The charter amendment would introduce strict rent control and just cause eviction regulations, including an annual cap on rent increases of 65 percent of the Consumer Price Index.
The coalition initially filed the initiative with the city clerk on February 29th and trained volunteers to collect signatures. The group says it is now shifting gears to a get-out-the-vote effort for the November general election.
In a prepared statement, coalition spokesperson Catherine Pauling said their initiative provides protections that Alameda city hall has been reluctant to provide.
Councilmember Tony Daysog told Action Alameda News that he has almost 400 signatures for his petition that would put a measure on the ballot intended to soften for small landlords a renters protection ordinance enacted by city council earlier this year.
He said that he had been collecting signatures on his own to date but has people who have offered to help to accelerate the process.
Daysog is running up against an early June deadline to get the required signatures to submit it to the city clerk for the November ballot; Petitioners have 180 days to collect signatures.
Marilyn Schumacher, sponsor of a counter “property rights” petition did not respond to an e-mail inquiry on her progress by press time.
Doug Smith, the president of Fuller Enterprises which owns 63 rental units in Alameda and other units throughout the East Bay, totaling about 1,500 units, said that tenants are looking at a short term solution that inevitably creates a bigger problem in the long term.
“Apartments just don’t turn over under rent control. What it does is make all the other apartments go through the roof,” he said.
Smith said that tenants don’t see the side of the issue that rent control causes rents to ultimately go up for the next set of tenants. Existing tenants are protected, he said, but they get locked into their unit, and they can never afford to leave them.
He said that rents appear to have peaked in December and are on a downswing.
Addendum: Action Alameda News was contacted by Farhad Matin after this story was originally published. He is a co-sponsor along with Marilyn Schumacher of the “property rights” petition that is circulating.
Matin told Action Alameda News, “We are still collecting signatures. It’s raising an awareness among single family homeowners. We are still collecting signatures.” He described the renters coalition initiative as one-sided, and punitive for landlords and homeowners.
He said he lives in Alameda with his family, went to Encinal High School and believes local residents can discuss issues like rent control civilly.