Action Alameda News received a copy of this opinion piece from Eric Strimling of the Alameda Renters Coalition…
Here comes the outside money…
Alamedans are well acquainted with outside groups coming in to tell us how to run our city – trying to influence initiatives and bankroll our candidates for office. Have you received a phone call over the past several days from a pollster probing your opinion about the Alameda Renters’ Coalition (ARC) rent control measure? From what multiple sources have reported it seems that the poll is trying to plant anti-rent control myths. They ask some innocuous questions at first, then get to some questions designed to plant negative ideas in the minds of Alamedans. These can be summarized as follows-
Myth 1) Landlords will be subsidizing wealthy renters. Not true. Rent control is not about subsidized housing, it is about community stability. It is about a landlord setting the rent with a tenant and sticking to that profit level. We don’t want families to come to Alameda just to get priced out in few years. We want families to stay in Alameda and help build our hometown feeling.
Whether poor or middle class, all Alamedans deserve to be secure in their homes.
Myth 2) Homeowners will have to pay a special tax to administer a program that benefits wealthy renters. Non-landlords will not be paying into this program. Further, the City Staff have proposed asking Landlords to pay $131 per year fee to finance the existing ordinance, ARC is asking for only $120. The cost difference is because the City’s ordinance is a novel mediation based approach, where every rent must be negotiated. ARC’s measure offers clear guidelines that have worked well in cities across California.
Myth 3) The number of rentals in Alameda will decrease as landlords will take their properties off the market. This is pure speculation. Small landlords depend on the income from their units. Under rent control units will still earn the same income as they had previously, so why sell them? If outside investors come in to buy units and turn them into condominiums, then the Planning Board and City Council can take action. Meanwhile, tenants who are in their homes will not have to fear being evicted, as they are being now, by new owners looking for a fast return on Alameda apartments.
Who paid for this poll?
We do not know, but we have some idea. The California Apartment Association is a state wide landlord advocacy group that describes itself as, ”the nation’s largest statewide trade group representing owners, investors, developers, managers and suppliers of apartment communities.” It has fought rent control up and down the state. Some quotes from their letters to landlords-
“While the qualification of the ARC measure may be disappointing, it’s important to remain committed and unified behind the long-term goals we discussed about two months ago: growing our political strength, defeating the ARC measure in November should it qualify, passing the Private Property Rights measure, and electing good representatives to the city council. CAA’s Alameda Advisory Committee will be meeting in the coming week to discuss our next steps and we will likely have a large group meeting in the very near future as campaign season will be underway soon.” July 7, 2016
“We must continue to remain focused on our goal this November: defeating the ARC measure and electing strong candidates to the Alameda City Council. Let there be no doubt, CAA remains unequivocally opposed to the ARC measure that will appear on the November ballot. We have already begun preliminary campaign efforts to defeat this measure and working closely with the CAA Alameda Advisory Committee to execute the campaign strategy that has one goal-defeating the ARC measure.” July 28, 2016 – Joshua Howard ▪ Senior Vice President California Apartment Association
Alamedans have faced this before- a deep pocketed outside group trying to influence our politics. Are we going to stand by and be mowed over by off-island big-money interests? Now is the time to fight back and educate our neighbors about what they are up to and dispel the misinformation conveyed in the phone calls.
We are all Alamedans, rich and poor, landlords and business owners, home owners and tenants standing together to-
Keep Alamedans In Their Homes!
— Eric Strimling, Alameda