Blogging Bayport Alameda

November 6, 2015

The mess you made

Filed under: Alameda, City Council — Lauren Do @ 6:06 am

Wednesday night’s City Council meeting was a cluster of epic proportions. First, it was clear that the City Council did not realize the magnitude of the issue in front of them.  Despite the number of people that had written about their rent issues and all the information and data about housing the City Council didn’t think to plan out the process of this single issue hearing a little better.  Perhaps they were complacent from the last single issue special meeting about the Harbor Bay Club where everything moved along smoothly.  The vast difference was that while that was emotionally charged, there is a level of desperation to the renters community after hearing story after story of evictions and rent hikes.

Add to that the stories of landlords hiring seat fillers to stack the chambers prior to the start of the meeting which left very few renters able to get access into the room to turn in their speakers slips and you pretty much have a recipe for disaster. After landlord…I mean “housing provider” after “housing provider” testified in the chambers the renters in the overflow room had enough and started protesting from the hallway, and some tried to storm the chambers.  Here’s how the it looked from inside the chambers and the direction from Mayor Trish Spencer to keep the door closed, lest it disrupt the public comment.

A broken hip, bloody nose, and two arrests later the meeting reconvened with renters moved into the main room, speaker slips completely abandoned, and people told to line up against the wall if they wanted to speak.  Trish Spencer decided to interrupt renter after renter to grill them about whether their rent was “current” after they spoke of receiving an eviction notice.  But I could go on and on about some of the truly strange interactions and statements made.  But let me get to the actual result of the night.

On Wednesday night/Thursday morning the Council decided on some policy items that staff will come back to the Council for more discussion.  Based on the discussion some of these policy points will not be supported by individual members of the City Council.  Right now, there should be no assumptions based on someone’s housing situation (renter vs. homeowner) how they will vote.  At this point the only person that came out strongly right out of the gate to support renters was Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft.  Everyone else had much much more measured and qualified support.  If you were to design a spectrum of support with going from most supportive to least supportive, based only on their comments that night, I would have to list it as: Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft, Frank Matarrese, Jim Oddie, Trish Spencer, and Tony Daysog.

My sense is that Frank Matarrese will not be as supportive of actual protections, but he sounded really good that night and was full barrel supportive of the moratorium.  Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft, I believe, can be counted to attempt to make rental protections work.  Only she and Jim Oddie were open to the idea of landlord registration fees in order to help pay for whatever the costs to the City would be to enact these protections.  Jim Oddie failed to impress though with his conflation of high rents in Oakland and San Francisco with rent control.  Frank Matarrese didn’t really commit to much that night either so he, as usual, will be a wild card when actually policy needs to be made.  Trish Spencer didn’t appear to understand much about just cause evictions or how putting teeth into the RRAC would impact the liabilities of the City of Alameda, which, considering that she is a lawyer and she attempted to unilaterally truncate City Staff’s presentation on the policy implication was deeply unimpressive.

And Tony Daysog.  Oh Tony Daysog, you deserve a special paragraph all to yourself.  Tony Daysog decided to read from a prepared speech that he had pulled off his laptop.  Even if he had been actively listening to all the testimony the optics of that are really bad because it appears that nothing that was said that night swayed him and that he had already decided what he wanted to do before he walked into the chambers that night.  When off script Tony Daysog unfortunately decided to pull out the “This is America, shit happens” excuse to explain to the rest of us that bad things happen to people every day and that there’s very little that can be done about it except maybe throwing some money at people to go away quietly in the form of “relocation assistance.”  Tony Daysog is the living embodiment of this ascii art:

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

If the anger and frustration continues Tony Daysog is on the front lines of the wrath of renters.  I’m not sure if he realized that was the direction he was heading in the other night, but the next morning a quick look at social media should have learned him real quickly.

So anyway these are the policy items that will return to the City Council:

Policy 1: Tenant protections on rising rents:

  1. Mandatory landlord initiation of mediation at RRAC if rent hike is 8% or more [Enhanced RRAC], or
  2. Binding Arbitration if rent increase is not recommended by RRAC after RRAC process [Rent Control]

Policy 2:

  1. Just cause eviction ordinance
  2. Relocation benefits
  3. Extended noticing

I’ll point out that the Council punted on the issue of supply and creating more housing to tackle to supply issue with regard to housing, but I’ll give them a limited pass because it was a very late night.

The Council did agree, after much haggling back and forth as well as informal “polls” taken by Trish Spencer in lieu of, you know, actual motions and voting and stuff to pass the urgency moratorium with a nod to Tony Daysog’s first pass which only capped rent increases above 8% in a 12 month period, but included no eviction notices served during the moratorium.  It’s a step, but renters and their allies should not be appeased by what really is something that should have been an easy vote that night.

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75 Comments

  1. Although the heated rhetoric between housing providers and renters is fodder for the media, their strained relationship is only a symptom of the real problem. If Bay Area cities continue to approve projects that create jobs without the housing needed to house new workers, those in the lower half of the income distribution today, and those in the lower three-fourths of the income distribution tomorrow, will find themselves priced out of the housing market – rental or ownership.

    Renters and landlords will be better off if instead of vilifying each other, or pretending that individual acts of charity by landlords can solve the regional problem, they cooperate to solve the root problem – the imbalance between the number of jobs and the available housing.

    Comment by William Smith — November 6, 2015 @ 6:36 am

  2. Everyone I am sure believes that Ms. Davis did not intend to break any of Mr. Haun’s bones. But the take down appeared intentional (if she didn’t intentionally take down Mr. Haun, why does she try to get lost in the crowd afterwards? And, no, you don’t get to resist arrest after breaking bones). ARC, in any event, should take the opportunity quickly throw Ms. Davis under the bus (she’ll be preoccupied with her own legal issues for a long time – broken hips ain’t cheap and you can’t discharge assault in bankruptcy). Throwing the blame to Davis also helps ARC avoid its own responsibility:

    Days before the meeting, city officials suggested landlords and renters each select representatives to make their case on the moratorium, Ashcraft said. Landlords agreed, but renters declined.

    http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_29076657/alameda-man-faces-felony-charge-assault-at-rent

    So let’s please not blame the results on the city council or “stories” of unscrupulous landlords buying seats in the council chambers. As with Ms. Davis, ARC didn’t intend that its rile-up-the-crowd-outside-chambers tactics would result in serious injury – and they surely regret the outcome — but it is clear they came spoiling for more than just an orderly debate. As one of their leaders put it: “Me too. If we had any idea it was going to be like that, we wouldn’t have brought her. We were expecting a bit of loud but nonviolent civil disobedience.”

