Renters Turn Up Heat

Dennis Evanosky City Clerk Lara Weisiger looks on as Catherine Pauling signs the paperwork for the ballot initiative that the Alameda Renters Coalition plans to put on the November ballot.

The Alameda Renters Coalition (ARC) filed a ballot initiative last Monday in response to what it defines as  “a crisis of mass evictions and average rent increases of more than 50 percent over a span of only four years.”

The coalition hopes to address these problems with the “Alameda Renter Protection and Community Stabilization Charter Amendment.” 

Now that the paperwork is filed coalition members can begin collecting signatures from Alameda voters. They hope to collect the necessary 6,461 signatures by April 23, to see their  initiative included on the November ballot. 

ARC spokespersen Catherine Pauling said that her group plans to collect some 9,000 signatures in the next seven weeks to allow for any signatures that the city might disallow. 

According to the coalition’s press release, its members  coalition object to there being no cap on rent increases, merely a review process triggered by a rent increase of more than 5 percent.  

The coalition also points out the the new city ordinance “subjects renters, once again, to the threat of no-cause evictions when the current moratorium expires. ARC also objects to what it calls a “poison pill” in the ordinance that allows landlords to escape all eviction controls by simply issuing a fixed-term lease.

Pauling pointed out that half of Alameda’s renters are voters. She said that this initiative will give them the opportunity to choose clear protections that ARC feels they deserve, rather than the “cumbersome and un-tested process” that the organization says is outlined in the new city ordinance.