The renters’ initiative

Now that the initiative drafted by the Alameda Renters’ Coalition has qualified for the November ballot, how should one evaluate the merits of the proposed Charter amendment?

One could take an emotional approach.  Pass the initiative, proponents might say, so that parents won’t be forced to yank their children out of local schools.  Defeat it, opponents might respond, so that mom-and-pop landlords won’t be forced to scrape by on their Social Security checks.

Or one could take a polemical approach.  Pass the initiative, proponents might say, to preserve renters’ “right” to stay in their homes as long as they pay their rent.  Defeat it, opponents might say, to protect landlords’ “right” to manage their property without governmental interference.

The benefit of these strategies is that neither requires any analysis to back up the conclusion.  All that’s needed to support the former is to post a few videos.  All that’s needed to support the latter is to bandy about a few buzzwords.  Alameda is full of commenters adept at either or both.

At the Merry-Go-Round, we lack the ideological self-righteousness to take the latter approach and the video-editing skills to take the former.  So, consistent with our suggestion last week to focus on the goals the competing rent ordinances/Charter amendments are trying to achieve, let us offer an alternative approach.

We’ll adopt as our model the mode of legal analysis known as “strict scrutiny.”  Under that methodology, a court charged with deciding the constitutionality of a statute asks whether it is “narrowly tailored” to achieve a “compelling” governmental interest.  We’ll tweak the formulation a little and, for the renters’ initiative, frame the issue this way:  is the Charter amendment well-tailored to achieve a legitimate policy goal?  Call it the semi-strict scrutiny test.

From the beginning, the renters’ advocates have made clear that their mission is to rein in “excessive” rents and to prohibit “arbitrary” evictions.  Stated this broadly, these objectives surely constitute legitimate policy goals.  The issue then becomes how the renters’ initiative attempts to achieve them.

The proposed Charter amendment contains two principal operative provisions.  First, it limits annual rent increases to 65 percent of the annual increase in the Consumer Price Index–Urban for the San Francisco Bay Area.  (To comply with due process, it also allows a landlord to apply to raise rent above this limit if necessary to obtain a fair return on investment.)  Second, it allows evictions only where the tenant has committed one of five enumerated wrongful acts or the landlord seeks to recover possession for one of three enumerated reasons.  So-called “no-cause” evictions are banned.

As an initial matter, we confess that we are uncomfortable with the premise that any rent increase greater than 65 percent of the increase in the CPI-U should be deemed “excessive.”  We suppose the underlying theory is that rents should not be allowed to rise faster than consumer prices generally.  But if so, why not permit rent increases equal to the full amount of the increase in the CPI-U?  Why only 65 percent?  The only explanation we’ve read is that other cities, like Santa Monica and Berkeley, base permissible rent increases on a percentage of the CPI-U increase.  But the “everybody else is doing it” argument doesn’t persuade us any more than it did our mother when we tried to use it on her years ago.

Our skepticism is heightened when we consider how the limitation imposed by the proposed Charter amendment would have played out in the recent past.  We compared the annual rent increase that would have been permitted under the amendment during the last four years with the median annual gross rent increase that actually occurred during that period (according to the American Community Survey data).  Here are the results:

Year “Permissible”
rent increase
Actual median gross
rent increase
2011 1.69% 3.16%
2012 1.76% 2.83%
2013 1.43% 5.65%
2014 1.82% 4.63%

As the table shows, for every year, the actual median gross rent increase exceeded the hypothetical permissible rent increase.  To put it another way, in each of those years, a landlord who raised rents by only the median percentage would have violated the standard set by the proposed Charter amendment.  Yet it’s hard for us to characterize a mid-range rent increase as “excessive” or a landlord who implements such an increase as “greedy.”

Moreover, even if the undiscounted median is used as the threshold for determining “excessiveness,” we haven’t seen evidence that the practice of gouging tenants had become endemic.  When Renewed Hope, the housing advocacy group, presented the results of its renters’ survey to Council in January 2015, the data showed that 38 percent of the 223 respondents had received no rent increase at all in the last 12 months and 27 percent had received a 1-to-5 percent increase.  Depending on where the rents in the 1-to-5 percent category fell, it appears that a majority of landlords already – without the mandate of any new law – were increasing rents only modestly, if it all.

This is not to say that no case can be made for rent control in any form.  But it requires us to dig deeper into the data.

The ACS rent data covers units in all rental properties.  But the consultants who prepared the rent study submitted to Council last November obtained statistics specifically for properties containing 50 or more units.

Here’s what they found about average monthly rents:

Year Average monthly rent Annual increase
2011 $1,412 0.8%
2012 $1,563 10.7%
2013 $1,697 8.6%
2014 $1,952 15.0%

This table shows that, between 2011 and 2014, average monthly rents in large apartment buildings increased by 38.2 percent.  Now go back to the ACS gross median rent data.  Between 2011 and 2014, gross median rents increased by 13.67 percent. The increase for the 50+-unit buildings thus is almost three times the median increase.  We’d regard this as extraordinary, and maybe even “excessive.”

If one takes our approach of tailoring the remedy to fit the problem, this evidence would justify an ordinance – we don’t like Charter amendments, which are difficult to fine tune – restricting permissible rent increases for tenants in large apartment buildings.  Indeed, when the rent study was first published, we suggested just that.  Moreover, although sympathy for “mom-and-pop” landlords doesn’t necessarily equate to antipathy toward large landlords, we suspect Councilman Tony Daysog might agree.

Now let’s look at the issue another way.

To us, the vice of “excessive” rent increases (however one defines that term) lies in the impact of such increases on what is called the “affordability gap.”  The rule-of-thumb is that housing costs should not consume more than 30 percent of a person’s income.  For renters, if rents go up even though income declines or stays flat (or both), the rent-to-income ratio rises and the “gap” widens.

Again, the rent study prepared for Council provides the relevant data.  Of a total of 15,275 rental households, 6,444 spent more than 30 percent of their income on rent.  (The data covers the period from 2008 through 2012).  This meant that 44.2 percent of Alameda renters were suffering what the consultants called a “cost burden.”

And the study shows that this burden was not equally distributed among income levels.  To the contrary, the poorer households were the worse off.  According to the study, 76.4 percent of rental households in the “extremely low” income category, 86.6 percent in the “very low” income category, and 60.6 percent in the “low” income category were “cost-burdened.”  The percentage dropped dramatically for better-off renters:  only 12.2 percent of households in the “moderate” or above categories spent more than 30 percent of their income on rent.

Again, if one takes our approach of tailoring the remedy to fit the problem, this evidence would justify an ordinance restricting permissible rent increases for renters whose income fell into one of the three lowest categories.  Such an ordinance wouldn’t eliminate the “affordability gap” for those people.  But it would prevent it from getting worse.

We would have liked to perform a similar data-centric analysis of the provision of the proposed Charter amendment prohibiting “no cause” evictions, but, unfortunately, the relevant statistics aren’t available.  So a few comments instead.

The clamor for a ban on “no-cause” evictions took off as a result of the infamous case of 470 Central Avenue, where the landlord served 60-day notices of termination on 33 (or 34) tenants.  The landlord claimed that the tenants needed to leave so that he could undertake “substantial rehabilitation” of the building; the tenants alleged that the real reason was that the landlord wanted to bring in new tenants at a higher rent.

Other than this example, we are not aware of any other case in which a landlord, even allegedly, engaged in a “no-cause” eviction for the purpose of boosting rental income.  But if 470 Central was truly a one-off, a Charter amendment prohibiting all “no-cause” evictions can be seen as reacting to a crisis that didn’t exist.  Without more data, we can’t say for sure.

But let’s take a more jaundiced view and assume that a host of landlords have been itching to serve 30- or 60-day notices of termination so that they can charge higher rents to new tenants.

