Voters Must Do Their Homework on this Election

Voters Must Do Their Homework on this Election


There has been no end to accusations by the Alameda Renters Coalition (ARC) concerning “off-Island investors,” also defined as nonresident investors, influencing the upcoming election with regards to measures L1 and M1. What is “off-Island”? 

I would assume ARC is referring to the California Apartment Association (CAA). If so, one should remember that some local real estate entities are members of this group. In all probability CAA would be aiding its members who have supported CAA financially in one way or another. What this would infer is that the CAA support is nothing more than financial support from local members coming back into Alameda. Is this really “off-Island or nonresident investors”? I would think not. 

However, take a look at outside influence with regards to ARC’s Measure M1. Leah Simon-Weisberg, a candidate for the rent stabilization board for the city of Berkeley claims to have provided critical legal support to ARC in its attempt to pass M1. Simon-Weisberg lives in Berkeley and claims she is the legal director of Tenants Together (TT), a widespread tenants activist group present in most major cities, including San Francisco. 

ARC has claimed to be a local group of renters who formed and subsequently had written M1 for the November ballot. Available information, of course, counters that claim and infers the measure was drafted by TT’s Simon-Weisberg. TT was founded by Dean Presto, a staff attorney for several years at the Tenderloin Housing Clinic in San Francisco. This appears to counter ARC claims that its members wrote M1.

TT appears to be a San Francisco-based confederation of lawyers from various California cities that include Los Angeles, Fresno, San Francisco, East Palo Alto and Oakland. 
ARC’s claim to be a group of local people wanting to preserve the quaint appeal of Alameda housing issues appears false. ARC has affiliated with TT and apparently solicited its help in drafting M1. One only has to wonder what TT’s goal really is. 
Simon-Weisberg has claimed she provided critical legal support to five Bay Area cities. This includes writing the rent-control measures that qualified for the Richmond and Alameda ballots. 

Do Alameda voters want to associate themselves with TT, a group that apparently desires to legislate rent control throughout the state of California? Or would they rather retain local control by supporting Measure L1?

Voters have much to consider regarding rent. Unfortunately ARC has provided what I would consider erroneous information, continuously referring to evictions at 470 Central Ave. as a common theme and an ongoing problem in Alameda. The majority of rental housing in Alameda is owned locally and is primarily composed of anywhere from two to 15 units. These local people have worked hard for years and saved to purchase the properties they own. 

They are managing a business, and it is just that, a business. As such it must produce an income stream as well as a profit, which is then used to maintain and improve the property. In many cases it must also produce an income stream for the owner, some of whom are older and need the money to support themselves financially.

M1 is onerous and punitive to both landlords and tenants, expensive to execute and changed only by vote. L1 is an in-place rent-control ordinance that is working. It can be altered by the City Council with input from Alameda residents.

If you have not read both M1 and L1, please do, and vote with the idea to preserve local control of our city. It is a great city, one I have known for more than 81 years. Like all cities Alameda occasionally has problems, however, never any so onerous that its residents and city officials were unable to resolve. 

Be smart and vote for L1 to keep Alameda independent and most of all free from outside intrusion. 



Harold Mackenzie lives in Alameda.