‘Landlord’ Measure Not Likely to Make Ballot

 

An initiative backed by Alameda property owners that would offer an alternative rent ordinance option appears unlikely to make it on the November ballot.

The Alameda County Registrar of Voter’s office could not verify if the signatures attached to the initiative were valid during the random sample check process.

“It is a pretty complicated process,” said Alameda City Clerk Lara Weisiger. “The Registrar’s office has their own way for calculating whether the signatures are valid during a random sample.”

Weisiger said the number of verified signatures during a random sampling has to be over a certain threshold. However, the Registrar’s office deemed on July 18 it could not verify that the number of signatures examined during the random sampling would meet that threshold. 

“This does not mean the measure did not have enough valid signatures,” said Weisiger. “It just means a complete check will now be done to verify whether there are enough valid signatures for the petition to qualify.”

Weisiger said it will take the Registrar’s office at most 30 days, from July 18, to do a full-scale examination of the signatures to determine whether there are enough valid signatures to get the amendment placed on a ballot. However, for the initiative to be placed on the November ballot, it must be approved by Aug. 8.

“The Registrar’s office can approve the petition before 30 days,” said Weisiger. “But it won’t be on the ballot if they don’t approve it by Aug. 8.”

Weisiger said if the petition is deemed valid after Aug. 8, property owners can push to have the measure voted on the next election cycle in June 2018, or City Council can chose to have a special election earlier.

Alameda property owners created the Alameda Homeowners and Private Property Rights Act with the intention to “prohibit the city from imposing restrictions on the price for which real property may be rented or sold.” More than 7,400 people signed the petition, according to reports. Alameda city laws states that for an amendment to be placed on a voting ballot the amendment must receive at least 6,461 signatures or 15 percent of the city’s registered voting population. The property owner-backed group submitted the initiative to the city clerk’s office on June 14.

The clerk’s office then sent the initiative to the Alameda County Registrar of Voter’s office, where they then started the random sample process. 

The Alameda Homeowners and Private Property Rights Act was created in response to the more renter-friendly Alameda Renter Protection and Community Stabilization Charter Amendment. The renter-friendly ordinance was approved to be on the November ballot on July 6. The renters’ measure, sponsored by the Alameda Renters Coalition, would cap annual increases at 65 percent of the change in the Consumer Price Index for the previous year. It would also create a five-member rent control board to enforce the regulations.