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Oakland tenants refuse to pay rent, demand landlord sell building

The Mercury News - OAKLAND — A group of tenants living in a Fruitvale apartment building haven’t paid their rent since October, and they don’t plan to until their landlord gives them what they want — a chance to buy the building.

The tenants say they went on strike after a series of rent increases and the landlord’s failure to maintain their apartments. Now they refuse to make another payment until the landlord sits down and negotiates a deal that would allow them, with the help of the nonprofit Oakland Community Land Trust, to take over the property on 29th Avenue. Half of the building’s 14 households are participating, and with the strike in its fourth month, their tactics may be working — a tenant rights group says the landlord last week agreed to set up a meeting.

Read full article here. 

Sacramento passed a rent control law. Activists may still demand a ballot initiative in 2020

The Sacramento Bee - 

A city of Sacramento rent control ballot initiative that was considered dead may be making a comeback.

The initiative, which aims to protect tenants from rent hikes and unjust evictions, last year received more than 44,000 signatures from voters, qualifying it for the city ballot in 2020.

But in August, the Sacramento City Council passed a rent control ordinance, and the three proponents who had submitted the ballot measure agreed not to pursue it, Margarita Maldonado, one of the proponents, said at the time.

Maldonado and another proponent, Omega Brewer, sent a letter Oct. 22 to the city clerk authorizing the measure to be withdrawn from the ballot. But the signature of the third proponent, Michelle Pariset, was not included, and Pariset suggested in a news release Tuesday she plans to move forward with the ballot initiative.

Rent Control Proponents Threaten To Sue City Of Sacramento If Measure Not On Primary Ballot

Capradio - There are 47,000 signatures supporting a rent control measure in the city of Sacramento, but the City Council hasn’t put it on the March 2020 ballot. Supporters say they'll sue if it isn't. 

John Shaban with SEIU Local 1021 helped hang a large gray banner on the windows at Tuesday's City Hall meeting. 

"The city has a qualified initiative that has been lawfully submitted,” Shaban said. “The county elections and the city clerk have accepted this initiative. They have 88 days ahead of the next election to place it on the ballot and tell us that they're doing it so that we can run our part of the campaign."

But the Sacramento City Attorney Susana Alcala Wood says the Council may place charter initiatives before the voters at the next regularly scheduled general municipal election, which is in November 2020. 

Alcala Wood says the council actually has until June 2020 to put it on the ballot.

Read the full article here. 

California moms on frontline of battle against homelessness


Gulf Times - When Dominique Walker moved back from Mississippi to her native California last year, she planned to pursue a nursing degree while caring for her two small children.But she and other moms and their children ended up living as squatters in a bold, high-profile protest against homelessness. And today the 34-year-old has come to symbolise a crisis that has reached historic proportions in one of America’s wealthiest states.

Read the full article here.

This movement is just beginning': homeless moms evicted after taking over vacant house

The Guardian - For almost two months, an unassuming white house on Magnolia Street in Oakland was home for Dominique Walker and her family.

Her one-year-old son, Amir, took his first steps in the living room. He said his first words there, too – “thank you”. Walker’s daughter, Aja, celebrated her fifth birthday in the house.

“We made it a home,” Walker, 34, told the Guardian.

Moms 4 Housing, with Dominique Walker, Aaron Glantz and Carroll Fife

Gimme Shelter Podcast - A group of homeless and housing insecure mothers made national headlines after occupying a vacant home in West Oakland. On this episode of Gimme Shelter, Matt and Liam discuss why the protest was so successful and interview one of the "moms" in Moms 4 Housing.

First, an Avocado of the Fortnight asks whether unvaccinated Californians should count as a terrorist threat (3:00). Then a brand new segment from intern producer Jakob sparks a breakdown on what Moms 4 Housing wanted and how realistic their goals are (6:30). Finally, interviews with Aaron Glantz, author of the book "Homewreckers" who has reported extensively on investment firms buying California homes (22:00); and Moms 4 Housing's Dominique Walker (37:00) and the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment's Carroll Fife (37:00).

Column: At L.A. City Hall, victory went to the little guy in battle over rents and evictions

Los Angeles Times - Diana Castellanos and her husband have three daughters, a two-bedroom apartment in South Los Angeles, and two full-time jobs.

But the recent notice of a looming rent increase, from $1,495 to $2,350 a month, left them in a panic.

“It’s already tight,” said Castellanos, a city employee who works as a parking attendant while her husband is assistant manager of a Hollywood theater. “Gas costs more. Food costs more. Clothes cost more.”

The rent hike was as good as an eviction, since they couldn’t afford it. So the family began searching for another place to live, but that was a discouraging adventure here in the land of high rents and flat wages.

Nueva ley de control de renta en California beneficiará a cientos de miles de familias en Los Ángeles

Univision - Más de 1 millón de viviendas en el condado de Los Ángeles podrían entrar dentro de la protección de control de rentas bajo la Ley AB 1482 firmada por el gobernador de California. La nueva normativa no solo controlará el porcentaje de incremento, sino también las reglas de desalojos.