A master-plan is needed to support renter protections in Northern California, & elsewhere
By Lynda Carson — October 24, 2015
Oakland — Renters are in support of renter protections, including rent control, and just cause eviction protections throughout Northern California, as a way to stop the mass displacement of the working class, and school teachers, construction workers, store clerks, city workers, union members, veterans, the elderly, disabled, and families with children.
Strong renter protections and a master plan (blueprint) to meet the goals of protecting our communities, will help to stop the abuse of greedy landlords, profiteers, and realtors involved in the eviction-for profit-system that destabilizes our communities.
In Oakland, the housing crisis is being ignored by city officials. Renters cannot count on Mayor Libby Schaaf, or the City Council to pass stronger renter protection measures including a tough rent control program that requires all rental units to be registered, anti-harassment laws with criminal penalties, and laws to prohibit Airbnb from operating in Oakland.
In fact, Oakland officials have done everything possible to displace renters by throwing out the red carpet to profiteers, speculators, carpet baggers, and wall street realtors planning to build thousands of apartments and condos that most Oaklanders’ cannot afford to live in, or buy. These same politicians refuse to pass strong renter protections needed to protect our diverse communities in Oakland.
Oakland has the second fastest-rising rents in the nation, passing the pace of San Francisco’s rent increases, and coming in second behind the rent increases occurring in Denver. The rents in Oakland have climbed over 12.1 percent since 2014. Slumlords, greedy landlords, profiteers, speculators, and nefarious realtors reign supreme in Oakland, who are protected by local and state politicians that are in the pockets, of big money.
Renters in Oakland, San Francisco, Richmond, Alameda, San Jose, San Mateo, Santa Rosa, Healdsburg, and Mountain View are currently pushing for renter protections in each of these cities.
Rent control, or rent stabilization in California as it is also known, exists in the cities of Berkeley, Beverly Hills, Campbell, East Palo Alto, Fremont, Hayward, Los Angeles, Los Gatos, Oakland, Palm Springs, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Monica, Thousand Oaks, and West Hollywood.
Nothing short of strong renter protections in the Bay Area can protect our communities, and Tenants’ Together, a nonprofit organization that supports renter protections in California has done a wonderful job to help make this possible with their “Rent Control Tool Kit” that renters in different cities can download to use as a way to protect their communities. This is democracy in action.
Click on the link below for the “Rent Control Tool Kit” to see what the options are for your community… http://org2.salsalabs.com/o/5247/p/salsa/web/common/public/signup?signup_page_KEY=9307
Asides from the Rent Control Kit that is available for local communities, there is no Tenant Insurgency Group (TIG) that has surfaced with a comprehensive strategy being implemented in the Northern California Bay Area Region (NCBAR). The lack of commitment, funds, unity, and comprehensive strategy for renters to eliminate threats of displacement in the NCBAR by anti-tenant organizations such as CAA, CAR, Airbnb, and wealthy property owners, results in a safe-haven for slumlords, greedy landlords, profiteers, speculators and shady realtors, to operate in throughout the NCBAR.
The NCBAR safe-haven being protected and shielded by corrupt politicians in the pocket of big money, has fueled a tenant insurgency in the NCBAR that is against the eviction-for profit-system. The movement has been growing rapidly, and making it’s voice heard, but the tenant insurgency lacks a comprehensive strategy to defeat it’s enemies, and claim victory.
Until a comprehensive strategy exists in the NCBAR, well-intentioned individuals in various elements continue to struggle in their efforts to assist renters from being displaced from their communities. The lack of strong renter protections, extremely high rent increases and the eviction-for profit-system, have overwhelmed the efforts of well-intentioned individuals trying to keep families in their housing, that are under attack by the anti-tenant entities involved in the mass displacement of renters, in the NCBAR.
This can be done by creating Tenant Insurgency Groups (TIGs) as a revolutionary guard to counter the negative effects of the anti-tenant groups, including the California Apartment Association (CAA), and the California Realtors Association’s (CAR) involvement in the eviction-for profit-system, and their efforts to block renter protections from taking effect throughout California.
A Comprehensive Strategy Is Needed To Solve The Housing Crisis
RECOMMENDATION #1: The Tenant Insurgency Groups (TIGs) must develop and coalesce around a comprehensive strategy designed to meet a set of clearly defined goals for the Northern California Bay Area Region (NCBAR). In accordance with proven insurgency methods and principals, the strategy needs to be regional in breadth, locally tailored and adhered to by all tenant groups operating in the NCBAR. Presently, none of these principals are being followed by the TIGs in the NCBAR.
The renters and TIGs already know that their main goal among others, is to have strong renter protections in place to stop the mass displacement of the working class, and school teachers, construction workers, store clerks, city workers, union members, veterans, the elderly, disabled, and families with children, from their communities.
These prioritized goals will serve to guide decision-making as a result of resource constraints, and will allow for all renters, well-intentioned individuals, TIGs, and their supporters to find common purpose in defeating the anti-tenant entities involved in the mass displacement of families in our communities.
