Renter control ballot measures pass in Oakland, Richmond and Mountain View
By Lynda Carson – November 9, 2016
There is a renter victory in Oakland. With 100 percent of 279 precincts reporting in, the renter protection ballot measure known as Measure JJhas been voted into law with 73.92 percent of the vote. The measure needed a majority of voters to pass, and with 67,526 votes for the ballot measure, and 23,823 against the ballot measure, Measure JJ has become the law of the land.
Renter protection victory in Richmond. After a long hard struggle against the notorious schemes of the landlords, realtors, speculators, and the California Apartment Association (CAA), the City of Richmond voters passed rent control and just cause eviction protections into law with the passage of Measure L.
The renter protection ballot measure known as Measure L was passed into law with 64.34 percent of the voters voting for the measure (12,837 votes), with 35.36 of voters (7,114 votes) who voted against the measure. Measure L needed a majority of voters to pass the measure into law. Richmond will finally have some reasonable renter protections in place to help stabilize families and communities from unscrupulous landlords and realtors involved in price gouging, and eviction-for-profit schemes, while allowing the landlords to have a fair return on their investments.
In an email from Richmond Councilwoman Gayle McLaughlin and the Richmond Progressive Alliance Steering Committee, in part it reads: “We, the Richmond Progressive Alliance Steering Committee, and incumbent and elected members of the City Council extend congratulations to the newly elected Richmond City Councilmembers: Melvin Willis, Ben Choi and Jael Myrick.”
“We also applaud the voters’ decision to pass Measure L: Fair and Affordable Richmond for rent control and tenant protections. As Measure L advocates have said from the start, this measure alone will not solve our community’s housing crisis, but it constitutes an important step to help seniors and working people stay in their homes and to prevent evictions without just cause. Moving forward, Richmond must redouble its efforts to develop more affordable housing.”
“One conviction we do share deeply is that corporate money corrupts our democracy, a belief shared by the Bernie Sanders revolution. When Bernie Sanders urged supporters to run for local office, Ben Choi and Melvin Willis heeded his call. Their campaigns for City Council seats (and the Measure L effort) were fueled by hundreds of small donations and thousands of volunteer hours.”
Also in a huge victory for Mountain View over greedy corporate interests, the grassroots renter protection measure known as Measure V was passed into law with 53 percent of the voters saying yes to the measure. Measure V will protect over 14,000 households, including families, teachers and nurses from rent price gouging and eviction-for-profit schemes.
Measure V needed the majority of the vote to win passage into law. The City Council’s weak renter protection ballot measure known as Measure W that was an effort to defeat the grassroots initiative known as Measure V, failed to get enough votes, and only garnered 49 percent of the vote. This was a huge defeat for the City Council, greedy landlords, realtors, speculators, the San Mateo County Association of Realtors (SAMCAR), and California Apartment Association (CAA) that spent a fortune in money and time to convince the voters to vote against Measure V, and other renter protection ballot measures in the Bay Area. The lies and deceit of SAMCAR and the CAA against Measure V, failed to convince the voters to deny the renters in Mountain View from the renter protections they need from greedy landlords involved in price gouging, and eviction-for-profit schemes.
In a quote from Daniel DeBolt, Communications Director for the Committee for Yes on V, he said, “We knew it would be a tough battle to win rent control and just cause eviction protections in the middle of Silicon Valley, but we prevailed. Rents nearly doubled here in only seven years and people are fed up. Renters who make up half of Mountain View’s population can rest easier tonight.”
“I also believe we won because: 1) It was a large grassroots effort from the start. About a year ago, hundreds of residents packed City Council meetings for months pleading for a rent freeze and eviction moratorium. Numerous news articles were written.The City Council failed to act, so we continued mobilizing the sleeping giant that is Mountain View’s network of activists, organizers and housing advocates.”
2. We had a big supporter on City Council who added legitimacy – Lenny Siegel, who had learned many lessons from leading the unsuccessful campaign for rent control in MV in 1981.
3. Rent increases were so bad that the crisis was obvious to everyone. Asking rents nearly doubled in MV in only 7 years.
4. The Mountain View Voice endorsed us with a great editorial — the Voice endorsement always seems to have a big impact in local races.
5. I hate to boast about myself, but some people seem to think that having a former longtime local newspaper reporter with name recognition (me) work on campaign literature, ads, email blasts, videos, website and social media was why we had success. We had great testimonials from teachers who were displaced by massive rent hikes. A beautiful young family agreed to be our poster family, as you can see at http://www.yesonvmv.org .
