News

Fair housing veteran to helm East Palo Alto rent control program

East Palo gets third housing administrator this year

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.

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Carolyn Tucher
a resident of University South
on Aug 27, 2014 at 11:38 am

Victor Ramirez is a splendid choice for the position of rent-control administrator in East Palo Alto. He has a thorough understanding of the community and a big heart. He has been the last resort of literally hundreds of tenants fearful of losing their homes. He has also inspired many young lawyers and law students to volunteer their services to the residents of the city. In our over-heated housing market where many try to keep up with 2 or 3 jobs to pay their rent, Victor will work hard to see that the laws are observed by landlords and tenants.


Like this comment
Posted by Memories
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 27, 2014 at 12:54 pm

Actually, Sue Dremman has it wrong, at least according to her earlier story on this. Why is she pushing the narrative that Lamont quit because the audit (thoroughly condemned by the rent board, as it should be) showed she favored tenants? Lamont's own words are in this article by Dremman, stating why she quit: www.paloaltoonline.com/news/2014/03/27/east-palo-alto-rent-board-slams-audit

Pushing the narrative in this current story is simplistic, attention-grabbing and wrong. Dremman should know better than to write this cheap shot. Overall, Lamont was toiling in a hostile work environment, and this condemned audit was just a part of that, as Lamont states in the web link above.

Best of luck to Victor Ramirez, and may he continue to help wage fairness and justice to all involved.


Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Aug 28, 2014 at 5:13 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

I agree with Memories, and I think that Sue Dremman should correct her article. Lamont never said she was resigning due to the reasons Dremman cited. I expect better from Dremman.

Now that Gonzalez is ooooouuuuuut! as city manager, perhaps cleaning up her mistakes, collusion and corruptive practices can now commence. Don hazmat suits, people!


Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Sep 17, 2014 at 7:22 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

At last night's city council meeting, the council voted not to reinstate Christopher Peter to the Rent Stabilization Board. Apparently he was removed/automatically resigned for missing too many meetings. He appealed and asked to be reappointed, but couldn't even be bothered to attend the meeting last night and speak up on his own behalf. Notably, several people spoke publicly reappointing him. It seems that the council did the right thing, given that Peter was also shown,, via emails revealed by Tenants Together, to be colluding with former City Manager Magda Gonzalez and wanted favorism shown to his employer regarding tenant/landlord issues. He couldn't even wait his turn, like other landlords and all tenants, to get assistance for issues. So instead, he sought to undermine the law.


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