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Tenant Activists: April 18, 2023, has been declared as James Vann day in Oakland

by Lynda Carson (newzland2 [at]
James E. Vann, former Council Member Nancy Nadel, former Mayor Jean Quan, and others at an Oakland rally in Chinatown years ago. Lydia Gans photo.
Tenant Activists: April 18, 2023, has been declared as James Vann day in Oakland

In remembrance of Oakland’s rent wars.

By Lynda Carson - May 15, 2023

Oakland - In honor and recognition, I wish to thank attorney Andrew Wolf for his longtime efforts to protect renters through the years.

While he was a member of Oakland’s Rent Board, “it was Elihu M. Harris, who appointed Andrew Wolff to Oakland’s rent board back in 1998 in an effort to strengthen Oaklands rent control laws. Mr. Wolff was the board member who led the efforts by the rent board to successfully vote for a “Just Cause Evictions Protection Measure” on two occaissions with the majority of the rent board.” Unfortunately, the Oakland City Council failed to pass the just cause eviction protections measure, that passed in the Rent Board.

Former Mayor Jerry Brown did not like Andrew Wolf for passing the just cause rental protections in the Rent Board, and on behalf of the landlords, Brown illegally dismissed Commissioner Wolf from the Rent Board.

The attack on Commissioner Wolf by former Mayor Jerry Brown resulted in the rent arbitration program being temporary shut down.

In response, former Commissioner Wolf filed a lawsuit against Jerry Brown for illegally dismissing him from the Rent Board.

April 18, 2023, Declared As James Vann Day In Oakland:

For those of you who may have missed this, last month on April 14, 2023, the Oakland City Council passed a resolution to honor longtime tenant activist James E. Vann, declaring April 18, 2023 as James Vann day in Oakland.

It’s good to see James Vann getting recognition for some of his activities through the years to help protect tenants.

Resolution Honoring James E. Vann: According to public records, Subject: Resolution Honoring James Vann From: Office Of The City Attorney, Office Of The Mayor, Council President Bas, President Pro Tempore Kalb, Councilmember Fife And Kaplan

Recommendation: Adopt A Resolution Honoring James Vann For More Than 35 Years Of Advocacy On Behalf Of Oakland Tenants; Recognizing The Profound Impact James Vann Has Had On The Lives Of Oakland Tenants; Recognizing James Vann As A Champion For The People Of Oakland; And Declaring April 18, 2023, James Vann Day [TITLE CHANGE]

Additionally, according to public records, among the items that James Van was honored for, one of the items states; “WHEREAS, for more than a decade, James Vann advocated for the Oakland City Council to adopt eviction protections similar to the protections San Francisco and Berkeley enjoyed; and when the Council failed to adopt such tenant protections, James Vann took this battle to the voters as part of the Just Cause for Eviction Coalition, and in 2002, the voters passed Oakland’s Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance which for the first time provided protection from unjust evictions to tens of thousands of Oakland tenants; and”

Indeed with all due respect, I do not mean to rain on anyones parade, or day of honor in the City of Oakland, however apparently James Vann took a lot of credit or was given a lot of credit for the passage of Measure EE, Oakland’s Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance by the voters back in 2002.

What the above information omitted was that the original campaign for Oakland’s Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance crashed and burned in 2000 due to a lack of valid signatures. Why? According to the activists in the campaign back then, it was because James Vann voided 7,500 “just cause” petition signatures shortly before they were supposed to be turned in, and he tried to blame someone else for voiding out the signatures.

The Chronicle reported on the lack of signatures to pass a just cause eviction protection ordinance back in 2000, but failed to mention why there were not enough signatures collected for the initiative.

For the record. Reportedly, on June 29, 2000, Janine DeFao, Chronicle Staff Writer reported that, “The tenant advocates, who fell 5,000 signatures short of the 25,000 needed to put their initiative on the ballot, wanted the council to enact the law or put it to voters. But only council members Nancy Nadel and Jane Brunner sided with the tenants.”

Oakland’s Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance:

It was 23 years ago on Saturday, January 29, 2000, that the Coalition for Just Cause in Oakland was formed, and had its first meeting from 2-4PM in the basement of the downtown Oakland Public Library. Around 65 people showed up for that first meeting. Snacks and beverages were served. A $5 donation was requested from individuals, $10 from organizations, and no one was turned away for a lack of funds.