    I’m sympathetic to the problem of rising rents, but doubt that the “community stability” lauded by rent control advocates is advanced by those tactics or that the choice caused by higher rents between living in Alameda or, for example, San Leandro, merits invoking Gandhian language. Sometimes that just begets, and excuses, a like rhetorical response from the other side. (maybe the “unscrupulous” landlords start identifying a “mob” of tenants who would use state coercion to avoid moving to areas they see as less desireable and prevent others from moving in and to tell every homeowner, not just apartment owners, what they can and can’t do with their property).

    There is great strain and perhaps unprecedented in the Bay Area housing market and I favor short term measures with sunset dates to give people more time to adjust. But the more I see of ARC, including their behavior as a whole on Wednesday (and excluding the violence), the more I would be inclined to work against granting them any kind permanent authority over the city. The “occupy” mentality in the end will solve nothing.

    Comment by MP — November 6, 2015 @ 6:37 am

  3. Bob Davis is one *ugly* woman…..

    Comment by dave — November 6, 2015 @ 7:00 am

  4. Can anyone that was actually there clarify? What the video shows is the Davis fellow attempting to barge into the chambers, and the man that got injured (Haun), grabbing him and shoving him back and to the floor. In the process of doing that he fell. I saw one report of someone in the hall saying (Haun slipped). It was the Davis fellow that got thrown to the ground first by Haun.

    Comment by Impartial observer — November 6, 2015 @ 7:51 am

  5. #4, I watched a video a couple times and agree. While the video only started at the moment Haun pushed Davis and I don’t know what happened before that, it sure does look like Haun shoved her down and then slipped or was elbowed by the cop nearby accidentally.

    Comment by Spanky McDoogle (@SpankyMcDoogle) — November 6, 2015 @ 8:03 am

  6. #5 “Bob”, he not she.

    I’ve watched three different videos and can’t make out Haun in any of them, just Davis going down and being held to the floor. If Haun was at the door to chambers when they had a scuffle and had a broken hip, I can’t figure how he is not featured prominently in footage, as Davis is taken down just short of the stair well. People are yelling at cops “Your hurting him!”, but if Huan was right there in the pile he must have been writhing in pain too, but nobody seems concerned. Broken hip is a huge drag whether they tangled and fell or it was more malicious than that. I’ve seen other footage before the incident of Davis at the head of the crowd and he is flailing around and acting pretty agitated. Arresting the other guy for swatting away an officer’s hand is maybe a little excessive. You see a camera on him which turns away and then very soon after turns back and he is standing passively in cuffs. It doesn’t appear he resisted when arrested but no film of that interaction. You can hear Davis telling the officers to stop hurting him as they ask for his other arm. He is negotiating. Then he starts with the blood curdling yelling. At that point, for effect IMO. Not a lot of sympathy for that guy.

    Comment by MI — November 6, 2015 @ 8:17 am

  7. So not to confuse people the Davis person is a man, not a woman. He is the bald fellow in the video that was arrested and bloodied. The incident with Haun occurred before his arrest. When the cops jumped on him ,(Davis), knocking him down it was the second time he hit the ground that night. The first was when he tried to enter the chambers and Haun grabbed and threw him down. The full video is on you tube.
    If somehow it was more effectively communicated to the renters outside that they would be heard etc seems the whole mess could have been avoided. For people that have never attended those meetings it seems arbitrary and unfair when they declare the room too full and shut people out. Time for Alameda to have larger venues. Long time ago important issues would be moved to the Alameda high auditorium.

    Comment by impartial observer — November 6, 2015 @ 8:24 am

  8. I have gone to city council meetings since 1972, and I have never seen a scenario like this meeting. One point needs to be made, emphatically. Public meetings are open to the public. Saving seats in the audience is prohibited, except maybe one or two seats for family or friends. The landlords saved practically every seat available in the chamber for their representatives — and that is simply wrong, and must never happen again. Whole rows of seats were “reserved” for “friends.”

    The mayor had to step in the moment this was noticed, and prohibit such a practice so it never happens again.

    This was a public meeting. It was open to the public. The landlords made certain that only “their” public would have access to seats. That is prohibited, has been prohibited in every council meeting that I have attended.

    I have not seen anybody bring up this topic, but this was the reason that renters could not get speaker slips. And that is what led to the disruption of the meeting. They had a right to complain. They had a right to get speaker slips.

    This practice of reserving seats at a public meeting must never happen again.

    RS

    Comment by golfwriter — November 6, 2015 @ 8:25 am

  9. #6 Mark
    Davis identifies as a she. You have to watch the KGO Video that was referred to yesterday. It is (was) the second video in the Article. The takedown of Davis happened well after the initial incident. The only PO on duty called for backup wisely rather than escalate the situation. When the backup arrived they took down Davis. To me (and I watched the video several times) it appeared that while Davis was on the ground in the initial incident he took out Haun with his feet and then got up and retreated into the crowd. It is not clear but that was my take on it.

    Comment by frank m — November 6, 2015 @ 8:29 am

  10. Seems the ‘moratorium’ doesn’t have much ‘bite’…I had some friends (a young family with two small children) have a letter tossed in their mailbox yesterday by their landlord telling them to get out so they can “remodel”….and it looks like they’re trying to “get around” the moratorium by saying they’ll have 120 days. This kinda crap is unconscionable. Just as paying people to fill seats to prevent people from speaking is. Just as purposefully getting someone’s gender wrong in a public comment. Seriously….where the hell is you peoples’ HUMANITY? WHERE IS IT?

    Comment by StartOver — November 6, 2015 @ 8:34 am

  11. #10 I don’t see the confusion over the gender as ‘purposeful’ it is a bit confusing. Bob Smith considers herself a woman. That is her personal choice.

    Comment by frank m — November 6, 2015 @ 8:42 am

  12. Okay I get it Davis appears to be a man and is the bald individual in the video. To see the Haun Davis interaction watch the very beginning of the video. Haun is the large man in the left side of the video. He clearly grabs Davis on both sides of his arms and shoves him backwards sending Davis to the ground. Haun has a dark suit on. One cannot see what Davis does on the ground but it is clear from the video he was hurled backwards to the ground by Haun. Later a cop walks by Davis Who is very agitated and yells at the cop and taps or pokes him. The cop says “he touched me” to the other cop and turns around to go tackle and arrest Davis. That was after the Haun incident. If I was more tech savvy I would post links to the videos. Perhaps someone else can do so. Better yet someone who saw it explaining to us what happened. I think I found some video links embedded within news articles and for sure on You Tube. Cannot for the life of me see why a man at Haun’s age and physical condition would jump in and grab and shove someone! There was police there, no need for someone in poor condition to do that and I would imagine injury would be the result.

