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Eviction Moratorium Petition Falls Flat

The Alameda Renters Coalition has been rebuffed in its efforts to have the City of Alameda enact a moratorium on evictions. (File photo)

The Alameda Renters Coalition has been rebuffed in its efforts to have the City of Alameda enact a moratorium on evictions. (File photo)

A petition effort by the Alameda Renters Coalition asking Alameda city council to adopt a 90-day moratorium on evictions has been rebuffed by city hall.

In a November 22nd letter, city manager Jill Keimach responded to the coalition’s petition, writing, “while you noted that this emergency moratorium is necessary to preserve the public peace, health, and safety of the community and to prevent further evictions and displacement of tenants, we have to ensure that any item the Council is asked to consider is legally defensible and fair to all perspectives.”

In an email exchange with María Domínguez of the coalition, subsequent to the letter, Keimach further wrote, “If you only look at the data, there have been 20 terminations of tenancy without cause in 6 months and only 3 of them were found invalid, leaving 17 tenants that were terminated with relocation benefits out of 14,899 rental units in Alameda, or 0.1% of the units. 1% would be 149 units which would require almost a 9-fold increase in the next six months to reach even one percent of the renters. The percentage of what would be ‘overwhelming evidence’ [of widespread displacement supporting a serious health and safety issue] is of course a gray area and subject to interpretation, but I think it would be hard for anyone to say that 17 terminations or one-tenth of one percent could be considered ‘substantial’.”

City hall’s refusal to take action on the petition comes in the weeks after the November 8th election, which saw two-thirds of Alameda voters reject a strict rent control measure sponsored by the renters coalition in favor of a measure that affirmed a less stringent rent control ordinance enacted by council earlier this year.

During the election season, the Alameda Renters Coalition signed on to a Fair Political Practices Commission complaint against the California Apartment Association over anti-rent control measure mailings that, according to the complaint, were “written like it was sent by the [State of California] Legislative Analyst’s Office.”

That complaint was dismissed by the commission as the political reform act has no jurisdiction over the content of political mailers.

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