A nationally recognized expert in conflict resolution will help jump-start mediations over Lincoln Place in Venice, said Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl.
Peter Robinson, co-director of the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine Law School, has offered to serve as the official “convener” of the mediation.
Rosendahl said Robinson will be “helping resolve the thorny issues that will allow the resumption of talks” between Lincoln Place tenants, owners, and other interests.
On Wednesday, March 1st, AIMCO — the owners of Lincoln Place — agreed to halt evictions until the end of May and return to the negotiating table with the Lincoln Place Tenants Association and other interests in order to resolve a longstanding conflict.
Since then, Rosendahl said, both sides have struggled to agree on a mediator and how to determine which other interests such as historic preservationists, former tenants, and community members should be part of the talks.
Robinson will not serve as the actual mediator, but will help the parties choose a mediator and frame the issues to be discussed during mediation.
“His extensive experience and outsider’s perspective is exactly what we need,” Rosendahl said. “With his help, I hope we can begin another round of negotiations quickly and find a way to protect the tenants while bringing more certainty to everyone involved.”
The Straus Institute is currently ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the nation’s number one dispute resolution program, according to Rosendahl’s office.
Robinson was promoted to co-director and managing director of the institute in January after serving as the program’s associate director since 1990.
Robinson’s involvement was welcomed by the tenants association and AIMCO.
“We are pleased that Peter Robinson and the Straus Institute have agreed to convene a variety of stakeholders that have interest in the future development of Lincoln Place,” said Patt Shwayder, AIMCO senior vice president.
“We are looking forward to continuing AIMCO’s efforts to work with all parties to reach an outcome that addresses both the housing opportunities and the needs of the community,” Schwayder said.
This will be the second round of negotiations between AIMCO, tenants, and preservationists.
Last fall, Rosendahl and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa brokered a series of talks that fell apart short of a resolution.