Renters Council Post - Election Membership Meeting

Thursday, Nov. 17, 8pm

 Online at https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMlde-grTItH9D7-P2y7fdFvNwNvb94BOkz

 We will have a recap of the election results, hear from some of our endorsed candidates and ballot measure campaigns, and discuss some of the upcoming special elections. Note that we may move around the schedule as needed based on when guests are available.


1. Welcome

Board members present: Alfred, Art, Vinnie, Esther, Igor, Andrew, Monica

Excused: Mari

Other Members: 15

2. Approval of agenda

Motion Vinnie, 2nd Igor, approve by voice vote

3. Approval of minutes

Motion Andrew, 2nd Vinnie, approve by voice vote

4. Treasurer Report (Vinnie Bacon)

about $1500 in our account.

5. Secretary Report (Alfred Twu)

ADEM Elections candidate filing now through Dec 9, www.ademelections.com

Make sure slates have tenants on them, we make up half the state.

6. Tenant Report (Housing Now, Tenants Together / Francisco Duenas)

Housing Now had coalition retreat last week.  Working with tenant unions, labor unions, criminal justice reform organizations, etc - anyone working on housing justice.  

Across the US, only 2-7% of all elected officials are renters.  

2% of US senators

4% of Congress

5% of city councils

7% of state legislators

In LA, part of the recent city council scandal was councilmembers breaking up a tenant-heavy district to keep tenants from having representation.

Successes: Bills signed into law

SB1017 - Domestic violence survivors

AB1206 - Equitable taxation of community land trust

AB1837 - Foreclosed homes in community hands

SB679 - LA County Affordable Housing Agency

Successfully stopped the following bills: SB1133 (Removing rental housing from price gouging ban), AB2383 (flawed bill on criminal background checks), and AB2063 (modification to affordable housing fees)

Things added into the budget: Eviction legal services, healthy and heat resilient homes

Legislative Failures, may reintro in future

$500M community anti displacement program

$200M for re-entry housing program

AB2050 Ellis Act Reform

AB2203 banning credit checks

AB2713 clarifying just cause eviction protections

SB1324 - Rental debt practices ac

AB1850 - Public housing: unrestricted multifamily housing

SB490 - Housing acquisition and rehab technical assistance 

SCA9 - Housing as a constitutional right

AB1685 - Ticket relief for people living in cars

SB513 - Pet care in homeless shelters

Opposing AB2011 - Pet care in homeless shelters

Report from Tenants Together and Housing Now:

Housing and Health for All: humanimpact.org/housing4all

Upcoming goals for 2023-2024:

- Expand Just Cause Protections and Rent Control

- Social Housing: reaching consensus on how to define it

- Budget ask to enforce tenant protections and provide money for cities to implement tenant protections

- Budget ask for Community Anti Displacement and Preservation Program (CAPP)

- Anti Harassment law to protect tenants from landlord harassment

- Win demands from 1-2 statewide corporate landlords

- TOPA/COPA (Tenant/Community Opportunity to Purchase Act)


Ryan Bell from Tenants Together:

Tenants Together has recently hired a Central Valley organizer in Fresno, working on forming tenant union in Bakersfield, also working in Delano

Renter elected in LA for Supervisor

7. Regional Reports:

a) Central CA Vice Chair (Arturo Rodriguez)

Bryan Osorio, Mayor of Delano; Yolanda Chacon-Serna from Delano Guardians

- Housing affordability is a big issue in Central Valley.  Need policies to address inflation, price gouging. Delano has a lot of renters in both houses and multifamily units.  Having a discussion on Rent Control this Monday.  Many mulitgenerational households in Delano.

b) Northern CA Vice Chair (Igor Tregub)

Aisha Wahab - will be the only renter in the State Senate, joining Alex Lee and others in the CA Legislative Renters Caucus.  Apartment Association and Realtors spent $8 million opposing her in the election.  Contact Igor if you need to get in touch with Aisha.

Kate Harrison, Berkeley Vice Mayor:

- Berkeley and San Francisco both passed Vacancy Tax (both named Measure M).  The goal is to discourage Airbnb'ing or leaving of property vacant, 2nd homes, etc.

