[chrysalis.activism] Fwd: [Action Needed] Expand Rent Control & Protect Affordable Housing!

Anna McFall annasmcfall at gmail.com
Sun Jul 26 14:02:40 CDT 2020


See: action items before Tuesday. I recommend subscribing to this list!

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Berkeley Tenants Union <info at berkeleytenants.org>
Date: Sun, Jul 26, 2020, 9:01 AM
Subject: [Action Needed] Expand Rent Control & Protect Affordable Housing!
To: Anna Mcfall <annasmcfall at gmail.com>


On Tuesday, the City Council votes on expanding rent control and stopping
Airbnb from destroying affordable housing! Demand they stand with tenants!
This Tuesday:
Expand Rent Control and Stop Airbnb from Destroying Housing

Dear Anna,

This Tuesday, July 28, the City Council will vote on two crucial (and
consecutive) items to protect tenants and affordable housing in
Berkeley.  *First,
they will vote on amending Berkeley's rent control ordinance, including
expanding rent control and eviction protections to thousands of
unprotected tenants.*  Currently, tenants who live in "golden duplexes"
(owner-occupied duplexes that happened to be owner-occupied on December 31,
1979, even if now it's a completely different owner) or accessory dwelling
units* do not have rent control or eviction protections, meaning they can
be evicted or subjected to an unconscionable rent increase at essentially
any moment.  We are calling on the city council to place a measure on the
November ballot to close this loophole, along with a few other amendments
to strengthen the law.

*Second, the City Council will vote on an item by Council Member Kate
Harrison to strengthen regulations on short-term rentals (e.g. Airbnb).*
Because of Berkeley's weak regulations, many short-term rentals destroy
Berkeley's affordable housing stock, including by operating year-round as
illegal hotels.  Fortunately, we can address this devastating development
by strengthening Berkeley's regulations of short term rentals.

*We need you to email the city council and give public comment during the
meeting in support of these crucial measures* to ensure they pass with
everything we are asking for.  Doing so only takes one minute, and we've
included instructions, a sample email, and talking points below.

With your help, we're fighting for a Berkeley that works for all of us.
Berkeley Tenants unite!
Sincerely,
The Berkeley Tenants Union Steering Committee

P.S. If you are unable to attend the meeting live, you can also send a
written public comment for each item that will be read aloud!  Read below
for more information.

P.P.S.  If you're not yet a member of the Berkeley Tenants Union, we
strongly you urge you to join now.  You can do so by signing-up for our
email list at bit.ly/BerkeleyTenants
<https://berkeleytenants.us13.list-manage.com/track/click?u=d3053fd94934e92d237a8b9e8&id=79b87c2bab&e=3e8121fe7e>
and paying dues (just $10 - $27 per year) by clicking the yellow "Donate"
button in the upper-right corner of our website
<https://berkeleytenants.us13.list-manage.com/track/click?u=d3053fd94934e92d237a8b9e8&id=c425b54920&e=3e8121fe7e>;
if you are currently in Berkeley and would prefer pay dues by cash or check
(which lets us avoid paying a transaction fee), you can email
berkeleytenants at gmail.com to have someone come pick up your dues in-person
(we'll do so in a way that maintains proper social distancing).  Benefits
of membership include voting rights - including in our upcoming endorsement
votes - and priority sign-ups for our free counseling clinics.
*Step 1: Email the City Council*

The first step to help pass these crucial measures is to email the Berkeley
City Council an email.  If you can do so, *please send your email no later
than Tuesday at noon*.  However, if you can't send it before then, you
should still send it before the meeting.  For you convenience, below is a
sample email (including where to send it):


*To:* council at cityofberkeley.info
<https://berkeleytenants.us13.list-manage.com/track/click?u=d3053fd94934e92d237a8b9e8&id=ef200a4094&e=3e8121fe7e>,
clerk at cityofberkeley.info
<https://berkeleytenants.us13.list-manage.com/track/click?u=d3053fd94934e92d237a8b9e8&id=fb59806f13&e=3e8121fe7e>

*Subject:* Protect and Expand Affordable Housing (Items 41 & 42)



Dear Council members,

My name is _____ and I'm a member of the Berkeley Tenants Union.  This
Tuesday, I urge you to 1) Pass THE ENTIRETY OF the Rent Board's proposed
ballot measure, and 2) Significantly strengthen the city's regulations of
short-term rentals in order to protect our housing supply.  Both of these
are crucial in order to protect and expand Berkeley's supply of affordable
housing.

