Council member asks for rent ‘stabilization’ study

Council member Cinde MacGugan-Cassidy on Monday asked city officials to study the feasibility of implementing some type of rent stabilization on the island, as housing, and the price of housing continues to be a vexing challenge for the community. “I would really like to work together with all interested parties,” she said, but she asked the city manager to give the council a report. She said she had asked the prior city manager to look into the issue but to no avail.

MacGugan-Cassidy said Avalon needs more affordable housing and looking into every alternative should be a priority. Housing on Catalina Island has, of late, become a very hot topic. The Island Company held their own forum two weeks ago to answer community questions about a proposed project of more than 180 units.

In other action at this week’s meeting:

• the city was told by representatives of Southern California Edison that three applications they had submitted met some criteria but not all. Edison is seeking $25 million for water projects, including enhanced storage for the existing desalination plant and funding for a new one. Different agencies have their own classifications for a “disadvantaged community” which is contributing to the issue. Edison will reapply.

• Heard a report from Catalina Chamber and Visitor’s Bureau of a good year, with more than one million visitors, nearly $1.5 million in revenue and said a $119,262 operating loss was simply “on paper” and would not materially affect their efforts going forward. The Chamber also said some vendors agreements were up and would be seeking new strategic partners for printing, entertainment and other service areas.

• Learned that the mental health task force was producing tremendous feedback and perhaps the implementation of a pilot program in Catalina schools.

• Heard Sheriff’s Capt. John Hocking warn residents about leaving keys in their golfcarts and cars. He told the story of a “naked man” on top of a nearby hill “howling at the moon” and when approached by deputies, the man ran down the hill and jumped into a golf cart with the keys in it and sped off. “Lucky we knew who he was,” Hocking said, so the man was arrested. For sure, he said, “you can’t make this stuff up,” but told islanders to be very careful with their keys.

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