Renters Council Membership Meeting

Sunday, August 13, 7:30-9:30pm

Recording Index:

0:41 Approval of Agenda

1:22 Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) presentation from Berkeley

- Councilmember Kate Harrison and Chris Schildt from PolicyLink

19:12 Legislation Update 

- Francisco Duenas from Housing Now

- SB567 Tenant Protection Bill 20:20

- SB555 Social Housing Bill 24:45

29:46 Approval of Minutes of May 2023 Membership Meeting

31:42 Treasurer's Report - Vinnie Bacon

33:16 Carolyn Fowler, CADEM Controller, update on Campaign Finance Compliance Training

34:29 Secretary's Report - Alfred Twu

34:51 Justice for Renters Act presentation from Susie Shannon

39:36 Q&A on TOPA Act

40:58 NorCal Update - Igor Tregub

- Oakland update from Councilmember Dan Kalb 42:54

- Sacramento Update from Monica Madrid 45:03

- Sacramento Forward coalition for tenant and labor protections and affordable housing funding 45:29

- Sacramento Tenant Anti-Harassment Ordinance 48:07

- Unincorporated Alameda County tenant protection campaign update from Barisha Spriggs 50:08

52:57 Central CA Update - Art Rodriguez

- Delano Rent Control Campaign update from Councilmember Veronica Vasquez 53:51 

- Central Coast Updates from Esther Malkin 59:23

- Monterey increases city council stipends 59:56

- Working with county officials on renters issues 1:01:21

- Partnership with Marina Tenants Association 1:04:00

- Farmworker renter displacement in Tulare County 1:04:47

- Farmworker housing evictions and immigration intimidation in Central Valley - update from Mari Perez-Ruiz 1:05:56

- Meeting with Congresswoman Barbara Lee 1:07:17

- Delano rent control ballot measure 1:07:40

- Voter Registration campaign 1:09:50

- Tenant organizing in Madera 1:11:00

- Central Valley housing situation and importance of Justice for Renters Act 1:12:26

1:14:38 Southern California Update - Ryan Bell

- Cudahy Rent Control implementation - update and summary from Councilmember Elizabeth Alcantar 1:15:07

- Barrington Plaza fight against Ellis Act renoviction - update from Larry Gross 1:20:45

- Burbank tenant protection campaign - update from Councilmember Nick Schultz 1:30:25

- Pomona tenant protections 1:33:14

- Keep LA Housed coalition, linking tenant protections with preventing homelessness 1:33:55

1:36:23 Renters Council Legislator Scorecard - Annie Koruga

1:41:42 Fighting back against renter-unfriendly Solar and Utility Taxes - Igor Tregub

- 1:42:35 CPUC wants to take away savings from solar

- 1:45:09 Utility tax

1:48:06 Candidate Speeches, 2 minutes each

- Sean Frame for AD6

- Nick Schultz for AD44

- Vinnie Bacon for Fremont Mayor (Nov 2024)

- Dan Kalb for SD7

- Sade Elhawary for AD57

- Veronica Vasquez for Kern County Supervisor D4

2:00:56 Adjourn 


1. Call to Order
Present: Mari, Art, Alfred, Monica, Ryan, Susie, Esther, Igor, Vinnie, Larry, Annie + 30 members

2. Approval of Agenda Art, Igor, Passed by voice vote

3. Presentation on Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) with Kate Harrison, Berkeley City Councilmember and Chris Schildt from PolicyLink

TOPA is an anti-displacement policy where tenants are given the right and time to work together and/or with a nonprofit, to make an offer to buy their home when their building is about to be sold.

Learn more at www.Yes2topa.org

Petition to support: https://www.change.org/p/pass-topa-in-berkeley-now?utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=custom_url&recruited_by_id=75ef4230-edc4-11ec-bc52-d393af78fe78

7. Legislation Update from Francisco Dueñas from Housing Now! (7:50pm)
- Legislature returns from recess 8/14
- Top Priorities: 

SB567 (Durazo)- This bill started as a much broader affordability bill to lower the rent cap. Was amended to get the votes to pass in the Senate.  Still includes closing of loopholes around no-fault evictions. For example:
- Requiring permits to be issued before a landlord can evict to do a substantial renovation.
- Closing loopholes used to abuse owner move-ins, requiring owner live there at least a year.
- Would ban landlords from using the Ellis Act to only remove 1 unit in a building from the market.
- More robust enforcement, including private right of action, and public right of action so cities can bring landlords to court. 

Will be heard in Assembly Appropriations on Wednesday 8/16, and likely to go to suspense file due to costs associated with increased court expenses, with hearing on Sept 1. Lobby visits and tweetstorms going on.

