Public Comment

Select a Progressive Pro-Tenant Rent Board Slate on Sunday

Katherine Harr & Jesse Townley, Berkeley Rent Board Commissioners
Friday July 11, 2014 - 02:10:00 PM

The Berkeley Tenants Convention will be held on Sunday, July 13th, at 1:30 pm at the South Berkeley Senior Center. All Berkeley residents are invited to this historic grassroots event, where we will select the progressive Rent Board slate for the November 2014 ballot. 

The Tenants Convention, also called the Berkeley Affordable Housing Convention, has selected a slate of candidates for the Rent Stabilization Board for over 20 years. In 2012, 208 residents came to the convention and cast their votes. Groups like the Green Party of Alameda, Berkeley Citizens Action and the Grey Panthers support the convention and provide screeners to rate the candidates. 

In 2012, the Rent Board race was the most hotly contested since vacancy decontrol in the 1990s. The Progressive Slate was opposed by “Tenants United for Fairness,” candidates funded by anti-rent control apartment owners, realtors and executives from property management firms. In the end, three Progressive candidates and one landlord were elected. Following the race several Fair Campaign Practice Commission complaints were filed. The Council majority FCPC, on a 5 to 3 vote, refused to open an investigation and take sworn testimony. Despite the candidates' control of a fund with illegal donations, including a single check from a rental property owners' PAC for $31,000, the FCPC fined them a token few hundred dollars and closed the case. 

Rents are rising all over the Bay Area, and people are finding it hard to afford housing here. More and more people are moving from San Francisco to the East Bay, accelerating the increasing cost of rentals. Renters’ rights have never been more important to protect and expand. “The convention is a real community process where people come together and have a voice and a vote in selecting a strong progressive slate for the Berkeley Rent Board,” said Berkeley Councilmember Jesse Arreguin.

This year there are five Rent Board Commissioner vacancies. At the convention, each aspiring commissioner will share their experience, philosophy, and goals. After everyone has spoken, the attendees will vote.

Homeowners, renters and smart landlords are invited to participate in this longstanding and unique Berkeley event, and help us find the most qualified candidates. All Berkeley residents who arrive by 2:00 pm and remain to hear candidates' speeches will receive a ballot. Residents cannot vote by proxy.

A $10 donation is requested to help pay for the room. Childcare is provided. Doors open at noon for World Cup broadcast (first come, first serve; no alcohol!) Those who are unable to contribute are welcome to contact us in advance to volunteer at the event or during the subsequent campaign. For more information, please contact us at or
(510) 982-6696 

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