Public Comment

New: Message from The Rent Board Campaign

Katherine Harr and Jesse Townley
Tuesday October 14, 2014 - 03:19:00 PM

We call our Slate for the November 4 election the Pro-Rent Control Slate for a reason: voting for James Chang, Paola Laverde-Levine, John Selawsky, Katherine Harr and Jesse Townley is voting to keep active enforcement of Berkeley’s strong rent ordinance. 

Waves of displacement are crashing on Bay Area shores, eroding our middle and lower classes. San Francisco and Oakland are responding by tighten tenant protections. In Berkeley, so-called progressives are openly discussing means testing (taking away rent control from all but the very-poor) and ending election of our Rent Board. Our City’s relocation benefits for owner move-in evictions are now the lowest in the state, so the Measure Y evictions in Berkeley this year are already double the total for all of 2013. Our demolition ordinance prohibits tearing down rent-controlled units but the pressure from developers is such that each month the Zoning Board is asked to find that units that have been empty for a year or two are no longer protected. Plus the City Council voted this week to extend a “discount” for developers that could cut as much as $11 Million for affordable housing. 

The Pro-Rent Control Slate are running a full campaign this year even though we are unopposed, because we think it’s very important that a low number of votes for the Board is not taken as a lack of support for rent control. We are also running a campaign to highlight tenant issues and build alliances. 

The key points of our campaign are: 

Improve Disaster Preparedness and Seismic Safety 

Promote Housing Safety Through Cyclical Inspections 

Expand Recycling, Opportunities for Sustainability and Energy Efficiency 

Advocate for Multi-Generational Housing Options 

Represent Tenants at Council and Commissions 

Defend Our Rent Controlled Housing Stock from Demolitions 

Now is the time for true progressives to move to the offensive. If we want to keep Berkeley a place that we can all call home, we need to change the balance of power on the City Council. That is why the Pro-Rent Control Slate chosen at the bi-annual Tenant Convention is focusing our campaign on the contested council districts, and asking renters to walk and call with us as we support the candidates endorsed by our slate and the Berkeley Tenants Union: Alejandro Soto-Vigil, Jesse Arreguin, Kriss Worthington and Jacquelyn McCormick. 

Tenants & landlords will mobilize for the Slate and Kriss Worthington at Noon on Saturday October 18 and Sunday October 19 at our shared campaign office at 2195 Bancroft. 

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