SB555 (Wahab) - Social Housing Plan, Stable and Affordable Housing - could include public housing, co-ops, land trusts, nonprofits. This bill would create a plan to ramp up production of these types of housing. SB555 is currently also in Assembly, will have appropriations hearing and then suspense file.  Other social housing bills include SB584 from Labor, to create a funding source, and AB309 from Alex Lee, which would create a social housing agency and pilot projects. Need to make sure social housing has a mix of income with upfront investment for low and moderate income communities.

4. Approval of May 2023 Minutes, Art motion and Igor 2nd, unanimous voice vote

5. Treasurer's Report, Vinnie 8:03pm
We have $5,293.95 Igor motion to accept report, Art 2nd, unanimous voice vote
- CADEM is holding a training on compliance and financial reporting at Visalia EBoard

6. Secretary's Report, Alfred
Become a member at https://www.cademrenterscouncil.org/become-a-member

We will be doing endorsements soon. Candidates can fill out form at www.cademrenterscouncil.org by Aug 23

8. Justice for Renters Act ballot measure (Susie Shannon) (8:06pm)

The Justice for Renters Act removes the ban on rent control in California, giving local communities the right to stabilize rents and make apartments more affordable for low-income and middle-income renters. https://justiceforrenters.org/

Endorse it at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfhmBjUDF9HYi2iYS8nDg9VQtJ_QHcD1EmaGN07Ys3K_3aa9w/viewform
Currently looking for organizations, elected officials, and party members to endorse.  It will come before the party next year. 98% of E-Board supported Prop 10, unanimous support for Prop 21, which were similar measures.
- There was a press conference in Oakland attended by several of our members
- There will be a press conference in Visalia during E-board on Saturday 8/19
- Betty Toto is also working on this ballot measure

9. NorCal Updates (8:13pm) - Igor

- Updates from Oakland Councilmember Dan Kalb on Oakland tenant protections

- Sacramento update from Monica

- Two big votes coming up Tuesday 8/15 at City Council legislation committee.

- Limit rent increases to rate of regional income growt
- Expand Sacramento tenant protections, rental housing inspections
- Prevent corporate property purchases
- Stop the race to the bottom on wages so that workers can afford to live in the housing they are building. This would include technical assistance for contractors.
- 2024 ballot measure for affordable housing and other funding.

Learn more at https://www.sacfwd.org/

- Alameda County updates from Barisha Spriggs from My Eden Voice, representing unincorporated areas with population of over 160,000 people.  Alameda County Just Cause ordinance was rejected. However, MEV has partnered with East Bay Housing Organizations (EBHO) has released a report on the issues in unincorporated areas. Was covered in news in early August.

10. Central Updates (8:24pm)

- Central Valley
- Updates from Delano Councilmember Verónica Vázquez. Intro’d rent control to Delano, and had a vote on it.  Didn’t pass yet, due to stall tactics from opposition.  Currently waiting to hear from FPPC if city councilmembers who are landlords are able to vote on it or if they need to recuse.  In the meantime, working on getting more data on the need and numbers.

Delano has a lot of farmworkers making very low wages, and only have work part of the year. Delano is 2nd largest community in Kern County. Many people having to leave, or double up to afford rent, which has been going up.  Veronica will be running for Kern County Board of Supervisors District 4, which represents a district that includes all the Latino working class rural areas but also the richest 5% of the county. Homes now cost $400,000 in Delano, but people are making minimum wage only part of the year, LA developers came in and bought up houses.

- Central Coast (Esther) 8:30pm
- Spreading the word on the Justice for Renters ballot measure with Monterey County Democratic Central Committee, elected officials.
- MCDCC is committed to a GOTV campaign focused on renters.  

- Monterey to raise city council pay, so that ordinary people can afford to run and serve on city council. Previous election had two unopposed elections. Stipends hadn’t been raised for 25 years. With bigger stipend, someone who was working 2 jobs could afford to drop 1 of them and make it up with the larger stipend.

- County official outreach: Working on getting data on number of renters, number of evictions, to have the conversations.
- Working with Marina Renters association representing 500+ renters.
- Alan Haffa, a tenant-friendly councilmember, is running for Monterey County Supervisor D5

Central Valley (Mari)
- Domestic farmworkers in USDA housing are being evicted to make room for temporary guestworkers.  They had been living there for 10+ years, and are also being threatened with immigration enforcement.  For example DACA recipients were given 3-day notices, threatened to not be able to get legal status if they did not leave. Mari had meeting with Congresswoman Barbara Lee, asked for federal investigation on these unlawful evictions at USDA housing.
- Delano: working with Housing Now attorney Leah Simon-Weisberg on 2024 rent control ballot measure. Asking for a maximum increase of 70% of consumer price index, legal services, stronger protections for section 8. Rural Justice Alliance coalition of 5 organizations, current and former UFW organizers, youth, indigenous families
- Voter reg campaign for renters started with staff and volunteers.
- Madera: work to prevent displacement, tenant organizing. We have support of some of the councilmembers, who had also helped out previously 

- Important to pass Justice for Renters and remove Costa-Hawkins limits on local rent control, since most CV housing is single family houses, currently cannot be rent controlled.

