Your City At Work: Lane Dilg
January 29, 2020 9:00 AM
by Lane Dilg
This article originally appeared in the January/February edition of Seascape.
Affordability has become one of Southern California’s hardest challenges. The City of Santa Monica is committed to policies and programs that help keep our community affordable in order to maintain the diversity that makes this such a special place.
What are programs and policies in your work area that have an impact on affordability?
The City’s values of equity, affordability and inclusivity permeate everything we do. We support a thriving business environment characterized by honest work and fair pay. The City Attorney’s Office drafted the City’s Minimum Wage, Living Wage, Hotel Workers’ Living Wage, and Hotel Worker Protection Ordinances. We enforce those laws and have, for example, obtained more than $650,000 in back wages for local car wash, hotel, and janitorial workers.
We continually seek new ways to keep low-income and otherwise vulnerable tenants in their homes. We recently drafted school-year eviction protections for students and teachers, and we expanded City law providing relocation benefits to tenants displaced from their homes. After we received complaints that landlords would not accept Section 8 vouchers, we drafted a City law to prohibit that discrimination and then led an enforcement campaign against local landlords violating the law. And we have obtained precedent-setting wins in a wide range of tenant harassment cases and in defense of the City’s Home-Sharing Ordinance, which preserves our rental units for residents.
What are some of the emerging trends impacting affordability here in Santa Monica?
We work every day to respond to rising housing costs. Whether it’s addressing regional homelessness, producing and protecting affordable housing, preserving rent-controlled housing, or facilitating housing production consistent with neighborhood character, we are fighting against economic trends that make housing increasingly unaffordable. Our residents are too. We must continue that work, together.
What are the ways that we’re addressing affordability that most people aren’t aware of?
The Criminal Division of the City Attorney’s Office provides daily support to domestic violence survivors, who are victims of a crime that threatens lives, wellbeing, and economic stability. Our Homeless Court uses criminal justice intervention tools to provide badly needed social services to individuals who have lost their homes, usually to rising costs or various forms of loss or trauma.
How can the public get involved, and how can they learn more?
As a community, we face our challenges together. Our most impactful enforcement cases often begin with a citizen complaint; and the City’s most innovative ordinances frequently arise from conversations between concerned Council and community members. We look forward to the launch of the City’s new website to share more. In the meantime, we can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 310-458-8336.