The ordinance passed by Council contains two provisions intended to prevent that from happening.  First, for buildings with five or more units, it limits the number of units where tenancy can be terminated by statutory notice to no more than 10 percent in any one month, and 25 percent over 12 months.  Under this provision, it would have taken the 470 Central landlord four years to “empty the building,” if that was his intent.  In addition, the ordinance prohibits the landlord from charging the new tenant rent more than five percent higher than the rent the current tenant was paying.  This provision would have dashed any prospect of immediate windfall profits for the 470 Central landlord, if that was his hope.

We certainly would agree that it is a legitimate policy goal to prevent landlords from throwing “faultless” tenants out of their apartments simply so that the landlords can make more money.  But if that’s the goal, the remedy chosen by Council arguably fits the problem.  And if so, the absolute ban on “no-cause” evictions imposed by the proposed Charter amendment seems like overkill.

The ballot arguments on the renters’ initiative aren’t due until August 17, and it’s entirely possible that we’ve missed the most compelling justification for the proposed Charter amendment.  We’ve also chosen not to evaluate yet any of the counter-arguments opponents might make against the proposal – because we don’t want to speculate about what they might be.

But be forewarned:  we intend to apply the semi-strict scrutiny test to both sides.  And we urge our readers to do likewise.  They can leave it to others to employ the politics of demonization.

Sources:

City “rent stabilization” ordinance: City rent stabilization ordinance

ARC initiative: ARC ballot measure

Appendix to City of Alameda Rent Study: 2015-11-09 Appendix A Alameda Rent Study

Renewed Hope survey: 2015-11-04 Ex. 2 to staff report – Other Data Received

American Community Survey data: American FactFinder – 2010 Selected Housing CharacteristicsAmerican FactFinder – 2011 Selected Housing CharacteristicsAmerican FactFinder – 2012 Selected Housing CharacteristicsAmerican FactFinder – 2013 Selected Housing CharacteristicsAmerican FactFinder – 2014 Selected Housing Characteristics

CPI-U data: CPI-U data (12-month annual)

About Robert Sullwold

Partner, Sullwold & Hughes Specializes in investment litigation
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222 Responses to The renters’ initiative

  1. tony daysog says:

    The point of “65%” in the “65% of CPI” language in both Berkeley and Santa Monica’s rent control was because, at the time rent control regimes now in place in Berkeley (adopted June, 1980) and Santa Monica (adopted April, 1979) were enacted, inflation was running rampant nationally and across the state. Nationally, CPI went from 63.9 in April, 1978 to 70.6 in April, 1979, for an annual general inflation rate of 10.5% when Santa Monicans went to the ballot to adopt their initiative. When Berkeley adopted the ordinance in June, 1980 that is the cornerstone of today’s rent control there, the annual general inflation rate was 14.4 percent, as CPI changed from 72.3 in June 1979 to 82.7 in June 1980.

    The problem in Berkeley and Santa Monica, at the time, wasn’t just rampant general inflation but also that the cost of rent (i.e. rent inflation) was going up far faster than the national general inflation rate or statewide general inflation rate, resulting in the movement in Santa Monica and Berkeley to cap rent increases by some standard (hence the use of “CPI” and the mechanism of “65% of CPI”). But if you think about it, in using “65% of CPI” at the time as the standard, rent control proponents at the time were in effect saying, “Renters should NOT be subject to 15% or 20% or 30% increases in rent — that’s unfair — but if (as in the case of Santa Monica a la April, 1979) CPI-inflation is running at 10.5%, then 6% to 7% (ie 65% of 10.5%) is reasonable.”

    Is 6% or 7% increase reasonable in 2016? In Alameda? When you look at what’s transpired at the Rent Review Board since March, when Ordinance 3148 was adopted, of the 61 recorded cases thus far, and of those settled prior to and at the RRAC hearing, it appears renters and landlords have mutually agreed to roughly that amount (6% to 8%) as rent increases both can reasonably live with. Of course, renters want the lowest rent increase as possible, and landlords want the highest as possible — but the RRAC hearings since March have brought folks together to figure things out, resulting in what looks like average running anywhere from 6% to 8%. Why? Because the **looming** power of bindings arbitration in the Council’s Ordinance 3148 have forced both parties to reach mutually agreeable settlements. So, I ask Alamedans, to please stick with the Ordinance 3148 Council adopted in stopping excessive rent increases by supporting Measure L1, which affirms Ordinance 3148.

    In short, rent control in the context of 1979 and 1980 was to renters what Prop 13 was to California homeowners in 1978 — an attempt to curtail the affects of rampant inflation on the price of housing. (In the case of Prop 13, local governments [who at the time determined property taxes] were passing-on the rapidly increasing cost of governance as a result of the hyper-inflation years of 1973, 1974, and 1975, such that, by 1978, homeowners got tired of this and passed Prop 13). Alameda City Council’s Measure L1 offers residents a reasonable, pragmatic, mediation-based,and effective approach to stopping excessive rent increases. Thank you.

    /s/ tony daysog
    email: tony_daysog@alum.berkeley.edu
    web-site: http://www.daysog.com

    • As I have pointed out to you in other strings, wages were also rising at 10% per year during those inflationary times. So, yes, a 7% increase is not so bad in the context of a 10% wage increase. But, wages these days are stagnant. And 5 or 7% now is *double* the rate of inflation, much less wage increase.

      5% is an arbitrary number, based on nothing more than a gut feeling that it “seems fair”. What about if inflation goes to 5%? Will that trigger still apply? Isn’t it so much more reasonable to connect to the actual rate of inflation? So that it can adjust as the economy changes?

      .65 of CPI is based on the housing portion of CPI. It also reflects that part of a landlord’s expenses which are tied to CPI. Mortgage isn’t. Property taxes are capped (rent control style, wink wink), and that leaves repairs. .65 of CPI has been proven, in the real world, to cover those costs. The point isn’t that others are doing it so it’s OK, the point is that others are doing it and it works!

      • dave says:

        Strimling:

        Elsewhere in this thread I demonstrated that your property tax “idea” is flawed. Look up your own taxes, they have increased faster than .65 CPI in the last 5 years. While you’re at it look up any other home’s taxes, you;ll see the same.

        You continually, repeatedly, state that profits are held steady at .65 CPI but they are not. When taxes rise faster than revenue, profit margins shrink, ipso facto. Add to that normal maintenance and they shrink quite a bit more.

        One of your central tenets is plainly wrong, but you still keep repeating it.

        Why?

      • RE: Property taxes- Um, 2% is state law, as mandated by prop 13. Yes, they went up, for some, by more than 2% *in the last 5 years* because they went down in the crash of 2008. Now they are rising to catch up to the 2% per year cap, as measured from base purchase price.

        A friend of mine bought a house in 2009. Her taxes went *down* for the first couple of years as her house value dropped. In the last couple of years they have risen again. But they never exceed 2% average increase from date and amount of purchase. It is just the law.

        I bought back in 1995 and had no tax decrease since even in the depth of the crash my house value was still double the assessed value. “Rent Control” for homeowners sure is great!

        Then you need carefully at your tax bill. Much, if not most of it, is added assessments and parcel taxes. These mostly do not change over time. They might, with a 2/3 vote of the public, be added to, but mostly they stay constant. So, 2% may actually overstate the actual increase. Again, over time, on average.

      • dave says:

        Strimling

        I’m re-posting what I put on a while back. Please read it again and come back & tell me how your plan keeps profits steady:

        ====================================

        Strimling:

        For quite some time you have repeatedly insisted that landlord’s profits remain the same under your vision of RC. The fact that profit margins don’t set rents, markets do, seems lost on you, but there is also factual data from your own and my taxes that disprove your contention.

        Data:

        Consider the numbers for the most recent 5 years. The CPI for SF/SJ/OAK published by the BLS was at 233.646 on 6/30/11. Its most recent print on 6/30/16 was 266.041. That’s a a Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 2.63% per year. Using the ARC’s cap of .65 of local CPI rents could have increased no more than 1.71% per year in that time period.