Time extended to 9:30pm

11. SoCal Updates (8:45pm) - Ryan

- Updates from Elizabeth Alcantar, Cudahy City Councilmember
- Cudahy is a 80% renter city. For long time though renters werent getting what they needed since they weren’t represented. 5-year journey to recruit candidates and win a progressive majority to get rent control. 

- The recently won rent control started with ad hoc committee with councilmembers, renters, and landlords to work out the details. Negotiations of what’s included, inside/outside cooperative governance strategy with environmental justice, reproductive justice groups that had been doing organizing on housing. Took many iterations. We got rent control 3% limit, just cause, relocation assistance of 3-4 times monthly rent. Also included a 6-month rent increase freeze.  Women led the fight. News coverage: https://www.kcrw.com/news/shows/greater-la/housing-james-kim-oc/southeast-la-rent-control

Questions? You can follow up at liz@elizabethalcantar.com 

- Update on Barrington Plaza Ellis Act Renovictions (Larry Gross from Coalition for Economic Survival) (8:51pm)
- Hundreds of tenants on westside of LA facing bogus evictions. In May 2023, Barrington plaza tenants got eviction notice from landlord, who had been trying to get them out for over 3 years. Billionaire landlord had spent $400,000 in elections to try to influence city council and get an exemption. 

- Landlord trying to use Ellis Act not to permanently go out of business (that’s what the law is supposed to be for), but to renovate, put in sprinklers, and then bring in higher paying renters. Has been reducing services, harassing tenants.
- There is a strong tenants union organized. Have wide support of LA area renters orgs, Former Councilmember Mike Bonin, LA Tenants Union, DSA-LA, POWER, Ground Game LA, Unite Here Local 11 and other groups have also been deeply engaged in fighting these evictions. Tenants have also filed lawsuit challenging the evictions. Housing is a Human Right has helped them hire some of the best eviction lawyers. Senator Allen also contributed funding. Going to judge on 8/15 on whether evictions will be stayed pending result of court case.  This case will have huge impact for state. If landlord wins and can use Ellis to renovict, every rent controlled tenant will have a bullseye on their back.  AG Bonta has not yet gotten involved, but he could, and it would be welcomed.  Need help so that tenants can win. You can support at https://www.bptenants.org/  

- News articles have come out on how LA and Bay Area housing crisis spilling over into Central Valley. Tenants Together recently hired a Central Valley coordinator.

- Burbank Tenants Union showed up to a marathon council meeting, study session on AB1482 and rent control that went past 1AM.  Councilmember Nick Schultz: intro’d ordinance based on SB567. Looking at issues such as what the cap would be, rent board, whether to do a charter amendment. Looking for support to keep the pressure on and the momentum going.
- Pomona passed an emergency rent control and just cause ordinance last year, currently working on a permanent ordinance. Council Meeting to codify it is on 8/14
- Keep LA Housed is meeting with Karen Bass to emphasize the connection between tenant insecurity and homelessness. Tenant protections essential to reduce the number of people becoming homeless.

- Santa Monica recently passed ballot measure to limit recent increases during times of high inflation, LA needs to do this also

12. Proposed Renters Council Legislature Scorecard (Annie Koruga) (9:07pm)

- This is a scorecard on current legislators' voting record on tenant protection bills.
- Will be measuring on how well Dem legislators vote on legislation we have supported, whether they co-sponsor bills. Renters Council board will vote on formula. We’ll have a scorecard committee to track votes
- Separate process from endorsement process

13. Impacts of Utility Tax and proposed changes to solar for renters (Igor Tregub) (9:13pm)

Motion and 2nd to join Energy for Renters, Not Corporations campaign. Art move, Emily B 2nd, approved by voice vote unanimous

Fact sheet: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ND07V6BuSZYluClrHV8MjbLBsgshoS4xdeJmZ5Dcfsw/edit . Join the Energy for Renters, Not Corporations campaign: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdq-b0k114bONmmcpo05ih3OLJs2BC5CllXMWl4vXzXc7gbJg/viewform . Contact igor@reimagine-power.com withny questions - or if you’re willing to do a media quote!  Igor can also do presentations to organizations, takes about 25 minutes.

14. Candidate Speeches - 2 min each (9:19 pm)

- Sean Frame for AD6
- Nick Schultz for AD44
- Vinnie Bacon for Fremont Mayor (Nov 2024)
- Dan Kalb for SD7
- Sade Elhawary for AD57
- Veronica Vasquez for Kern County Supervisor D4

15. Adjourned at 9:31pm Art, 2nd Barisha S, unanimous vote