    Comment by impartial observer — November 6, 2015 @ 8:43 am

  13. Who’s “Bob Smith”? When I started writing my comment, only four were showing. The others fell in when the page loaded.

    Comment by StartOver — November 6, 2015 @ 8:48 am

  14. Gender confusion in public comments notwithstanding, my main point was to show that even after the “cluster*” of Wednesday night, THE VERY NEXT DAY, a “housing provider” effectively tried to side-step the moratorium and tossed a letter in a tenant’s mailbox to “no-fault” evict them by giving some mush-mouthed “120-days” BS. That “housing provider” is causing trauma to a couple of hard-working folks with two young children. And to do this on THE VERY DAY AFTER the “moratorium” is put in place is about as low as it gets.

    Comment by StartOver — November 6, 2015 @ 9:02 am

  15. Four men, 1:30 to 1:45. Confront, retreat in mass. Only 1 police officer on scene. Who hired the muscle?

    Comment by Gerard L. — November 6, 2015 @ 9:03 am

  16. Thanks for clarification on gender issue. Bob’s choice but most folks who identify as other gender from which they were born, change name also. Whatever. I watched three other videos on the Tube. One is shot from the door of chambers and is the one I reference where Ms. Davis is front and center, but I didn’t think it captured the initial take down.

    Comment by MI — November 6, 2015 @ 9:04 am

  17. Video borrowed by NBC and ABC, originally on KTVU: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMX0SDyEh6M

    By showing up early and taking all the seats, the landlords launched the offensive, in an incredibly juvenile fashion. What did they think was gonna happen? No wonder their tenants complain that landlords cannot be reasoned with. The landlords who orchestrated this should have to pay any damages.

    I don’t understand why you blame the City Council. Isn’t it the City Staff who is the first to see the onslaught of angry letters, and puts them in the council packets? City Staff prepares the agendas; anticipates the amount of security needed for a meeting; etc. I’m not blaming City Staff for what happened. But City Staff are in the Council Chambers before any of the councilmembers are. They saw landlords reserving seats. City Staff really should have seen this coming.

    Comment by vigi — November 6, 2015 @ 9:27 am

  18. I watched the Channel 7 video. Haun was REALLY forceful, but you can’t see Davis hit the ground or what makes Haun fall, but Haun did not get tangled and go to the ground with Davis as somebody previously suggested. My impression is that Frank is correct about Davis taking Haun out, but you can’t see anything. There was a policeman standing right there. If Davis was lying on his back and flailing his feet at Haun breaking his femur that would seem like assault, wouldn’t it?. Haun’s action may have been assault too in terms of force used but Davis was charging the door and it’s unlikely any charge will stick if Davis tries to counter claim he was assaulted first. Now that I see proximity of police as witness, I’m content to let the legal process determine this one. On take down later by two police, you’d think that two men could restrain a 68 year old without forcefully slamming that person onto a concrete floor, but touch a cop, go to jail. Still not a lot of sympathy for Davis, but what I think is inconsequential. As an aside, was police chief one of the police who responded? Thought I recognized his face.

    Comment by MI — November 6, 2015 @ 9:29 am

  19. How interesting that you’re all fixated on the “gender” issue and not at all even acknowledging that a “housing provider” is resorting to duplicitous and dishonest methods to CONTINUE NO FAULT EVICTING PEOPLE AFTER THE MORATORIUM IS IN PLACE.

    Comment by StartOver — November 6, 2015 @ 9:30 am

  20. I was also confused on the gender issue. Davis sure looks like a man, and people in the video used masculine pronoun referring to Davis. Thanks for the clarification. Post #3 was only a joke, I retract it now that I understand.

    Comment by dave — November 6, 2015 @ 9:31 am

  21. 19

    If a remodel is happening, it’s pretty likely that it’s been planned for a while and the timing may have nothing to do with the moratorium. In any case, 120 days is *plenty* of notice.

    Comment by dave — November 6, 2015 @ 9:32 am

  22. I know that both Bob’s would see it differently (and I genuinly feel sorry for both of them. I consider Bob Haun a good friend, and this could be a career ending injury for him) their scuffle isnt important. The big outcome of Wednesday night (I was there) is that the renters have solidified as a political force that needs to be acknowledged. Even though renters have made up the majority of Alamedans since I have lived here (some 20 odd years) they have during that time never had any political sway. Civil disobedience is meant to be disruptive to the status quo, and they achieved that Wednesday night. If however they focus on making this about police brutality instead of being denied the opportunity to speak, they are going to quickly lose any sympathy they had. Both Bobs in my mind acted inappropriately. Bob Haun should have been sitting at the dias where he belongs, and let those responsible (the police and fire dept enforce the seating limit. Bob Davis shouldn’t have pulled a “Leroy Jenkins” (google it) and rush in without her group.

    Comment by notadave — November 6, 2015 @ 9:34 am

  23. notadave: you speak the absolute truth. +1000.

    Comment by Lauren Do — November 6, 2015 @ 9:37 am

  24. seat saving is so outrageous and tone deaf, that I wasn’t willing to believe it when in one tape from hallway a protester is claiming people were paid to fill seats. That badly undermines the position of landLORDS. I had been expecting to see a lot of tenants, but by the point they came yelling I’d barely seen any, just a long parade of sympathetic mom and pop shelter providers. wow.

    Comment by MI — November 6, 2015 @ 9:37 am

  25. This is the best video I’ve found of the Davis/Huan “scuffle” (from ABC7) skip to around 0:50

    http://abc7news.com/video/embed/?pid=1069189

    And this is the great thing about power: the police will always have your back. Go ahead and assault someone, Huan, you know you won’t be getting arrested.

    Comment by Rodney — November 6, 2015 @ 9:42 am

  26. From the videos from inside the council chamber it looks like Bob Haun assaulted Davis first.!
    If so Haun should be charged with assault not Davis.

    Comment by tom — November 6, 2015 @ 9:46 am

  27. It’s not the first time a meeting has overflowed, and it didn’t take much foresight to know this one would be. There aren’t tickets or reserved seats. Big meeting = show up early.