        According to the Alameda County Property Tax website, my own property taxes have increased 7.97% per year in that time period. Go to this link and google your own:

        https://www.acgov.org/propertytax/history.htm

        You’ll see that your own taxes have increased well above the .65/Local CPI cap, and in fact even well above the base CPI.

        Here’s a simple calculator to figure out the annual growth rate:

        http://www.investinganswers.com/calculators/return/compound-annual-growth-rate-cagr-calculator-1262

        Were either of us renting out our homes in the last 5 years, the ARC cap would be decreasing our profit margins every year, as taxes would be rising considerably faster than rents. Note that taxes alone would be degrading returns, maintenance & repair would degrade them even further.

        To be fair, in an environment of high inflation the ARC cap might possibly allow a return to remain steady or even possibly grow in nominal terms, though by definition an inflationary environment would be eroding them in real terms. Note, though, that significant inflation is a memory: the CPI hasn’t has a year-over-year increase of more than 6% since 1990, and that was a blip; sustained periods of CPI above 6% are a relic of the 70’s and early 80’s. CPI increases have been below 4% for almost the entire period since 1990. (I can’t figure out how to cut & past the data I cite but I will email it to Mr Sullwold on request.)

        Not only is your belief about landlord profits setting rents conceptually wrong — rents are set by markets — but your endlessly repeated claim that such profits remain intact under ARC’s plan is mathematically incorrect in any realistic situation.

        When will you stop repeating such a provably false claim?

      • dave says:

        Awful quiet, Strimling.

      • Eric Strimling says:

        Just curious, when your taxes went down in the 3 years before the last 5 did you cut your tenants’ rent?

      • dave says:

        Just curious: when will you admit that your oft-repeated premise is false?

        To answer your question my taxes rose in 2 of the 3 years before that (though 1 was a miniscule increase). More to the point, I don’t have tenants. I am not a landlord.

        But many landlords DID cut rents in those years because markets were weak. Demand fell while supply remained stable:

        http://infogr.am/rising-rents-in-alameda
        http://infogr.am/rents-over-time-8

        (info taken from Michelle Elson’s sadly defunct news site “The Island)

        You, and ARC, believe that landlords can & should accept down markets, rising expenses and falling profit margins, but cannot profit from rising markets. Tenants, however, can sublet and arbitrage a rising market on the back of the owner’s capital.

        Would you take a job where your raises were capped, where you’d be fined a year’s take home pay for changing jobs, where if a raise was earned your boss would keep most of it laugh in your face?

      • To quote Measure M- “Homeownership is of great importance to the residents of the City of Alameda.” which is why it gives homeowners with in-law units greater protections than Measure L does. Actual small landlords, ones who can only afford their house because of the small apartment attached to it, are fully exempt from the provisions of Measure M1. How’s that for respect for Alameda homeownership?

        As a union carpenter I had a four year wage freeze during those years, and very small, well under 5%, increases after that. Meanwhile, Wilma Chan’s office did research (based on Zillow.com) showing that landlords raised rents by 34% from 2011 to 2016. So, average workers were getting little to no increases while property investors were taking more than 5% per year.

        At some point you have to decide that enough is enough. That losing our seniors and disabled citizens is not OK anymore. That school kids being forced out mid-school year, by the dozen, is not OK anymore. At some point community and neighborhood matters more than profit.

        I don’t know what that point is for you, but for many Alamedans, perhaps a majority, that point has been passed.

      • dave says:

        That fails to answer the question: why do you keep repeating a claim that is false?

      • MP says:

        Eric, how many in law units are there in Alameda that qualify under M1’s exception? I think they are very, very few. Is the Zillow study a study of vacant units advertised on Zillow or does it somehow measure increases in rents – both on vacant units and increases given to existing tenants?

      • Wouldn’t it be nice know how many landlords, units, and in-laws there are in Alameda? We should, you know. The law says that each landlord must register and pay a $20 per unit fee to the city. The best estimates say that there are a little more than 14,000 units, and yet the city only collected $2000 last year. Basically, the city left $280,000 on the table. This year, and for all past years. Add in late fees ($50) and the special election would be paid for easily with a lot left over, if only the landlords would comply with this law.

        Plus, we would know answers to questions like, “How many in-law units are there?”

        I have no idea why no journalist has picked up this story…

      • MP says:

        Eric, Dave brings up another good question. Does M1 do anything to prevent a tenant from charging rents or contributions from roommates or subtenants that exceed the rent paid by the tenant to the landlord? And are increases in rent or contribution payments made by roommates or subtenants capped at .65% of CPI?

      • A tenant charging more rent for a room than is proportional is not addressed in M1, or in L1. The reason is that there is no clear “best practice” on this issue. The courts are not clear on what regulations would be acceptable, so they are not included in the charter amendment. But, if the issue concerns you then elect a rent board member who will push for regulation. M1 is a framework of well established best practices, the rent board will fill in with regulaltions as necessary.

        This is a strength of M1. When we elect a city council member, we do it on a number of issues, most importantly their positions on development. But, with a separate rent board, the issues specific to the tenant landlord relationship can be addressed.

      • MP says:

        My impression is that the establishment of an autonomous Rent Control Board with no oversight from the City Council under M1 is, in fact, probably designed to accomplish something very similar to what you describe. Instead of the broad range of interests and views reflective of the entire community that, say, the City Council encompasses, an autonomous Rent Control Board election would more likely reflect (probably by design) the desires of a narrower range of residents with a direct interest in the actions of the Rent Control Board. If M1 passes, the first Rent Control Board election would occur in an off-year, special election, and the electorate would likely be heavily weighted towards those with a direct interest (i.e., mostly tenants and heavily outnumbered landlords), without the check and balance of the typical general city-wide electorate. And, by electing a Rent Control Board from within that narrower range of the electorate, it would be even easier for M1 proponents to exercise pure majoritarianism. Secede and improve your numbers. In this debate, some have called that ganging-up on landlords. Or maybe it is more like separating landlords off from the rest of the pack in order keep away those who might speak up for them or take a more even-handed approach.

        On top of that, and maybe in furtherance of it, M1 sets up eligibility standards that impose greater burdens on potential landlord Rent Control Board members than it does on non-landlord members, likely for the purpose of promoting desired policy outcomes:

        “(b) Eligibility: Duly qualified electors of the City of Alameda are eligible to serve as Members of the Board. Any landlords or managers of residential rental property elected to this Board must make a showing that they are in compliance with this Article and all other local, state and federal laws regulating the provision of housing. This showing must be provided in writing with any necessary documentation and provided on the City of Alameda website.”

        No similar requirements for non-landlord members. And how much more vague could the landlord requirements be? What, exactly, are the “local, state and federal laws regulating the provision of housing” that landlords are required to show compliance with “in writing with any necessary documentation and provided on the City of Alameda website” and what would the showing consist of? And would the Rent Control Board have the incentive and tools (e.g., its powers to issue subpoenas and conduct investigations) to make life difficult for any landlord member who showed disloyalty within the fiefdom?

      • Off year elections are very low turn-out and generally very much more conservative than Presidential ones. Also, while tenants do represent a majority of residents in Alameda, they vote at a much lower rate than homeowners. So, I am also worried about what the election will bring in terms of representation on the Rent Board.

        Do you really like having the City Council not be able to do the city’s business as it is consumed year after year by the rental crisis. Are you enjoying the increasing number of homeless at Sweeney Park as Alamedans are losing their homes and moving there. (Yes, that is true. I just went to the presentation on it at Mastic.) The problem is growing faster than the city can deal with it. We need a separate body to take it on.

        People vote for City Council based on bike paths, development plans, city contracts that either were or were not awarded. And that is how it should be. The Alameda City Council cannot solve the housing shortage, it needs help in managing it.

      • MP says:

        Eric, homelessness is a serious and complicated issue. Could you point us to materials from the Mastick presentation to support your implied assertion that if the City Council had enacted M1, as opposed the November 2015 moratorium and the March 2016 rent control ordinance now on the books, there would be fewer former Alameda renters or no former Alameda renters living in Beltline/Sweeney?

