effecting change with them, and rewarding those landlords who improve our city, should be our goal.

Do you support or oppose rent control and tenant protection regulations?

My mission is to support the residents of Beverly Hills, be they landlords or renters. Due to the complexities of housing, too many times policies made with the best intentions backfire, have unexpected results that are opposite to the effect intended. I want to hear from those effected on both sides, approach complex issues with an open mind.

Do you support or oppose Vacancy De-control (whereby rental units can be priced at current market rates once vacated by an existing tenant), changes to The State Ellis Act, Anti-displacement Zones, Just-Cause eviction laws, Right-to-Counsel eviction laws, Eviction Filing Systems (whereby owners would be required to file all evictions with the City), emergency rental vouchers for vulnerable low income tenants or one-year minimum lease requirements?

Without getting into cases, I cannot answer such specific housing policy questions. I want to do what’s best for all parties. Changing laws too much may create business uncertainty, can make planning and operating a business unreasonably difficult.

Proposition 13 limits property tax increases to no more than 2% per year as long as the property is not sold. What is your position on Proposition 13? Do you support changes to Proposition 13, such as split-roll property tax measures?

The split-roll initiative says it’s intended to increase funding to K-12 public schools and community colleges though higher taxes on businesses. Looking at the empty storefronts in Beverly Hills, it seems we should be searching for ways to reduce business taxes, find ways to make it easier for businesses to flourish here.

Do you agree or disagree that California is experiencing a housing crisis? How will you increase housing?

California is experiencing a housing crisis. The oft suggested solution, building more housing, doesn’t work for Beverly Hills. There’s no undeveloped land here and residents don’t desire to change the character of the city by increasing density.

With starting a building boom being off the table, that suggests creating more high paying jobs here, which I would do by opening a city business innovation center, and taking better care of our homeless, which I would do through an improved safety net for residents.

Homelessness is a serious issue throughout Los Angeles. What in your opinion are the key contributing factors and what actions would you take?

As a first step, as leaders in Beverly Hills, let’s pledge that no resident of Beverly Hills will go hungry. People will need local support more than ever to avoid starvation. The federal government recently cut 750,000 people from the SNAP food stamps program.

Open a help line that residents may call if they are hungry or concerned that their neighbors may be. Coordinate with local grocery stores and restaurants so that wasted food is directed to those who desperately need it.

Beverly Hills can better address homelessness in many ways, such as providing a safety net for vulnerable families and retirees who face being forced into homelessness, opening a business innovation center to create more high-paying jobs here, and working on humane solutions to the problem of our non-resident homeless, of people commuting to Beverly Hills to beg or who were dumped here from out of state or other cities as a quick fix to their own homeless crisis.

Thank you.

Thank you! Great questions! I appreciate the AAGLA asking my opinion.

If you’re a Beverly Hills resident, or know one, please remind them to vote for Robin Rowe for Beverly Hills City Council in the March 2020 election.

Note: The questions above from the AAGLA have been edited for length. Any change to their intent is unintentional.