*First, you must support THE ETERNITY OF the Rent Board's proposed ballot
measure to expand the Rent Stabilization ordinance, including fully
protecting tenants living in both "golden duplexes" and accessory dwelling
units.*  It is unacceptable that thousands of Berkeley tenants are
unnecessarily placed at constant risk of unconscionable rent increases and
evictions for any reason.

Do not be fooled by landlords, who are falsely claiming that they need
their businesses to be exempt from reasonable regulations.  Just a cursory
investigation shows that they are lying about supposed reasons to continue
exempting golden duplexes and ADU's.  First, even under rent control and
eviction-for-good-cause requirements, landlords retain the ability to evict
"problematic tenants" because the ordinance provides 12 reasons why a
landlord may a evict a tenant.   Landlords also retain the ability to evict
a tenant through an owner move-in eviction or an Ellis Act eviction if they
want to move-in a relative or caretaker.  Second, being a landlord is a
FOR-PROFIT BUSINESS, and a very lucrative one.  Like every other for-profit
industry, it must be regulated at EVERY SCALE in order to protect
"consumers" - in this case tenants - from exploitative practices..  Third,
the vast majority of landlords of owner-occupied duplexes (and the
landlords of owner-occupied single family homes with rent-controlled ADU's)
are subject to these regulations, and there have not been the issues
landlords are falsely claiming would suddenly develop if these protections
were expanded.

It is also important to understand that so long as these tenants do not
have rent control and eviction protections, then they have no rights as
tenants at all.  While other tenants rights may exist on paper - such as
the right to a habitable unit and to be free from landlord harassment -
these rights are largely meaningless when landlords can retaliate by either
issuing a no-fault eviction or raising the rent to a level which the tenant
cannot afford, forcing them to self-evict.

*Second, you must protect Berkeley's affordable housing by significantly
strengthening Berkeley's extremely inadequate regulations of short-term
rentals, including specifically:*

   - Making Host Platforms liable for advertising illegal short-term rentals
   - Limiting each person to one residence they make available for
   short-term rentals
   - Banning short-term rentals in all accessory dwelling units
   - Limiting the number of days a single residence (or portion thereof)
   can be used as a short-term rental to a total of between 30 and 60 days,
   regardless of whether or not the host is present.
   - Only allowing each short-term rental to be advertised in a single
   location (to ensure the cap on days something be used as a short-term
   rental isn't violated)
   - Collecting the transient occupancy tax ("hotel tax") from illegal
   short-term rentals that operated before STr's were legal in Berkeley and
   prosecuting landlords that illegally converted housing into illegal hotels

Companies like Airbnb have intentionally spent years creating illegal
hotels in Berkeley, fully knowing that doing so depletes Berkeley's housing
stock, thereby making our housing even more expensive.  But Berkeley's laws
have been full of holes, making enforcement impossible, allowing landlords
to profit from worsening out housing crisis, and leaving the
multi-billion-dollar tech companies that encouraged this enriched and
unpunished.  We must end this situation now.

Passing both of these measures WITHOUT WATERING THEM DOWN is crucial to
protect and expand Berkeley's supply of affordable housing.  Do not fall
for the lies told by Berkeley's landlords, who are seeking to maximize
profit at the expense of affordable housing.  Berkeleyans are suffering
from a lack of affordable housing, and you must take every action possible
to address it.  We will remember whether you put people over profit when
you run for reelection or higher office, regardless of when that is.

