Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf nominated Kevin Skipper to represent tenants on the Oakland Rent Board last week. Only problem? He's not a tenant. In fact, he's a real estate broker who works with notorious pro-eviction law firm Bornstein and Bornstein to aide property investment speculators in kicking renters out of their homes.
Though all three alternate positions are currently open on the Oakland Rent Board, including the tenant representative seat, Skipper was the Mayor's very first nominee to fill an alternate seat since taking office.
Facing a record backlog of appeals from tenants seeking relief from excessive rent increases, the Rent Board has not met in over six weeks, with the last three scheduled meetings cancelled due to a lack of quorum for the seven-member board. Even Schaaf's spokeswoman Erika Derryck recognized the "the pressing need to fill the tenant seat vacancy which has been preventing the board from reaching a quorum."
Yet since Schaaf has taken office, at least a half-dozen scheduled meetings have failed to take place due to poor attendance from members. The Mayor has taken no action to fill vacant seats that are critical to Oakland tenants' right to petition against landlord abuse, in spite of promising to do so back in May. Until her nomination of the unqualified eviction expert, that is.
After it came to light that Skipper was not actually a tenant (thanks to reporting by the East Bay Express), the Mayor retracted the nomination days later, citing the need to "not be rushed." Apparently, the Mayor is too busy to find quality candidates to serve on a body at the front lines of the displacement crisis in Oakland.
more: Mayor Schaaf Withdraws Nomination of Eviction Specialist Associate to Oakland Rent Control Board (East Bay Express)