        In the end of your comment, you assert that “The Alameda City Council cannot solve the housing shortage, it needs help in managing it.” That seems to suggest that M1, along with its creation of an autonomous political body, the Rent Control Board, would help manage the housing shortage. In other places and on many occasions, however, the M1 campaign has conceded that M1 does not, and is not even intended to do anything to create more affordable rental housing supply. Or to promote any new housing at all. To the contrary, some in the M1 campaign have candidly acknowledged that M1 is likely to decrease overall supply as some landlords decide to opt out of the rental market and the much harsher environment M1 would them in. They will argue about the scope and number of evictions that will result in, but they don’t deny it is likely to occur.

  2. MP says:

    Who says there will be a rash of “panic”, or irrational, sales? Or that the sales will be to investors as opposed to those looking to move in? The system under M1 will give plenty of landlords rational incentives to sell to buyers who are not looking to take over as landlords, but rather to move in themselves.

  3. Linda Soulages says:

    Let’s pay attention to the truth…Over a period of 7 months the City Council had many long meetings to provide the community with a rental stabilization ordinance, which took effect in March and will be on the ballot as L1.

    The Result:
    The total number of L1 cases opened by the Alameda Housing Administration from the beginning of April through July was 62. Of those 62 cases 54 were settled between tenant and owner prior to RRAC meeting. Of the 8 remaining cases 4 were settled by the tenant and landlord at the RRAC meeting and for the remaining 4 cases, the RRAC made recommendations that were agreed to by both tenant and owner. No case has ever had to go past RRAC to a binding hearing.
    The average RRAC rent increase was 5.6%. All cases were solved with none going to binding hearing.

    The Rental stabilization ordinance ballot measure L1 is working

    The 65% is not enough to support the building but….The bottom line is the reason property owners like myself are so afraid of initiative M1 – it allows the tenants to sublease their unit to whomever they please without the owner being able to screen the new tenant. That means if you get an unruly tenant or even worse, someone who is committing criminal acts, the only way the owner can get the tenant out of the building is to go through the court system and subpoena the adjacent tenants.
    Let’s Face it folks nobody wants that.

    L1 is fair rent control already in place and working.

    See for yourself – log onto AFFRC.org website.
    (Alamedans For Fair Rent Control)

    Go to The comparison tab and educate yourself on both ballot measures. Please be informed… don’t be fooled by all the lies.

    Thank you
    Linda Soulages, Alameda Resident

    • carol says:

      Would like to, but Unable to access AFFRC.org. “password protected”?

    • Actually, we at ARC LOVE those tables that are produced about the RRAC’s performance. It proves everything we have been saying. Most tenants are too intimidated to bother with an “advosry” hearing. And if they do, they’ll get a 7.9% increase as a reward.

      At the last meeting 19 out of 20 tenants didn’t even bother to try to appeal their rent increase. Why should they antagonize their landlord when the result will be unchanged? And that one who did contest it? The landlord representatives (not the landlords as we were promised by the city council) would not budge. They as much as admitted that they couldn’t. The tenant pointed out that his rent had gone up by 30% in three years. No difference. The tenant asked for 2%. No. The tenant asked for a month’s free rent, as other landlords were offering. No. The RRAC members asked the landlord reps for some sort of counter offer. The tenant can move was all they said. The RRAC asked the tenant if he had financial hardship, but never asked the landlord reps if they had hardship. Was there some reason that they needed more than 30% in three years? They never answered because they were never even asked. In the end, the visibly angry RRAC settled on a 3.6% increase, splitting the difference in favor of the landlords. But, it was just a suggestion and the landlord reps had already said they wouldn’t lower their offer. So, 45 minutes of hearing, a tenant who has painted a target on his back, and no change in the rent increase.

      This is exactly what the real estate interests wanted, and this is why they consider measure L a success.

      Those who would like actual change support Measure M. Those who want Alamedans to feel safe in their homes support Measure M. Oh, and homeowners who would like the flexibility of a short term lease, and unregulated rents on their in-law units? They also support Measure M.

      • MP says:

        I looked up that case on the City website. It was an advisory decision because the rent increase was less than 5%. If the proposed increase had been greater, it would not have been an advisory. The RRAC could have issued a binding decision.

        The apartment complex in question is also right on the beach. There are some good and some not so good reviews for it on Yelp
        https://www.yelp.com/biz/south-shore-apartments-alameda

        Here is how one resident describes “The Good”:
        -The location is beautiful. So close to the beach, shopping, the city, everything. Being able to walk out your door, down Shoreline Drive, grab a coffee, and walk back along the beach is a beautiful thing. Alameda is charming and such a fun place to live.
        -The grounds are beautiful, the gym is larger than almost any other apartment complex we’ve seen, the pools are well maintained, there are tennis courts, a large club house, and friendly staff. From what I’ve observed, this is the nicest complex on Shoreline Drive.
        -The maintenance team is amazing. They are quick, punctual, efficient, and available.
        -It’s extremely easy to pay rent or schedule a maintenance request through the online portal.
        -We’ve never had loud or obnoxious neighbors.
        -Feels very safe, good area.”

  4. dave says:

    Monty & Eric:

    You are both awfully quiet about having your points about profits proven wrong and your math shown to be faulty.

    These specious claims about profit margins have been central to your argument. What say you now?

  5. A Neighbor says:

    http://affrc.org/ Will get you there.

  6. A Neighbor says:

    http://affrc.org/ Will get you there.

  7. Linda Soulages says:

    The Alamedans For Fair Rent Control site has some problems. It’s been shut down temporally . I’ll post when it’s up and running again. Sorry for the inconvenience .
    Linda Soulages

  8. Linda Soulages says:

    The Alamedans For Fair Rent Control web site. affrc.org is up and running. Thank you
    Linda Soulages

  9. dave says:

    Re-posting this, in case they missed it:

    Monty & Eric:

    You are both awfully quiet about having your points about profits proven wrong and your math shown to be faulty.

    These specious claims about profit margins have been central to your argument. What say you now?

    • wordist45 says:

      You’ve proven nothing, except you’re a waste of my valuable time.

      • dave says:

        You claim a business background, including CFO experience, but cannot understand business nor even basic arithmetic. Makes one wonder if your time has any value at all.

  10. Alameda Landlord says:

    Excellent argument by both sides, that bring up valid points, yet are unconvincing to either side of the Rent Control debate. wordist45 and Mr. Strimling are debating a very subjective topic, which is what is a fair profit that a landlord is entitled to. Dave and company are arguing that the ARC ballot measure will result in landlords running a deficit, which will result in blight and less affordable housing. These are all valid points, but won’t have a significant impact on the electorate. This island, for the worse, is a majority tenant island and when you offer tenants free ice cream, which is all Rent Control is, then the outlook is bleak for minority property owners. I defy any of the posters on this topic, to counter and convince a renter, that keeping the rent low, and allowing them to live in this paradise for eternity is bad for tenants and bad for the island. You can’t do it. As a landlord I want to make as much money as I can from my rental property. That money is for my family and my kid’s college fund. I’ve never understood why for the past 15 years, our Alameda rents are half those of Menlo Park and Palo Alto. Ditto for house prices. We are 20 minutes from the City, via Ferry (no traffic) and have the finest beach in the Bay. This is paradise. But the market is what it is. Rents in Alameda are still half that of the attractive cities on the Peninsula. Three bedroom SFHs in good school neighborhoods are running 6-7K a month in the aforementioned locations. They are 3-4K a month in Bay Farm and Alameda proper. As a landlord I can only get what a tenant is willing to pay, ie what the market is willing to bear. That is my limitation. Now along comes rent control, after I have been sucking it up for 15 years, and reaping half what my buddies across the Bay are getting for their rental properties, and after finally remodelling and assuming a great deal of debt to get my property up to the 4-5K a month level of quality, to tell me that it’s immoral, greedy, unfair and inhumane to rent it for that price. It destroys the community. It forces people with less money to leave Alameda and live somewhere else. Ahh, the tyranny of the majority. Tenants have banded together and put on the ballot a measure that will prevent me from charging what the market will bear, ie what OTHER people are willing to pay to rent my place. Tenants want cheap rent in paradise. Now if I proposed a ballot measure that would have required tenants to pay a special Landlord fee, to help out Landlords that lost their jobs and were struggling to pay the loans on their rental units, well that dog just won’t hunt. That sounds like a personal problem. So yes, I will contribute to AFFRC, post signs warning of the apocalypse, and commiserate with my fellow landlords of the unfairness of it all. But how do you counter “Free Ice Cream for Renters!”. It’s not free, the landlords are paying for it, we say. “It’s free for me” the tenants say as they head to the voting booth. So Dave and company, I agree with all your arguments, but they are as relevant as “how many angels fit on the head of pin”. They are strictly academic. I do not think they will convince the majority tenant electorate. So what does a landlord do? Costa Hawkins offers protection against Rent Caps, for many many rental units. That’s why the tenants put that onerous Relocation fee into the ballot measure. It’s a waste of time to try to talk tenants out of free ice cream, so you focus on property owners, explain to them how this hurts them, work to turn out that vote and hope that the tenants stay home on election day. If the initiative passes, then Landlords have to decide if they want to stay in the rental business, or sell their unit (good luck getting a great price in a rent controlled island). That’s it in a lengthy nutshell. Landlords focus your arguments not on your right to profit, not on how unfair this is, not on how this will bankrupt you, not on how it will result in Island blight etc etc, but focus your arguments on how this hurts all Island property owners, get them all registered and get them to the church on time this November. That’s all folks.