    Comment by dave — November 6, 2015 @ 9:47 am

  28. I agree about not making this about police brutality. In my opinion, that killed Occupy Oakland. Once it became all “Fuck the Police” all the time, it stopped being about income inequality and it quickly fizzled away.

    Standing in that hallway, it was very shocking to see such force being used, and everybody in that hallway was shaken up by it. My child and other children saw the force that the powerful are willing to use against those who want to be heard. It’s a lesson they will not soon forget.

    Alameda Renters Coalition have our eyes on the prize. And we emerged somewhat victorious. Nobody is going to get tossed out of their homes during the holiday season. Though it boggles my mind that council wouldn’t do the same for rent increases under 8% during the most stressful and expensive time of the year for most struggling families. The struggle continues, and we renters will not allow the landlords to outflank us like that again. They’ve played their card, shown us what they are willing to stoop to in order to try to control the dialogue. And we showed them that we’re willing to fight for our rights. Are any of them willing to face arrest so they can continue to evict grandma?

    Lastly, in regards to the council member to be known henceforth as MC Tone Def, I haven’t rolled my eyes and yelled “shut up” at the TV that much since the last time Kanye West was at an awards show. Congratulations on being worse than Kanye. Enjoy the memes!

    Comment by jasonbuckley — November 6, 2015 @ 9:57 am

  29. Just a thought. Is there no way to determine what qualifies as a “mom and pop landlord” and then have different classifications. Could not, at a certain classification, rental property owners be required to keep a certain percentage of units “affordable”. That is what new developers are required to do.

    Comment by impartial observer — November 6, 2015 @ 10:15 am

  30. #29: I think it would be difficult to impose that regulation on existing property owners, much simpler for new development because it’s an expectation of new development. However, the City could create new policy in the vein of what Frank Matarrese was referring to which is to provide amnesty for illegal units on the understanding that they would be earmarked as affordable for a certain length of time (50 years or some arbitrary date). That would bring some affordable units on line, but not that many since those illegal units are probably already occupied.

    Another solution would be as mentioned in, I think, a Housing Element preparation document for a future Housing Element would be to relax the Measure A requirement of one unit per 2000 sq ft allow property owners to build an additional attached or detached unit on their property but also earmark that as affordable for a given length of time. That could bring a fair number of affordable housing units on line as well.

    Comment by Lauren Do — November 6, 2015 @ 10:31 am

  31. vigi: city staff did see this coming and suggested renters and landlords to select representatives to speak. The landlords agreed, the Alameda Rental Committee (tenants) declined. The ARC were planning to come en mass, do exactly what the landlords did and fill every seat. The ARC instructed every member to speak individually and as such try to drone out the landlords. Problem is the landlords caught wind of that plan and made sure they arrived even earlier. So the ARC tactic essentially backfired on themselves. The ARC, when still under Angela Hockabout’s leadership seemed to be effective to get changes done that were needed. Now the ARC is only pursuing an objective of zero rent increases and mass construction of affordable housing on the island and their tactics can best be described as political activism. ARC communication is extremely polarizing, all landlords are evil, greedy, slumlord “shitwaffle’s” and a few other colorful names. Fortunately the ARC does not represent all Alameda renters. Many (most) renters understand the need for a good relationship with their landlords. As a landlord who is renting units about $400 below market and have raised rents by on average 3.7% per year in the last 4 years. I’ll make sure to not rent out to any ARC members for as long as the ARC keeps up their idiotic goals and tactics.

    Comment by putski — November 6, 2015 @ 10:33 am

  32. 1) What is the proof that the building owners “paid” people to sit in seats?

    2) Have any renters gone to a city council meeting and filled in speaker slips at any other cc meeting?
    If so, they knew the routine: fill in a slip, submit it, and wait your turn to speak.
    If not, the leaders of the ARC should have informed them.

    At the start of the meeting Mayor Spencer announced she had 90 speaker slips. How many were from renters? If anyone (building owner or renter) was in any of the rooms-(-the cc chambers, the overflow room on the 3rd floor, or the library), the mayor was calling speakers up. It was intended to be orderly. 90 speakers would have been heard.

    Broken bones and bloody noses did not need to happen.

    If there is any mayor in Alameda history who wants to meet and hear from the citizens, it is Mayor Spencer.

    Comment by A Neighbor — November 6, 2015 @ 10:35 am

  33. As the guy who posted the slumlord shitwaffle meme on Alameda Peeps, I would like to go on record to say that was specifically directed at Farhad Matin.

    Comment by jasonbuckley — November 6, 2015 @ 10:42 am

  34. This is not the first time that Spencer “orchestrated” her supporters (housing providers) to speak first and letting them know to come and fill the council chambers to get their way. Someone should have videotaped her private conversations with the realtors/Karin Lucas beforehand.

    Comment by Cindy — November 6, 2015 @ 10:51 am

  35. #31: Once City Staff knew there were two hostile camps, each planning to take over the meeting, why didn’t Staff plan for a greater police presence? I say this from the perspective that, every time I visited the Navy library DURING BUSINESS HOURS in Alameda Point Building 1 after the “trespassing incident”, two APD officers were sent, (presumably by Bob Haun?) to guard me in the Information Repository to make sure I left at 6 pm. Literally, a pair of APD were sent to harass me just because my car was parked in the City Hall West parking lot on a Thursday at 4:30 pm. Repeatedly.

    If City Staff can send 2 Alameda police officers to protect Public Works personnel from this useless disabled little old lady pushing her wheeled walker around the halls of City Hall West, what were they thinking when they knew the Jets and Sharks were about to show up on the same night at City Hall Central?

    Who is doing Dispatch for APD now…John Knox White???

    Comment by vigi — November 6, 2015 @ 11:01 am

  36. 30. – I would fear that mandating rent caps on non-permitted units given amnesty, particularly if coupled with increased enforcement against those that don’t file for amnesty, might not only not bring that many new units online, but might give owners reason to take the illegal units offline, reducing availability. I know that in Piedmont there is a push to allow homeowners to build second units (usually on bigger lots than exist in Alameda, but Alameda has some big lots too), sometimes with relaxed parking requirements in exchange for an agreement to rent out at affordable rates for 10 years (whether such restrictions are actually enforced and whether Alameda would want to implement the machinery to do so are separate questions)

    Comment by MP — November 6, 2015 @ 11:02 am

  37. There is plenty of blame to go around, starting with the Mayor who has often said City Council meetings are her meetings. It is the Mayor’s job to run the meetings and I am sure City Staffed advised her of the situation and offered possible solutions which she ignored. As to Ms. Davis’s actions, look at his face when Mr. Haun goes down – he looks happy. Then watch her body language when the police pass – she follows them and appears to kick at an officer. People like Mr. Klein and Ms. Davis were at the meeting to stir up trouble not participate in a civil debate. Mr.
    Klein appears in several videos stirring up the crowd. And if you watch the video of the meeting you’ll see Mr. Klein was one of the tenants who spoke early on. He had his say then he riled the rest up. But as has been said previously – Ms. Davis’s gender identification, the clashes and arrests are side stories that have no bearing on the issue of rising rents. Sadly the side stories will get more press.