The main primary goal is to eliminate the displacement threat to renters emanating from the safe-havens and anti-tenant organizations operating in the NCBAR. The goal is to create secure environments maintained through stable governance in order to prevent any further displacement of the working class, and school teachers, construction workers, store clerks, city workers, union members, veterans, the elderly, disabled, and families with children, from their housing, and communities.
RECOMMENDATION #2: In order to implement a regional comprehensive strategy to stop the displacement of members from their communities, the TIGs and their supporters should appoint and actively support an NCBAR based Special Coordinator, for TIG efforts in the NCBAR.
A Special Coordinator position is necessary in the NCBAR to bring regional efforts together. The Special Coordinator’s mission will be to bring TIGs under the overall strategy, solicit and maintain regional support, interface with partners across the nation, to garner support for funding campaigns to meet the primary goals of enacting renter protections that stop the mass displacement of renters in the NCBAR, and elsewhere. The Special Coordinator must have the authority to meet the primary goals, while at the same time being accountable to the TIGs. Anything less than a Special Coordinator that is actively backed and accountable by the TIGS, would likely lead to failure of meeting the primary goals.
Renters, tenant advocates, tenant groups, nonprofit organizations, unions, and pro-tenant attorneys that do not evict tenants on behalf of landlords, should all unite together and organize with their counterparts in NCBAR cities to support the Special Coordinator, and the strongest renter protections legally acceptable, that are needed in various cities to stabilize their communities.
Additionally, the Special Coordinator should be elected, or chosen, to help create a nonprofit Political Action Committee 501(c)(4) for different counties and cities in the NCBAR that need strong renter protections including rent control, just cause eviction protections, and anti-harassment ordinances with criminal penalties. The nonprofit political action committees (PACs) are needed for the purpose of fund raising, as a way to finance renter protection petitions, including the cost of hiring signature gatherers, and other costs associated with passing stronger renter protections.
The PACs should not be used as a way to raise campaign contributions for politicians and wannabe politicians, that may be corrupted by the big money influence of CAA or CAR, or other anti-tenant organizations. Renters cannot afford to compete against the big money of anti-tenant organizations that are already influencing corrupt politicians throughout California.
What happened in Richmond recently with the CAA coming up with their own petition that blocked renter protections from going into effect, clearly reveals that the rich and powerful have ways to block renter protections from going into effect when progressive City Council members pass renter protection laws, on behalf of their constituency.
The Special Coordinator should create an intelligence network to help keep track of evictions, the worst landlords, who is contributing to anti-tenant organizations such as the CAA and CAR, and to keep track of housing, and health and safety laws being proposed locally, and at the state level, that have negative effects for renters.
Additionally, the Special Coordinator should spearhead petition campaigns to overturn bad state laws including Prop. 13, the Ellis Act, the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, and should try to use a petition to outlaw condo-conversions throughout the state of California. Prop 13, failed to lower rents as was promised, and should be overturned A.S.A.P. to stop wealthy corporations from exploiting Prop. 13, as a way to avoid paying taxes.
The Republicans and Democrats have double-crossed renters in California over and over again, and the Special Coordinator should also coordinate a petition to help bring back the renters’ rebate, a 0 million tax rebate for low-income, elderly, and disabled renters.
Rent anti-profiteering committees should be established in the NCBAR, by TIGs to pressure politicians into passing strong renter protection ordinances, in addition to the use of renter protection petitions. The rent anti-profiteering committees should be accountable to the TIGs, and the Special Coordinator should be accountable to the TIGs that are made up of renters residing in the NCBAR.
Public housing and Section 8 renters need to be members of the TIGs, and a goal of stopping the privatization of public housing should be on the table, in addition to blocking rent increases going into effect for public housing, and Section 8 tenants.
Another goal should be to place a salary cap of 5,000 annually on the executives in the so-called affordable housing industry, which is equal for the executives working in Public Housing Authorities. The executives for so-called nonprofit housing developers and their projects accepting subsidies from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), including the Department of Agriculture which provides subsidies for rural housing so-called affordable housing developments, should have their salaries capped at no higher than 5,000 annually.
In recent years as budget cuts and the sequester have taken it’s toll on Section 8 renters, resulting in a loss of 100,000 section 8 vouchers, executives in the so-called nonprofit affordable housing industry have had massive obscene salary increases, resulting in salaries ranging from 0,000 per year, to as high as 0,000 annually, and more.
The Tenant Insurgency Groups (TIGs) must develop and coalesce around a comprehensive strategy designed to meet a set of clearly defined goals for the Northern California Bay Area Region (NCBAR), and across the nation, to deal with the current housing crisis that is expected to keep getting worse in coming years.
Renters cannot count on corrupt Democrats and Republicans, and their so-called housing officials that have allowed the housing crisis to manifest itself to such an extreme, to come up with any meaningful solutions, while the corrupt politicians are in the pocket of big money.
Click on link below for full story - See comment section at bottom of story to see 5 Year Strategic Plan... https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2015/10/24/18779217.php
Lynda Carson may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org