    • MP says:

      True. Alameda is a majority renter electorate, but a very significant portion of that majority live in exempt units: single family house rentals, condo units and apartments built after 1995. Those make up about 1/5 to 1/4 of all rental units in Alameda. The distinction between renters who live in exempt versus non-exempt units is an issue that the M1 campaign does not highlight, but it is a very significant one because the only question on the ballot in November is not whether there will be rent control, but rather what type of rent control will be law in Alameda: M1 (the ARC measure) or L1 (current law). Renters of exempt units (all single family houses, apartments built after 1995, and condo units) who pay attention to the fine print will discover that Measure M1 works particularly against their interests when compared with L1.

      True, both measures provide relocation benefits for certain types of evictions and, in that respect, L1 and M1 treat renters of exempt units and non-exempt units the same. Individual leases and types of occupants determine whether M1 or L1 would provide any particular tenant — of an exempt unit or a non-exempt unit — greater relocation benefits.

      On the issue of rent increases, however, the two measures treat renters of non-exempt units and renters of exempt units (single family houses, condo units and post-1995 apartments) differently. That is in part because under state law neither M1 nor L1 can directly control rents or rent increases on newer apartments, single family houses, or condo units. That is a point that I think gets lost in the campaign: Measure M1 will not regulate rents or rent increases on single family houses, new apartments or condos. But M1 goes even farther than that. It abolishes the right that renters of single family houses, condo units and new apartment units have under current City law to a rent increase hearing before the City’s Rent Review Advisory Committee (RRAC). In fact, it abolishes the RRAC altogether.

      Why the M1 campaign proposes to abandon the right to a rent increase hearing that renters of new apartment units, condos and singe family houses have under the current Alameda ordinance is not totally clear. It certainly was not necessary. Perhaps preserving that right for that group of renters would have diluted the M1 campaign’s political effort to discredit the RRAC generally. Whatever the case, there is no question that M1 removes the only restraint under City law on rent increases for single family houses, new apartments and condo units. The non-binding RRAC process for exempt units may not have the desired outcome in all cases, but abolishing it, as M1 would do, means that it will never have the desired outcome of convincing the landlord of an exempt unit to lower a proposed rent increase (or to propose a lower increase in the first place to avoid the entire process).

      I’m sure that not all renters of single family houses, condos and new apartments are aware of these issues under Measure M1: it does not control rents and it abolishes the right to a rent increase hearing under the current Alameda ordinance. Maybe when they are, they will have another reason to question whether the M1 campaign represents their best interests.

    • H. Macknzie says:

      Excellent nutshell explanation, and points well taken. The unfortunate part of your being correct also centers on the fact that this subject, rent control, does not appear to affect many who are not tenants, other than housing providers. We know of course Housing Providers (landlords) have been vilified by renters groups as greedy people, however, those getting “free ice cream” at the expense of others are not considered greedy. Also housing providers are not considered business people, nor is providing housing considered a legitimate business by tenants, populous or for that matter the government. It is more or less a go to “honey pot” for funding government projects, school bonds, tenant advocate housing issues, and other organizations that present ballot measures to voters which primarily focus on supporting their cause by increasing property taxes or extorting funds from the housing provider industry by various means. Both measures utilize housing providers to fund their projects, however, do not allow the cost to be totally expensed by housing providers. The real issue appears to be more appropriately why housing providers are being targeted to provide financial relief to a particular group of citizens when in fact it is a city wide social issue which costs should be borne by all residents.

      Adding to the problem is that since all citizens are not affected by either issue, voters will in all probability not read either issue in it’s entirety and therefore will not understand the onerous overreach of measure M1 when compared to L1. It’s in the fine print of M1 that makes the overreach appear to be punitive to housing providers which will apparently satisfy the anger and frustration of the renters coalition towards housing providers in general. This anger, however, should have been directed toward the small group of investors who caused the problem, not the industry in general. It is apparent that there has been overreach by a certain small group of outside investors with regards to egregious rent increases, however, with regards to impact, this group is minute when compared to the entire housing provider industry in Alameda, however, it’s continued presence in the public forum has inappropriately distorted it’s real impact on the total rental industry in Alameda.

      I believe the real issues are the egregious overreach of M1 when compared to L1, however, just as important is whether or not the people want to pass an ordinance that can only be changed by a vote of the people and managed by an outside elected board with no local governmental oversight. The M1 measure also adds city staff, by undetermined authority, to an already bloated city government, which has staff already in place to manage the existing measure L1. Sure L1 has some issues, however, it can be managed by city officials with input from citizens groups. This of course would necessitate ceasing the Hattfields vs the McCoys attitude that has prevailed throughout this debate and create an open morally based mediation through the city council process.

      Understandably the present city council has not distinguished itself throughout this process, however, this can be corrected by electing competent people to serve on future councils. We should look to elect people from all walks of life, not just those from certain professions , and certainly not re-elect retreads. Alameda used to pride itself on having a good mix of people with various backgrounds serving on councils, we even had a barber for mayor who, by the way, is still remembered as one of Alameda’s best mayors.

      The most important thing for citizens to do in this election is to read the issues at hand and make an educated decision regarding what is best for the City of Alameda. Should Alameda maintain control of it’s own destiny, which I believe L1 accomplishes, however, this decision is in the hands of the electorate.

  11. MP says:

    I agree with your points. And I was not trying to give a comprehensive argument for Measure L1. Both L1 and M1 constitute or would constitute — by far — the most complex legislation on the City’s books and deal with a most complex issue. They will affect people in different and complex ways, but a lot of the debate is stated in generalities. One of those generalizations is when the M1 campaign purports to speak for renters as a whole. In fundamental ways, it does not. Above, I wrote about one of those ways: M1 works against existing renters of single family houses, condos and newer apartments. It does nothing to control or regulate their rents, and removes the only restraint on their rent increases under the City’s current law. There are others, including renters who want to move within Alameda, either as a group or because roommates are splitting up, or any number of reasons. Assuming no collapse in the economy, such a move will be more expensive if M1 passes.

    There are plenty of other problems with M1; too many to discuss right now. You are absolutely correct that there is a lot of misplaced anger out there. Coming down hard on landlords with below-inflation controls and a new bureaucracy with highly complex rules (and more rules to be issued in the future — come on people, how many of you have actually read M1 all the way through?) is punishing the long-time small Alameda owner who probably has life savings tied up in a small holding for the actions of a few investors. (And don’t forget that there is a new city ordinance in place that prevents those excessive rent increases). And the more you punish the small Alameda owner for the actions of a few investors, the more you drive the small owners out of the business, resulting in taking units off the rental market or sales to the very investors blamed for increasing rents. And it is unnecessary with the current City ordinance in place (L1).

