California Renter's Caucus

November 16, 2019

Joint meeting with California Young Democrats Environmental Caucus and Rural Caucus, 12:30-2:30pm

1. Renters Caucus portion of meeting preceeded by panel discussion on PG&E, the California Public Utilities Commission, public ownership of utilities, and the Green New Deal.

2. Renters Caucus portion of the meeting called to order at 1:15pm

3. Approval of Agenda

- Motion made by Alfred, 2nded by Andrew, passed unanimously by voice vote. 

4. Approval of Minutes from 8/24/2019 meeting at the E-Board Meeting in San Jose

- Motion made by Alfred, 2nded by Igor, passed unanimously by voice vote. 

5. Reports

Caucus Chartering (Mari) - we hope to have the E-Board vote on approving us as a caucus at the March 2020 meeting in Visalia.

NorCal (Igor): The governor has signed a State of Emergency Declaration, which puts into effect anti-gouging law that bans price increases of more than 10% on necessities.  This includes rent, and includes vacancy control.  Tenants facing higher increases can reach out to Tenants Together for assistance. 

Central (Art): The housing crisis in the Central Valley is getting more news coverage.  Corporate landlords are evicting entire buildings ahead of AB1482's protections going into effect on 1/1/2020, including a building in Madera with 30 families.

SoCal (Andrew): City of Los Angeles has elections coming up that will impact housing issues, such as what kind of development will be allowed in Downtown, Mid City, and the San Fernando Valley.  

At Large (Imber): the City of Alameda has finally opened a wellness center for homeless seniors.  It also provides resources for tenants at risk of displacement.  

6. CA Democratic Party Platform

- The CDP Platform (formally adopted the next day) has a few new additions on housing.  These include expanding affordable housing near jobs, demanding that disadvantaged communities hparticipate in city planning decision making, basing affordable housing rents on neighborhood median income instead of regional median income, and supporting public banks, land trusts, co-operative affordable housing.  

7. AB1482 Rent Cap / Anti Gouging Implementation

- AB1482 goes into effect on 1/1/2020.  In meantime, dozens of cities are passing emergency ordinances to prevent evictions before the bill goes into effect.  It ended up this way because there weren't enough votes in the legislature to have AB1482 be effective immediately.  

8. Rental Affordability Act ballot measure

- Representative from AIDS Healthcare Foundation / Housing is a Human Right gave an overview of the Rental Affordability Act ballot measure.  The RAA reforms Costa-Hawkins.  It would allow cities to expand strong rent control to more units and also implement some vacancy control.  

9. State Legislation

- Mobile homes were not covered by AB1482.  A bill to protect mobile home parks, AB705, is still pending in the legislature.

- Statewide rental property registry bill AB724 is also still pending. A registry would make enforcement of tenant protections much easier.

- Two zoning bills to allow more housing near jobs/transit are pending in the legislature, AB1279 and SB50.  There've been concerns raised about SB50.  

- Cities are currently restricted from building Public Housing by Article 34 of the California Constitution.  The legislature may place a ballot measure on the November 2020 to repeal Article 34.

10. Panel Discussion

The CA Young Dems Environmental Caucus had a panel discussion on housing.  Topics covered included:

- Jobs-Housing balance.

- Difficulty finding places to build affordable housing.  70% of Los Angeles bans apartments.

- Need funding to preserve affordability at older affordable housing where agreements are expiring.

- Potential change in funding policy could make it harder to fund rehab of older affordable housing

- Switching existing buildings from natural gas to electric, for environmental and safety reasons.

- Construction has a shortage of workers, many people retired or changed careers after the 2008 recession.  How to work with unions to build up workforce.

- Cities with rent control still face gentrification as rich people find ways to beat the system.