    Comment by Eyeroll — November 6, 2015 @ 11:04 am

  38. 22. Nailed it.

    29. Why should someone who only owns four units be allowed to treat a tenant in a way that a large-complex corporate owner can’t?

    —–

    The Bob’s didn’t cover themselves in glory, that is for sure. A serious lack of foresight and leadership by staff and the mayor to head off this Charlie Foxtrot. Bob Haun’s momentary lack of judgment in deciding (er, following the mayor’s orders to keep the door shut) to physically stem the tide of speakers trying to disrupt the meeting led to a pretty steep penalty in the form of his injury. Bob Davis’ actions in both altercations were also not acceptable, but she didn’t need to be taken down violently.

    As the two officers called for backup are passing Bob Davis in the hallway on their way to chambers, one officer tells Davis to stop banging on the table and continues on. Davis is yelling “WHY!” repeatedly, in what seems an attempt to provoke the officer. When this doesn’t work, it seems like Davis probably gave the officer a kick in the back of the leg. Officer lets the other officer know that an arrest is imminent. The officer clearly didn’t feel immediately threatened as he contemplated and coordinated his response w/ the other officer.

    Instead of using voice commands to attempt to arrest Davis first, the officer makes what was a poor choice to go WWE in the middle of a crowd full of old people, women and children who are already agitated. Tough job, bad choice. Gonna cost the city a six figure settlement, fair or not.

    As for policy, Lauren summarized it all well above. I actually think Daysog’s relocation assistance model isn’t the worst thing in the world, as long as it includes no fault evictions AND people who move due to high increases. However, Tone Def is right, and he is so married to his “bank shot” approach to protecting renters he can’t simply go through the front door and join Oddie and Ashcraft in 8% land. Frank is playing some savvy politics and the mayor is a wind up toy who will go in any direction you point her, so it is about who points her last.

    Also, if I hear Mom and Pop one more time I’m gonna vomit. All these comfortable landlords talking about how hard it is to be a successful landlord, how they charge way less than market rates, how they hardly raise rents on their existing tenants, etc. Then any rent stabilization ordinance the council might be able to muster won’t affect the charity work they are conducting. Some of them can be excused for not immediately seeing an obvious, compromise approach. Most were just puppeting the talking points clearly supplied by the property managers (let the RRAC have a chance to work, it is not my fault, etc.) The councilmembers have no excuse to act trapped by a false binary choice and to muddy the issues as some did.

    Comment by BMac — November 6, 2015 @ 11:12 am

  39. #30, does Costa Hawkins allow rent control on any housing built after 1995, or on single family homes and condos? I agree that relaxing measure A would allow more housing to be built which is the only long term solution for this problem.

    Comment by TA — November 6, 2015 @ 11:37 am

  40. #38 There are some ‘mom and pops” who actually support Rent Control. In fact they have self-imposed it for decades. They weren’t at the meeting. The point is that ARC has created a ‘witch-hunt’ on ALL Landlords. This is self defeating. If all Landlords are ‘Leeches’ as Jason thinks and certainly John echoes you will find people taking their Units off the market or converting them to Air B’n’B or selling them to REITs. There is no reasonable dialogue whatsoever. I think the situation is ridiculous with all the evictions but the only way to stop it is with some type of Rent Control.

    Comment by frank m — November 6, 2015 @ 11:43 am

  41. I sometimes wonder: How many of the renters here in town, when they sold their last car to a stranger or sold an item on eBay or craigslist, DID NOT sell it to the highest bidder? And here I am, the fool who tries to keep his rents balanced somewhere between reasonable and the market while being called evil and greedy by a crowd who has been fed that opinion and language by the new and revamped ARC.

    Comment by moi — November 6, 2015 @ 11:52 am

  42. #40 At no point did I say all landlords are leeches. The ones who orchestrated that act of political theater and attempted to shut renters out of the room certainly are. The ones who have tried to poison the well from the very getgo of the “public dialogue” which gave us toothless RRAC reforms are. That guy who paints swirls on houses and charges astronomical rents, threatens to beat up seniors who speak out, and routinely evicts people so he can further profit sure as hell is!

    And at no point did ARC conduct a witch hunt on the good landlords. We would love to have the good ones stand with us if they care about this community. We have on numerous occastions praised the good ones. And the reforms we seek wouldn’t affect them negatively, only the ones who look at people as their personal ATMs.

    If you’re going to accuse somebody of making generalizations, perhaps you shouldn’t make generalizations yourself.

    Comment by jasonbuckley — November 6, 2015 @ 12:13 pm

  43. Jason you Posted a ‘meme’ on Peeps the other day. I called you out and then you took it down. You have a short memory.

    Comment by frank m — November 6, 2015 @ 12:18 pm

  44. Who gets into the landlord business and thinks they are going to be perceived as the good guy? Talk about naive.

    All these landlords draping themselves in the “mom-and-pop” costume and complaining they are being vilified are pathetic. Property values are at an all time high. If you don’t like cashing those rent checks every month, and your public reputation is so fragile and dear to you, sell the property and get out of the business.

    There are plenty of investments that don’t have a direct, day-to-day personal impact on other people’s lives. But you chose Rental Real Estate. Deal with it.

    Comment by brock — November 6, 2015 @ 12:31 pm

  45. jasonbuckley the renters discussed and tried that exact same tactic – show up early and flood the room – , I guess it somehow leaked out and you were outsmarted, does that make you a leech too? The city, anticipating a huge audience proposed to have representatives from both sides speaking, the landlords apparently agreed, the ARC did not because you had other plans. Who’s the leech here?

    brock I have kept my rent increases “reasonable” by my standards however, I have not kept them at zero (despite even a unit changing tenants a year go, got married and moved away) yet I feel am vilified and now you call people like me pathetic. It is people like you who give me all the incentive in the world to just raise my tenants to market rate. Congratulations.