It was a very exciting moment, and according to an original flyer from that meeting it urged people to join the “Just Cause Coalition” in putting just cause eviction protections on the November 2000 ballot. The meeting offered a lot of hope to the coalition of members and tenants that united to protect Oakland renters from greedy landlords and the notorious “eviction for profit” system that was rampant with no-cause evictions.

Unfortunately, the first just cause eviction protection campaign ran into a snag. According to an Oakland Tribune article dated Tuesday June 6, 2000, Antonia Scatton, the campaign manager for Just Cause Oakland stated that there was an error made in the campaign that may have cost them 6,000 to 7,000 signatures. As a result when it was time to turn in the signatures, the Just Cause Coalition had failed to collect enough valid signatures to bring the just cause eviction protections to the ballot during November of 2000.

During November of 2002, Oakland activists turned in enough signatures that Measure EE was passed by the voters in a narrow victory even though what was then known as the Rental Housing Association of Northern Alameda County, and its greedy landlord allies and realtors spent well over $500,000 to defeat Measure EE at the ballot. People power won a major victory against the greed of landlords and realtors.

Reportedly, in the resolution for James Vann day, as much as James Vann wants to take credit or accepts credit for the passage of “Just Cause - Measure EE,” “former Rent Board Commissioner Andrew Wolff was also on the drafting committee of Just Cause to assist in writing the ordinance. With help from Anne Omura, Laura Lane, Debbie Rocher and Randy Shaw of San Francisco, a critical aspect of re-writing the ordinance in such a way as to create the least amount of resistance, was to remain moderate so as to gain it's passage by the voters, said Wolff.

Using the old ordinance as a first draft, they studied 4 or 5 cities with existing rent control and "just cause", then spent some time with Paul Wortal and Randy Shaw who helped as a review committee so that they could figure out what would or would not work in gaining voter support. This way they could do in one fell swoop what may have taken years to accomplish in other cities. In some ways it's less stringent than Berkeley, and taking out rent registration was the key to success, said Wolff.”

Resolution For James Vann Day?

Oddly, according to the resolution that was passed for James Vann day, it mentions, “WHEREAS, in 2019, James Vann and other members of the Close the Loopholes Coalition successfully advocated for the expansion of rent stabilization to more than 5,000 Oakland tenants living in owner-occupied duplexes and triplexes and for the elimination of the substantial rehabilitation exemption from the Rent Adjustment Ordinance; and”

What it failed to mention was that during 2001, James Vann joined the landlords and the Oakland City Council in supporting a resolution to take away rent stabilization protections from tenants living in owner-occupied duplexes and triplexes in Oakland, because James claimed that he wanted to support small landlords.

In opposition to James Vann, the landlords and City Council members, myself and other tenant activists appeared at some Oakland City Council meetings during 2001 in defense of the renters, to fight back against the scheme to take renter protections from tenants living in owner-occupied duplexes and triplexes in Oakland. See information below…

Published on July 29, 2003, Montclarion (CA){PUBLICATION2}


Housing activists plan to speak tonight against a City Council
resolution that proposes to exempt owner-occupied properties with
three units or less from some rent controls and tenant-eviction

Lynda Carson, a housing activist, said if the council approves the
resolution, landlords who live on a property with three units or fewer
could evict tenants without giving them a reason - and also raise
rents. "Tenants would lose their rights to oppose rent...

Published on August 5, 2003, Montclarion (CA){PUBLICATION2}


The City Council is expected to vote next month on an amendment to the
city's rental laws that would exempt owner-occupied properties with
three units or less from rent control and eviction protections.

The amendment was placed on the Sept. 16 City Council agenda for
discussion and a vote. Residents who support the amendment say it
clarifies rent laws for owners of duplexes and tri-plex buildings.

Those against the amendment, like housing activist Lynda Carson, say if it...


Additionally, according to the resolution for James Vann day, it states, “WHEREAS, in 2001, James Vann served on a committee convened by then Council member Dick Spees to make improvements in the Rent Adjustment Ordinance, which, among other things, led to the Council’s adoption of Oakland’s first Rent Program Service Fee in 2003, establishing a permanent funding source for the Rent Adjustment Program; and”

Back in 2001, tenants and activists held rallies in opposition to the deals that James Vann and the Oakland Tenants Union supported in Dick Spees Task Force with the landlords that he was a part of, in addition to the proposed resolution that would end up raising tenant’s rents in Oakland, and the proposed ending of the 3% rent cap.