- Vacancy tax money will help fund TOPA/COPA to fund land trust purchase of vacant or mostly vacant buildings.

- Fake nonprofits have been purchasing senior housing, using tax credits / property tax exemptions and getting profit from the renovation work. ACCE, Tenants Together, etc working on this issue.  

Susie: on the flip side, there are some legit nonprofits building affordable housing that can't get the property tax exemption due to a cap in the state law - will connect with Kate on this issue. 

Tonya Love, Alameda County Democratic Party, Oakland council aide, Progressive Caucus:

- Oakland has passed a couple of great measures supporting tenants: Measure Q (Article 34 Authorization for building 13,000 low income / social housing units). Close to 80% voted Yes.  Measure U passed (funding for affordable housing), expansion of Just Cause measure to ban no-fault evictions of children and educators during school year, and also add protections to RV residents, people in newer buildings.  Also passed a rent registry.

Chance Cutrano, Fairfax vice mayor (Marin County):

- Over last 8 months, worked with a variety of organizations to pass rent control ordinance. 5% or 60% of CPI cap. Just Cause eviction protections also passed, including relocation payments, school year protections, etc. First in North Bay.  Smallest community in country to pass rent control so far.  Will be working on getting other nearby cities to join in, to get an economy of scale. Instead of a separate rent board, Town Council will be where hearings are held.

Esther: Monterey elected a new mayor who is interested in doing something similar to what Fairfax is doing, as a smaller community with limited resources.  Monterey is seen as the leader community in the region, could be first one to pass rent control and lead the way for other cities in the area.

Barisha Spriggs, My Eden Voice / Eden Renters United

Effort to bring rent control to unincorporated area. Including Just Cause, Rental Registry, Fair Chance, Rent Stabilization, Anti-Harassment, etc.  Alameda County Board of Supervisors only wants to consider Just Cause, Rental Registry, Fair Chance.  BoS meeting is Dec 6.  Having difficulty with some of the two conservative supervisors, and there is a 3rd supervisor incoming at end of year who is also less likely to vote for tenant rights. Going to try to get as much passed this year.

Monica Madrid, Sacramento area

ACCE is giving a "Turkey of the Year" "award" to Horn LLP - the contractor that sued to close the Rent Relief program. Tuesday November 22nd 12pm 400 Capitol Mall Sacramento, CA 95814

Sacramento City Council is moving more pro-tenant, likely to add 2 more pro-tenant councilmembers, for 4 out of 9.  

For unincorporated Sacramento - ACCE is also organizing, will send out info for calling into a Supervisor meeting soon.

c) Central Coast (Esther Malkin)

- Got a lot of pro tenant people elected into office in Monterey area

c) Southern CA Vice Chair (Andrew Lewis)

New Mayor elected in LA - Karen Bass

Pro Tenant councilmembers elected in North LA (Hugo), south/southeast LA (Eunisses), westside (Katie). Lindsey (a renter) won County Supervisor.  

Santa Monica did well: Caroline Torosis elected, is a renter and tenant champion. 2nd place and likely 3rd place is also a renter. Transfer tax passed.

Culver City: got 1, maybe 2 good people elected.

Measure ULA transfer tax passed, will bring in lots of money for housing.

LA has a big shift in electorate from mail in ballot, even year elections.

Kenneth Mejia elected to Controller, member of LA Tenants Union

Susie Shannon: Santa Monica passed a lower rent cap - capping increases to 3%, transfer tax.  Pasadena passed rent control (Measure H).  Big successes in other parts of the country also, for example Massachussets passed a Millionaires Tax

Ryan Bell, Pasadena Measure H: includes rent control, just cause, rent board, rent registry and rent rollback to May 2021.  Did ballot measure since 7 out of 8 councilmembers opposed rent control.  Realtors and landlords spent hundreds of thousands against Measure H, including hiring people to spread disinformation on social media. Winning by over 2000 votes, 5% spread.  

Measure H knocked most doors twice. Over 700 individual donors, raised $500,000 for signature and ballot campaigns.

8. Adjourn regular meeting in memory of former Berkeley councilmember Ying Lee