    But I don’t want the more specific point that M1 takes away rights of renters of single family houses, condos and new apartments to get lost in the discussion. If “free ice cream” is a primary motivator for some in making a decision between a reasonable rent control measure, L1, and an extreme rent control measure (plus a new, expensive bureaucracy without oversight from the City) – M1 – then one of many messages that should be out there is that for renters of condos, townhouses, new apartments and single family houses, M1 is not “free ice cream” at all. Under M1 there will be no rent control on those units and M1 (perhaps in order to create some kind of momentum for the creation of its own expensive bureaucracy) abolishes those renters’ right to a rent increase hearing and mediation. I would not be surprised if a large number of such renters actually believe that M1 would regulate their rents. The M1 campaign hardly features that fact when it makes broad claims on behalf of renters as a whole. If anything to the extent M1 ends up causing a drop in overall rental supply in Alameda — which it will — M1 raises price pressure on single family house, condo, townhouse and new apartment rentals, which are not controlled or regulated under M1. Just as I would recommend extreme caution to renters of single family houses, townhouses, condo units and new apartment units, I would encourage all to investigate the details of M1 before voting. We have a presidential candidate (the one with orange hair) who likes to make big and vague promises about how he will fix everything, just trust him. Yeah, right. Show me the details.

    • wordist45 says:

      “And it is unnecessary with the current City ordinance in place (L1).”

      The problem with ANY of the features in L1 is that once it is passed the City can pull a bait-and-switch and tweak or eliminate overnight. L1 is a shape-shifting illusion designed to placate an aroused public until the heat blows over. It expires in 2019. M1 is the real McCoy. It may not do everything for everyone, but it is an effective and practical solution that cannot be meddled with by a City Hall that’s become an extension of the Realty Cabal, treating citizens like sheep to shear and slaughter as they change Alameda into a tourist destination to fill the pockets of off-island investors. It’s a repeat of what happened in the 1950s when developers stole the beach and made it into a stagnant lagoon that has to be sterilized with chemicals to control the algae, creating an ecological wasteland.

      A City Call that’s controlled by the Realty Cabal cannot be trusted to look out for the public interest.

      • Paul S Foreman says:

        There you go again Monty! Instead of arguing the merits, you would rather attack Council and invent a Realty Cabal that controls the City. Are you sure it’s not a Russian conspiracy? I will be presenting the argument for L-1 at the Democratic Club on Wednesday at 7 pm at the Hospital. I will continue to respect both sides of a very legitimate issue, while you take the low road.

      • wordist45 says:

        “There you go again Monty! ”

        Hey, I’m just getting warmed up. Stay tuned…

  12. IAFF 689 says:

    Realty Cabal?

    That’s an odd way to spell our name….

  13. Greedy Landlords Association says:

    Excellent piece in The Sun, Monty. We appreciate the help.

    • wordist45 says:

      Note the outside money from the Realty Cabal flowing into Alameda. Prometheus, who manages South Shore Beach and Tennis apartments, ran a bait-and-switch scam during the early 2000s that they’ve never been held accountable for. You pick an apartment from a model (“because yours isn’t ready yet to show”.) Then, when you arrive on move-in day, with your goods in a truck, you get a smaller unit, and you’re told there’s no more left of the one you were shown except for $100/month more.

      Read the list and ponder who’s backing those TV ads against Measure M1. It’s the people who profit most from the community instability created by a runaway rental market. Realtors, property managers have a vested interest in turnover. To them U-Hauls dotting our streets is music. Over a half-million dollars has been collected from outside interests just to defeat Measure M1. Not one of these is from Alameda.

      Name………………………………………. ……..City………………………………Total
      Calif. Apartment Assoc………………………..Sacramento…………. 153,299
      Calif. Rental Housing Services Corp………Sacramento……………….. 25,000
      VASONA Management, Inc…………………..Los Gatos……………………..45,000
      GRE Meadows ……………………………………Folsom…………………………..1,000
      Woodmont RealEstate Services, L.P………Belmont………………………..85,000
      KW Multi-family Management Group, LLCBeverly Hills…………………. 50,000
      Tod Spieker………………………………………..Palo Alto………………………. 50,000
      Prometheus, Real Estate Group, Inc………San Mateo…………………… 50,000
      Tower Alameda LP……………………………….Mill Valley…………………….. 25,000
      Mountain View Housing Council…………….Mountain View……………… 40,000
      Grand Total………………………………………………………………………… $524,299

  14. H Mackenzie says:

    Wordlist45. You consistently fail to provide a detailed accounting of where the supposedly collected funds are spent with regards to the Alameda rent control issues. The funds you mention in your 9/19 post may well have been collected throughout the state by the real estate entities you mention, however, I doubt that any of these funds have found their way into Alameda organizations having opinions on rent control. To my knowledge all such organizations are grass roots composed and operate with local “donated” funds. If you have specific information to the contrary you should so define it. There has been too much accusations concerning who is doing what without any validation, just accusations. This seems to be the main purpose of your rants. if you have such facts state them or resist you smear campaign tactics.

    And just what is a realty cabal? What leads you to believe one exists in Alameda, your own thoughts or I would assume you have some documentation to prove your endless referrals to this conspiratorial cabal of realtors in Alameda. You fail to believe there are many property owners in Alameda who have worked for years to build a business model where accumulated property will eventually have the ability to support itself regarding expenses. This does not happen overnight it takes years and sweat equity. Your dismissal of their ability to unify against an unfair legal attack against their business without assistance from these conspiratorial “cabals” shows your lack of knowledge of the Alameda rental industry..

    You also consistently refer to old issues with no correlation to the current rent control debate. The Beach and Tennis club issues you mention may or may not be valid, who can prove your accusations and what relevance is there to the current debate concerning rent control. You tend to obfuscate by deviation to issues without relevance to topics being discussed.

    • wordist45 says:

      “I doubt that any of these funds have found their way into Alameda organizations having opinions on rent control. To my knowledge all such organizations are grass roots composed and operate with local “donated” funds. If you have specific information to the contrary you should so define it.”

      My information comes directly from campaign finance filings with the City Clerk made by the CAA “Issues Committee.” They can be viewed here: http://docs.ci.alameda.ca.us/weblink8/Browse.aspx?dbid=0&startid=310100&row=1

      These Form 496 filings clearly indicate that the funds have been collected/spent to support or oppose “CHARTER AMENDMENMDENT ON RENT CONTROL” for “CITY OF ALAMEDA.”

      To date, $2,500 went to Printing, $17,570 to Polling and $60,000 to TV Advertising.

      The listed names of contributors, all off-island realty interests, are prima facie evidence of the cabal.

  15. H Mackenzie says:

    It appears to me that you are making the same mistake that created this problem to begin with. You are confusing what very large Real Estate Investment Groups do with advertising with regard to their benefit, however, have little or no affect on local small investors with regards to financial assistance. I am referring to the constant referral to the eviction of tenants from a large building in Alameda which had been purchased by an out of town large real estate investment firm. It had no relationship to the average housing provider in Alameda as does the investments by large real estate investment firms located outside of Alameda. It was after all a large 50 plus unit apartment, which is not the norm in Alameda, but it suited the purposes of ARC. However, it does make good press if one continuously posts rants about “outside money” influencing the Alameda market.

    i move around Alameda on a regular basis, perhaps you can help point out to me where these funds have attempted to influence the Alameda election. I have not observed, nor seen any public advertisements or TV ads regarding this issue paid for by the CAA or any other local or national real estate “cabal” Which by the way is interesting how you do not refer to your own group as a “cabal” since there are affiliations with other similar groups within and outside of California.

