Earlier this year I was able to convince my kids to hang out at the library with me so I could do some microfiching while they browsed the kid section. Suffice it to say it was a one time deal and I haven’t been able to make it back into the microfiche archives for a while. But during the power 30 minutes they gave me way back in February or something, I was able to find a few interesting things. First on rent control.
I would scan these articles but my scanner is on the fritz and you don’t really want me to take photos and post those right? Because that would be totally janky.
Anyway, in 1985 some Alamedans tried to get rent control passed in Alameda but fell short because of procedure issues. According to an article in the Alameda Times-Star on March 26, 1985 a group by the name of Tenants and Landlords for Fair Rent managed to collect 6346 signatures to place a measure on the ballot. However, the petition was invalidated, highlights:
City Clerk Diane Felsch spotted what she believed to be a major problem after the petitions were turned in, and City Attorney Carter Stroud confirmed her doubts.
According to Stroud, the Secretary of State holds that a petition which does not contained the required text is not a valid petition. None of the petitions turned in by the organization had the 10-page text attached, Stroud said, and there are no staple holes to indicate that the text had ever been attached.
A number of residents reportedly told Stroud that the individuals circulating the petition refused to provide copies of the text when asked. They claimed that mimeographed summaries of the content of the proposal were offered instead.
But John Doherty, organizer of Tenants and Landlords for Fair Rent, maintains that everyone who circulated petitions was given a copy of the entire text. They were told to have the text available when they circulated the documents, he added.
“The text and the whole ordinance were available to everyone, ” Doherty said “Any time anyone asked me to see the text, I showed it to them. I just can’t understand where they’re getting it from that people wee refused to see the ordinance.”
According to this article here’s what the rent control ordinance would have done had this gone to a vote and been passed in the mid-1980s:
- Annual rent hikes limited to 75% of previous calendar year’s increase in regional Consumer Price Index
- No rent increases for a year after the property is sold
- Only 13 specific reasons that would allow for an eviction
- Landlord responsibility for informing tenants of the law and providing detailed information about rent raises
- Landlord would have to supply names to tenants of all of tenants receiving rent raise as well as information about the Rent Review Advisory Committee
Based on further searching it appears that the committee decided to not pursue a legal challenge to the invalidation and decided to not reattempt the signature gathering process.
Interestingly enough if this is the same John Doherty referenced above, shortly after the invalidation of this process a John Doherty in Alameda started having lots of problem with his building at 1617 Central in July of 1985 with building inspections.