Voter’s Edge California
Get the facts before you vote.
Voter’s Edge California
Go to top
Brought to you by
MapLight
League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
California State Library@CAStateLibrary
November 8, 2016 — California General Election
Ballot and voting information for Alameda County.
This is an archive of a past election.

Rent Control InitiativeCharter Amendment

Local
November 8, 2016California General Election

City of Alameda
Measure M1 Charter Amendment - Majority Approval Required

Share This Page

To learn more about measures, follow the links for each tab in this section. For most screenreaders, you can hit Return or Enter to enter a tab and read the content within.

Election Results

Failed

12,281 votes yes (34.07%)

23,768 votes no (65.93%)

  • 100% of precincts reporting (46/46).

Shall the City Charter be amended to (a) limit annual residential rent increases for certain units to 65% of the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index, (b) create an elected Rent Control Board separate from the City with authority to hire staff, impose fees on landlords for program funding and assess penalties, (c) limit the reasons for terminating tenancies and (d) require rental property owners to pay relocation fees to tenants when terminating certain tenancies?

Summary

Rents are “rolled back” to May 5, 2015 rent levels.  The annual allowable rent increase is limited to 65% of the Consumer Price Index.  Both landlords and tenants may petition to a hearing examiner to have rents adjusted upwards or downwards.  This proposal does not mediate differences between landlords and tenants. This proposal prohibits all “no cause” evictions.  It permits “for cause” and “no fault” evictions (owner move in, when necessary to bring property into compliance with codes affecting health and safety, withdrawal of unit from rental market).

 

Under certain circumstances, relocation fees are required as follows:

·       $7,300 if tenant has rented the unit 3 years or fewer, or $15,000 if tenant is disabled, 62+ or has a child under 18

 

·       $9,650 if tenant has rented the unit more than 3 years, or $18,300 if

tenant is disabled, 62+ or has a child under 18 adjusted for CPI

 

This proposal creates an elected Rent Control Board which is autonomous from City governance.  The Board has sole responsibility to employ attorneys, lobbyists, and adopt an annual budget that includes personnel costs for an Executive Director and staff to run the program (estimated cost $4.3 million).

 

This Charter amendment if adopted replaces and repeals the City Ordinance.  This amendment can only be amended or repealed by voters in an election.

 

 

 

 

 

— City of Alameda's website, Election 2016 page

Impartial analysis / Proposal

In March 2016, the City of Alameda adopted an ordinance limiting rent increases to once a year, requiring mediation for all increases above 5%, limiting grounds for evictions and requiring landlords to pay relocation fees when terminating certain tenancies. This proposed City Charter amendment would replace that structure with a new, voter‐elected regulatory body empowered to manage a rent control program.  Candidates for the five‐member Rent Control Board do not have to be landlords or tenants,only Alameda voters.  The Board would budget for,hire and manage its own staff; establish rents; issue regulations; conduct investigations and hearings; impose fees on landlords; and impose penalties for non‐compliance.  Based on the experience of other California cities with rent control, the cost for the Board and its staff to operate would be approximately $3.3 million annually.    Landlords would be assessed fees to pay for the program (estimated to be $235/unit).  The City’s General Fund would be required to pay for the Board and programs until adequate fees are available.  The amendment would “roll back” rents to the amount charged for a unit on May 5, 2015. That maximum allowable rent could be increased by no more than 65% of the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index each year. (For 2016, rent could be increased 1.7% over the May 2015 rent).   Landlords could petition the Board for a larger rent increase.  A landlord could terminate a tenancy only for the following reasons: (1)failure to pay rent; (2) breach of the lease; (3) damage to the unit or nuisance; (4) refusing access; (5) a “move‐in” to the unit by the owner or immediate family as the person’s primary residence; (6) substantial repairs; (7) withdrawal of the unit from the rental market. A landlord who terminates a tenancy for reasons (5), (6) or (7) would be required to make relocation payments, ranging from $7,300 to $18,300 depending on the tenancy length and whether the tenant is over 62, disabled, or has a minor child.  Tenants may sue landlords for attorneys’ fees, damages and penalties equal to three times the amount of the unlawful rent.  The fiscal impact of the amendment on the City is uncertain.  Once passed, the City must hold a special election in early 2017 to elect members of the Board at a cost of over $500,000.  Until the Board establishes and implements another revenue source, the City’s General Fund is required to fund the program including Board‐hired staff and lawyers with no budgetary control by the City Manager and/or City Council.  Also, based on the experience of other California Cities with rent control, the City will continue to require City staff to address rent issues and do incur costs of potential legal challenges naming the City.  There are potential legal issues with the amendment as drafted.  If passed, and a legal challenge is successful, the courts could void some or all of the amendment provisions.   /s/Janet C. Kern       City Attorney
— City of Alameda's website, Election 2016 page, Rent Control Initiative, Impartial Analysis

Financial effect

The Board has sole responsibility to employ attorneys, lobbyists, and adopt an annual budget that includes personnel costs as well as other consultants and specialists.  It is estimated that the cost to staff and operate this program is $3.3 million annually.

