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Rent Control Discussion Continued to March 1st Alameda City Council Meeting

City Council's discussion of rent control will continue on March 1st. (Action Alameda News)

City Council’s discussion of rent control will continue on March 1st. (Action Alameda News)

Tuesday night’s city council discussion regarding a rent control ordinance will continue, in multiple senses of the word, on March 1st.

The agenda for the Tuesday, March 1st city council meeting, posted late today, contains two rent control items.

The first item is billed as a continuation of item 6-A from Tuesday night, the first reading of the rent control ordinance; the agenda notes that, as a continuation of the item from Tuesday night, essentially a continuation of that night’s meeting, no public comment will be heard on the item.

That continuation meeting is posted as starting at 5:30 p.m. on March 1st.

Once that item closes, a regular city council meeting will begin anew, ostensibly at 7:00 p.m.; item 6-E on that agenda calls for a vote on an ordinance, and an extension of the urgency ordinance enacted late last year.

The early start time for the continuation meeting, and the preclusion of public comment for that item is sure to evoke howls from the public. Yet city officials also faced criticism for allowing the January 5th council meeting, wherein rent control was discussed and dozens upon dozens of speakers made public comment, stretch into the early morning hours of the next day.

Even the terminology of the ordinance has been called into question by those objecting to use of the term “housing provider” in place of “landlord;” the revised ordinance document has redline marks changing the former to the latter.

The finished product is unlikely to satisfy either landlords, who were out in numbers at Tuesday’s meeting to voice their opposition to rent control, or tenants, who have decried the proposed ordinance as too weak. If an ordinance is enacted on March 1st, it’s unlikely to make the issue, or animosity, go away.

One landlord that Action Alameda News spoke to in the lobby of the Kofman Auditorium gave his reasons for opposing rent control, but then declined to give his name, fearing reprisals from tenants, and referencing the violence that marred a November 4th city council meeting, and the recent tenant protests in front of the homes of council members.

An Alameda renter tweeted on Tuesday night during the council meeting, without citing any source, that landlords had culled some 1,100 names from the Alameda Renters Coalition Facebook page, to create a blacklist of tenants.

Rents show no signs of falling, and, for some Alameda residents, the City of Alameda itself will be reaching deeper into their pockets. Also on the agenda for March 1st is a discussion of a proposed ballot measure for November that would extend the utility users tax to broadband wireless service and voice-over-IP, the intent of which is to raise another $1.6 million annual for the city’s general fund.

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