    Comment by moi — November 6, 2015 @ 12:47 pm

  46. And I apologized for that meme and fixed it to read “Bad Alameda Landlords.” Short memory indeed, Frank 🙂

    Comment by jasonbuckley — November 6, 2015 @ 12:48 pm

  47. moi, I hope you know that by keeping your rents low you are literally taking money out of my and our fellow landlord’s pockets by artificially deflating the value of rental units in Alameda! Being in business yourself, you should know how important small businesses are to Alameda’s economy. So, for the love of God and the sake of our economy, either raise your rents or sell your property and become a bike-owning part-time musician hippy like the rest of the complainers on this thread.

    Comment by Rodney — November 6, 2015 @ 1:00 pm

  48. Let’s see, what should we focus on…..

    The feelings of small landlords? Or, the housing security of 55% of the population?

    Comment by BMac — November 6, 2015 @ 1:08 pm

  49. There are good and bad mom and pop landlords just as there are good and bad moms and pops. I see no reason to treat landlords differently based on how many units they own.

    Comment by BC — November 6, 2015 @ 1:17 pm

  50. Moi: please by all means give your tenants a rent increase and tell them it’s because people on the internet hurt your feelings.

    Is this how you make most of your business and investing decisions?

    Convserly, would you lower your rents if we put up a monument in your honor if front of City Hall, like Mother Theresa?

    Comment by brock — November 6, 2015 @ 1:34 pm

  51. @21: Spoken like a true “dave”…no empathy, no compassion, no heart. Two small children. Both parents work in Alameda. Get out by Xmas. Fine folks, those “housing providers”…just fine folks. ANd the fact that it doesn’t seem to bother ANY of you a single bit that a NO FAULT EVICTION OCCURRED THE DAY AFTER A MORATORIUM WAS DECLARED ON THEM, that these “housing providers” blatantly flaunted their petty power and pulled this bullshit maneuver LESS THAN 24 HOURS AFTER THE MEETING is indicative of how little any of you truly care. Until THE HUMAN COST of this hot mess is ever addressed by someone in an official capacity, then you people will continue to run rough-shod over the very community that has allowed you to become the petty power-trippin’ “housing providers” that you are.

    Comment by StartOver — November 6, 2015 @ 2:04 pm

  52. I don’t fault either side for wanting to pack the room but the protocol is to show up and fill out a speaker slip, not send proxies. What actually occurred is not clear, but property owners clearly got the seats in chambers. Perhaps it’s easy to do if you are retired while people who rent may still be on the bus.

    The slips used to have a slot to indicate if you are pro or con. I never filled it in because I felt it should be irrelevant until the speaker spoke, but I’m aware some mayors were scrupulous about maintaining the slips in order they were submitted while others would shuffle them. In a highly charged issue it would have clearly been helpful to be able to sort them as pro or con, but hindsight as always is 20/20.

    There is no way for a reader of comments to know if claims like 34. are accurate but it’s not hard to believe. I feel like a chump for initially being taken in by mom and pop ( just for you BMac) speakers as the meeting was actually taking place. In aggregate their claims stretch credulity, especially realizing they were in league. I have strong biases but I feel like I’m honest about them and try to keep them at bay until hearing the whole story. I really do try to listen and give folks the benefit of the doubt, but this whole situation makes a person want to throw both hands up and be cynical about everybody.

    “Moi: please by all means give your tenants a rent increase and tell them it’s because people on the internet hurt your feelings.” ditto.

    Comment by MI — November 6, 2015 @ 2:22 pm

  53. So the question is (is) the newly Passed Rent Moratorium Retroactive? The City Attorney was researching it the last I heard. The Rent Review Ordinance that was voted on in September didn’t become effective till October 1 but that did not deal with ‘no fault Eviction’. Sadly I think most of us know people who have met similar Evictions. This was part of the discussion as the current Moratorium was moving forward. Would some Landlords take advantage of the ‘gap’. Really the only thing that will permanently stop this is a Rent Control Law that bans ‘no-fault Evictions’.
    You are not going to make a bad Landlord a good Landlord overnight, You can only create Laws that restrict this and even then if you look at Rent Control in SF there are ways around them through Ellis Act Evictions which are State Law.

    Comment by frank m — November 6, 2015 @ 2:25 pm

  54. The way I read the 12 month look back was not to invalidate increases that took place before the ordinance, but rather to say, for example, if during the last 10 months before the ordinance was enacted rent had been raised 7 percent, the owner would be prohibited from raising and additional 2 percent (for example) this month (the example assumes a short term lease where the rent was capable of change over the time period). Does anyone have the text of the ordinance?

    Comment by MP — November 6, 2015 @ 2:39 pm

  55. Do you mean this one? http://alamedaca.gov/sites/default/files/board-commission-docs/ordinance_3131.pdf

    Comment by frank m — November 6, 2015 @ 2:54 pm

  56. 51

    I am not in the landlord business.

    And you said yourself they were given 120 days notice, which is more than ample time, and goes into March, which isn’t “The Holidays”.

    Comment by dave — November 6, 2015 @ 3:05 pm

  57. StartOver, if the eviction you speak of was a “no fault” eviction, then it is presumably invalid and unenforceable. Sorry we didn’t drop what we were doing and address it first.

    Comment by BMac — November 6, 2015 @ 3:12 pm

  58. Pardon my assumption and my mistake. This is the second set of my friends who have had this done to them. The first was even more insidious and underhanded. If you want people to play by rules, then dammit, “housing providers” need to step up and stop sneaky and underhanded (and in this case possibly illegal?) methods of getting rid of long-term tenants. Especially long-term tenants who are families with children, who have kept their rent current since the beginning, who cause no problems, and who are just trying to get by. THAT is the reason I am upset by this. And yes, I am emotionally invested in this situation….these are good, hard-working people who are being taken advantage of and their lives being uprooted and irrevocably changed for no reason other than greed.

    At the very least, any sort of “protections” must protect good, long-term renters from displacement. Especially young families with school-age and pre-school-age children. The stress and emotional damage caused by these displacements takes a major toll on everyone.

    If the end “reason” for the eviction is just to go in, paint, new carpet and fix the leak under the sink, and then charge double or triple the old rent, then the families evicted in these situations should qualify for help in finding another home on The Island, at the VERY least. These are people with kids in school. They have jobs here. They WORK HERE DOING THINGS THAT YOU NEED DONE.

