Council Candidate Sues City over Ballot Wording

 

Former Alameda Council-member and candidate for the City Council in November, Tony Daysog, and several Alameda officials will meet with a judge on Aug. 2 to settle the wording of the ballot question concerning the Rent Stabilization charter amendment on the November ballot.

Daysog is taking the city, City Council, City Clerk Lara Weisiger and Alameda County Registrar of Voters Tim Dupuis to court because he believes the defendants “decided to present the Measure to the voters in an unbalanced and biased manner instead of complying with the law and providing a fair and balanced ballot question to the voters,” according to the petition for writ of mandate; complaint for injunctive and declaratory relief Daysog filed on June 5.

A writ of mandate is a court order to a government agency to follow the law by correcting its prior actions. 

In the November 2016 election, Alameda voters passed Measure L1, or the Rent Stabilization Ordinance, which asked “Shall the voters adopt the Rent Stabilization ordinance which limits residential rent increases to once annually, requires mediation for all residential rent increases above five percent, restricts reasons for evictions and requires landlords to pay relocation fees when terminating certain tenancies, and permits the City Council to amend the ordinance to address changing concerns and conditions?” 

The City Council later inserted a stipulation allowing property owners to evict tenants for “just cause.” The “just cause” stipulation was part of another rent measure, Measure M1, which Alameda voters did not pass. The Council was allowed to change the measure because it was not a part of the City Charter.

Daysog started an effort to put the original Measure M1 language into the City Charter, with the added stipulation to eliminate Council’s authority to amend the previous ordinance. This way the Council could not revise the rent ordinance without Alameda voter approval. Daysog accumulated enough registered voter signatures to place it as a Charter amendment on the November ballot on Oct. 17, 2017.

However, city staff made the ballot question read as “Shall the Charter be amended by incorporating the City’s Rent Review with the following modifications: preclude City Council from amending the law in response to changing conditions and concerns, and require voter approval instead?”

Daysog believes that by deleting the four important aspects of the Measure in the ballot question, “the City Council deprives voters of relevant information to which they are entitled and which, twice before, the City Council deemed to be an appropriate way to describe issues to the voters.”

Daysog wants the question on the ballot to read more like the Measure M1 question.

The two sides agreed to expedite the matter due to the upcoming Aug. 10 deadline for placing measures on the November ballot and the Aug. 24 deadline for finalizing the voter information pamphlet and other election materials.