— City of Alameda's website, Election 2016 page, Rent Measures Comparison

YES vote means

A YES vote would result in limits on annual residential rent increases to 65% of the CPI.  It would  create an elected rent control board separate from the City with authority to hire staff, impose fees on landlords for program funding, and assess penalties.  Further, it would limit the reasons for terminating tenancies and require rental property owners to pay relocation fees to tenants when terminating certain tenancies.  Such Charter amendments can only be amended by a majority vote of the people.

 

NO vote means

A NO vote would not implement this Charter amendment.

Arguments FOR

Alameda’s housing crisis is real. Young students are forced to switch schools as their parents search for affordable housing. Families are too frightened to report grievances to their landlords for fear of retaliatory evictions. Alameda needs Measure M1.

 Join teachers, firefighters, landlords, the Alameda Labor Council, retirees, and working families in voting YES on Measure M1.

 

s/ Josie Camacho

Executive Sec. Treasurer, Alameda Labor Council AFL-CIO

s/ Mayme V. Mills

Property Owner

s/ Gray Harris

School Board

s/ Jeff DelBono

Firefighter/Captain/Paramedic

Alameda Firefighters Assoc. L689

s/ Catherine Pauling

President, Alameda Renters Coalition

— http://www.acgov.org/rov/elections/20161108/documents/MeasureM1.pdf

Arguments FOR

Vote YES on Measure M1 to ensure that Alameda’s seniors, working families, teachers, health  care workers, and veterans can continue to live in our city. It’s a common sense measure that will  keep Alamedans in their homes and preserve our neighborhoods.  Measure  M1 was carefully crafted to meet the specific, unique needs of Alameda. More than 8,000 Alamedans signed petitions to place Measure  M1 on the ballot to implement a measured and tested solution to our current housing crisis by protecting current and future Alameda  renters.

 

Measure  M1 WILL NOT unfairly burden landlords:

Exempts all single-family homes

Exempts all in-law units

Creates an independent Rent Board to administer the law

 

That’s why both Alameda small landlords and renters support Measure  M1.

Measure M1 WILL protect households that rent:

Strengthens existing law

Ties rent increases to inflation

Requires just cause for eviction

 

No one should have to suffer the kind of treatment the seniors, veterans

and families of the Bayview Apartments experienced when all the residents were told to leave their homes on the same day. Alameda can do better.

 

Alameda’s housing crisis is real. Young students are forced to switch schools as their parents search for affordable housing. Families are too frightened to report grievances to their landlords for fear of retaliatory evictions.

Alameda needs Measure M1.  No one who adheres to their lease should have to live with the daily fear of sudden high rent increases or eviction. Limiting evictions to just cause allows responsible tenants who pay their rent on time to safely request repairs. Tying rent increases to the rate of inflation allows families to plan for the future.   Join teachers, firefighters, landlords, the Alameda Labor Council, retirees, and working families in voting YES on Measure  M1.

 

s/ Josie Camacho

Executive Sec. Treasurer, Alameda Labor Council AFL-CIO

s/ Mayme V. Mills

Property Owner

s/ Gray Harris

School Board

s/ Jeff DelBono

Firefighter/Captain/Paramedic

Alameda Firefighters Assoc. L689

s/ Catherine Pauling

President, Alameda Renters Coalition

— http://www.acgov.org/rov/elections/20161108/documents/MeasureM1.pdf

Arguments AGAINST

Measure M1, the Rent Control Initiative, is inflexible, not easily amendable. If passed, it will alter the City Charter. The only way to change it is to hold another time consuming, expensive election in which a majority of the City voters approve the change.

 The City Ordinance, Measure L1, which was implemented in March, can be changed by a simple majority of the City Council. A subject as difficult, controversial, and complex as rent control—balancing the rights of tenants and landlords—must be flexible and open to change.

The choice is clear. Vote no on Measure M1 and yes on Measure L1.

 

s/Kathleen Schumacher

Vice-President ACT

s/ James W. Sweeney

s/ James C. Smallman

s/ Dorothy Freeman

— http://www.acgov.org/rov/elections/20161108/documents/MeasureM1.pdf

Arguments AGAINST

There is a rental crisis in Alameda that requires the protection of tenants from unreasonable increases in their rent. At issue, is how best to do it. Measure L1, the City Ordinance, is the better choice, because:  Measure  M1, the Rent Control Initiative, is inflexible, not easily amendable. If passed, it will alter the City Charter. The only way to change it is to hold another time consuming, expensive election in which a majority of the City voters approve the change.

