SACRAMENTO — A measure that would make it harder for the 10,000 residents of Marina del Rey to form their own city and impose rent controls was approved by the Assembly on Thursday by a 48-19 vote.
But final passage was threatened by a dispute between the bill's author, Sen. Joseph Montoya (D-Whittier), and Assembly Speaker Willie Brown (D-San Francisco).
Unless it can be ironed out today before the lawmakers go home for the year, Montoya said, he will shelve the bill until January.
The flap revolved around a landlord-backed amendment that Montoya wanted to insert into his bill that would make it even tougher for marina residents to form their own city.
In a Senate speech, Montoya assailed Brown for refusing to relax Assembly rules so the bill could be amended in the Assembly.
Minutes later, Montoya, Brown and Senate President Pro Tem David A. Roberti (D-Los Angeles) and other lawmakers huddled to thrash out the issue.
Afterward, Brown insisted that if an attempt was made to amend the Montoya bill or any other legislation he would postpone action until next year.
"They'll be no more quick shots for anybody," Brown said.
Under the bill, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors could halt incorporation proceedings in an area such as Marina del Rey, where more than 50% of the land is publicly owned, merely by objecting to the submission of cityhood petitions to the local agency formation commission, which must decide on the feasibility of cityhood.
However, even under the bill, the marina cityhood campaign, launched a year ago by tenants, would be allowed to continue until next Feb. 15.
Under current law, the commission must receive petitions from marina residents calling for cityhood and then decide if it is economically feasible. The Los Angeles commission staff has preliminarily said the proposed city would face a first-year deficit of nearly $2 million.
Even so, marina landlords sought tougher amendments that would have required a vote on marina cityhood in all unincorporated areas of the county and allow marina cityhood campaigns only once a decade. After Brown's meeting with Montoya, the amendments were not introduced.
The 804-acre marina is owned by the county, which began to develop the land 25 years ago by granting long-term leases for apartments, marinas and shops.
The county collects about $12 million a year from marina lessees.
Supporters of the bill contended that if the marina were allowed to become a city, then residents, almost all of whom are renters, would impose rent controls and limit the amount of lease payments the county collects.
Assemblyman Gray Davis (D-Los Angeles) argued that the county should have the right to develop these assets without being threatened with cityhood.