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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: Feature

Re: “Tenant Activists in Alameda Test Progressive Rent-Control Waters with Measure M1

Evictions are very serious and carry negative consequences for everyone involved. Renters lose their homes, communities are disrupted - the effects are obvious and terrifying. For property owners, evictions are time-consuming and very expensive. Vacancies generate no income while overhead stays the same or increases. Evicting your renters is like shooting yourself in the foot.
Normally, we don't need laws against shooting ourselves. Unfortunately maintaining rent below market value in the face of pending rent control legislation is more like shooting yourself in the head. Especially for new owners with a high mortgage and unknowable rising costs, like new Rent Board fees.
Simon-Weisberg is right, there have been waves of evictions in Richmond as well for similar reasons.
When the balance sheets don't balance and you have to sell at a loss because rent control depresses income (on which property values are based, in part); a foot starts looking pretty expendable - evictions are the only option - If the landlord goes out of business, are renters better off? This is the problem with trying to make public housing out of private investments.
The biggest losers in rent control are undoubtedly renters evicted by large property owners. The next biggest losers are small property owners who are just scraping by and can't spare a foot or even a toe.
I wish Richmond (my city) had an "L1" to vote for.
Measures M1 and L in Alameda and Richmond, respectively are toxic to all.

Posted by Ilona Nesmith Clark on 11/02/2016 at 5:20 PM

Re: “Tenant Activists in Alameda Test Progressive Rent-Control Waters with Measure M1

What wasn't included in this article is the messaging used by L1 advocates targeted to Alameda homeowners like myself. Various large real estate investors, like Ballena Bay, are sending mailers with racist and classist messages, e.g., M1 will make Alameda less safe. Your property values will decrease.

M1 simply allows Alamedans to stay in their homes. I've lived here 22 years and there's a great community of involved islanders - many of whom are renters. Why should they be held to an incredibly unfair standard of high rents so real estate investors can make a profit. Tony Daysog would like to see the entire island gentrified. He stood by while 700 families were unjustly evicted from Harbor Island. We're on a precipice in Alameda - do we want a thriving intact community that includes both renters and homeowners or an exclusive enclave? I vote for the former! M1 is the most reasonable approach and L1 is nothing but a poison pill!

Posted by jnader4bc6 on 11/02/2016 at 2:41 PM

Re: “Tenant Activists in Alameda Test Progressive Rent-Control Waters with Measure M1

The lack of protection against no cause evictions, as well as the proven inability to enforce the current law (L1) provides a solid foundational argument as to why M1 was proposed and is being championed by many. Those being faced with 60 day notices in advance of the election are the perfect representation of this - these people pay their rent on time, are active members of the community and are being displaced without merit - L1 doesn't prevent this. Under L1, the burden to challenge rent increases and unfair practices is with the tenant, who is most cases too fearful to pursue what's lawfully within their right because they, too, could easily come home to a 60 day notice. Proponents of L1 will argue that the 5%+ increase will trigger a review once the landlord files their intent but what if they do not? My complex alone provides an example of 4 families who received increases and no corresponding lease as per L1. Each one of these families personally requested a lease; each one was denied. Unless the tenant takes on the risk to follow up with the city and force the issue (again, a scary act for people with no protection), they'd be free to ignore the law with no repercussions.

Lastly, it is important to note that L1 was fiercely opposed by landlords and the powers behind them like the CAA when it was first proposed - and still is challenged or per the above ignored. Without tenant proponents on city council, there is no guarantee that the even the currently weak protections will stay in place post-election if L1 prevails.

Posted by Megan L on 11/02/2016 at 2:24 PM

Re: “Tenant Activists in Alameda Test Progressive Rent-Control Waters with Measure M1

The average increase for the 3 months ended Sept was 10.5pct, not 5-7pct as Days of asserts.

Posted by MontyJ on 11/02/2016 at 2:08 PM

Re: “Tenant Activists in Alameda Test Progressive Rent-Control Waters with Measure M1

"limiting an owner to get a fair return on their investment."

That's just it. It's not merely an investment. It's my home. It's where I raise my kids. You want an unregulated investment, get into a hedge fund. You want to make money on residential real estate, you should have to negotiate tough regulations because your investment is providing a basic need to actual people. Regulations too tough for you? Good. More housing stock for those of us who want to buy an actual roof over our head and not just some investment to cash in on when a boom hits.

Who exactly determines what "fair" is? Rents have skyrocketed in the bay area 20 to 50% in the last 5 years. That's fair? So any time my landlord feels they need more money, they can just hit me up for it? That's what you call a racket. Alameda landlords are a mafia. Straight up.