    • wordist45 says:

      “It was after all a large 50 plus unit apartment, which is not the norm in Alameda, but it suited the purposes of ARC.”

      If you’re referring to 470 Central, it’s 31 units, and ARC didn’t create that, Matthew Sridhar did. I’m aghast that you would insinuate that ARC is exploiting those hardworking innocent families. I’ve heard of blaming the victim, but blaming the hero is a stretch. ARC, an all-volunteer collection of everyday citizens, many of whom have disabilities and none of whom have deep pockets. ARC stepped in when the City Council and RRAC did nothing. Even the current rent ordinance–which wouldn’t even exist if ARC hadn’t been pressing for rent control and eviction limitations–allows families to be thrown out for no reason except to make more profit.

      It’s ARC against millionaires and billionaires who are destroying Alameda’s home town atmosphere. David vs Goliath. Democracy in action. Anyone half patriotic should be sending ARC money and showering them with praise.

      “However, it does make good press if one continuously posts rants about “outside money” influencing the Alameda market.”

      Damn right it does. And, I don’t know about ARC, but you may expect plenty more of the same from me.

      • Richard Thomas says:

        “Even the current rent ordinance–which wouldn’t even exist if ARC hadn’t been pressing for rent control and eviction limitations–allows families to be thrown out for no reason except to make more profit.”

        Monty, the current rent ordinance does not allow this. Under the current ordinance, no-cause evictions have a 5% rent increase limit on the next tenants, the same amount that could be had by simply raising the rent 5% to avoid a mandatory RRAC hearing. No-cause terminations are allowed so that landlords can remove problem tenants, not make more profit. I know that you know this, so I question why you keep mis-stating it.

    • wordist45 says:

      “I have not observed, nor seen any public advertisements or TV ads regarding this issue paid for by the CAA or any other local or national real estate ‘cabal’…”

      Here’s a link to one of theirs ads: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBA6d6fzZzM

  16. H Mackenzie says:

    Well wordist 45 you are confusing a statewide campaign by the CAA concerning rent control, and these adds are being shown in most cities with advocacy groups demanding rent control. This would be similar to the renters advocacy groups doing similar advertising state wide. Unless of course you wish to claim rental advocacy groups are not active statewide and have not received notice in the press, which would be a false claim on your part. “ARC stepped in when the city council and RRAC did nothing” This is so far from the truth and displays your lack on knowledge concerning the renters coalition. ARC did not step in to help anyone but themselves. As I Have stated previously ARC members participated in the original “study group” moderated by Jeff Cambra to study and draft suggestions which would be presented to the city council for consideration. The ARC members DID NOT participate beyond the first meeting primarily because their goal was to make demands with expectations of controlling the meetings and guide any recommendations in their favor.

    Concerning evictions, you continually claim that people are being evicted without cause, which also demonstrates your bias on the subject. No housing provider wants to evict anyone without cause, save the larger investors who purchase large apartment buildings with the goal of renovation. evictions cost money even if the housing provider is justified, check the court records it may surprise you to find that “payments” to justifiably evicted tenants have been the norm for some time, and they appear to be similar to the relocation fees ARC appears to favor.

    Your rants about millionaires, billionaires and deep pockets is just that, a rant without justification, and again displays you lack of knowledge of the Alameda Rental Market. housing providers are also hardworking people who do not have “deep pockets” as you state, and are not destroying Alameda’s Home town atmosphere, in fact they help preserve it by maintaining their properties, which will change when and if the ARC proposal passes and dramatically limits their income which in turn affects the bottom line maintenance items. And by the way “landlords” are also hardworking everyday people who just happen to have accumulated property through their hard work and sacrifice. Investing in property is not an overnight event. For most housing providers it takes years to accumulate funds to purchase income property, most of whom are not millionaires or billionaires, just people who save and invest in their future.

    you say “David and Goliath” , I would prefer you admit to ARC creating an atmosphere of the Hattfield’s and the McCoy’s. My opinion is that ARC has created a fission between “landlords” and tenants that will not go away too soon and will forever change the landscape with regards to Alameda’s rental market. You also continually infer this issue was created by “Landlords”, however, not address the issue of population growth and the pressure on housing it creates. Rents have been rising for some time, is it really the responsibility of a housing provider to ensure that “everyone” in Alameda has a “home”? or is it the responsibility of the entire community. Your opinion is the housing providers must pay for this to occur, however, what may I ask will be your contribution as a tenant? and please do not refer to their rent payment as a contribution as rents being capped at 65% of the CPI will be nowhere close to helping in that regard.

    You wish to create a separate more expensive board to oversee an issue that affects every person in Alameda. This board will supposedly create civil service positions which are already staffed by city employees. What authority allows them to create these positions has not been spelled out, probably for good reason. The expenses of M1 will further burden a monetarily overburdened city.

    • Eric Strimling says:

      It sure looks like they are spending the money here. they say on their disclosure forms that the donations are to “oppose” “the charter amendment on rent control”. And they list the location as “City of Alameda”.

      Over $400,000 in cash, and another $60k in “independent expenditures” which would be the Alameda portion of the state wide campaign.

      You sure are shilling for some very very deep pockets. Are you sure tat they have the best interests of Alameda in mind? Or are these the same folk who boast about having “a pipeline of overseas investors”?

    • wordist45 says:

      “Well wordist 45 you are confusing a statewide campaign by the CAA concerning rent control, and these adds are being shown in most cities with advocacy groups demanding rent control.”

      Incorrect. The $524,000 tabulation I provided is moneys dedicated strictly for Alameda’s rent control ballot measure [Jurisdiction: “city of Alameda” Name of ballot measure; Name of Ballot Measure Supported or Opposed: “Charter Amendment on Rent Control”] If you pulled up the link I provided you would know this. Here again is the link:
      http://docs.ci.alameda.ca.us/WebLink8/0/doc/442100/Page1.aspx

    • wordist45 says:

      ” No housing provider wants to evict anyone without cause, save the larger investors who purchase large apartment buildings with the goal of renovation.”

      All evidence to the contrary..; barely a year after the property next door changed hands, my neighbor, a single mom with a 7-year-old boy, got a no-cause eviction. “It’s the only home he remembers,” she said tearfully as I asked “Erica” what had happened. A few months later her next door neighbor “Lucille” had moved, fearing the same treatment. Lucille had lived there 28 years. Within two months I had lost 5 neighbors and the rents next door had almost doubled.

      So don’t tell me no-cause evictions aren’t happening. It is you who are out of touch.

      • mack says:

        As you commonly do, you fail to give details. You do not explain why these people moved. Did the person who purchased the property want to move into the home, thus your neighbor was asked to move based on a home owner move in. Also you explain the other neighbor moved “fearing” the same would happen to her, however, she was not evicted as you are implying, she voluntarily moved. Perhaps it was because she realized she could no longer afford to live there, we don’t know because you want all to believe she was unlawfully evicted.

        Well at this point no one can provide statistics that justify the expenses of either proposal however, anyone with a basic comprehension of math can figure it out. M1 proposes to hire additional staff, some of who, as explained, will be civil service employees, thus duplicating staff the city has already hired to manage L1. This of course does not even consider their duplicate salaries, or any retirement benefits therein attached. If one can just reasonably extrapolate on the legal costs of implication of M1, it will be outrageously expensive. M1 offers legal assistance to anyone who desires it, is this a free service?, not if legal staff is involved from my experience. Also the city of Alameda must bear the cost of all law suits associated with M1. M1 also fails to explain where the money comes from to pay for the future elections necessary to implement changes. M1 also calls for an annual review that sufficient staff are employed with no ceiling delineated, but states this unknown number of employees are within the classified civil service of the city. It also states legal staff “hired” by the board shall represent and advise the board members and its staff in “any” civil matters, actions or proceedings, in which the board, its members, or its staff , in or by reason of their official capacity, are concerned or are a party. M1 provides that the board may “in its sole discretion , and without approval of the city council, retain private attorneys to furnish legal advice or representation in particular matters, actions, or proceedings. M1 also gives the board authority : to procure goods and services as other city agencies, using existing city support services, ie” finance, information technology, and public works among others–provided the board shall have sole and final authority to employ attorneys, “legislative lobbyists” and “other professionals” and to approve contracts for such professional services. I would suppose you believe these services will be at no cost to the board, its members or anyone using its services.

