Letter to Supporters of Tenant Justice


Congratulations to us ALL:  As of August 1, DEBT SERVICE is no more. 


The second reading to END DEBT SERVICE pass-through was voted unanimously!

Now begins the final actions to complete our pending victory on CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS . . . 
Tues evening, Apr 22the Tenant Justice Campaign (TJC) will return to Oakland City Hall to assure that the Council keeps its promise to approve the “First Reading’ of proposed language changing the Rent Law to finally include some benefits for tenants.  
Please come to City Hall and show your support for tenants rights.   
Broad support from the community WON our victory on Debt Service.  Let’s DO IT AGAIN for Capital Improvements. 
Our item is #13, last item on the agenda, so please plan to arrive by 8pm
Please register a “Speaker Card” online.  Click: //www2.oaklandnet.com/Government/o/CityClerk/s/SpeakerCard/SpeakerCard/OAK032373 
Talking Points are below; more detail will follow in subsequent mailings.

Your support is very important.  Email and/or call Oakland City Council members to express your support of TJC proposals.  A sample message is provided below, which you can forward as-is or modify as you think appropriate. 

Subject:  Urging Your Support of Tenant Justice Campaign’s Concerns on New Capital Improvements Changes
TO: City Council members

ngallo@oaklandnet.comdbrooks@oaklandnet.com, lreid@oaklandnet.comatlarge@oaklandnet.com,
CC:  jeanquan4@gmail.commayorjeanquan@oaklandnet.com,


Dear Council member,

We are concerned about aspects of the proposed Rent Ordinance & Regulations to codify changes in capital improvements provisions.  First reading is scheduled at City Council, Tuesday, April 22.  Our specific concerns are changes subsequently made to agreements of the mediation sessions that were approved 7-0-1(excused) by City Council on March 18.  In the process of drafting the proposed language, all suggested comments and interpretations of the Tenant Justice Campaign (TJC) were ignored, while the comments of landlords, even if irrelevant, were incorporated.  In addition, harmful anti-tenant changes have been incorporated in the proposed language after conversations with landlord representatives that occurred after the Council’s approval vote .  These improper insertions should be corrected before final adoption.
In the mediation sessions, it was TJC’s intent and understanding that the 10% maximum increase cap becomes effective with the 2nd reading (May 6), while implementation of penalties and detailed procedures will be delayed 90 days (Aug 1).  Instead, the new proposed language “grandfathers” all permits taken out, or work begun during this 3-month “get ready” period.  This 3-month “free period” is already seeing a landlord rush to get permits and/or to start work that won’t be completed by August 1, but under the proposed new language, all such “free period” work will be passed-through 100% to tenants under the old procedures with no time limit.  This is an injustice that should be corrected at the 1st Reading.   

Secondly, despite clear agreements all around on “10% max annual pass-through (30% max in 5 years) for ALL categories of rent increases,” the new documents include a change made after the Council vote to allow landlords to “bank” forever excess amounts of capital improvements increases that exceed the 10% (or 30%) max.  This change is contrary to mediation agreements, and will make monitoring and enforcement impossible.  Such a change was never discussed or agreed to in the mediation meetings.  This change is also an injustice that should be corrected at the 1st Reading.  
Thirdly, as an attendee at the Council vote of approval on March 18, I witnessed amendments proposed by both Councilmembers Kaplan and McElhaney to include an enhanced definition of “Delayed Maintenance” to the motion on the floor.  However, in the final proposed language for 1st Reading, there is no mention of the councilmembers’ amendment.  This omission is a further injustice that should also be corrected at the 1st Reading.     
(Your name, title, and/or Council District) 
Please call and/or email all Councilmembers.  Emails are particularly noticed: 

Dan Kalb (District 1)  dkalb@oaklandnet.com  (510) 238-7001

Pat Kernighan (District 2)  pkernighan@oaklandnet.com   ( 510) 238-7002   

Lynette McElhaney (District 3)  lmcelhaney@oaklandnet.com   (510) 238-7003

Libby Schaaf (District 4)  lschaaf@oaklandnet.com    (510) 238-7004

Noel Gallo (District 5)  ngallo@oaklandnet.com    (510) 238-7005

Desley Brooks (District 6)  dbrooks@oaklandnet.com  (510) 238-7006

Larry Reid (District 7)  lreid@oaklandnet.com    (510) 238-7007

Rebecca Kaplan (At-large)  atlarge@oaklandnet.com    (510) 238-7008
Mayor Jean Quan  jeanquan4@gmail.commayorjeanquan@oaklandnet.com   (510) 238-3141 


For more information: 
Robbie:  (510) 763-5877, ext. 404  or robbie@cjjc.org
James:  (510) 763-0142 or jamesevann@aol.com




On behalf of the Tenant Justice Campaign and Causa Justa :: Just Cause we want to thank everyone who helped make an important advance to strengthen tenant rights in Oakland on Tuesday, March 18.

TenantJusticeCampaignWin2Thanks to the thousands of you who signed the petition, all of you who made calls and emails to City Council in the last week; and those of you who stayed till midnight sharing testimony and witnessing the Council vote on this issue late into the night.

We want to appreciate the powerful and inspiring tenants who have stood up to share their stories and demands throughout this fight. Thank you to Mercedes and Clifton Harrison, Janet Brown, Ingrid Vasquez, Guillermo Gallegos, Lynne Parker etc… 

Here is some of the media coverage from the San Francisco Chronicle, East Bay Express, Oakland Tribune,  and Oakland Local





TenantJusticeCampaignWin3As a result of our collective effort the Council will be taking the following action to strengthen rent board regulations in Oakland –

1. Eliminate debt service – which is the ability of landlords to pass along to tenants the cost of their mortgages and loans
2. Require landlords notify tenants when they plan on making repairs that will result in rent increases, as well as register those repairs and increases with the City of Oakland’s Rent Adjustment Program
3. Cap all allowable rent increases to absolutely no more than 10% annually

Staff will return to council on Tuesday, April 22nd with an ordinance that will make this law, so we will still need your help and support to see this all the way through!TenantJusticeCampaignWin4

We want to extend a special thanks to the individuals and organizations part of the Tenant Justice Campaign and who endorsed our efforts:
Oakland Tenants Union
East Bay Community Law Center
East Bay Housing Organization
Centro Legal
Alameda County Public Health Department
Eviction Defense Center
Asian Pacific Environmental Network
Service Employees International Union 1021
Oakland Rising
W.E.A.P. (Womens Economic Agenda Project)
Wellstone Democratic Club
Peralta Federation of Teachers Local 1603
Allen Temple Baptist Church  
Mujeres Unidas y Activas
Street Level Health Project
Youth Uprising
Oakland Greens
Alameda County Labor Council
UPTE-CWA 9119 Local 1
Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club
Green Party of Alameda County
Strike Debt Bay Area
East Bay Community Land Trust
Center for Third World Organizing


While these policies are a step in the right direction they do not go as far as we want or need them to. Even as we pause to appreciate our collective efforts and this first victory of the year, we know that we need to keep fighting to strengthen tenant rights and stop gentrification in Oakland.

We are already planning our next steps and fights so please be on the look out for more information about that.

Thank you for your work and support on this.