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Renters Coalition Planning Statewide Assembly at Alameda High School in September

Tenants Together and ARC are planning a statewide renters assembly for Alameda High School in September. (Google Street View)

Tenants Together, along with the Alameda Renters Coalition and other sponsors is planning a statewide renters assembly and conference at Alameda High School in September.

Aimee Inglis, acting executive director of Tenants Together, told Action Alameda News that they are planning for 500 attendees coming from all over the state for “California Renter Power” on September 23rd and 24th, a Saturday and Sunday.

She said that, “over two days there will be various workshops where we will be skill building across individual tenants and organizations across the state. We’ll be sharing skills and knowledge with other folks who haven’t organized yet, and lessons for other folks who have. We’ve done various annual meetings, but this is the first time doing a big movement assembly of this size.”

However, one local landlord says that the Alameda Renters Coalition plans to use the event to cause a civil disturbance, akin to the violence at Alameda City Hall in November of 2015, that left a city staffer with a broken hip.

Doug Smith of Fuller Enterprises, wrote to city officials, including city council and the chief of police, and to local media, saying, “ARC [Alameda Renters Coalition] is placing ads on Craigslist as well as online message boards like Occupy Oakland asking for ‘out of town solders’ to riot in Alameda on Sep 23-24. They plan to use Alameda for national coverage for their parent organizer Tenants Together. They like the coverage Charlottesville got and plan to create that in Alameda! I warned you the night of the violent council meeting last year and that led to serious injury to city staff, this will be a thousand times what that was. They plan to deny and then blame on outsiders that are not part of their ‘peaceful’ cause, you know better.”

Asked for a copy of the ad or a link to it, Fuller said that it has since been taken down, but he provided a picture of a Craiglist ad calling for actors to hold pro-Trump signs in Phoenix, saying it was similar to that.

Eric Strimling of the Alameda Renters Coalition did not respond to a request for comment.

Inglis said, the event is “not a direct action. This is a conference. We’re expecting a peaceful event.”

However, school district officials said they have yet to finalize review of Tenants Together’s event permit, and have yet to grant approval for the event.

Indeed, the school district denied a California Public Records Act request for a copy of the permit application, filed online, saying it was exempt under California Government Code section 6254(a), as they consider the application a “draft.”

Asked about the district’s initial refusal to provide the document, Karl Olson, an attorney specializing in public records law with Cannata, O’Toole, Fickes & Almazan, LLP in San Francisco, and a member of the board of directors for the First Amendment Coalition, told Action Alameda News, “I don’t think it’s [the school district’s refusal] legitimate, certainly not a use permit application, certainly not if it’s their [the applicant’s] draft. Drafts are not automatically exempt anyway. You can only withhold it if there is a compelling public interest in withholding the record. It would seem to me their denial is bogus.”

The school district ultimately yielded and provided a copy of the permit application form as completed by Tenants Together upon pressure from Action Alameda News and upon receipt of correspondence from a local attorney demanding access, acting on Action Alameda News’ behalf.

Tenants Together has requested use of the school’s cafeteria, media center gymnasium, outside circle, Walnut Street parking lot, and several classrooms.

Inglis had explained that the workshops, such as “Basebuilding 101,” would be held in the classrooms, and the gymnasium would hold open and closing sessions.

6 comments to Renters Coalition Planning Statewide Assembly at Alameda High School in September

  • Tawney

    How much is the organization paying the school district to rent our Alameda High School? Can an organization rent the cafeteria? Who provides security, clean up etc.?

  • Facility use fee field on the permit app AUSD reluctantly provided is $0.00

    AUSD insists it’s not final nor approved yet though.

    Other questions are not answered by the material provided.

    The facilities guide explains some things…

  • I apologize for missing your email. I’m not sure how I would have responded to a random spurious charge like this. We heard about it last week and I immediately looked up for anything on Craigs list about ARC, and I found nothing. I also looked on the Occupy Oakland site and found no where there that such a post could have been placed. This is apparently an a tempt to create a tempest where there is none. And perhaps an attempt to get our permit denied. David, you usually hold to much higher journalistic standards than to publish a completely unsubstantiated rumor.

    The California Renter Power Statewide Assembly is a convention for tenant orgaizers. This isn’t even directly about Alameda. But, we are honored to be able to host this year’s gathering. It happened last year in LA, look it up. Remarkably little coverage.

    There are no mass actions planned because, again, this isn’t about Alameda. It is about the statewide renter revolt against the statewide gouging by investors and LLC’s. Rents across the state are skyrocketing, evictions are increasing, and community by community tenants are banding together to fight it. The property investors have statewide organizations like the California Apartment Association but tenants do not. So we talk dirty to eachother and trade strategies and best practices.

    And it is working! Up and down the state and especially in the Bay Area city after city is passing rent stabilization laws. The CAA is spending their member’s money hand over fist and yet are still losing. They “won” here in Alameda but that just meant that the toughest rent ordinance in Alameda history was ratified by the voters. Their next aspiration is make that structually law, which they fought bitterly while it was written, into a part of our City Charter. How much lower can they fall?

    Meanwhile, ARC is working every day to Keep Alamedans On Their Homes. This all we want, just to let current Alameda residents remain safely and securely in their homes. Let theor kids remain in school here, let the adults continue to serve on PTA’s and keep our neighbors close by. That is why ARC was founded, and it continues to be what motivates to work every day.

    If anyone would like more info on the Assembly please go to our website.

    Thank you,

    Eric Strimling.

  • I don’t think anybody knew the permit wasn’t yet approved until I contacted AUSD. Certainly I did not know.

  • Barbara Thomas

    Rent control without means testing for need on both sides of the equation is failed public policy. It achieves none of its stated policy objectives. It addresses none of the other factors affecting those who are disproportionately disadvantaged in our society. Why should a couple with 3 children fight to stay in a one bedroom apartment? HUD studies have shown the proven negative effects of overcrowding in housing on safety, child development and student achievement. Society and taxpayers need to alleviate these problems collectively, not depend on one landlord’s solvency. Subsidies to those who prove they need them should come from the taxpayers or developers through fees.
    The one thing rent control does is divert attention from the lack of attention of our “leaders” on other factors such as raising the minimum wage in Alameda. Why does Oakland have a $15.00 hour minimum wage, and yet Alameda uses the State mandated $10.00 or $10.50 per hour? Wouldn’t it be better for families if they had the financial means to choose where to live, and could afford lunches and other things for their children? It’s easy to focus on one aspect of society’s problems while ignoring responsibility for bigger problems. Rent control is putting a bandaid on a cut artery. Eventually the host dies. But its easy and leaders can say they did their part.

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