A special edition of the Berkeley Property Owners Association newsletter came out in early July, announcing their plans to spend at least half a million dollars each year to fund the Berkeley Rental Housing Coalition. Their announcement begins:
“Since the beginning of permanent rent control thirty-five years ago, knowledgeable people have often suggested that Berkeley property owners should establish a legal defense fund and /or a political action committee.”
Apparently, our Mayor, Tom Bates, is one of those people!
In his speech, Bates also called for an end to the elected Rent Board in Berkeley. In recent press articles, the landlords have said the Board is “answerable to no one” – BTU thinks the Board is answerable to the voters, since they are elected.
From the Contra Costa Times: “Introduced by BPOA President Sid Lakireddy as a friend and supporter of the organization, Bates talks about his early days as a real estate salesman, manager and developer, observing wistfully that a former partner later became a billionaire… He touts the Downtown Area Plan; mocks the sponsors of a move to modify it last year; proposes a downtown office building to entice startup companies to stay in Berkeley; and suggests it might be time to bring the Rent Stabilization Board and the Berkeley Housing Authority under direct city control.
Late in the video, Bates sounds a warning: “You need to organize yourselves,” he says. “You need to think about the possibility of forming a PAC … because you’re going to be under attack.”
Landlords Plan to Sue Rent Board
“It depends on the money they have. They can run candidates,” UC Berkeley assistant adjunct professor public policy Larry Rosenthal said about the new coalition’s potential influence. “A group of landlords that are organized well will have substantial influence.”
People Power Can Beat Money Every Time!
Get Involved! Come to the Potluck July 8th!
Berkeley Still Has It Better
“…In Oakland, when a landlord unlawfully raises rents throughout an entire building, the burden falls to each tenant to write a formal petition and present his or her case in a hearing. As a result, many 1565 Madison residents — who chose not to file petitions or missed a hearing, in some cases because they didn’t have the resources to complete paperwork or because they feared retaliation — have to pay the entire rent increase, even though the city deemed a portion of it illegal.”