California Democratic Renters Council (formerly California Renters Caucus)


July 24, 2020 4-5pm


Chair Mari Perez-Ruiz

Treasurer and Central Vice Chair Arturo Rodriguez

Secretary Alfred Twu

Northern Vice Chair Igor Tregub

Southern Vice Chair Andrew Lewis

Officer at Large Imber Anakata

Tentative Agenda

4:00 pm Roll Call
Called to order at 4:02. All officers present, Igor joined at 4:10.

4:02 pm Approval of Agenda
Art move, Imber 2nd, all approved

4:04 pm Approval of Minutes from November 16, 2019

See next page for minutes
Art move, Imber 2nd, all approved

Update on Chartering / Officers Report

Treasurer’s Report

We are official with the IRS now, we have an EIN number. We are working on opening bank account. FPPC is still pending, form and fee has been sent to FPPC, waiting for them to process is. As soon as that’s ready we’ll have an account as California Democratic Renters Council.

Chair’s Report

We started a couple years back as Renters Caucus. Now we are Democratic Renters Council since we are chartering as a Statewide Chartered Organization. After a number of meetings including with CA Dem Party chair Rusty Hicks, we’ve decided that getting 80% of what we want now is better than nothing, we still have option to become caucus in future.

Main difference between a SCO and a Caucus is that we have to do our own accounting and reporting. We also can endorse candidates separate from the party.

We’ll be zooming in to the CA Dem Organization Development Committee hearing Saturday 7/25, 1-3pm, hopefully we’ll come out of the E-Board provisionally chartered pending completion of FPPC filing and bank account opening.

4:10 pm Prop 21 Rent Control ballot measure (Rene Moya from AHF)

Partial Repeal of Costa Hawkins

We’ve been working on this for more than a year now. Started polling, focus groups, digital ads, and cable and broadcast TV ads late last year. Recently did a couple of tests for field to see what works.

We feel prepared to make the case that now is the time to expand rent control in CA, Real Rent Control with vacancy control in the cities that most need it. Recently got endorsed by AFSCME California, ACLU SoCal. Meeting with SEIU and other unions right now.

COVID19 has delayed a few things such as CDP endorsement and union endorsement, which originally would have happened in Spring in a normal year.

We just got new official ballot title and summary that we’re happy with, it’s better than the one from 2018. CDP will take up endorsement this weekend. Need support to let everyone know that we need to act.

In the last couple of months, CA Apartment Association has been going around telling cities they can’t do rent freezes due to Costa-Hawkins. CAA has also been claiming they are passing protections for renters. Make the pitch to E-Board members.

Q: explain how Prop21 is different from Prop10

A: It’s very much in the same spirit but makes concessions to address concerns from a couple years ago. It’s not a full repeal, but it “takes away 90-95% of the worst effects of Costa Hawkins”. Prop 21 has new construction exemption for first 15 years after a building is built. No city has ever tried to rent control brand new buildings, but it was an easy attack from the other side. The other change is that landlords who are natural persons who own up to 2 homes, their single family homes are exempt. So that vacation homes wouldn’t be effected. Exempts 80-90% of homeowners but still covers corporate landlords that have bought lots of houses. 3rd exemption is allowing a modest vacancy increase - a 15% increase if landlord hasn’t raised rent more than what rent control allows in last 3 years.

4:20 pm Legislation Update (Francisco Duenas from Housing Now)

Statewide Housing Advocacy Coalition, incl labor, tenant unions, public policy groups, affordable housing nonprofits. 2 years ago we were spearheading the campaign for Prop 10, as well as administrative advocacy.

AB1436 COVID eviction moratorium. A David Chiu bill. It’s a gut-and-amend bill, currently in Senate. Has not yet been heard in committee. Will be going to Senate Judiciary Committee on August 12. Addresses issue of renters who haven’t been able to pay rent due to COVID since their jobs closed. We’re worried that once the temporary protections against eviction are listed, these tenants will lose their homes.

Today we heard that the Judicial Council (policy making body of CA courts) are looking at rescinding the rule that currently has halted evictions in CA.

Super urgent. AB1436 states that any unpaid rent due from start of State of Emergency through either 4/30/2021 or 90 days after end of SOE, cannot be grounds for eviction. Gives tenants a year after that to pay it before it’s considered to be in default. Also provides provisions for tenants and landlords to reach individual agreements. We have over 150 orgs signed on including CA Fed of Labor, etc.

