Opinion: Organize for Prop. 10, Fight Displacement...

Opinion: Organize for Prop. 10, Fight Displacement, Protect Renters

“Systemic cruelty” – That’s how United Nations Special Rapporteur Leilani Farha described Oakland’s housing crisis.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We can keep families in their homes. We can stop unjust evictions. We can stabilize our communities, slow displacement, and protect the diversity that makes our city great.

But we can’t do it until we pass full rent control and Prop. 10 to repeal Costa Hawkins – the disastrous state law that denies thousands of Oaklanders rent control protections.

Trump’s closest friend, Stephen Schwarzman, the CEO of Wall Street Mega Landlord Blackstone, has donated more than $3 million to date to fight Prop 10.

We will be heavily outspent, but we are in the majority!

Our plan to win is very much reliant on turning out low-propensity voters – young people, working families and communities of color – the same people that said when polled they were 31 percent more likely to vote in November if they knew rent control was on the ballot.

We’ll be hosting volunteer canvasses every Saturday starting this weekend through the election. Whether it’s texting voters, hosting a house party or door knocking your neighborhood – we need your help!


Help kick off our volunteer canvass program right – join us Saturday to win Yes on Prop 10!

This election isn’t going to be a cake walk. We’ve seen it before – the opposition will spend millions on spreading “fake news” to scare people away from Prop 10.

They’ve already gone so far as to make up outrageous lies like “you’ll be forced to live next to sex offenders if you pass rent control” or “rent control will decrease your property value by $39,000.”

To participate in the campaign, email or click here.


  1. Gavin R. Putland

    28 September


    Rent control doesn’t force owners to offer their properties “to let” at the allowed rent. Rent control doesn’t force land owners to build more housing. On the contrary, it discourages both, reducing the supply of housing and RAISING other rents! Exempting NEW buildings from rent control may avoid deterring construction, but it still doesn’t open up EXISTING buildings for tenants. Worse, it means that the stock of rent-controlled housing becomes a shrinking fraction of the whole housing stock — unless the exemption is only for a limited time, in which case you’re discouraging construction again!

    Will removing regulatory barriers to construction solve the problem? Not by itself, although it’s obviously a necessary condition. Cheaper housing requires developers, builders, and owners to increase supply to a point where it reduces their return on investment! They obviously won’t do that voluntarily. They will do it only if they are penalized for NOT doing it!

    SOLUTION: Put a punitive tax on vacant lots and unoccupied housing, so that the owners can’t afford NOT to build housing and seek tenants. By reducing the owners’ ability to tolerate vacancies, a vacancy tax strengthens the bargaining position of tenants and therefore reduces rents. It yields both an *immediate* benefit, by pushing existing dwellings onto the rental market, and a *long-term* benefit, by encouraging construction.

    Such a tax, by reducing the cost of housing, would make it easier for employers to pay workers enough to live on. A similar tax on commercial property would reduce rents for job-creating enterprises. That’s GOOD FOR BUSINESS and GOOD FOR WORKERS.

    A vacancy tax is also GOOD FOR REALTORS because they get more rental-management fees for properties coming onto the rental market, plus commissions from any owners who decided to sell vacant properties to owner-occupants (who of course don’t pay the tax).

    Best of all, the need to avoid the vacancy tax would initiate economic activity, which would expand the bases of other taxes, allowing their rates to be reduced, so that the rest of the city/state/country gets a tax cut!

  2. Ned Ryerson

    29 September

    Prop 10 is thoughtless, morally unjust and economically illiterate. That’s why polls show that most Californians will reject Prop 10.

    1. Prop 10 will remove protections on new constructions of apartment buildings. Result: investors, when facing a choice of building an apartment building (for tenants) or a condo (for rich people) will choose to build the condo. This hurts tenants.

    2. Prop 10 will remove protections on single family homes. Result: seniors or temporarily relocated people (in other words, mom and pop landlords) will not want to rent out their homes. This hurts the landlords and the tenants alike.

    3. Prop 10 will remove vacancy de-control, so putting a property on rental market will (a) cause the owner to permanently put the property under rental control boards and (b) remove incentive to repair/renovate. This hurts the landlords, tenants and the communities alike.

    Prop 10 will bring disaster to California. It will not magically make affordable housing flourish. It will make affordable housing dwindle.

    Prop 10 will make the rent go damn higher.

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