    If you kick them all out, who is going to teach your kids? Who’s gonna check your groceries out at Trader Joe’s? Who’s gonna come fix your broken appliance? Your computer? The people you’re kicking out will damned sure not want to commute two hours to do your jobs. Once you fill every vacancy with “richer techies”, who’s going to do the “work” in Alameda all you retired “housing providers” need done, since you can’t do it yourselves? That techie in your remodeled unit which used to house the mechanic at the shop that got kicked out of its building isn’t going to fix your car. That teacher you kicked out of her home last month isn’t going to want to drive two hours each way to teach your kid or grandkid. You’re shooting yourselves in the foot by getting rid of an entire economic demographic off this very special Island. The more you kick working people to the curb, the more unpleasant your little Island world is going to become.

    Comment by StartOver — November 6, 2015 @ 3:27 pm

  59. Percentages can a crude measure, but there is no practical way for RRAC to be able to read the bottom line of landlords without a lot of invasive over reaching, i.e. open books.

    Ironically, anybody who really has been holding rents down may be punished by rent control if they have unexpected costs and like wise units where rents are maxing out at market rates will be able to capture higher sums, though at some point they may not get them.

    Landlords who have owned their buildings for years could have refinanced ( at low interest) to do maintenance or for other debt, but theoretically they should be pretty flush. The initial stream of testimony at City Hall were largely older long time landlords. People who buy income units should know the state of the building and have a long term plan for basic improvements like paint and roofs. A number of speakers referred to exterior paint or new roofs at $20K or $40K. Quality work should be good for ten to 15 years ( paint) or 35 years (roof) respectively. The section of roof we had one in 1991 was old three tab style before the newer built up type rated at 35 years. It was rated 25 year and that is where it is, but it looks good for another ten to me.

    A renter said her rent went up $300 a month to $1850. That’s about a 19% increase, from $1550, right? If it’s a four unit building the increase would be $300×4=$1200 a month, $1200×12= $14,400 year. If previous rents were keeping up with maintenance at all, that is a nice chunk of change. I’d call it a windfall. If you finance against the equity in the building that $14,000 should be plenty to pay it back with interest and have extra for Christmas. If property owners have been making out over the years through ups and downs of the economy, why is there only a crisis in the recent up surge in the market? It’s got to be landlords pushing the limits.

    When people who are into property for serious profit see dollar signs they get the idea to sink some $ into a remodel ( which they can write off and also finance long term) and then get even higher rents. Unfortunately the hot market is when they are motivated, which creates a double bind for tenants. Short term evictions ( less than 90 days, but really more like 120) are really unconscionable. January notice for May or June vacancy and then two months to rehab means tenant turn over while school is out of session.

    Comment by MI — November 6, 2015 @ 4:29 pm

  60. I can’t strip and paste the document but one of the “where as” states that renter income has increased 29% from 2000 to 2013 while rents rose 54%. So the data doesn’t even cover the last two years when the economic heat has really intensified. My crummy math skills won’t allow reverse extrapolation of compounded percentages for increases ( algebra right?), but a straight division of 13 into 59 is 4.5%. Wouldn’t the compounded increment be an even smaller percentage? Because I’m not a math whiz I may be missing something, but is rent control at 8% really any relief at all ? If a landlord hasn’t increased rents in five years 8% might be O.K., but if it’s allowed annually, WTF? Inquiring mathematically challenged minds want to know.

    Comment by MI — November 6, 2015 @ 4:50 pm

  61. 61. You are right. An 8% cap is not sufficient to prevent displacement. When the market will bear it, landlords will still be able to kick out the poors for the less poors, though in the hottest markets (see: now), it might take them an extra year or two to do it. It does offer some predictability and the ability to buy some time if market rents jump 50% in 3 years as they have in Alameda. Any Landlord that can’t operate w/ an 8% cap should change industries. Any councilmember that can’t support an 8% cap (at least), should be fired.

    Comment by BMac — November 6, 2015 @ 4:58 pm

  62. #60 Mark So the rules for Refinance of Investment Property differ somewhat than that of Single Family. It is not so much different but their are some restrictions. Also a you can ‘write off repairs’ but a Capital Project like a Kitchen Remodel or roof and paint are depreciated usually over a period of 20 years. So you divide the cost by 20% and that is your yearly write off. When I was working I never raised rents. The main advantage of owning the Property was in the Depreciation( you are allowed to Depreciate the total cost of the Building) which reduced Taxes and that was much more than important than nickel and diming Tenants.

    Comment by frank m — November 6, 2015 @ 5:15 pm

  63. Thanks 55 and 58. I don’t see a real intent to have retroactive effect. The way I read the effect of the “12 months preceding” language is easier to explain by separating a notice of rent increase from a raise in the rent.

    Rent increase:

    During the 65 day period beginning on Nov 4, 2015, no new rent increase for a covered unit can take effect if, on the date the rent increase is supposed to take effect, the new rent is 8%, or more, higher than the rent one year earlier (or any point within the one year period prior to the new rent increase).

    Example: a tenant would have a defense to enforcement of a 5% rent increase that is set to take effect on Nov. 10, 2015, after a previous rent increase of 5% had taken already effect on June 10, 2015, even though the earlier 5% rent increase took place before the new ordinance. If the second 5% rent increase in the example took effect on November 3, 2015, it would not run afoul of the ordinance, even though it would constitute a more than 10% increase over the 12 month period ending on the date of the rent increase in question because the rent increase took place after the effective date of the statute. When is the “effective date of the rent increase”? Probably the first calendar day the new or increased rent is due under the lease. The ordinance wouldn’t stop collection of rent that has gone up over 8% during the last year where the new rent already went into effect before Nov. 4.

    Comment by MP — November 6, 2015 @ 5:17 pm

  64. It’s nice to see some “voices of reason” here. This is heartening on several levels. The reasonable landlords need to stand up and explain (and inform) the ones who only see dollar signs….and ‘reserve seats’ in meetings…and pay people to be seated so those nasty renters can’t get in.

    It’s about dialogue. The people who were “seated” in the council chambers on Wednesday night didn’t give a damn about dialogue.

    It’s about having a heart, dammit.

    There is no text anywhere that says “business” and “heart” are mutually exclusive, unless “heart” is replaced with “greed”.

    Comment by StartOver — November 6, 2015 @ 7:13 pm

  65. #65 What is the proof that anyone paid anyone to sit there?

