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Overturning Austerity 101: California’s Prop 15 Will Tax the Rich

Labor Notes - California’s November ballot will feature a challenge to the notorious Proposition 13, which in 1978 helped to inaugurate the decades-long neoliberal assault on labor.

Prop 13’s anti-tax, small government campaign, with a dog-whistle racist subtext, created a national template for conservatives to simultaneously attack public sector unions, public employees, and the people they served. For the right wing, this was the lab experiment for Austerity 101.

In a time of high inflation, Prop 13 exploited fear—older homeowners on fixed incomes were afraid that rising taxes would drive them out of their homes. It rolled back assessments to 1975 rates, set property taxes at 1 percent of value, and capped increases at 2 percent per year, no matter the inflation rate or the increase in market price of the property. When it passed, grandma breathed more easily.

But grandma was not the biggest beneficiary of Prop 13. The same rules applied to commercial property—including giant corporate-owned properties like Chevron and Disney. The consequent plunge in property tax revenues to local and state government forced enormous cuts to social programs and schools, led to layoffs of public employees, and established a new normal in the Golden State, described by former California Federation of Teachers president Raoul Teilhet as “poor services for poor people.”

Protesters block entrances to LA courthouse, demand eviction response

Demonstrators say mass evictions are coming if government doesn't act.

LA Daily News - About 100 renters and housing activists blocked the entrances to the Superior Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles Friday morning, Aug. 21, to demonstrate against what they say will be a coming tsunami of mass evictions if Gov. Gavin Newsom and the California legislature do not act.

Activists stood in lines in front of three entrances to the Hill Street courthouse beginning around 7 a.m. Security guards watched on from inside the building, but did not confront the group even as people began lining up at the front doors for court appearances.

Protesters Surround Downtown LA Courthouse Demanding Rent Relief

CBS 2 - Dozens of people turned out for a protest in downtown Los Angeles Friday morning demanding that local and state officials extend a moratorium on evictions for struggling renters because of the ongoing economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

The protesters gathered outside the L.A. County Superior Court building and also staged a car caravan.

It was in response to a vote from the Judicial Council of California on Aug. 13 to lift the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures beginning Sept. 1.

Inicia inscripción para participar en una lotería de apoyo de renta

La Opinión - Ya en el quinto mes de la pandemia del COVID-19, muchas personas han aceptado que no saben qué pasará con su futuro ya que no tienen dinero para pagar su renta.

Para aliviar este problema en algunas familias, la junta directiva del condado de Los Ángeles ha dirigido 100 millones de dólares de la Ley de Ayuda, Alivio y Seguridad Económica para el Coronavirus (CARES) para crear el programa LA County COVID-19 Rent Relief.

Desde ayer y hasta el 31 de agosto, familias de las áreas no incorporadas de Los Ángeles podrán llenar una solicitud en línea para entrar a una lotería donde se ayudará de 8,000 a más de 9,000 hogares a pagar su renta.

Coronavirus: California eviction protections could end Sept. 1

Housing advocates urge Newsom, lawmakers to help

Orange County Register - The Judicial Council of California on Tuesday announced it likely will end a statewide eviction moratorium on Sept. 1, aiding landlords seeking back rent but drawing dire warnings from community advocates about widespread evictions and homelessness.

Housing experts are warning that millions of California tenants could lose their homes unless Gov. Gavin Newsom issues an executive order delaying evictions and state lawmakers quickly enact more protections for renters financially struggling through the coronavirus pandemic. The judicial council’s proposal would give the governor and lawmakers two more weeks to craft a solution. A vote on the moratorium was expected this month.

Advocates say evictions will hit quickly and hardest in Black and Latinx communities. About three-quarters of renter households in California experiencing pandemic-related job losses included at least one person of color, according to a recent study by the UC Berkeley Terner Center for Housing Innovation. Many are cash-strapped despite performing essential jobs in retail, food services, construction and health care.

Elizabeth Warren sounds the alarm on a mounting housing crisis — and the profiteers who will take advantage

Alternet - During her 2020 presidential primary campaign, Sen. Elizabeth Warren had a lot to say about the United States’ housing crisis — and after suspending her campaign and endorsing former Vice President Joe Biden (now the presumptive Democratic nominee), the Massachusetts senator continued to address the subject. Warren, in an op-ed she wrote for the Washington Post with Carroll Fife (director of the Oakland office of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment), stresses that the coronavirus pandemic has made a brutal housing crisis even worse. And private equity firms, according to Warren and Fife, are hoping to cash in on the misery by gobbling up “distressed real estate.”

Pandemic Loans Were Meant for Small Businesses. Why Did These Giant Property Firms Get Millions?

KQED - Ryan Furtkamp and Brianne Hodson are counting down the days until local eviction moratoriums end, fearing what comes next.

Furtkamp, 32, and Hodson, 35, are married and live in Oakland, just north of downtown, and say they moved to the city for its diversity and progressive politics.

Furtkamp, who hails from Phoenix, works at UC Berkeley in communications. Hodson, who moved up from Los Angeles after high school, built her own successful dog-walking business.

Their combined incomes paid their $2,275 monthly rent — until the pandemic wiped out Hodson’s business. As clients dropped off, her income fell.

Hodson has gotten benefits from the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, but not enough to help them make rent, which they haven’t paid since April. The couple and other tenants in their 39-unit building say they plan to try to negotiate rent forgiveness with their landlord, San Francisco-based Mosser Companies. They say the only thing keeping them housed now is Oakland’s eviction moratorium.

Families see a looming catastrophe. Private equity firms see dollar signs.

Opinion by Elizabeth Warren and Carroll Fife

Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat, represents Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate. Carroll Fife is the director of the Oakland office of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment.

The Washington Post - The nation is facing an accelerating housing crisis. Too many people had no stable housing before the pandemic hit, and covid-19 has made the problem even worse. Renters who were already facing an affordable housing shortage (with many spending more than half of their income on rent) now have no federal rental assistance or federal protection from eviction. Homeowners have less than a month left of foreclosure protection. And more than 30 million people receiving unemployment insurance just saw their benefits cut by $600 a week, raising the threat of a wave of defaults that could trigger a double-dip recession.

Families see a looming catastrophe. But private equity firms just see dollar signs.

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