Protect Alameda renters instead of enriching a fat-cat out of state company

Editor’s note: The Alameda Sun received a copy of this letter.

Honorable Mayor, Vice-Mayor and Members of City Council:
I am a long-time Alameda tenant. Alameda tenants urgently need an emergency moratorium on Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) pass-throughs for ALL tenants, in ALL rental properties. CIP pass-throughs threaten all Alameda tenants with displacement and should be regulated by rent control.

As the corporate owners of South Shore Apartments await approval of a CIP for up to $24 million, South Shore tenants face having to pay for these improvements in the same year that many tenants are receiving banked rent increases. Some of these tenants live in non-habitable conditions. This must be stopped for South Shore tenants, and not be allowed to happen to tenants city-wide.

The current CIP policy puts property owners in a position to undermine rent control for their current renters and replace them with new renters who are able to afford market rates. The former blameless citizens who should be protected by rent control will then be without housing during this fraught time of inflation and housing shortages. In the present case, the CIP will be a gift to Blackstone, Inc., one of the largest and perhaps most unethical real estate investors in the world. This is the same company that owns PSSI, which has been exposed as employing child labor in meat packing plants. Yes, that's who will be profiting by the displacement of Alameda citizens, your constituents and neighbors.

In 2017, Bloomberg Businessweek reported that PSSI had among the highest numbers of severe injuries — defined as an amputation, hospitalization, or the loss of an eye — among the 14,000 companies tracked by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in 29 states, according to Yahoo! Finance.

Please do not let South Shore and tenants city-wide face displacement by a flawed CIP policy that demands a major review by the City Council. We need an emergency moratorium on CIP pass-throughs now, for all rental property city-wide, including especially, South Shore Apartments.

At the very least, add a financial hardship plea process to the CIP ordinance as San Francisco has done. Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter. This is your opportunity to do the right thing.

— Cheryl Kettell