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Councilmember Jim Oddie Yields to “Political Blackmail” on No Cause Evictions

Text of an e-mail from Alameda Renters Coalition member Eric Strimling to Councilmember Jim Oddie. (Acquired through a public records request.)

Yielding to what he himself had characterized as “political blackmail,” Councilmember Jim Oddie on Tuesday joined Councilmembers Marilyn Ashcraft and Malia Vela in moving forward a revision to a local rent control ordinance that would prohibit no cause evictions.

In the wee hours of April 5th, long into a city council meeting that started the evening of April 4th, Councilmember Jim Oddie erupted on the dais over an e-mail he had just received from Eric Strimling of the Alameda Renters Coalition.

The discussion at hand was the city’s rent control ordinance, adopted in March of last year and affirmed by voters in November of last year.

The subject of Strimling’s message was “No Cause” and the text read, “COWARD! You had better move all the way right, because you just lost the tenant vote. Ashcraft wasnt the one who moved right, you did. All last year you said you needed a third vote. Well, you had one and you failed to deliver.

“Alameda Renters Coaltition (sic) just became your adversary in 2018. I hope the CAA [California Apartment Association] money compensates you.

“Eric”

Oddie called Strimling out from the dais, and decried the message as “political blackmail.”

At Tuesday’s city council meeting, Oddie joined Ashcraft and Vella in moving forward revisions to the city ordinance that will prohibit no cause evictions.

Although Strimling crowed about the victory on social media, he did not respond to an e-mail inquiry for comment.

Local landlord Nancy Hird told Action Alameda News, “2/3 of Alameda’s voters sent a signal in November to City Council that they preferred Measure L1 over [the Alameda Renters Coalition’s] Measure M1. As a matter of fact, a number of voters wanted neither of these laws that severely reduce the rights of property owners and voted ‘No’ on both of them. As a landlord who stood on street corners educating the voting public prior to the election, I can honestly say many people found the ‘no cause’ issue to be the deal breaker and reason to vote for Measure L1 over M1. Now, tenants and landlords will have no recourse when there is a need for a bad tenant who should move on other than costly legal proceedings which take many months to restore peace and rent payments.

“It is deplorable that city council members, knowing how their constituents voted overwhelmingly in favor of Measure L1, turned their backs on Alameda voters and voted to change the law to take away landlord/property rights in favor of 1/3 of the voting public. This is a sad day for all Alamedans. The result will be a further erosion of rental properties as more landlords seek to leave the rental market during a time when we have a shortage of rental housing units.”

On social media, Strimling argued that voters supported the less stringent Measure L1 because they interpreted the 5 percent threshold in Measure M1 as a hard rent increase cap, rather than a trigger point for a rent advisory committee review.

The issue moves on to the June 6th city council meeting for a second reading of the ordinance.

At that time, council is also expected to consider a recommendation to approve and updated landlord fee study and a recommendation to approve 3-year agreement with the City of Alameda Housing Authority for program administrator services

3 comments to Councilmember Jim Oddie Yields to “Political Blackmail” on No Cause Evictions

  • Nancy Hird

    Why can council members receive messages on their cell phones during the meeting? They are not paying 100% attention to the meeting is they are allowing the distraction of a phone message. In addition, If a person wants to speak to the council, he or she should have to do what everyone else does – put in a speaker slip and limit the communication to 3 minutes.

  • Mickey Neill

    After raising my family and living in Alameda for over 40 years I sold my beautiful home, which had been converted to two units, after the kids left. The sale happened as a direct result of Stimerling, and the FB group peeps strong arming the city into passing the renter inspired ordinance. The new owner has allowed this home to sit vacant for over a year. Thereby removing two potential units from the housing market. I couldn’t be happier in my new local, and haven’t regretted my decision to leave for a moment. The city seems to have forgotten that it’s the property tax payers that support city govt, schools, police and fire, not the renters they pander to. Frank Matarrese is the only board member with any intelligence. I leave the city to the spineless politicians and the transient whining renters who continually want more of the pie but dont pay for the services they receive via property tax.

  • Ed Hirshberg

    Expect that ARC will now demand the cap be lowered to 2.5% if you want to avoid the RACC.

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