Culinary, stymied by NLV, shifts rent stabilization effort to Clark and Washoe

By: - August 23, 2022 3:51 pm

The Culinary Union launched a rent stabilization ballot initiative in North Las Vegas in May, but the city refused to allow the initiative on the ballot. (Photo: Michael Lyle)

After being rebuffed by the North Las Vegas City Council, which refused to put its rent stabilization initiative on the November ballot, Culinary Local 226 is expanding its effort to all of Clark and Washoe counties, and targeting politicians who oppose rent stabilization.  

Hospitality industry workers are traveling the state “from Reno and Sparks, to Eastside and Westside, and in North Las Vegas,” says a news release from the union, announcing it will not fight NLV in court, but rather by electing officials who will enact an ordinance.

Amid historic rent increases, the Culinary Union launched its initiative in May in hopes of passing a ballot question to cap yearly rent increases at 5%. The NLV city clerk rejected the measure, saying the union failed to collect enough signatures, and the City Council concurred in July.

The union spent much of the last three weeks weighing its options, says Secretary-Treasurer Ted Pappegeorge. Monday marked the deadline for ballot information to be submitted to the printer.

“Our attorneys came back and told us ‘this isn’t getting on the ballot,’” Pappageorge said in an interview, adding that waiting until 2024 was not an option. “So we changed our strategy.”

The union has 250 full-time canvassers working at both ends of the state.

“This is the most popular issue at the doors,” says Pappageorge. “There’s something higher than the cost of food and gas and that’s housing. It’s through the roof. And there’s no justification for it. It’s price gouging. We think that we can use this as a winning issue at the voting box in November.” 

The Neighborhood Stability measure would: 

  • Prohibit rent increases for the first year of tenancy
  • Tie rent increases to the Consumer Price Index and cap at 5% a year
  • Require landlords to give 90-day notice of rent increases
  • Exempt units built in the last 15 years and ‘mom and pop’ landlords who own one rental unit or live in a multi-unit building

Pappageorge says he has commitments from Clark County Commissioners Tick Segerblom and William McCurdy to support a county-wide rent stabilizationl ordinance. “I think every Democrat will support it.” 

But NLV City Councilwoman Pamela Goynes Brown, a Democrat who is running for mayor, voted against putting the measure on the ballot. 

“We think that’s going to affect that race,” said Pappageorge. 

Gov. Steve Sisolak said in June the fate of the Culinary’s ballot measure could guide policy at the state level. 

“I think there’s an awful lot of support for this. And if I’m right, and the people do support it, we’re going to be addressing this in the session,” Sisolak said at the time. 

A spokeswoman stopped short of dismissing the prospect of legislation. 

”The governor supports local governments having authority over rent stabilization measures and will continue working with local partners and the legislature to ensure Nevada remains an affordable place for everyone to call home,” campaign spokeswoman Reeves Oyster said Tuesday, adding Sisolak is “already making the single largest investment in affordable housing through the Home Means Nevada initiative and will work with the legislature in his second term to crack down on out-of-state speculators and corporations driving up prices.”

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Dana Gentry
Dana Gentry

Dana Gentry is a native Las Vegan and award-winning investigative journalist. She is a graduate of Bishop Gorman High School and holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Gentry began her career in broadcasting as an intern at Channel 8, KLAS-TV. She later became a reporter at Channel 8, working with Las Vegas TV news legends Bob Stoldal and the late Ned Day. Gentry left her reporting job in 1985 to focus on motherhood. She returned to TV news in 2001 to launch "Face to Face with Jon Ralston" and the weekly business programs In Business Las Vegas and Vegas Inc, which she co-anchored with Jeff Gillan. Dana has four adult children, two grandsons, three dogs, three cats and a cockatoo named Casper.