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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: California | East Bay | Peninsula | Government & Elections | Health, Housing, and Public Services
Renter protection activists counter the lies of the California Apartment Association
According to Cindy Cornell, Founder of the Yes on Measure R campaign in Burlingame,”In our campaign for rent stabilization in Burlingame (Measure R), we have consistently seen lies and distortions of the truth in mailers, tv and radio commercials, letters to the editor, and directly out of the mouth of Josh Howard, Executive Director of CAA's Tri-County Division!
Renter protection activists counter the lies of the California Apartment Association
By Lynda Carson - November 4, 2016
The complaints are numerous and wide spread about the alleged lies and deceit being used by the California Apartment Association (CAA) to defeat the renter protection ballot measures in the cities of Richmond, Oakland, Alameda, Burlingame, San Mateo, and Mountain View.
Renters have also been complaining about landlords stealing the lawn signs that are promoting the renter protection ballot measures in the City of Alameda, and other cities. In Burlingame, tenants have pointed out that the landlords have more money to spend on larger signs that are against the renter protection ballot measure in that town. Lawn signs that are larger than what the tenant activists are using to promote Measure R.
According to Cindy Cornell, Founder of the Yes on Measure R campaign in Burlingame,”In our campaign for rent stabilization in Burlingame (Measure R), we have consistently seen lies and distortions of the truth in mailers, tv and radio commercials, letters to the editor, and directly out of the mouth of Josh Howard, Executive Director of CAA's Tri-County Division. They have maligned renters by their imagery and their words, using fear mongering and dog whistles. The CAA has encouraged owners to evict renters in advance of November, scaring them into thinking that Measure R would be the end of the world.”
“Twice the CAA sent out fraudulent mailers against Measure R made to look like they came from the California State Legislative Analyst's Office. In the content, they excerpted a portion of a report from the LAO from February and made it appear that the LAO was opining that Measure R would not help low-income renters, which is hideously false. The CAA has repeatedly told voters the following lies about what will happen if Measure R passes:
• That criminals will move in next door and you won't be able to get rid of them (racist and classist dog whistle);
• That Measure R will create a tax on homeowners (it will actually be paid for by fees to landlords);
• That the Rental Housing Commission created by Measure R will take away from police, fire, and emergency services funding;
• That unelected people would have unlimited power of the purse;
• That a secret group drafted the Measure;
• That rent stabilization means renters will be subsidized;
• That rent stabilization would hurt low-income people;
• That the quality of housing would decline
“The CAA has historically befriended local politicians and presented themselves as innocent representatives who only wish to help solve housing issues. In fact, they represent only the monied interests that wish to keep flipping apartment buildings to increase profits for the few, at great expense to our communities. They are one of the tools used to shift massive amounts of wealth from low- and middle-income people up the chain, and are a major roadblock to making significant housing policy changes that will actually solve problems in the Bay Area. We are hoping that the public has been able to see that, in truth, this emperor has no clothes, and the CAA's influence will diminish among politicians and voters alike.”
The lies and deceit of the CAA are so radical and extreme that they have been frightening the landlords into evicting the renters from their apartments before the voters can vote on November 8. And the propaganda of the CAA have made some landlords feel that is alright to harass and frighten the renters out of their apartments by damaging the property of renters, in rent controlled apartments.
Protesting against the dirty tricks of the CAA, as recent as Thursday October 13, tenant activists around the Bay Area joined together outside the Hayward regional office of the California Apartment Association (CAA) and the Prometheus Real Estate Group in San Mateo to protest against the lies and deceit of the CAA being used to fight against renter protection ballot measures in the cities of Richmond, Oakland, Alameda, San Mateo, Burlingame, and Mountain View. Reported also by the New York Times, the activists also filed a complaint with the California Fair Political Practices Commission against the CAA.
In opposition to the renters in the “David vs. Goliath” renter protection campaigns taking place in the Bay Area, are the greedy landlords, speculators, realtors & realtor associations, and apartment associations that are spending a ton of money to have the notorious California Apartment Association run some massive campaigns against Bay Area renters seeking renter protections. The massive campaigns and big money being spent by the CAA are corrupting the political process in the Bay Area, and are obscene in breadth, and scope.
The big money of the CAA and it’s wealthy campaign contributors have spent a fortune of money in TV and radio attack ads, mailers, newspaper ads, printers, politicians, campaign consultants, and polling recently, in the effort to convince voters to vote against renter protection ballot measures that can be voted on in November, in 6 Bay Area cities.
Records reveal that between 1/1/2016 and 9/24/2016 the CAA-Issues Committee took in $829,398 in campaign contributions from big monied landlords and speculators that do not want renters to have any renter protections, including $50,000 from KW Multi-Family Management Group, LLC, $150,000 from Prometheus Real Estate Group, Inc, owned by a billionaire family, $50,000 from wealthy landlord & speculator Tod Spieker, $25,000 from Tower Alameda LP, $85,000 from Woodmont Real Estate Services, LP, $40,000 from Mountain View Housing Council, $45,000 from Vasona Management, Inc, $25,000 from ACCO Management CO, $20,000 from the Tan Group, and $100,000 from Equity Residential, a very wealthy firm out of Chicago.
