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Protesters Demand East Palo Alto City Council Intervene in Landlord Dispute
East Palo Alto residents and tenant rights supporters surrounded city council members one by one as they attempted to enter City Hall for a meeting on December 1.
East Palo Alto residents surrounded city council members as they attempted to enter City Hall tonight. Residents of Page Mill Properties and their supporters rallied in front of the building, formed a huddle, and created a game plan to secure the support of council members in the tenants' long battle against mega-landlord Page Mill.
As the evening hour set for the meeting approached, demonstrators, including tenant rights supporters the Raging Grannies, stood side by side blocking the building entrance. As per their action plan, they surrounded the council members one by one in groups of three or four protesters. The demonstrators made their demands clear in conversations with individual council members. They asked that the city force Page Mill Properties to pay fees owed for violating the city's rent stabilization ordinance. They also politely but firmly requested that each and every council member attend an upcoming tenants meeting.
Page Mill Properties, East Palo Alto's largest landlord, has been in dispute for years with tenants whose rents they raised in violation of city laws that dictate the amount rents may be increased. In September Page Mill failed to make a $50 million payment to Wells Fargo and a judge appointed Ward Realty Advisors to take control of Page Mill's 1,800 rental units in the city. Despite the court appointment, maintenance is still a problem in the rental units. Residents report roach infestations and broken appliances are common.
At about 7:00pm rally participants entered the city council meeting where they took turns addressing the council. They asked that East Palo Alto City Council not proceed with any negotiations in ongoing lawsuits against Page Mill until tenants' rents are rolled back. The rally was organized by Youth United for Community Action, an activist organization that been involved in the on-going dispute with Page Mill since the landlord's unethical practices started began.
Mayor Abrica is in the center of several demonstrators with head lowered
tenant rights activist and Raging Granny Barbara Goodwin makes sure council member David Woods understands the tenants' needs
on the steps of city hall
E. Palo Alto residents are largely latino and african american
The Grannies kept the rally lively with songs and chants
Sure to catch and corner each and every council member
YUCA members take the front row, await their turn to address the meeting
Tenants are glad to see Page Mill go