The City Ordinance, Measure L1, which was implemented in March, can be changed by a simple majority of the City Council. A subject as difficult, controversial, and complex as rent control—balancing the rights of tenants and landlords—must be flexible and open to change.  Measure M1 requires a hearing and approval by a Rent Control Board of all rent increases above 65% of the Consumer Price Index (now under 2%) regardless of tenant –landlord agreement. Measure L1 allows the parties to reach agreement

without a hearing, thus avoiding binding arbitration, which is why Measure M1 costs twice as much to implement as Measure L1.

Measure M1, if passed, will protect only 72% of Alameda’s rental housing (California law exempts all housing built after 1995, single family homes and condos from binding rent control.) Measure L1, the City Ordinance protects all rental housing because it requires mediation, which does not violate State law.

The choice is clear. Vote no on Measure M1 and yes on Measure L1.

 

s/Kathleen Schumacher

Vice-President ACT

s/ James W. Sweeney

s/ James C. Smallman

s/ Dorothy Freeman

— http://www.acgov.org/rov/elections/20161108/documents/MeasureM1.pdf

Replies to Arguments FOR

Alameda is experiencing a rental crisis. Alameda Citizen’s Task Force (ACT),  the  group that played a major role to save Crab Cove and the Mif Albright Golf Course, and individual signatories below believe that the recent City Council  approved Rent Stabilization City Ordinance is a fair, balanced, and flexible law.  It recognizes the legitimate concerns of both landlords and tenants and serves the long-term needs of the community. We strongly oppose Measure M1 for the following reasons:

1.    Lack of Flexibility

 A new program of this importance and magnitude requires flexibility and the ability to change. The city’s Rent Stabilization  Ordinance can be changed and improved by a simple council majority.  Measure M1 cannot. It is an Amendment to the City Charter and, as such, can only be changed by another citywide election. If approved,  Measure  M1 will be set in stone

2.    Cost

Measure  M1 establishes an elected five member Rent Control Board (RCB) that will hear petitions from landlords or tenants seeking

rent adjustments higher or lower than Measure M1’s established rent cap, presently set at 65% of the Consumer Price Index. (Current cap would be under 2%) The RCB will be independent of the City Government and have power to issue regulations, set budget, and hire personnel, including legal staff. City Staff estimates this cost between 3 and 3.7 million dollars a year.

3.    Measure  M1 will not work

Rent control has been in place in San Francisco since 1979. The result has been the loss of 31,000 rental units thanks to condo conversion tenancies in common, and removal from the rental market. Rents have steeply increased, in part, due to the reduction in inventory. 

We urge Alameda voters to do the right thing, the smart thing, and the fair thing: vote no on Measure  M1.

 

s/ Kathleen Schumacher

President, Alameda Citizens Task Force

s/ Trish Spencer

Mayor, City of Alameda

s/ Tony Daysog

City Councilmember

s/ James W. Sweeney

s/ Dorothy Freeman

— http://www.acgov.org/rov/elections/20161108/documents/MeasureM1.pdf

Replies to Arguments AGAINST

Alameda is experiencing a housing crisis – and Measure M1 is the best choice to begin fixing it.  It provides fair returns to landlords and real protections for renters.

Don’t be misled:

Measure  M1 sets a baseline the Council can improve on – but, unlike an ordinance, can’t be weakened by the Council. As a Charter Amendment, it takes the issue out of City Council politics.

Measure M1 and the Council Measure cost about the same to implement – but Measure M1 includes its own independent funding and, unlike the Council’s ordinance, will not spend your tax dollars.

  Measure M1 is modeled on legislation that works. When lax condo conversion laws and  similar policies cut into the stock of Bay Area rental units, protections like Measure  M1 helped renters stay in their homes.

 Measure  M1 is the best choice to ensure accountability:

Collects citywide rent increase data

Provides annual reports to the City Council

Requires annual public meetings before budget adoption

Measure M1 is the best choice to encourage affordability:

Strengthens existing law

Ties rent adjustments to inflation

Keeps Alamedans in their homes by ending no-cause evictions

Join Assemblyman Rob Bonta, the Alameda Labor Council (AFL-CIO), educators, public health professionals, homeowners, veterans, working families and the Democratic Party and vote YES

on Measure M1.

 

s/ Laura Thomas

Alameda homeowner

s/ Jeanne Nader

Alameda homeowner

s/ Julie Gardner, MPH(c)

Public Heath Perspective

s/ Sister Patricia Nagle

Educator, Faith Leader

s/ Lillian Galedo

Executive Director, Filipino Advocates for Justice

— http://www.acgov.org/rov/elections/20161108/documents/MeasureM1.pdf
Use tabs to select your choice. Use return to create a choice. You can access your list by navigating to 'My List'.

On your actual ballot, you can vote 'yes' or 'no' on this measure.

Please share this site to help others research their voting choices.

PUBLISHING:PRODUCTION SERVER:PRODUCTION