Posted by Ryan LeBlanc on 11/02/2016 at 1:53 PM

Re: “Tenant Activists in Alameda Test Progressive Rent-Control Waters with Measure M1

Councilmember Daysog and East Bay Express readers: UC Berkeley's The Daily Californian did a series examining local Census results and their impact on the East Bay: They found that the combination of high costs of living and the infusion of Latinos and Asians into Berkeley were most likely responsible for the decrease in Berkeley's Black population. There was also a large population movement during the recession of the early 1990s which hit California harder than other states. Regarding why South Berkeley specifically experienced a significant decrease in the Black population, UC Berkeley's Institute of Urban and Regional Development (IURD) has attributed this to skyrocketing housing prices and a lack of flexibility in the housing market, not the passage of rent control. Councilmember Daysog, you may want to revisit your hypothesis with this data and research from your alma mater.
In Alameda for Black History Month 2016, local historian, urban planning researcher, Rasheed Shabazz -- who grew up in Alameda's West End and graduated from UC Berkeley -- delivered a lecture at the Alameda Free Library titled, "Alameda is Our Home: A History of Black Alameda, 1860-present." The presentation demonstrated a historic pattern of housing discrimination against Blacks via racial restrictive covenants and "redlining" in Alameda. It also touched on how Black tenants of the Buena Vista Apartments had to sue the City of Alameda because of its discriminatory housing policies in the late 80's. For more context, you may want to check out the documentary,"Civic Unity: Five Years in the West End of Alameda" available at

Posted by María D. Domínguez on 11/02/2016 at 1:50 PM

Re: “Tenant Activists in Alameda Test Progressive Rent-Control Waters with Measure M1

Thank you for this well-balanced, fair narrative of the situation in Alameda.

To be clear: I favor the local initiative called "L1", and do not support "M1", for the reason you accurately mentioned in the article, ie the formula results in an allowable rent increase that renders uneconomic especially smaller mom and pop landlords' units, which harms tenants and mom and pops equally.

I favor "L1" because it addresses the issue that brought us here in the first place, ie dealing with excessive rent increases, and does so (again, as you correctly wrote) through a mediation that (as a result of landmark ordinance Council adopted in March 2016) includes the power of binding arbitration (ie the ability to set a fair and reasonable rent increases case by case, ie mediation-based rent control).

Background: In March 2016, Alameda City Council adopted what many locally see as a landmark ordinance in an effort to address the crisis in excessive rent increases. Prior to this decision, Alameda has had for forty years a rent review advisory board who could only suggest a reasonable rent increase, when a tenant brought a matter before this board. With the March decision, Council finally gave that rent review advisory process the power of binding arbitration, ie the ability to establish a reasonable rent increase (ie mediation-based rent control on a case by case basis). Council adopted other provisions in the March ordinance, but the binding arbitration proviso is the hallmark of the ordinance.

Trends: There's been over 170 cases that have come before the rent review advisory board since adoption of the 2016 ordinance that "L1" would affirm and, of these, roughly 165 were settled between the tenant and landlord even before the actual hearing itself. The 11 remaining cases, it is my understanding, were settled during during the rent review board meeting itself, in a fashion mutually (heavy emphasis on mutually) agreed to by tenant and landlord, such that average rent increases have ranged from 5 to 7 percent. No cases have gone to the final level of binding arbitration as of yet, which indicates that mere presence of this level is acting like a cudgel forcing landlords to be reasonable with regard to rent increases. Check with the Alameda Housing Authority or Alameda Community Development Department for more info.

Summary: we are over with those days of en masse 30%, 20%, 15% excessive rent increases that characterized the rent crisis in the City of Alameda. In short, the landmark March 2016 rent ordinance that gave the rent review advisory board process the power of binding arbitration (ie the ability to set reasonable rent increase, ie mediation-based rent control) is solving the heady matter that brought us to this point in the first place (ie excessive rent increases). "L1" affirms that ordinance.

Request: we ask Alamedans to vote for "L1" as this has demonstrated itself to be a reasonable, practical, and non-ideological solution crafted with input from tenants, landlords, subject matter experts in housing law and operations, and city staff. Above all, it is working. Thank you.

/s/ Tony Daysog, Alameda City Councilmember

Postscript: many years ago while in grad school at Cal's City and Regional Planning (DCRP), I worked on a project with a Berkeley rental property outfit called St. John's and Associates, in a project funded by the Pacific Legal Foundation. It was I believe 1992 and, by then, Census 1990 was available, allowing for a comparison of 1980 Census (since Berkeley's rent control started in June 1980) and 1990 Census. What struck us was how South Berkeley over the decade of the 1980s lost en masse its African American population. I think out assessment was that this occurred not because landlords suddenly became racists but rather that for small mom and pop African American landlords in South Berkeley operating under the Berkeley style rent regime proved too difficult with the passage of time after 1980 -- hence the loss of African Americans in South Berkeley. That was a hypothesis. As Alameda seeks to emulate the Berkeley-style rent control via "M1", this is something to think about.

