Successful Teach-In (and Other News)
Videos From the November 22 Housing Teach-In:
Media Estimates 180-plus Attended Teach-In November 22
“Audience members lined the walls, balcony and sat on the floor for the “teach-in,” organized by the Ad Hoc Committee for a Progressive Berkeley in conjunction with eight other advocacy and tenants’ rights organizations.”
“Among the ideas discussed, Stephen Barton, panelist and former deputy director of the city’s Rent Stabilization Program, proposed an affordable housing tax that taps into the excess profits landlords receive from rent. Revenue from the tax would be used to aid the development of below-market-price housing.”
“Areas included housing for teachers and firefighters; those sleeping in doorways; workers who can’t pay escalating rents; seniors whose fixed income is less than even small rent increases allowed under rent control; students stuffed five or more into two-bedroom apartments; and very low income tenants with federal housing vouchers that no local landlord will accept.”
“The city is an increasingly unaffordable place for low- and moderate-income households and for students, which is threatening the city’s valued diversity,” according to the Berkeley Progressive Alliance, which is sponsoring the event. Co-sponsors include Sustainable Berkeley Coalition, Berkeley Citizens Action, Berkeley Tenants Union, California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG), the Berkeley NAACP, Black Student Union of Berkeley City College and the Better Berkeley Working Group.There will be a panel composed of former Berkeley Housing Director Stephen Barton; affordable housing activist Moni Law; Rick Lewis, executive director at Bay Area Community Land Trust; Berkeley Student Cooperative President Austin Pritzkat; and Katherine Harr of the Berkeley Tenants Union.”
A Similar Message at City-Sponsored Panel
“Christina Murphy, with the Friends of Adeline Corridor, spoke from the audience, saying in her work as housing case manager at the Berkeley Drop-in Center, she sees a growing number of seniors and people working three jobs without housing.” People going to Cal live in their cars,” she said, arguing the solution is a windfall profit tax on landlords, a proposal the city council will address.” People are building in our town and not putting in the money they should,” she said.”
Public Finds City-Sponsored Panel Lacking Solutions
“No mechanism was described whereby the people would gain a seat at the planning tables, at which they could actually shape the course of things to come. But still, it was called “participation.” The issues involved, from the neighborhood’s perspective, in these prior meetings, were clear. Affordable housing, no dislocation, no evictions; at several meetings, that was summed up as a call for a moratorium on market rate housing until the need for affordable had been satisfied. Somehow, none of that appeared in this A-H 101 session.”
Broken Elevator Illustrates Need for Code Enforcement
The elevator at Acton Courtyard – owned by Equity Residential and exempt from the Rent Ordinance because it is recent construction – was broken for 14 days, despite Berkeley codes which require repair within 24 hours. Disabled residents were trapped in their homes or unable to access their units.
Changes to Berkeley’s code enforcement will be discussed at Council December 1.
No Place for Students
The UC system is adding 10,000 students and Mayor Bates says Berkeley might get 4,000 of those. Currently, UCB houses only 8,244 of their 37,581 students. Now, students say a proposed city law regarding Group Living Accomodations will make it harder for student co-ops to provide affordable housing and build community. Meanwhile, private dorms like Casa Cedar and The Berk are charging students $1000-$1400 a month TO SHARE a room.
Oakland to Increase Rent Board Fee
“The city needs to triple the existing fee that funds the program, from $30 to $110 per every rental unit, or it will be unable to enforce its rent adjustment rules and resolve tenant landlord disputes. However, both landlord and tenant advocates are opposing the proposed fee increase, on the grounds that it’s excessive.”
Tony Thurmond’s Housing Town Hall
“Some solutions proposed, such as increasing the impact fees levied on building developers, were quite popular among the audience. Acknowledging others that were not, such as adding an annual tax to cable subscriptions to fund affordable housing, Thurmond requested at the onset that the audience members ‘boo quietly’ if they wished to.”
SF Mission Home For Sale at Discount
It’s kind of sad that selling your house for only $650K makes the news, but what this woman did for her Mission District community is still cool.
This good tenant attorney blog gives a little etymology.
…And the Fun Never Ends
Councilman Arreguin may bring back necessary changes to the demolition ordinance at the December 15 City Council meeting.