*Step 2: Give Public Comment at Tuesday's Council Meeting*

*IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO ATTEND THE MEETING LIVE, YOU CAN ALSO SEND A WRITTEN
PUBLIC COMMENT FOR EACH ITEM THAT WILL BE READ ALOUD!  SEE BELOW FOR MORE
INFORMATION!*

*When:* This Tuesday, July 28 at 6:00PM
*How:* Zoom teleconference accessed via either computer or telephone
    *Computer:* https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83653444287
<https://berkeleytenants.us13.list-manage.com/track/click?u=d3053fd94934e92d237a8b9e8&id=716286b128&e=3e8121fe7e>
    *Telephone:* 1-669-900-9128,,83653444287#
Facebook Event
<https://berkeleytenants.us13.list-manage.com/track/click?u=d3053fd94934e92d237a8b9e8&id=538ccc3c23&e=3e8121fe7e>

We also need you to give public comment during the meeting to ensure these
measures pass without being watered down!  You can give public comment by
either using Zoom or calling-in (or emailing-in written public comment if
you can't attend live).  For your convenience, directly below are talking
points for each of the measures, and further below are more detailed
instructions on how to give public comment.

*Item 41 Talking Points - Expanding Rent Control*

   - Don't be fooled by landlords, who are falsely claiming that they need
   their businesses to be exempt from reasonable regulations.  Just a cursory
   investigation shows that they are lying about supposed reasons to continue
   exempting golden duplexes and ADU's.
      - First, even under rent control and eviction-for-good-cause
      requirements, landlords retain the ability to evict "problematic tenants"
      because the ordinance provides 12 reasons why a landlord may a evict a
      tenant.   Landlords also retain the ability to evict a tenant through an
      owner move-in eviction or an Ellis Act eviction if they want to move-in a
      relative or caretaker.
      - Being a landlord is a FOR-PROFIT BUSINESS, and a very lucrative
      one.  Like every other for-profit industry, it must be regulated at EVERY
      SCALE in order to protect "consumers" - in this case tenants - from
      exploitative practices.
      - The vast majority of landlords of owner-occupied duplexes (and the
      landlords of owner-occupied single family homes with
rent-controlled ADU's)
      are subject to these regulations, and there have not been the issues
      landlords are falsely claiming would suddenly develop if these
protections
      were expanded.
   - So long as these tenants do not have rent control and eviction
   protections, then they have no rights as tenants at all.  While other
   tenants rights may exist on paper - such as the right to a habitable unit
   and to be free from landlord harassment - these rights are largely
   meaningless when landlords can retaliate by either issuing a no-fault
   eviction or raising the rent to a level which the tenant cannot afford,
   forcing them to self-evict.

*Item 42 Talking Points - Strengthening Regulations on Short-Term Rentals*

   - We are in a housing crisis.  Short-term rentals must only be allowed
   to the extent that they do not worsen it.
   - Companies like Airbnb have intentionally spent years creating illegal
   hotels in Berkeley, fully knowing that doing so depletes Berkeley's housing
   stock, thereby making our housing even more expensive.
   - Berkeley's laws have been full of holes, making enforcement
   impossible, allowing landlords to profit from worsening out housing crisis,
   and leaving the multi-billion-dollar tech companies that encouraged this
   unpunished.  We must end this situation now.


------------------------------



To join by Zoom, go to https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83653444287
<https://berkeleytenants.us13.list-manage.com/track/click?u=d3053fd94934e92d237a8b9e8&id=d3d2325f48&e=3e8121fe7e>
or open the Zoom app and enter Meeting ID 836 5344 4287. To request to
speak during public comment on an item, use the “raise hand” icon by
rolling over the bottom of the screen.

To join by phone, dial 1-669-900-9128,,83653444287#. To speak during public
comment on an item, press *9 and wait to be recognized by the Chair.

*If you are unable to attend the meeting live, you can also send a written
public comment for each item that will be read aloud!* To submit an e-mail
comment during the meeting to be read aloud during public comment, email
clerk at cityofberkeley.info with the Subject Lines in this format: “PUBLIC
COMMENT ITEM ##.” Please observe a 150 word limit per item. Time limits on
public comments will apply. *Make sure to send a separate public comment
for each item* (expanding rent control is item 41 and regulating short-term
rentals is item 42).
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