Posted by Tony Daysog on 11/02/2016 at 9:29 AM

Re: “Racial Profiling Via

I totally agree with the all questions you raised. I also can share my experience in filling forms. I've forgotten the last time I filled out a form on paper. I mostly use PDFfiller to edit. You can easily fill NJ Garden State MLS Multiple Listing System Property Profile Sheet here

Posted by Jaren Jona on 10/29/2016 at 10:40 PM

Re: “How to Happy Hour Like a Tech Bro on an 'I Only Live in Oakland Because My Apartment is Rent Controlled' Budget

I think we could all learn to enjoy earning money like a "tech bro"....just saying....and the title seems like a horrible attempt at being "tongue in cheek" if in fact that was the intention of the author. Otherwise the title just makes that writer sound like a class bigot who is envious long time residents who signed leases before she did...I'm not sure which it is...

Posted by Chantrea Nok on 10/28/2016 at 1:45 PM

Re: “How to Happy Hour Like a Tech Bro on an 'I Only Live in Oakland Because My Apartment is Rent Controlled' Budget

While I understand the title was meant to be a joke. It almost twists the knife in the back of all the longtime residents who have been here for decades/generations. Working as a community ally in Oakland is tireless work. With the rapid influx of newcomers...its extremely difficult to try to keep, promote, and educate in a community based fashion, who the residents are, and how to preserve what this city represents historically.

Posted by Shashlyks.Dacha on 10/28/2016 at 1:40 PM

Re: “Proposition 64 Leads in the Polls. But Insiders Say Weed Prohibition's End is No Sure Thing.

I have seen no ads about prop 64 in California - why has this been kept so quiet?

Posted by gary goodman on 10/28/2016 at 1:01 PM

Re: “How to Happy Hour Like a Tech Bro on an 'I Only Live in Oakland Because My Apartment is Rent Controlled' Budget

Seriously? Why would anyone want to do anything "like a tech bro"?

Posted by Hanya Ruane-Gonzales on 10/27/2016 at 12:55 PM
Posted by Veronyca Mawusi Abena on 10/27/2016 at 11:56 AM

Re: “How to Happy Hour Like a Tech Bro on an 'I Only Live in Oakland Because My Apartment is Rent Controlled' Budget

Because not being able to live and work in the city you grew up in is a laughing matter ...

Posted by Anya Isabel on 10/27/2016 at 9:17 AM

Re: “How to Happy Hour Like a Tech Bro on an 'I Only Live in Oakland Because My Apartment is Rent Controlled' Budget

I can't believe this is in the EAST Bay Express. What a rude title. If this is how you feel, please move to SF, we don't want you. Consider a revision.

Posted by Trawets Aifala on 10/27/2016 at 9:02 AM

Re: “Get Bourgie on a Budget With These 20 East Bay Happy Hours

4 to 6 is early bird.....

Posted by Matt Thayer on 10/26/2016 at 2:13 PM

Re: “Hayward, the City that Banned Happy Hour

Happy hour is still illegal in Hayward for bars unless they serve food. The ban was lifted only for restaurants. Any bars caught serving a happy hour is fined by the HPD.

Posted by Aric Yeverino on 10/26/2016 at 12:19 PM

Re: “Proposition 64 Leads in the Polls. But Insiders Say Weed Prohibition's End is No Sure Thing.

You are wrong Blake. Truth of the matter is that real liberals are about as bad as real republicans.


I'm sorry you are not getting the Holy Grail but in reality it doesn't exist. 64 is better than the current social situation and has built in structures to improve as others are convinced legal cannabis will not destroy the fabric of society.

Posted by Randy C Cone on 10/26/2016 at 12:12 AM

Re: “Badge of Dishonor: Top Oakland Police Department Officials Looked Away as East Bay Cops Sexually Exploited and Trafficked a Teenager

Great article! I agree mistressmax that there is so much more corruption to be exposed. They also decriminalized prostitution in Australia because the police corruption had finally reached an unacceptable level.Coincidentally , people need to fill out a Parkchester Condominium Employment App , my business partner filled a template version here "".

Posted by Florine Watcher on 10/23/2016 at 6:31 AM

Re: “Proposition 64 Leads in the Polls. But Insiders Say Weed Prohibition's End is No Sure Thing.

We used this article in 360BayArea, a podcast that dives into headlines, hashtags and colorful voices from all around the Bay. Check it out at

Posted by 360BayArea on 10/21/2016 at 6:57 PM

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