California Democratic Renters Council

August 24, 2021

General Membership Meeting


Board members present:

Alfred, Mari, Arturo, Vinnie, Alireza, Monica, Igor, Andrew, Imber, Susie
39 total attendees

Kevin de Leon (Los Angeles City Councilmember, D14)
- 165,000 people experiencing homeless in CA, 66,000 in LA county, many in KdL’s city council district.  Potential tsunami of more people experiencing homeless if the eviction moratorium ends.  We got 2nd tranche of money to make tenants whole, still not enough.  3rd tranche is pending.  Vast majority of unhoused people are that way for economic reasons.
Working on 25 by ‘25 - 25,000 new affordable units, rehab, new build, etc.

Rob Bonta (CA Attorney General)
- Working on enforcing anti-gouging laws, tenant protection laws, eviction moratorium laws, etc.  Mari is in contact if you have an issue to bring up.  Setting up a committee around tenant issues, bringing in groups that worked on passing AB1482.  Also set up a group on building housing and making sure its affordable, going after local jurisdictions not building their fair share.
- City attorney vs AG role in enforcing law?  Cities focus on local laws, State focus on state laws such as AB1482
- Supports tenant right to counsel.  A legislative proposal that needs budget as well.
- “There are some areas we can enforce existing laws, and some areas we need to build more laws”

Miguel Santiago (Assemblymember, AD53)
- State moratorium is tougher and further reaching than Federal moratorium.
- When pandemic hit, we pushed for Judicial Council to act quickly since legislature takes longer.  Expected it to be weeks to months, though now it may go to mid-late 2022.
- For bills to be implemented immediately, it takes 2/3 of the legislature.  Earlier, the stronger bill (AB3088) did not have enough votes, so Legislature moved forward with SB91 (budget trailer bill) to extend moratorium along with covering 80% of back rent.  Back then we were expecting a huge budget deficit, but then things turned around as 1) high earners made a lot in 2020, paid lots of state taxes, and 2) Biden took office and provided federal money.  The federal money allowed AB832 to get through, which is the current law.  $5.2 Billion of rent and utility assistance, covering 100% of back rent for people with low income (80% of median or less).  HousingIsKey.com
- Current moratorium ends 9/30, what’s next?  Formal introduction of bill hasn’t started yet, but there is recognition of this.
- Funds allocated have been taking a long time to be distributed.  At current rate, it would take 80 weeks to release all the money.  Application is being simplified.

Alex Lee (Assemblymember, AD25)
- We face a huge power imbalance in legislature, for example on extending the moratorium until the pandemic is over.  Next year we have other bills to address other housing issues, such as the Social Housing bill.  There’s a lack of affordable housing and we can’t only rely on private development, we also need Social Housing.  

- SB9 & SB10 - are modest ways to build duplexes,smaller homes, more options for housing.   Does not believe that it hurts affordable housing, especially in areas that have restricted housing for poor people.  At the same time, it’s not a silver bullet either.  We have to make up for the last few decades when very little changed.  Social housing could also take advantage of laws that change zoning.
- Currently in process of drafting a social housing bill, leading up to hearing in January.

Board Intros Part 2 - Susie Shannon, Alfred Twu, Arturo Rodriguez, Igor Tregub, Esther Malkin, Andrew Lewis, Mari Perez-Ruiz.  (Imber mic not working)

Renters Reject the Recall Campaign - Updates from Igor and Esther
- the polling is still very close - within 1%.  Close enough that phonebanking, canvassing enough to swing the vote.  Republicans want $0 minimum wage, ship unhoused people out of California.
We are holding Slay the Recall Phonebanks with the Environmental Caucus - Tuesdays 5-7 pm: https://www.mobilize.us/cadems/event/407491/   More events at mobilize.us/cadems

Bylaws Update to extend membership to those not yet able to register to vote

Formal update of the bylaws to give full voting rights to those who are not yet registered as Democrats, but intend to as soon as eligible (such as immigrants who are not citizens yet, or people under 18). Exact text of bylaws change:

Revise Article II, Section C. 1, to "1. Membership and full voting rights shall be open to all individuals who meet these membership requirements: a. the individual is a registered California Democrat, or who intend to register when eligible."

Susie amendment: modify to “or are not currently registered with another political party and intend to register as Democrat when eligible
Motion Arturo, 2nd Susie. Passed by voice vote.

Legislation (Susie)
Two Year Bills - didn’t make it out of Housing Committee this year, but will have another chance by end of January 2022
- AB387 Social Housing
- AB1068 Prefab Modular Housing and Adaptive Reuse for Low Income Housing
- AB854 Repeal of Ellis Act

Currently pending
AB1487 Tenant legal assistance / Right to counsel / homelessness prevention.  Top priority of Housing Now.  Currently in Senate up for vote.
AB721 Making density restrictions in covenants unenforceable if building affordable housing.
AB838 Habitability complaints
AB1304 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing
SB344 Grant for shelters for pets
SCA2 Repeal article 34 (the requirement for local governments to vote on affordable housing)
SB10 & 9 passed Senate, SB10 passed Assembly, SB9 is likely up for a vote this week.  SB9 has been amended that one of the units needs to be owner occupied for 3 years.  SB10 has had local control amended into it.

Kevin de Leon passed ordinance in LA to distribute all pandemic rent assistance by October 31.  Recommend other cities replicate this ordinance.

Motion to extend by 10 min, Igor. Esther 2nd.

Resolutions update - Alfred
Resolution opposing UC demolishing rent controlled homes without replacement - passed Alameda County, headed to state party
Resolution on zoning, affordability etc - passed Alameda County, state party holding it over to November to see which bills pass this year before deciding what to focus on for next year.

Motion to adjourn Art, Esther 2nd, passed by voice vote.