Check out Richard Walker's piece on the factors at play in the Bay Area's housing crisis.
Why is There a Housing Crisis? (East Bay Express 3/23/16)
Coalition will push 3 ballot measures for police accountability, tenant protections, and a living wage
Today the Oakland Justice Coalition announced our endorsement of three ballot measures for 2016: the Protect Oakland Tenants Initiative, sponsored by Oakland Tenants Union and the Citywide Development Network, the charter amendment to create a police commission sponsored by the Coalition for Police Accountability, and the measure to establish a $20 minimum wage by 2020 and enforce fair scheduling regulations from the Oakland Livable Wage Assembly.
Our growing coalition now includes the Oakland Tenants Union, the National Union of Healthcare Workers, the Oakland Education Association, the Anti Police-Terror Project,Block by Block Organizing Network, the Coalition for Police Accountability, theCommunity Democracy Project, the Oakland Green Party, the Oakland Alliance, the Oakland Livable Wage Assembly, and Socialist Alternative.
We also announced our intention to raise and spend at least $100,000 in the 2016 Oakland elections to hire signature gatherers directly from disenfranchised communities. This community-led signature gathering program will create jobs paying $20 per hour and provide invaluable campaign experience for workers. The Oakland Justice Coalition will use this campaign as a laboratory to develop a replicable model for future initiative campaigns, changing the calculus of what is possible to achieve through direct democracy in Oakland and beyond.
Help us spread the word by sharing this email with your networks, and helping us amplify our message on Facebook and Twitter.
More: Oakland Justice Coalition: Election 2016
On Friday, activists shut down an annual Economic Development Summit in Oakland to demand action on the city's out-of-control housing crisis, including the declaration of a housing state of emergency and a moratorium on no-fault evictions.
A "Moratorium Resolution" will be heard and acted on by City Council at the Council's April 5 meeting. This agenda item will begin at approximately 7:30, but it's best to check the Council's calendar here two weeks beforehand when the agenda is posted:
All are encouraged to spread the word, call or email councilmembers, attend and build a huge attendance at the April 5 meeting. A rally in City Hall Plaza is being planned to take place before the Council meeting.
To sign up online to speak when the item number is released, access Speaker Cards here
To contact councilmembers, firstname.lastname@example.org goes to all council members.
Community Presses City Council to Call Housing State of Emergency (Post News) - 3/21/16
Activists from Black Power Network Shut Down Economic Development Summit (brokeassstuart.com) - 3/18/16
A community-authored initiative to strengthen renters' rights in Oakland was filed with the City Clerk Thursday, and hopes to appear on the November 2016 ballot.
“On behalf of the many Oaklanders who have struggled for over thirty years with the abuses of the city's landlord-written ordinance, this is a proud day to finally begin the process of qualifying a real rent control measure that will ensure justice and fairness for tenants." This was the reaction of James Vann, Oakland Tenants Union co-founder, referring to the Renters Upgrade Initiative that was filed with the Oakland City Clerk on March 3 by a citywide network of housing and social justice advocates.
The measure would extend protections under the Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance to thousands more Oakland rental units, implement the currently un-enforced Tenant Protection Ordinance, and reform the existing Rent Adjustment Program (Oakland's weak substitute for rent control) to make it much harder for landlords to raise rents above the rate of inflation, place an absolute 5% per year cap on rent increases, cover more rental units under rent control, and ensure a tenant-majority Rent Board, among other improvements.
Along with OTU, other organizations championing the measure include Causa Justa :: Just Cause, Alliance of California for Community Empowerment Action (ACCE), East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (EBASE), Oakland Community Organizations, Oakland Rising, and the California Nurses Association and SEIU Local 1021.
While Mayor Schaaf announced her own housing plan on Thursday that focusses mostly on increasing the production of new affordable housing units, the Renters Upgrade Initiative would go much, much further than the Mayor's plan in providing immediate relief to Oakland renters facing evictions, landlord abuse, and impossible rent increases. While housing advocates attempted to work with the Mayor's "Housing Cabinet" last year to include many of the renter protection and anti-displacement provisions of the Upgrade Initiative into the Mayor's plan, these efforts were largely disregarded by the Mayor and the Councilmembers involved in the process. The Mayor's minimal attention to urgently needed anti-displacement measures in her plan only demonstrates the critical importance of a citizen-led ballot initiative for renters' rights that is not beholden to real estate interests.
The Oakland City Attorney now has 15 days to review the the measure and prepare a ballot title and summary before the City Clerk can issue a Notice of Intent to Circulate a Petition. Organizers will then have until June to collect enough certified signatures to place the Renters Upgrade Initiative on the November 2016 ballot, when voters will finally have a chance to enact meaningful protections to keep Oakland renters in their homes and communities.
Oakland Tenant Advocates File Ballot Initiative to Strengthen Rent Control and Eviction Protections (East Bay Express) - 3/3/16
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf Unveils Ambitious Plan for Housing Affordability (East Bay Express) - 3/3/16