November 16, 2021 Meeting - Video Recording

California Democratic Renters Council

November 16, 2021 Membership Meeting


2. Approval of minutes (Motion Vinnie, 2nd Art, passed by voice vote)

3. Approval of agenda (Motion Igor, 2nd Art, passed, no objections, Agenda will be adjusted based on availability of elected officials attending)

4. Legislature Housing Tour Update (Assemblymember Mia Bonta between 7:30 and 8pm)

5. Assembly District 17 (East side of San Francisco) Special Election Candidate Forum (Northern CA Chair Igor Tregub)
- Featuring Matt Haney (in person) and David Campos (represented by Misha Steier)
View their questionnaire responses at https://www.cademrenterscouncil.org/endorsements/

Q1: Are you taking contributions from landlords, developers and realtors? If so, why?

Misha on behalf of David: David is not taking money from any corporate landlords, CA Apartment Association, or CA Association of Realtors.  Championing tenants requires that independence.  If individual landlord or realtor seeks to donate, David will make case by case choice on it.
Matt: When running for Supervisor, had a million dollars spent against.  Currently not taking money from the CA Apartment Association, CA Association of Realtors, corporate PACs, fossil fuels, Police Officers Association.  Not taking money from corporate landlords, but if individual landlord or realtor is donating will accept it.

Q2: Who are a few of your elected official endorsements who have strong pro-renter records?

Matt: Ash Kalra, Tony Thurmond, Lorena Gonzalez
Misha on behalf of David: SF Tenants Union, majority of SF Board of Supervisors, SEIU &  IFPTE locals, Tom Ammiano, Mark Leno

Q3: Did you support or oppose SB 9 and SB 10?  Do you agree with the peer-reviewed studies that demonstrate that new market rate housing lowers rents in the immediate area of the new construction and prevent displacement of vulnerable households without the financial capacity to pay higher rents to hold onto their homes? If not, why not?

Misha on behalf of David: David supports SB9 and SB10, did have concerns about lack of affordability.  It’s going to take more than incentivizing production to get out of the housing crisis.  David aligns with the Equitable Production principles.  There’s a role for private development but it cannot continue to exacerbate inequalities.  Protect tenants, produce more affordable housing to reverse legacy of racism.  We often get fixated on this one component but there are so many ways.

Matt: Supported SB9 and SB10, they were modest and necessary steps to allow housing to be built.  SB10 has opportunities to ensure there are affordability requirements.  Supervisor district 6 (Matt’s district in SF) built more housing, affordable housing than any other part of city.  Authored jobs-housing linkage fee increase on commercial office development, over $600,000,000 of additional money for affordable housing.  We also need to build market rate housing, and when we build it, we should fight for highest level of affordability.  Market rate housing has to be accompanied by acquisition of small sites to avoid displacement, and social housing.  

Q5: Would you author or support legislation that gives tenant a right to legal counsel during eviction, such as AB1487?

Misha on behalf of David: David endorsed Prop F in SF (Right to Counsel), would champion this issue.  

Matt: Absolutely would support.  Has represented tenants pro bono.  Funded right to counsel as Budget Chair on Board of Supervisors.  Supported Prop F.

Q6: How do you propose to speed up the creation of affordable rental housing, and what level of affordability would you target that at?

Matt: Have to make sure that half the housing we produce is affordable to people at less than median income.  Need more bonds: state, local, etc.  Lower threshold to pass bonds.  Change way we finance affordable housing, such as Social Housing.  We need to build for the workforce.  In SF, the fee on commercial development was increased, we need that statewide.  Market will not do it on its own.  Private development should have as high an inclusionary rate as possible, over 20%.  But that’s not enough.  We’re underbuilding, we also need public investment and ownership.

Misha on behalf of David: Severe deficit of affordable housing production.  Social housing will address the growing need of not just low income but also mid-moderate income.  Massive expansion of funding.  Income inequality is driving this crisis.  People are profiting from this crisis and we need to stop incentivizing that.  Need to take on the most powerful corporate interests.  Will require regional coalition building, solidarity across the board.

Q7: Which Labor endorsements have you received?
Misha on behalf of David: IFPTE Local 21, NUHW, Transport Workers 250A, Unite Here Local 2
Matt: CA Faculty Association, AFSCME 3299, SEIU Janitors Local 87, Teamsters, Operating Engineers, Carpenters, about 20 total

6. Housing Strike Force Update (Attorney General Rob Bonta) 8:28pm
- Announced last week
- Purpose is to make sure local jurisdictions comply with state law on housing production and tenant protection (such as AB1482 statewide just cause and anti-gouging law)
- Tenant roundtables will include tenant groups such as Tenants Together, ACCE, as well as tenant attornets

San Francisco one coming up first, will depend on when advocates are available. LA next.  Send list of people the AG should reach out to.
- Info that is useful for the AG to know: what are the most pressing challenges - what laws are being circumvented - what patterns and practices are there.  The AG office doesn’t have staff everywhere, but when they receive info, they can act.
- Housing Strike Force has a website to lodge complaints https://oag.ca.gov/housing  housing@doj.ca.gov   There can be monetary damages for violations of state housing law.  

- CA needs both more enforcement of existing tenant laws, and stronger tenant protection laws.
- Q: What can the AG’s office do to help people who are afraid of retribution from their landlords?  A: the Housing Strike Force page has a “know your rights” section.  AG office thinking of sending reminders to landlords of their duties and obligations to prevent it from happening in the first place.  

