Doug Smith, the president of Fuller Enterprises which owns 63 rental units in Alameda, sent an e-mail earlier this week to all city councilmembers, the city manager and city attorney, members of the local press, and other landlords, addressing Councilmember Marilyn Ashcraft.
Smith wrote, “I would like to share with you some information that the ARC [Alameda Renters Coalition] is disseminating among their members and supporters. It appears that they feel you are the key vote on getting rent control in Alameda. They feel you [Ashcraft] aspire to be Mayor and since they “put you here”, if you don’t side with them, they can take you down like they did Tony [Daysog]. The blog below was sent to me from an insider who joined because they felt the cause needed support, however they now see that this is not about the citizens of Alameda but rather a radical social agenda that will ultimately hurt the citizens of Alameda that are most in need.
“None of this comes as a surprise to me nor do I believe to you. We have seen the tactics that ARC and Tenants Together have used for years and they will stop at nothing to further their social platform. This behavior seem to take it to the next level and I am requesting that the City Attorney look into this matter.
“The voters of Alameda have spoken and they DON’T want rent control. Furthermore, rents peaked in 2016 and are now headed down. We are now seeing concessions not seen since the 2001 bubble burst, 1-2 months free rent is now becoming the norm. Increases have all but stopped short of those owners who were late to start. The RRAC cases have slowed despite all the new restrictions the board adopted in 2016. In short, as we have been stating for 3 years, the market will correct it self and any attempt to manipulate it will only cause rents to be higher like in Oakland and San Francisco.
“Please take this matter serious and take action now. For a group like ARC to try and influence a sitting Council Member to further their cause is criminal.”
Smith included a copy of Facebook messages exchanged among ARC members which could not be independently verified as they are shared within a closed group.
Clicking links in the copied message thread leads to https://www.facebook.com/groups/alamedarenters/# and returns the message “The link you followed may have expired, or the page may only be visible to an audience you’re not in.”
According to the exchange provided by Smith, one participant wrote, “So I have been thinking about the Ashcroft [sic] problem. We are pretty much the reason she is in office. Now the whole CC knows we are a force to be reckoned with. So Here what I think may work. We Need to start by asking Why we have no rent control when the folks of Alameda overwhelming voted for it? Rumor has that they are thinking of getting rid of RRAC. So what is the plan? Then I would address Ashcroft like this. You do know that we put you here right. We know you have aspirations to be Mayor. If you dont get it done we will make sure that does not happen. I might add look what happened to Daysong.
“I also think that our new pres should be the one to do it. This Brings her in form a place of power, I will help write the speech if you want. Your thoughts please.”
Another responded, “Ashcraft is a mediator. She wants to eliminate the RRAC and change to a mediation/arbitration system. Behind closed doors. The advantage here is that the tenant doesn’t have to feel like their privacy is being violated through a public process. The disadvantage is that it is not a public process. How will the results be published? What data could be or would be gathered?
“We know that the landlords want this. That doesn’t make it automatically bad, but we need to be careful. Tenants do want privacy, for themselves. But not for the landlords. How do we maneuver that?
“In my view Ashcraft is lie [sic] every other politician, she works in her own self interest. If we want to influence her than we need to let her know what we, as a substantial part of her base, want. End No-Cause eviction and put a hard cap on rents. There will not be peace in the tenant community until those two things happen. No justice, No peace!”
Ashcraft did not respond to a written invitation to comment before press time.