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We condemn Councilmember Justin Jones’ smear campaign against Brandon Lamar

We, members of the Pasadena for Rent Control steering committee, categorically condemn the baseless attacks on Brandon Lamar by his opponent in the District 3 race for Pasadena City Council. This election has been marred by dirty campaigning in a way we haven’t seen in over 10 years and we feel compelled to correct the record.

Brandon Lamar has been a champion for underrepresented tenants throughout the city long before he ever ran for City Council. When presented with the Fair and Equitable Housing Charter Amendment in November 2022, the voters of District 3 approved it by 69%, Brandon among them. Brandon repeatedly collected signatures to place Measure H on the ballot, and once it was on the ballot, he walked door to door many times to ensure that it passed. 

A recent campaign flier mailed to District 3 residents claims that Brandon said, “rent control is not the answer.” This is obviously only part of his statement, carefully edited to lie about Brandon’s actual commitments. At the February 1 forum, Brandon was asked about affordable housing solutions. After giving a very well informed answer, the follow-up question was, “Is rent control part of the solution?” Here is an excerpt of Brandon’s answer, which you can listen to in full in the attached video.

Rent control is not THE answer; rent control is a piece of the pie. I’ll tell you this as Vice Chair of the Rental Housing Board, we have helped a lot of families stay in their homes because of the rental protections that we have in Pasadena now…. Measure H is not THE solution, Measure H is a small piece of the pie.

(emphasis added to reflect the speaker’s inflection in the original statement).

Video credit: Conversation Live (used with permission)

The four of us have, on many occasions, said, “rent control is not the answer…for everything.” It’s a targeted policy that works extremely well for what it’s for: keeping people securely housed and stopping unfair rent increases. All the research shows this (see, for example, Manuel Pastor, et al, “Rent Matters: What Are the Impacts of Rent Stabilization Measures.” USC Dornsife Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (October 2018)). Saying rent control doesn’t solve all aspects of housing affordability is a non sequitur. There are many policies needed to address real housing affordability and Brandon understands this. He doesn’t naively think that rent control will fix everything. But the insinuation that he doesn’t support rent control is outright deceitful.

It is also worth pointing out the irony that Brandon is now being attacked for allegedly not supporting rent control when prior to this smear piece he was attacked for supporting it. Justin Jones is clearly making things up and hoping the voters fall for it.

Win or lose, we stand with Brandon Lamar, now more than ever.

Aaron Markowitz
President, Affordable Pasadena

Ryan Bell
Vice President, Affordable Pasadena

Liberty McCoy
Secretary, Affordable Pasadena

Bee Rooney
Measure H Campaign Coordinator

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