No On 98: Save Rent Control Convention in San Fransisco

by on March 16, 2008 · 0 comments

in Election, Organizing

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Hundreds of concerned tenants crowded into Koret Auditorium in San Francisco’s Main Library today to hear about Proposition 98, which is on the June 3 ballot. Prop 98 “Prohibits rent control and similar measures” statewide, according to the state’s official summary of the measure.

Lupe Arreola of SF’s St. Peter’s Housing Committee told the crowd , “Prop 98 would mean that if you move out of your rent controlled place, there’ll be no rent control in your new place. If 98 passes there will be no room in this city for the elderly, children or working families.”

Ted Gullicksen of the SF Tenants Union further explained how passage of 98 would destroy affordable housing in the city-and statewide. “Here in San Francisco there are 180,000 rent controlled units,” he said, “homes to 300,000 some people. Without rent control the city will change drastically.

“It would also eliminate the current condo conversion law, which limits conversions to 200 a year, and they can only happen in small buildings. If 98 passes there will be no limits, and the conversions can happen in any building.

“Prop 98 would get rid of just cause evictions. Currently only certain legal reasons can be used for evictions. Other just cause laws protect the elderly and disabled. With 98 such protections disappear.

“In addition, the current 60-day eviction notice would be rolled back to 30 days, or whatever are the terms of tenancy.” For example, someone who pays by the week in a residential hotel could get a 7-day eviction notice.

“Besides all this,” Gullicksen said, “it would be easier for landlords to ask for larger security deposits, and harder for tenants to get them back.

“It’s all about building more luxury condos and gentrification. It’s about getting people out of SF. The people behind Prop 98 want to get rid of us, to change the demographics of San Francisco and make it for the rich only.”

We Hate 98

Gullicksen charged that 98’s “proponents are hiding the real intent” of the measure “behind the eminent domain” issue. He pointed out that “Proposition 99 provides real eminent domain protection.”

“99 also contains a ‘poison pill.’ If 99 gets one more vote than 98, 98 loses. So vote no on 98 and yes on 99.”

Gullicksen outlined the strategy to defeat 98. “It’s already opposed by every tenant group in the city, the Democratic Central Committee, Senior groups, and SPUR,” he said

“We need a high voter turnout in June, because a low turnout is expected. When there’s a low turnout, there’s usually a low tenant turnout too. We need to talk it up, to tell people there’s a June election, and a measure that would erase rent control. We need 80% of the 300,000 SF tenants to vote against it. The key voting blocks are in SF and LA.”

Dean Press, executive director of the statewide group Tenants Together, further elaborated on the overall situation. “The bad news is that the expected turnout is horrible, only 35%.

“The good news is that the statewide coalitions are forming remarkably fast, as people learn that if 98 passes rent control and other tenant protections would go out the window, that landlords are seizing on the eminent domain issue to get rid of them.

“There already have been protests in LA, and extensive efforts to get out the vote. In the Bay Area there were protests at a landlord convention to raise money for 98. In Fresno housing advocates are very concerned.

“It goes beyond renters. The Sierra Club and the National Wildlife Federation are saying no to 98 because it jeopardizes environmental laws as well. SEIU and construction trades unions oppose it because it’s anti-labor. Senior groups like the AARP and CARA, as well as the League of Women Voters, mobile home park associations, the League of California Homeowners, and even the California Chamber of Commerce oppose it.”

State senators Mark Leno and Carole Migdin also spoke out against 98 at the convention.

Community organizers from Bayview also appeared to inform people about city ballot measures F and G. Prop G would allow Lenner Corp. to build up to 10,000 condos in Bayview, with no guarantees of any affordable housing. The community sponsored Prop F mandates that 50% of all new housing must be affordable. So vote no on G and yes on F.

Organizers urged the two campaigns to unite to take action.

For more info on F and G, call POWER at 415-864-8372, ext 303 or 305.

For more info on 98 and 99, call 415-282-5525, email saverentcontrol@sftu or go to

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