Abel Guillén 
Member since Jun 9, 2016


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Recent Comments

Re: “Tacos Sinaloa in Oakland's Fruitvale: Taco Pioneers

District 2 residents: Join me for my mobile Office Hours - Talk & Tacos- this Saturday from 10:30-12:30PM at Tacos Sinaloa. My staff and I will be available to discuss neighborhood issues and city happenings. If you'd like to reserve a time slot, call 510-238-7002.

Posted by Abel Guillén on 02/22/2017 at 3:18 PM

Re: “Did the Express Get its Rent-Control Reform Ballot Measure Story Wrong? Hell No. Here's Why ...

Editor-

I have always been and continue to be a strong supporter of strengthening tenant protections and preserving housing affordability in Oakland. As a Councilmember, I would like to vote in favor of proposals to help achieve those goals. Now that I have been formally notified of an actual or potential conflict of interest in the matter of the Renters Upgrade Act, however, I don’t want to risk having the Council’s action overturned were I to vote on the matter.

Whether I personally agree or not about the legal validity of the conflict of interest is immaterial to the threat of having the Council action undone in a lawsuit (with damages) – I doubt that is an outcome that tenant activists want. In April, I was advised orally by the City Attorney before the scheduling of the Renters Upgrade item during the Rules Committee meeting that I had a financial conflict of interest, and was told that I could not vote on the scheduling of the Renters Upgrade Act brought by members of the public to the Council.

When it became apparent this matter would come before the City Council, I was advised, as were other employees, of a legal opinion about a potential conflict of interest. I asked the City Attorney to put her unsolicited oral opinion in writing for me. The City Attorney’s opinion is that my ownership of rental property (one apartment) poses a financial conflict of interest in voting on City legislation related to residential rental property.
I also sought a second opinion from the state Fair Political Practices Commission – which provided the same opinion. They concurred with the City Attorney’s opinion, which also required me to physically leave the Council Chambers and to not speak about the matter from the dais.
I am still exploring legal clarification that might allow me to vote for this measure.

The conflict of interest exists, I am told, and because I own one apartment that I’ve rented out since 2012. I previously occupied this unit in the Temescal neighborhood, which I purchased in 2004. The building was constructed after 1980, and is currently not subject to rent control.

As I understand it, the basis of the conflict of interest in this specific instance lies in the provision that would strike language that excludes rental units built after 1980 from the Just Cause ordinance. The change would bring property owners who have property built after 1980 under Just Cause. As a matter of law, it apparently doesn’t matter that my property ownership is very small, or that voting “yes” on the Council item would go against my property “interest.”

--Abel Guillen

Posted by Abel Guillén on 06/09/2016 at 2:47 PM

Re: “Tenant Advocates say Oakland Officials Delaying and Obstructing Rent Control Ballot Measure

Editor --

I have always been and continue to be a strong supporter of strengthening tenant protections and preserving housing affordability in Oakland. As a Councilmember, I would like to vote in favor of proposals to help achieve those goals. Now that I have been formally notified of an actual or potential conflict of interest in the matter of the Renters Upgrade Act, however, I don’t want to risk having the Council’s action overturned were I to vote on the matter.

Whether I personally agree or not about the legal validity of the conflict of interest is immaterial to the threat of having the Council action undone in a lawsuit (with damages) – I doubt that is an outcome that tenant activists want. In April, I was advised orally by the City Attorney before the scheduling of the Renters Upgrade item during the Rules Committee meeting that I had a financial conflict of interest, and was told that I could not vote on the scheduling of the Renters Upgrade Act brought by members of the public to the Council.

When it became apparent this matter would come before the City Council, I was advised, as were other employees, of a legal opinion about a potential conflict of interest. I asked the City Attorney to put her unsolicited oral opinion in writing for me. The City Attorney’s opinion is that my ownership of rental property (one apartment) poses a financial conflict of interest in voting on City legislation related to residential rental property.
I also sought a second opinion from the state Fair Political Practices Commission – which provided the same opinion. They concurred with the City Attorney’s opinion, which also required me to physically leave the Council Chambers and to not speak about the matter from the dais.
I am still exploring legal clarification that might allow me to vote for this measure.

The conflict of interest exists, I am told, and because I own one apartment that I’ve rented out since 2012. I previously occupied this unit in the Temescal neighborhood, which I purchased in 2004. The building was constructed after 1980, and is currently not subject to rent control.
As I understand it, the basis of the conflict of interest in this specific instance lies in the provision that would strike language that excludes rental units built after 1980 from the Just Cause ordinance. The change would bring property owners who have property built after 1980 under Just Cause. As a matter of law, it apparently doesn’t matter that my property ownership is very small, or that voting “yes” on the Council item would go against my property “interest.”

- Abel Guillen

Posted by Abel Guillén on 06/09/2016 at 2:37 PM

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