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Prejudice and greed fuels Oakland's condo-conversion proposal
by Lynda Carson (tenantsrule [at] yahoo.com)
Sunday Nov 19th, 2006 10:44 PM
Oakland's City Officials Place Thousands Of Renters At Risk Of Homelessness, With Plan To Convert Oakland's Rental Housing Stock Into Pricey Condominiums!
Prejudice and greed fuels Oakland's condo-conversion proposal

By Lynda Carson November 19, 2006

Prejudice and greed are fueling the latest drive to kill Oakland's condo-conversion protections, and it has Oakland renters very concerned.

In a false hope to offer home ownership to Oakland renters, which would saddle them with drowning debt and foreclosures, a newly proposed ordinance moves forward through Oakland City Hall, which would end the requirement that any conversion of four or more rental units into condominiums in the city, must be alleviated by the development of new rental housing units, to replace the ones being converted into condos.

The newly proposed ordinance would end over 20 years of housing protections to Oakland's renters, would fuel mass evictions, and according to Oakland's Community and Economic Development Agency (CEDA), 90% of Oakland renters would not be able to afford any of the pricey $350,000 - $400,000 condo-conversions.

During the past year, rent hikes in Santa Clara County shot up an average 10.4 percent, after the recent gold rush of condo-conversions resulted in the rental housing market being undersupplied in their communities, and Oakland renters already know what is in store for them, if the condo-conversion proposal passes here.

With the realty market in a crash from the housing boom bust, and foreclosures hitting an all time high in California and actually doubling in some states during the past year, Councilmember's Brooks, Chang and De la Fuente, have teamed up with local speculators in an effort to sell off Oakland's rental housing stock, to the highest bidders.

Outraged by the incessant selfish and un-christian actions of a city hellbent on dumping it's low-income communities from it's borders, Oakland tenants and their advocates including the East Bay Community Law Center and ACCORN, have united to speak-out agianst the push to steal the rental housing units from under the feet of Oakland's renters.

Despite a huge turn-out in opposition to the proposed ordinance during a recent November 15, CEDA meeting, the committee members voted in favor of passing the condo-conversion proposal to the Oakland City Council for a full vote. The proposal will return before the CEDA committee one last time on Nov. 28, for a discussion about possible amendments, before heading to the full City Council meetings scheduled for Dec. 5, and Dec. 19.

Gracy Jones of the East Bay Community Law Center says, "Oakland's landlords are already threatening tenants with 5 Day Notices if the tenant fails to sign a contract supporting the landlord's efforts to convert the rental unit to a condominimum, and we want Oakland renters to contact us first, before signing anything."

Measure EE, Oakland's Just Cause anti-eviction ordinance, states that tenants do not have to sign a new contract that materially changes their existing rental contracts.

Members of Just Cause Oakland, the Oakland Tenant's Union and California Housing Law Project have argued against the condo-conversion proposal because it has not been adequately studied to determine the negative impacts upon Oakland's vulnerable low-income communities.

As recently as Saturday Nov. 18, around 40 renters and their advocates held a rally downtown Oakland, at the Pacific Renaissance Plaza Courtyard, which included Councilmembers Nancy Nadel and Jean Quan, and longtime tenant advocate James Vann.

"We were happy to see somewhere between 30 to 40 people turn out for our rally, because it was put together in such short notice," said James Vann of the Oakland Tenant's Union. "This condo-conversion proposal is a diabolical scheme involving 3 councilmembers who consistantly serve the interests of greedy developers, landlords and realtors, who plan to profit from the displacement of thousands of low-income people from the City of Oakland."

The proposed ordinance being rushed to the full City Council calls for 800 to 1,500 condo-conversions per year to occur if approved, and with only a 2.7% vacancy rate in Oakland, it will force up the rents on existing rental units, placing thousands more of Oakland renters at risk of homelessness.

The proposal's backers hope to have a done deal by Christmas, before the new Mayor elect Ron Dellums gets into office Jan. 1, while Mayor Jerry Brown may still weigh in to support this hideous proposal if it flounders along the way.

Tenant organizers are urging everyone to oppose the drive to convert Oakland's rental housing stock into condominiums, and are asking tenants to appear at the following meetings at Oakland's City Hall, on Nov. 28 (4pm CEDA meeting), Dec. 5 and Dec .19, 7-pm City Council meetings. Show up early, to sign up as speakers against the proposal.

Lynda Carson may be reached at tenantsrule [at] yahoo.com
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TITLE AUTHOR DATE
Realtors are behind the condo-conversion scheme, not tenants!Lynda CarsonWednesday Nov 22nd, 2006 3:29 PM
Some debatedto510Wednesday Nov 22nd, 2006 11:38 AM
A Sucker Born Every Moment!Truth To PowerTuesday Nov 21st, 2006 4:18 PM
Oakland RenterOakland RenterMonday Nov 20th, 2006 9:06 AM
Wow, you're nuts!dto510Monday Nov 20th, 2006 8:46 AM