‘Alamedans in Charge’ Submit Signatures

 

“Alamedans in Charge — A Coalition of Rental Property Owners, Businesses, and Tenants for Fair and Affordable Housing appeared at City Hall on Monday to turn in the signatures necessary to put its referendum on the November 2018 ballot.  The organization will soon turn its attention to putting a second item, an initiative on that ballot as well.  

On May 21, 2016, the City Council gave its final approval to the rent stabilization ordinance, which amended Article XV of Chapter VI of the Municipal Code. Among other changes, the amendment allowed no-cause evictions — those that permit a landlord to evict tenants by simply filing 30- or 60-day notices to vacate without giving the tenants reasons for the evictions.  

However, the amendments limited the number of no-cause evictions in a single building, capped the amount of rent that landlords could charge any new tenants and required payment of a relocation fee to each evicted tenant. Fifty-six percent of the voters affirmed this ordinance when they approved Measure L1 in November 2016. 

On June 6, by a vote of 3-2, the City Council passed Ordinance No. 3180. Mayor Trish Spencer and Councilman Frank Matarrese voted “no.” The new ordinance, which does not take effect until July 9, will rid Article XV inthe City Charter of the clause that allowed no-cause evictions. 

Landlords and their allies began working to overturn City Council’s change. They teamed up under the name “Alamedans in Charge — A Coalition of Rental Property Owners, Businesses, and Tenants for Fair and Affordable Housing,” and filed the necessary paperwork to place both a referendum and an initiative on the November 2018 ballot. 

The group first filed the paperwork for the referendum. In order to qualify this item for the ballot, “Alamedans in Charge” had 30 days from June 6 to collect 4,800 signatures — 10 percent of the registered voters. They began doing so on June 9 and have now submitted the required number of signatures.

If the group succeeds in having at least 4,800 signatures validated, not only will the referendum make the ballot, but no-cause evictions would again be allowed until the voters resolve the matter in November 2018. A majority of “yes” votes at the polls would then repeal the City Council’s decision to prohibit no-cause evictions. However, the Council could vote to reenact the ban. 

On June 14, the group also filed a notice of intent to file the paperwork to qualify an initiative for the ballot to amend the City Charter. This action would have a distinctly different effect than the aforementioned referendum. If voters approve this measure in November 2018, the City would have to amend its Charter, preventing the City Council from reenacting the ban on no-cause evictions, only the vote of the people could do that.   

To get the initiative to amend the City Charter on the ballot, “Alamedans in Charge” have significantly more time, 180 days, to collect signatures from 15 percent or 7,200 of the registered voters. If the initiative passes voter muster in November 2018, the vote would simply void the June 6 ordinance and only the vote of the people could restore the ban on no-cause evictions. 

It should be noted that neither the referendum nor the initiative tinkers with the tenants’ rights under the current ordinance. These measures, if approved by the voters, would only restore the landlords’ rights to terminate tenancies with 30- or 60-day notices.