A longtime advocate for fair housing in East Palo Alto has been picked as the city's new rent-control administrator, staff in the program's office has confirmed.
Victor Ramirez, who worked as the housing director at the nonprofit organization Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto, started in the city position Aug. 18. Ramirez was a founding member of Community Legal Services, according to the Community Legal Services Facebook page.
"Victor has already served our community for over 16 years, helping thousands of tenants, homeowners and landlords resolve their legal issues with fairness and compassion," Community Legal Services posted.
Ramirez, who is bilingual, practiced law in Colombia before moving to the U.S. His work helping families and individuals who were losing their homes during the foreclosure crisis was featured in a Palo Alto Weekly cover story.
Ramirez takes over after a rocky period for the rent program. Longtime administrator Carol Lamont announced her resignation in March after a consultant's audit, ordered by City Manager Magda Gonzalez, stated she was biased in favor of tenants.
Lamont was briefly replaced by a new administrator, George Montano, who resigned in mid-July less than two weeks after his introduction to the Rent Stabilization Board.
Rent Board and some City Council members called the audit of Lamont a "hit piece" that was deeply inadequate. Gonzalez defended the audit, but community outrage contributed to the non-renewal of her contract this year. Gonzalez has been hired by Half Moon Bay as its city manager.