ARC Pledges to Continue the Fight

 

The Alameda Renters’ Coalition (ARC) came into existence two years ago. Measure M1 was a result, not the reason, for the organization. We are heartened that more than 12,000 Alamedans voted to enact real, tough, rent control here. We will build on this base to do what we were founded to do: advocate to keep Alamedans in their homes.

We fought a good fight, but lost. We were outspent by 20 to 1, a figure simply too difficult to overcome. The realty association and landlord strategy was to confuse the voters. They succeeded. They called themselves rent control, they published repeatedly that the winning Measure L1 had a 5 percent rent cap — it doesn’t. 

I spoke to tenants who voted for L1 thinking it was the rent-control measure. Most importantly, the landlords branded M1 as “radical” and touted themselves as the “fair” alternative. It was a strategy that the California Apartment Association (CAA) had done polling on, and it worked.

We are disappointed, but also proud of the progress that has been made over the last year. A year ago there was no rent regulation in Alameda. Alamedans came together and pushed hard and the City Council was able to pass Ordinance 3148, which put the brakes on rent increases and evictions.  The landlords fought this ordinance with everything they had, and tried to defeat or weaken it even after it passed. 

Then ARC qualified real rent control, Measure M1, for the ballot. Suddenly landlords “liked” the City ordinance. And now a majority of Alamedans have affirmed that ordinance. Instead of debating whether or not to enact rent control, Alameda is now debating what sort of rent regulations we need. This is real progress. Thank you.

ARC deeply grateful to the hundreds of volunteers, and thousands of supporters, who made this progress possible. It was truly a collaborative effort, with the invaluable assistance of the Alameda Labor Council AFL-CIO, the Alameda County Democratic Party, Alameda Progressives, Filipino Advocates for Justice, Renewed Hope Housing Advocates, Tenants Together and a long list of endorsers and allies.

All through the battle to write ordinance 3148 Councilmembers Marilyn Ezzy-Ashcraft and Jim Oddie would say to us that they needed “a third vote” to pass stronger protections. With the election of Malia Vella, which the coalition strongly supported, we now have that third vote for tenants’ rights. Since more than half of all Alamedans rent, we are glad to see them better represented.

We look forward to working with the new City Council to tighten the regulations on no-cause evictions, create better data collection on the state of Alameda’s rental market, and improve the quality and quantity of affordable housing. We look forward to strengthening our own organization, making it into a permanent voice for renters in Alameda. 

ARC wants to be in every apartment building, every duplex, and every single-family residence that is for rent, educating and advocating for the rights of tenants. Please join us!

 

 

Eric Strimling represents the Alameda Renters’ Coalition.