AB1703 to give tenants/nonprofits opportunity to purchase when building sold. Also a response to COVID. Did a first round of visits with legislators. Remember how in 2008 a lot of homes were foreclosed, or smol landlords exited the rental market, and got bought up by corporate landlords? The idea behind AB1703 is to prevent that.

Statewide Right of First Refusal for tenants to purchase their homes if landlord wants to exit rental market. They can collaborate with nonprofit or city government. The idea is that all these purchases will expand the stock of affordable housing as they’ll agree not just to purchase the home, but to keep it permanently affordable, such as through a land trust.

Senate Judiciary is not planning to bring this bill up for a vote this year. The truncated legislative season is causing a lot of bills to go on hold. We will need support of this bill go forward in 2020 when a new bill is reintroduced.

SB899 affordable housing on land owned by faith-based organizations and private non-profit colleges. (Does not include CSU/UC, but does include Stanford, Santa Clara University, etc), Bill by Senator Wiener

A lot of land owned by these institutions are not zoned for residential. These institutions see the need to provide affordable housing. Applies to 100% affordable housing, makes it CEQA exempt. Housing Now has endorsed. There are many parcels especially in cities.

SB1085 by Senator Skinner, is a bill to build housing for moderate income, which is needed. However the challenge/concern is how it changes the density bonus incentive structure. Right now if a building contains some low income housing, it gets incentives. SB1085 would give equal incentives for moderate income housing. So developers would include moderate income instead of low income housing since the incentives would be the same. The bill also removes the opportunity for cities to charge developer fees on some of the bonus units which they currently can do, annual impact of about $50 million dollars less for affordable housing. Housing Now taking an Oppose Unless Amended position, requesting 2 specific amendments.

It needs to be amended so that moderate income housing doesn’t come at the expense of low income housing.

4:36pm Call to Action by Igor

Prop 21 will be heard at 10am at CA DEM Resolutions Committee. Put up a virtual background for Prop 21!

Legislation Committee is also tomorrow starting at 10am.. Alfred submitted a number of bills including AB1436.

4:38 pm Regional Updates
SoCal: LA county tenant protections. Right now there’s a Tenant Protection Ordinance for unincorporated LA County. Currently there’s a rent freeze in LA County for rent controlled housing, incl mobile homes, and cannot charge late fees. Bans on no-fault evictions, unauthorized occupants not on lease and pets are also protected, and moratorium on evictions due to non-payment due to COVID, medical expenses, childcare expenses, or from local health orders to shelter in place. Tenants must notify landlord within 7 days in writing. Tenants have 12 months after lifting of emergency order to make up rent, and landlords cannot charge interest or require a repayment plan.

Central Valley: we’ve been working on lifting the voices of local elected officials championing this issue. We’ve been doing voter education and working with a group of younger elected official in Porterville, county of Tulare, Delano, Farmersville. We’re at point of supporting local governments on passing rent control and other protections such as eviction moratoriums. 17 local elected officials have endorsed Prop 21. It’s a big deal for a place where rent control is being called “a radical Berkeley idea”.

NorCal: Right to Cancel Lease ordinance passed in Berkeley, TOPA (Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act) being worked on, similar to AB1703.

Mountain View passed Rent Control in 2016. Landlords have been trying to repeal it ever since. In 2018 they failed to qualify for ballot, but the “sneaky repeal” is on the ballot for 2020. The sneaky repeal would suspend rent control if vacancy rate exceeds 3%.
Alameda is putting on the ballot repeal of 1970s Measure A, which redlined the city of Alameda. Goal is to remove racist housing policy from the city charter that banned apartments in most of the city. Imber has also been working on the campaign to repeal Alameda’s 1970s Measure A.

4:48pm Update from Rob Bonta

Working with Asm. Chiu on AB1436. If you have other initiatives you want help on, excited to work on it. In Alameda, the 1970s Measure A has long been a 3rd rail, when he was vice mayor, Bonta worked on loosening some of its restrictions. Alameda hasn’t built it’s share of affordable housing. Times have changed, it’s a different Alameda from 10, 20 years ago. It’s changed for the better. The city council put Measure A repeal on the ballot. 4 out of 5 voted for it.

4:55 pm Candidate speeches /etc

Jenny Bach, CDP secretary says hi!

Adjourned 4:58pm

Meeting Minutes
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.