6. Mountain View is 60 percent renters – a relatively large proportion of the population.
“Measure W had no serious campaign behind it, which is not surprising because it was created by rent control opponents! A lot of the yes votes on W probably came from us because we told people it was safe to vote for both.”
“It is also worth mentioning that MV was the target of nearly as much opposition spending as Alameda and Richmond combined, despite being only a quarter of the population of those two cities combined.”
“Unfortunately the rent control campaigns in Burlingame, San Mateo and Alameda did not have the success we had. Oakland and Richmond did succeed though.”
In a blow to renter protection activists and renters in Alameda, the renter protection ballot measure in Alameda known as Measure M1 failed to pass with 14,195 votes against the measure, and only 7,178 votes for the measure. Measure M1 needed a majority of votes to become the law of the land in Alameda. In opposition to Measure M1, Measure L1 which was placed on the ballot in Alameda by the shameless City Council in the effort to defeat Measure M1. Measure L1 has passed with 11,954 votes for the measure, and 9,544 votes against the measure. Measure L1 is a weak renter protection law supported by landlords, and will do little to protect renters from bad landlords involved in price gouging and eviction-for-profit schemes.
Additionally, the citizen-initiated grassroots renter protection ballot measures in the City of Burlingame, Measure R, and Measure Q in San Mateo failed to receive enough votes for passage in these cities after the San Mateo County Association of Realtors (SAMCAR), and California Apartment Association (CAA) spent a ton of money to defeat the much needed citizen-supported renter protection ballot measures.
After running some recent notorious massive campaigns of lies and deceit against the renter protection ballot measures in the Bay Area that were voted on November 8, today the CAA is gloating on their website with their propaganda puff piece called, “CAA victorious in 3 to 5 Bay Area rent control measures.” With the CAA bragging about the lack of renter protections for renters in the Bay Area resulting in more of the on-going evictions and massive displacement of thousands of renters at the mercy of heartless landlords and realtors because “3 of the renter protection ballot measures” failed to pass, it is a shameless display of corporate greed and power, in a world of big money interests.
For more about the passage of Measure JJ in Oakland, in an email from Gabriella Miroglio it said;
Oakland Passes Ballot Measure Strengthening Rent Control and Just Cause Eviction:
Measure JJ passes 74% to 26%.
Oakland, a strong grassroots campaign, led by the Committee to Protect Oakland Renters, passed Measure JJ that will protect renters.
“Oakland residents knew how much was as stake this election with Measure JJ,” explained Coalition Treasurer and Oakland social justice advocate, Angela Glover Blackwell, “and a tremendous volunteer force came out to win protections for Oakland’s diverse renter communities.”
Oakland renter, and ACCE member, Franki Velez said, “Measure JJ will allow me to sleep better at night knowing me and my family will not wake up to an eviction notice without cause.” Thousands of Oakland renters like Ms. Velez are now safe from illegal rent increases and illegal no cause evictions under Measure JJ.
While Oakland tenants and community groups celebrate the recent electoral victory, the fight for tenant protections is not over. “We have expanded tenant protections here in Oakland, but there are too many unprotected tenants across CA that deserve to feel secure in their homes. Our organizations will not stop with Measure JJ, we will continue the fight for housing rights” says SEIU Local 1021 Vice President Gary Jimenez.
Under Measure JJ, landlords must petition the Oakland Rent Board to increase the rent above the Consumer Price Index, thousands more Oakland tenants will be protected under Just Cause eviction protections and the Oakland Rent Board will be strengthened.
The Committee to Protect Oakland Renters is a broad coalition of organizations and community members who are fighting for the future of Oakland. The Committee includes housing and tenant advocates, labor unions, and other community leaders.
Measure JJ supporters include:
Asian Pacific Environmental Network
California Nurses Association
Causa Justa::Just Cause
Communities for a Better Environment
East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy
East Bay Housing Organizations
Ella Baker Center
Oakland Community Organizations
Oakland Education Association
Oakland Tenants Union
Roots Community Clinic
SEIU Local 1021
Street Level Health Project
The fight over the Bay Area rents are expected to continue as long as the greedy landlords and realtors continue to gouge the renters with unreasonable rent increases, and displace thousands more with their eviction-for-profit schemes.
Lynda Carson may be reached at tenantsrule [at] yahoo.com