At the time, according to Alex Salazar of Just Cause Oakland, on July 10, 2001, Salazar stated that he believes that the position of Just Cause Oakland at this point, is that they do not endorse rent increases for renters of Oakland.

Up against the wall after tenants and activists protested at the July 10, 2001, Oakland City Council meeting over the Dick Spees Task Force proposals supported by James Vann and the Oakland Tenants Union that were to be voted upon for Oakland’s New Rent Control proposals in 2001, in defense James Vann a member of Dick Spees Task Force, declared that he and the tenant activists that he convinced to join the Dick Spees Task Force were double-crossed.

Indeed, as long as we’re on the subject of the demise of the 3% rent cap that the Dick Spees Task Force supported back in 2001, according to the recent resolution declaring James Vann day on April 18, 2023, according to the resolution, it states, “WHEREAS, James Vann proposed and advocated that the City should change the maximum allowable rent increase from 10% to either 5% plus ConsumerPrice Index (“CPI”), or 10%, whichever is lower, and Council adopted James Vann’s proposal, amending the Rent Adjustment Ordinance in 2020; and”

With James Vann playing on both sides of the fence at times through the years, tenants and tenant activists used to wonder who's side is he really on?

I was not able to reach James Vann for a comment about this story because he had a busy signal on his phone for a long time this evening.

Lynda Carson may be reached at newzland2 [at]

More about Lynda Carson may be found in the links below...

(IndyBay News Wire)
Longtime tenant activist Eleanor Walden of Berkeley passed away Friday, April 7, 2023

by Lynda Carson (newzland2 [at]
Wed, Apr 12, 2023 8:46PM

Click below…

Rally To Protect Seniors, the Disabled & Children -
Friday, April 29, 2005

(Lynda Carson is a guest speaker along with Congresswoman
Lynn Woolsey)

Click below for details...

(KPFA 94.1 FM)
Living Room with Kris Welch on January 26, 2007

Interview: Lynda Carson may be heard around 8:12 into the radio show…

Click below to hear Lynda Carson…

(Radio 4/All)
Featured Speakers/Commentators: Lynda Carson/Kellia Ramares

Click below… [at]

WINGS broadcast, with Lynda Carson interview by Kellia
Ramares which aired in 7 countries; Subject: Cuts to
subsidized housing programs...

Click below...;

(Lynda Carson guest speaker to promote Million Worker
March - 2004)

Join us in a Speak-Out

Treasurer, AFSCME Local 3506, Chicago Clarence Thomas,
Co-Chair Million Worker March, ILWU Local 10, Lynda
Carson, Women Economic Agenda...

Click below...

(San Francisco Chronicle)
Owners told to evict problem tenants

Oakland may act if they refuse

Jim Herron Zamora, Chronicle Staff Writer

Thursday, February 19, 2004

But longtime tenant activist Lynda Carson said she
feared the new city law would lead to "witch hunts"
against innocent tenants. She said landlords aided by
police would abuse the law to force out longtime
renters and replace them with yuppies willing to pay
more money.

"They really want to gentrify this city,'' Carson
said. "This insidious law makes it easier for
landlords to get rid of anyone they want. They can
just claim you are a nuisance.''

Click below for full story...

(Newsweek Magazine)



DeRoma’s donation was first revealed in a post on Indybay (By Lynda Carson) a community news organization based in San Francisco, which has posted records of donors to Duke’s campaign.

Click below...

Rally Slams Housing Authority Leaders
BY Amanda Ott

Contributing Writer
Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Upset with the operation of the Berkeley Housing
Authority, a group of Berkeley residents rallied
yesterday evening to call for drastic organizational

The protest was organized by the community activist
group Save Berkeley Housing Authority, which members
said was formed after four years of mismanagement
within the city's housing authority.

Lynda Carson, founder of the community group, said
her confidence in Berkeley Housing Director Stephen
Barton is further diminished by discrepancies between
his oral and written versions of evaluation results.

Click below for full story...

§Resolution for James Vann Day
by Posted by Lynda Carson
Resolution for James Vann Day
§View Revised Legislation - James Vann Day
by Posted By Lynda Carson
View Revised Legislation - James Vann Day
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