Endorsement vote

Ballots due Monday 11/22 11:59pm, Announce on Tuesday 11/23

7. Treasurer Report (Vinnie Bacon)

8. Secretary Report (Alfred Twu)

a) CADEM Executive Board Meeting (Platform/Resolutions/Legislation)
No legislation is being considered by the Legislation Committee at the November 2021 E-board
Notable bills passed in 2021

AB838 - Requires cities to inspect buildings when tenants file a complaint about habitability, Takes effect July 1, 2022

SB60 - Allows cities to have larger fines for illegal airbnbs

3 high priority tenant protection bills carried over to 2022

- AB854 (Ellis Act Reform)

- AB1199 (Tax on corporate landlords)

- AB1487 (Legal aid for tenants)

- All three are already endorsed by the CA Dem Party
Potential bills coming in 2022

- Statewide requirement for percentage of homes in private development to be affordable to low income (Statewide Inclusionary Requirement)

b) Bylaws Amendment
Bylaws amended to allow those under 18 as well as noncitizens to be full members:

Eligibility is now "the individual is a registered California Democrat, or are not currently registered with another political party and intend to register as Democrat when eligible"

Party Platform comments due Friday 11/19 at 5pm


Joint Subcommittee on Party Finance Comment Form (comment on who the party should or shouldn't take money from)



- Removing Barriers to Low Cost Housing

- Electrifying all new construction in California

- Help Keep Disabled Veterans in their Homes


9. Regional Reports:

a) Central CA Vice Chair (Arturo Rodriguez) - 8:54pm

-It’s been incredibly difficult to pass tenant protections locally in the Central Valley so we rely on state laws

- Guest speaker: Mayor Bryan Osorio from Delano.  In Delano, got emergency eviction protections passed, starting conversations on rent control, inclusionary zoning, and community land trusts.
Central Coast (Esther Malkin): Monterey is switching to district elections, working on candidate recruitment.

b) Southern CA Vice Chair (Andrew Lewis) - 9:02pm
- A couple weeks ago LA Board of Supervisors passed a motion to begin to phase out county eviction moratorium, would be catastrophic.  1 million rent burdened households, 540,000+ severely rent burdened.  A 90 day report is planned.  Efforts underway to push back.  In San Diego, the county moratorium expired.  ACCE held a rally for increased protections against no-fault evictions.  Creation of a $5 million legal aid fund by Mayor Todd Gloria.  
Pasadena (Ryan Bell) , Pasadena Tenants Justice Coalition is gathering signatures for charter amendment ballot initiative for rent control.  Canvassing every Saturday.  https://pasadenatenantjustice.org/wp/home/  Working with DSA LA, Ground Game LA.  Also working on fundraising.  Wants to know if Renters Council can help fundraise.
Los Angeles (Susie Shannon)  Huge victory on Election Night - St. Paul and Minneapolis each passed rent control measures.  St Paul’s includes vacancy control.  Also Michelle Wu elected mayor of Boston, ran on Rent Control platform.  LA does not have inclusionary zoning outside of redevelopment areas and the Transit Oriented Communities area.  Facing a uphill battle on this.  Huge homeless population but 70,000 units of vacant market rate housing.  Cities need requirements for affordable housing & homeless housing in General Plan Housing Elements (talk to your local electeds about this), inclusionary zoning, and vacancy tax.  Send signal to elected officials that it is no longer acceptable to rely only on incentives- need to have requirements.  

c) Northern CA Vice Chair (Igor Tregub) - 9:15pm
(Motion Susie, Andrew 2nd) to authorize the board to allocate up to $500 in support of Pasadena rent control campaign.  Chair: defer to board to consider at next meeting
Berkeley working on a Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) https://yes2topa.org/   Oakland, East Palo Alto, LA also considering it.  Could be statewide framework also.

Utilities such as PG&E and Sempra are trying to double the cost of solar and storage, including for tenants.  Petition drive in opposition is going on. https://www.savecaliforniasolar.org/sign-petition/ 

10. Tenant Report (Housing Now / Francisco Duenas) https://www.housingnowca.org/
- Housing Now coalition has been advocating for keeping tenants housed during pandemic

- Emergency rental assistance program - Federal funds now mostly administered by state rather than local.  

- Housing is Key Dashboard: https://housing.ca.gov/covid_rr/dashboard.html  Only 23% of the $5 billions  assistance requested has reached families.  

- Estimate is that only 55% of renters behind on rent have applied.  More outreach / education needed.

- Applying both provides funds and also provides an eviction defense.  Current state law does not allow landlords to move forward with eviction if renter has applied, however, some landlords are breaking the law, doing illegal lockouts, no-fault evictions such as substantial renovation or owner move-in.  

- Example of people falling through gaps: Referrals for legal aid were not responded to https://twitter.com/katewolffe/status/1459244460244553728?s=20
- AB1487 Legal aid bill was passed by legislature but vetoed by Governor since it did not have a budget allocation.  Gov wants it to be part of budget process.
- Recently did an action against a landlord that illegally threatened to call ICE
- We need more data on evictions.  A bill for that might come back.  Rent registries also proposed, latest one would apply to corporate landlords.
- “Ban the box” for housing bill, as well as ban on “crime free housing” ordinances which evict people.

- Bill to add housing status as protected class against eviction
- Bill to make housing a constitutional right in CA
- Contact fduenas@housingnowca.org to work on things.

11. CADEM Renters Council Action Items

a) Resolution - n/a

b) Legislation 

12. Adjourn regular meeting in memory of Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan, a champion for affordable housing and tenant rights.
(Motion Art, 2nd Imber)  adjourned at 9:38PM