        What M1 wishes to create is a runaway program separate from oversight from the city of Alameda, unlike other city programs which require such oversight, with the authority to hire an unknown number of city employees, give them civil service status, and have to authority to encumber the city with contractual obligations without their consent or oversight. And you do not believe this to be an expensive program? I believe you are in total denial of the factual content of M1. You can continually deny the obvious, however, at some point your continual denial of the obvious M1 printed material will affect your credibility.

        I am not out of touch, I am very much aware of the rental industry in Alameda. The constant referral by you to evicted tenants without proof or explanation is without merit and should be dismissed by all. Anyone can make claims of evictions, however, most of those claimed by yourself and members of ARC are without explanation or documentation, save the few repetitive well known buildings repeatedly mentioned. By your standards housing providers are responsible for all evictions in Alameda through their greed to make more money. It may be time for you gain more knowledge concerning this topic by keeping a neutral attitude and looking beyond your nose and associates who consistently claim the horrendous evictions without proof or documentation. When was the last time you were involved in the rental industry outside of the very small world of ARC where mediation occurred. I have consistently claimed the ARC coalition has never engaged in mediation and have attended meeting where this was demonstrated. ARC views are slanted and in most cases malicious, as in stating the current city council favors housing providers. You must remember when the tenants “stormed” the city council chambers, causing injury, it was the housing providers who were asked to leave the chambers to allow tenants space, that is fact!

      • wordist45 says:

        “You do not explain why these people moved. Did the person who purchased the property want to move into the home, thus your neighbor was asked to move based on a home owner move in.”

        “Erica was moved out so the apartment could be upgraded. (There was nothing wrong with the apartment, mind you.) The new tenant pays $2,300 for what Erica was paying $1,200.

        “Also you explain the other neighbor moved “fearing” the same would happen to her, however, she was not evicted as you are implying, she voluntarily moved.”

        She moved out of fear. We had a conversation about it. Apparently you think that is okay. I don’t. We were neighbors for over 10 years.

      • mack says:

        You may have a different perspective on what is okay with an apartment and what is not. Perhaps the apartment had not been upgraded for many years and desperately needed it. IE: wiring and plumbing out of date, they work but not well. These items do need attention, and are items that tenants do complain about. Living in Alameda for 81 years I have also had my share of friends and family move out of Alameda due to the cost of housing. Some would like to return, some would not, however, it appears once you move out it is difficult to move back. This is not the work of “landlords” it is a fact of economics, as well as supply and demand. The neighbor who moved out of fear would not compute in my world, Why did she not contact the “landlord” and attempt to determine her own fate by negotiating a new lease.

        You also failed to address the points of M1 that I think make it more expensive than L1. We could discuss this forever, but I think the measure speaks for itself with regard to expenses. In many cases it omits necessary details on how many, how much and cost limitations. The important factor to me is that L1 allows for local control and change without the cost of all changes having to be put to public vote. Alameda has long been a city where public debate and mediation has worked over the years. I see no reason for the dramatic change to a public vote for change to a city ordinance, or for making rent control a charter amendment.

        Alameda has long been a friendly integrated community without public issues becoming an explosive topic which pits one segment of the population against the other as has rent control. Do you really want to change Alameda to become another Berkeley, Oakland or Richmond. I have witnessed the changes to these cities personally over the years, and would hope those having the resources to live in Alameda would understand and appreciate the difference. From your comments you have not lived in Alameda that long and do not appreciate or understand the city is experiencing dramatic change with regards to population. Yes there is not sufficient housing for everyone to live in Alameda who desires to, however, this is also a civic problem that should be handled by city officials addressing public housing issues, and certainly not a problem caused by “landlords’ as you continuously allude to.

        Our differences are you want to blow up the city to solve a problem that will be worked out over the next few years and I would prefer to not blow up Alameda at this point, but allow the local government process to solve it.

      • wordist45 says:

        “The important factor to me is that L1 allows for local control and change without the cost of all changes having to be put to public vote.”

        Are you kidding? You speak of Local control when an off-island Cabal of realty interests is spending a half-million dollars to undermine Alameda’s right to self-govern?

        The framers of the US Constitution had a different notion on “local control.” Think about it.

        Community and housing are too important to place in the hands of a Realty Cabal-influenced city council who proved their fickelness with the sunset clause they baked into the current rent ordinance that terminates in 2019.

        The people need a housing law they can depend on. Something with permanence, like the Constitution, that can’t be monkeyed with.

      • MP says:

        Monty, if by “monkeying” you mean making needed adjustments to rent control rules that in practice don’t work out or to undo severe unintended consequences, well then a lot more people might favor having the ability to “monkey”. You don’t get that with M1. If M1 passes, then its anomalies and contradictions become not merely “baked in”, but written in stone. I was looking at M1 to see if my aunt-in-law – bless her heart – would be able to enjoy the same benefit she enjoyed in New York for many years (decades). Actually, she did most of the enjoying not in New York, but in another where she lived most of the time. The New York rent-controlled apartment was so relatively cheap, that with her stable income she was able to lend it out without charge to friends and family visiting NYC. I know you are not for that type of anomalous (and supply reducing) result, and you may or may not be in favor of tenants who own property elsewhere being able to take advantage of strict rent control under M1 in Alameda, and you also may or may not be uncomfortable with forcing typical, small landlords (not the mega-international-arbitraged-hedged-[add your adjective of choice]-realty cabal) to stay in sub-inflation rent controlled leases with high income tenants. Let us know. But then also let us know how any of those things could be fixed, if so desired, if M1 passes. And what would you do for renters of Costa-Hawkins exempt units who appreciate the City’s RRAC/mediation program. Isn’t that gone for good, no monkeying allowed?

      • MP says:

        whoops: Actually, she did most of the enjoying not in New York, but in another *state* where she lived most of the time.

  17. wordist45 says:

    “You wish to create a separate more expensive board…”

    I challenge anyone to present evidence that the Rent Board would be more expensive than the current Rent Review administration. The current rent ordinance is 28 pages, 8 more than the M1 charter amendment, and the city’s budget estimate for that over-complicated document is $1.9 million. The $3.7 million “estimate” was provided by a consultant hand-picked by a city management hostile toward real rent control and made no effort to reconcile his absurd $3.7 million with either ARC’s estimate of $1.7 million or the city’s own $1.9 million estimate.

  18. H Mackenzie says:

    wordist45, read my statement of 9/28/. if you can still doubt the expense of M1 I would have to declare you out of touch with reality.

    • wordist45 says:

      “if you can still doubt the expense of M1 I would have to declare you out of touch with reality.”

      I read all I could bear, and I have to admit that you have a pretty firm grip on unreality. I defer to your superior knowledge of all things unreal.

      • HonestAbe says:

        Strike one, strike two, strike three. M1 soundly and roundly defeated. There is still justice in Alameda. Amen.

  19. Alameda Landlord says:

    Congratulations property owners. You showed up and voted M1 down. Personally I would have preferred both measures fail, but if one measure was going to pass, as a landlord, L1 was preferable to M1. The Renters didn’t show up to church on time. Now it’s up to the lawyers to determine what a no cause eviction is, if this measure will indeed expire in 2019, who will pay for the RRAC (the council wanted landlords to shoulder this expense that only benefits the tenant). As a landlord for a single family home, under Costa Hawkins I can raise my rent to 1 million dollars a month. If the tenant can not pay, is that a no cause eviction that justifies a relocation fee? These are the issues the lawyers and councils are now considering. At the same time, the market has cooled, rents are falling in the region and sanity is once again beginning to prevail. I guess “Free Ice Cream” in the Fall, wasn’t a compelling draw.

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