    Comment by A Neighbor — November 6, 2015 @ 7:36 pm

  66. Why don’t you ask your peers?

    Comment by StartOver — November 6, 2015 @ 8:33 pm

  67. #67. It is a good question, #66’s. Rumors and innuendo can be very mischievous things, and can lead to bad consequences for all involved. Facts are important. I can see that excessive saving of seats is plain to everyone, but paying people to give testimony is not so obvious. The strategy for Council or School board meetings, when a group has a “hot issue” is to turn out your people, coordinate your message, get there early, put in your speaker slips, and keep your messages on point. Council has provided overflow rooms before, and if people have their speaker slips in they will be called. I noted the Mayor was announcing the names ahead so that people could get to the chambers, when their turn was up, from the overflow rooms.
    Demonstrating in the hall does not have much impact on the meeting, other than to provide a distraction and annoy the people hearing the testimony. Having people yelling provocative things wasn’t helpful, either.
    I did feel that the Mayor was in error by limiting the time for speaking and then not keeping everyone to it, and was wrong in “examining” the speakers on the renter’s side while not doing so for the side of the landlords. I think that added to the frustration of the renters coalition people a lot.
    I am sad about the chaos and the arrests, and that Mr. Haun got hurt. Civic engagement is very important, but civility and organization and perseverance are the key to winning the battle, and were lacking at Wednesday night’s meeting. This is an important issue, and one that deserves better than what went down on Wednesday night.

    Comment by Kate Quick — November 7, 2015 @ 7:59 am

  68. City Council meetings are open to all. There is no earthly reason why a meeting should consist exactly of half landlords and half renters. Are Landlords and Renters recognisable as different to the naked eye, like, say pro wrestlers and competitive ballroom dancers? All the people at the meeting were, pretty much, the same late middle aged to elderly, fleece wearing white people who populate all the City Council meetings, crying about trees being chopped down, apartments being built, Target stores being opened, etc. etc..

    In any case, if an argument is persuasive it can be communicated by one speaker. It would make no difference to me if I heard an arguement repeated by 10 speakers instead of one. Just because 25 landlords to 20 renters speak, doesn’t mean I am going to be swayed to the landlords’ side. I am certain that we have all picked a team already. As for horror stories told by renters, I know that many landlords have horror stories about tenants who have behaved in nightmarish ways as well.

    Comment by Michelle — November 7, 2015 @ 8:38 am

  69. No city wants to cede control to regional body but a regional approach to infrastructure and housing needs to be considered.

    http://www.bayareaeconomy.org/report/a-roadmap-for-economic-resilience/

    Comment by Mike McMahon — November 7, 2015 @ 8:43 am

  70. “In any case, if an argument is persuasive it can be communicated by one speaker. It would make no difference to me if I heard an arguement repeated by 10 speakers instead of one. Just because 25 landlords to 20 renters speak, doesn’t mean I am going to be swayed to the landlords’ side.”

    I understand you are pure of mind and completely impervious to peer pressure, but clearly you aren’t an elected official. Do you understand it makes a difference to the City Council and Mayor because they need votes?

    25 to 20 would be a landslide in election terms (11.0% differential).

    Spencer beat Gilmore in the last election with a 0.6% differential (10,243 to 10,116).

    Comment by brock — November 7, 2015 @ 9:29 am

  71. I’ve been a long-time, very occasional lurker on this site and wanted to add some thoughts to this general issue of affordability, supply and infrastructure.

    I’ve lived here for close to 20 years and rented for most of that time until 5 years ago when we bought a house during the slump. While I rented and even today despite after having bought a home I have many of the same feelings with regard to the problems of renting and owning in one of the most expensive metros in the US.

    The short answer is that the entire Bay Area-including Alameda- spent way too many years doing nothing to address the growing population. Freeways, public transit, housing, local facilities, and other pieces of vital infrastructure are STILL at 1950’s accommodations despite the drastic changes in the area’s shift in terms of economic and population growth. ALL of these contribute to a pressure-cooker of excessive prices both in terms of renting and buying.

    Let me give a perfect example: The Freeway system. Let’s face it: the Bay Area’s public transit system is grossly inadequate for a metro area with close to 6 million people and its reach is far from extensive. And so most commuters take the freeway to work. In times of an economic boom the freeways are maxed out. My commute for example has become more of a parking lot experience. This has the result of making some of the job-rich areas like the Peninsula and San Francisco prohibitively expensive because naturally there are those who will gladly pay more to not have to endure that commute. So that means the “other” areas such as the east bay get the “rest” of those whom can’t afford those areas. This is exactly why Oakland has become the favorite relocation city for all those San Franciscans who can’t afford to live there and thus come to Oakland and that creates the whole chain reaction we see now- meaning that the entire easy bay is experiencing a rapid uptick in pricing. Now- had the road system been more carefully managed to deal with the growth in traffic perhaps some of that pressure to live closer to work would be removed. Better yet- if there were a high speed train system many could move 50 miles out yet be home in 30 minutes. As no such means exist here we are today…

    And then of course there’s good ole’ Prop 13 which basically keeps people in their homes forever and ever and Prop A, which makes building anything in Alameda almost impossible. Its amazing to me that almost 20 years on there is still a MASSIVE chunk of land near the old air base that is completely vacant.

    The whole situation is absurd. We make what is probably in the upper 10% of the earning bracket of the Bay Area. And yet the ONLY reason we were able to afford our modest home is because we waited until the housing bust and bought at a discount. Within 2 years those prices went all the way back up and we would be priced out in today’s market.

    As a long-term resident I see these issues regarding the lack of infrastructure as a real threat to the future prosperity of the region. We need to focus more on making the Bay Area more livable to more people of every background. If we don’t then someday this place will become a very dull, boring, and stale place to live.

    Comment by deertick — November 11, 2015 @ 10:47 am

  72. 72. Yes!

    Comment by BC — November 11, 2015 @ 1:20 pm

  73. Dear Brock, how are people running for office to know if the 25 people who show up to protest hikes in rent are the same people who will show up for a mayoral election?

    Comment by Michelle — November 11, 2015 @ 2:57 pm

  74. They probably don’t know. In life adults don’t usually get perfect information and have to work on hunches. You can subscribe to the concept of “the silent majority” if you are a fan of Richard Nixon.

    The purpose of trying to turn out supporters en masse for your side of an argument is to make the politicians think twice about doubting that your group is the same group who votes.

    Is this really a difficult concept?

    Comment by brock — November 11, 2015 @ 3:47 pm


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