According to public records, and these are not all the public records available, however it reveals that the California Apartment Association Issues Committee has recently spent $250,000 in TV attack ads with Cabletime, around $52,000 in TV & radio attack ads with Firestar Productions, $17,000 in radio attack ads on KCBS Radio, $8,500 in radio attack ads on KFOG Radio, $17,200 in radio attack ads on KGO Radio, $17,000 in radio attack ads on KNBR Radio, and $10,500 in radio attack ads with Weller Media Services against renter protection ballot measures in the Bay Area.
Councilwoman Gayle McLaughlin of Richmond who is a fervent supporter of renter protections said, “Here we are just days from the election and we have a great opportunity to continue our incredible progressive work in Richmond. We share so much together - our history of struggle and resiliency has made us strong. Measure L is the next step for a future where working and middle-class families are a distinct part of Richmond. Measure L will protect good tenants while assuring that landlords get a fair return on their investment.”
“In the last week of this local election we are seeing mailers from landlord lobby groups that are deeply twisted and outright false.Claims such as, "Rent control is coming to single family homes!" are showing up in mailers in an attempt to scare homeowners with blatant lies.”
“Let's take a look at the facts: Rent control does not apply to single-family homes, only multi-unit apartments built before 1995. Condos are also exempt from rent control.”
Measure L will help lower crime by stabilizing our neighborhoods.
Measure L will help reduce homelessness. When people can't pay high
rents, they are often forced into dire straits.
Measure L will allow kids to stay in their schools because when families are forced to move, kids are forced to change schools and that has a profound effect on their achievement and general well-being.
Measure L will not make it more difficult to remove tenants who are involved in illegal activities or causing a nuisance. These are just causes for eviction.
And Measure L does not apply at all to primary homeowners who lease their homes temporarily, who rent out rooms in their homes, or rent in-law units.
“Another disreputable statement: The California Apartment Association argues that Measure L is flawed because rent control should apply only to lower-income families. Unethical landlords would love this - a loophole that allows them to rent to higher-income families at whatever rents they can charge.”
“Let's face it: The United States is dealing with a major national housing crisis, and who would argue that countless families are suffering. We need to continue building more housing, including truly affordable housing. However, we need to be realistic. New development and construction takes time and Richmond families need protection now.”
Let's make sure we do all we can to give renters a chance to benefit from our transformation before it's too late. Vote for Measure L on November 8 and let's keep moving Richmond forward!”
Councilwoman Gayle McLaughlin was also quoted in The Nation about the struggle for renter protections in Richmond.
Renter Protections On The Ballot In 6 Cities On November 8
In Oakland, the list of serial “mega evictors” is available to see who is involved in the mass evictions taking place in that town, revealing the need for strong renter protections to help stabilize families, and communities.
In Alameda mass evictions have been occurring due to a lack of strong renter protections, and the Alameda Renters Coalition is urging voters to vote against Measure L1, and to vote for Measure M1 as the way to protect renters and stabilize communities in their city.
In Oakland Measure JJ is on the ballot in November and if voted into law it will help to protect renters by strengthening existing renter protection laws. Voters are urged to vote YES on Measure JJ to help stabilize communities in Oakland, and slow down greedy landlords involved in price gouging and eviction-for-profit schemes.
The struggle for renter protections in Richmond has been an epic battle against the lies and deceit of the California Apartment Association (CAA), and it’s corrupting influence on local politicians.
Activists are urging voters to vote on Measure L as a way to stop landlords involved in price gouging and eviction-for-profit schemes in Richmond. Measure L makes the landlords accountable for their actions when engaging in price gouging. If passed by the voters in November, Measure L would help to stop the mass evictions taking place in Richmond that are condoned by Mayor Tom Butt, and Councilmembers Nathaniel Bates and Vinay Pimplé.
In the City of San Mateo, renters and activists collected more than 11,000 signatures to place a renter protection ballot measure on the ballot for November 8 that includes rent control and just cause eviction protections. Activists are urging the voters in San Mateo to vote on Measure Q as a way to stabilize communities and protect families from displacement.
In the City of Mountain View renter protections are also on the ballot. Activists and renters are urging voters to vote on Measure V to protect over 14,000 households, including families, teachers and nurses from rent price gouging and eviction-for-profit schemes. Activists are urging renters to vote for Measure V, and to vote against weak renter protection measure placed on the ballot by the City Council.
Renters and activists have also had a fierce battle in Burlingame over renter protections and activists are urging voters to vote for Measure R in November. If passed by the voters Measure R will provide rent stabilization and just cause eviction protections to help stabilize communities and protect families from displacement of their housing due to speculators, realtors, and greedy landlords.
Renter protections will be on the ballot in 6 cities during November in the Bay Area. No matter how hard the landlords and the California Apartment Association are trying to stop the renters movement, tenant advocates across the Bay Area are urging renters to vote on strong renter protections during the upcoming November elections in the cities of Richmond, Oakland, Alameda, Burlingame, San Mateo, and Mountain View. The activists are urging people to vote “no” against any weak proposals placed on the ballot by the City Council in Alameda, and Mountain View.
Joshua Howard of the California Apartment Association did not respond to my request for an interview in regards to the alleged lies and deceit being used to suppress the vote for the renter protection ballot measures in the Bay Area that can be voted on, on November 8.
Lynda Carson may be reached at tenantsrule [at] yahoo.com