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Protesters target wealthy in caravan for equality

Similar protests targeted wealthy Californians in other cities

San Diego Union Tribune - A caravan of about 60 cars drove through upscale San Diego neighborhoods and passed some of the city’s most affluent residents Wednesday as part of a statewide protest aimed at raising awareness of wealth disparity and inequality.

Organized by renters, workers and labor leaders, the local protest had planned to target UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep Khosla, developer Douglas Manchester and MC Properties owner Michael Contreras. The protest was one of several throughout California on Wednesday, chosen because the first of the month traditionally is a day when rent is due.

“We’re visiting some of the richest people in San Diego to talk about how during this pandemic many of us are struggling to make ends meet and have a roof over our heads while these super wealthy people have made money off the backs of our community workers and renters,” said Jose Lopez, a local organizer with Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment.

Oakland sues landlords for unsafe conditions, harassment

Substandard housing risks grow with coronavirus pandemic

San Jose Mercury News - The Oakland City Attorney has sued three landlords for allegedly harassing and trying to illegally evict tenants, escalating concerns that renters still face dislocation and dangerous conditions despite enhanced protections during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The suit claims the landlords of three Oakland rentals harassed tenants and forced them to live in unsafe and squalid apartments for at least two years and continuing during the pandemic.

“This case presents some of the most extreme harassment and exploitation we’ve encountered in our tenant protection actions,” Oakland City Attorney Barbara J. Parker said in a statement. “We will not tolerate this flagrant abuse in Oakland.”

Renegade Landlords: Despite Bay Area Moratoriums, Tenants Still Face Evictions


KQED - The Castillo-Gutierréz family came to Oakland five years ago, by way of Los Angeles, for the reason many people move anywhere: Work.

Anastacio Castillo, 47, the patriarch of the family, started out selling tamales and corn not in a shop, not at a stand, but by hand, person to person, hitting the streets eager to earn for his wife and three children. Eventually, he found a job as a handyman.

The Castillo-Gutierréz’s earn their living and reside in a single-family home in Oakland. But Anastacio lost work just before the pandemic shelter-in-place orders hit, making it doubly hard to recover.

The family fell behind on their rent, and now their landlord is trying to evict them, despite an Oakland eviction moratorium barring exactly that.

Before the Deluge

Advocates brace for a new wave of homelessness.

The Progressive - Patricia Mendoza lives in Imperial Beach, a four-and-a-half-square-mile city of about 29,000 people at the southwest edge of California. She is a single mother with two children, ages sixteen and nine, and until recently she was employed as a non-emergency medical transport driver earning about $2,000 a month.

She lost her job at the end of March, when California Governor Gavin Newsom imposed a stay-at-home order to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus. Mendoza had little savings—rent took up about 70 percent of her monthly income, with the rest going for food and utilities. So when she lost her job, she had to stop paying rent.

“The last two weeks in March, I only worked four days,” she said in a phone interview. “I didn’t have money to pay rent, and I had to feed my kids and pay the bills.”

With affordable housing already scarce, Oakland is poised for a post-pandemic homelessness boom

Without rent relief for California tenants, housing advocates fear the pandemic will worsen the homelessness crisis

Salon - Amid the pandemic, many cities and counties adopted eviction moratoriums as a stopgap to prevent evictions and therefore homelessness. Yet as both everyday Americans and politicians grow weary of lockdowns, many public health experts and activists fear what will happen when these ordinances lift.

The end of the eviction moratorium is particularly grim in cities like Oakland, California, where economic inequalities were already severe before the pandemic. In 2018, a United Nations report described Oakland's homelessness crisis as "cruel and inhumane."

Oakland's moratorium terminates on August 31st, and tenants will be responsible for paying back rent that they missed payments on in the intervening months. Hence, in a city where the average rent is $2,300 for a one-bedroom apartment, a tenant could be responsible for paying $10,000 or more in back rent once the moratorium lifts. For someone who has been unemployed for months, and may have already been struggling financially, paying back-rent could be an impossible feat. The moratorium prohibits most evictions related to COVID-19, but tenants could still be taken to small claims court by their landlords or face eviction if they cant pay rent after August 31. 

Amidst Mass Unrest in Defense of Black Lives, ACCE Supports New Legislation Introduced to Protect Community from Police-Enforced Evictions Due to Unpaid Rent During Pandemic

For Immediate Release: June 10th, 2020

Media Contact: Anya Svanoe, (510) 423-2452

CALIFORNIA – Today, Assemblymember Chiu introduced AB1436 the “The COVID-19 Eviction Protection and Housing Stability Act.” The bill protects California renters from police-enforced evictions due to unpaid rent during the pandemic, protects tenants from late fees or lost security deposits for unpaid rent and extends the date for repayment by 15 months. The legislation is being moved amidst a growing call for multi-pronged solutions to racial violence in California under the umbrella of a Black New Deal. Tenants on rent strike across California celebrate the bill as a first step in the #CancelRent movement in protecting Californians from the looming mass wave of evictions and escalating homelessness if the bill is not passed. To date, the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) has collected 60,000 pledges to rent strike from Californians across the state calling on state legislators to cancel rent and mortgage payments. 


Coronavirus: New proposal offers broader tenant protections for Californians


Measure would ban evictions for back rent owed due to pandemic

San Jose Mercury News - Lawmakers on Wednesday introduced a measure for long-term eviction relief for renters struggling through the coronavirus pandemic, as a state judicial council delayed a decision on dropping a temporary ban on renter-landlord court hearings.

Bay Area lawmakers proposed a statewide ban on evictions for back rent owed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The measure would give stressed renters up to 15 months after the health emergency has lifted to pay back debts, while allowing landlords to pursue civil claims to recoup lost rent. The measure, AB 1436, also encourages tenants and landlords to reach private agreements to settle accounts.

Assemblymember David Chiu, D-San Francisco, said the pandemic has put millions of California renters at risk for eviction. Increasing homelessness and stacking families into tighter quarters would compound health risks, he said. Assemblymembers Buffy Wicks, D-Oakland, and Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, also endorsed the measure.

Why the Fight Against Police Brutality is Also a Fight for Affordable Housing



KQED - Walter Riley, 76, hadn’t left the house in more than two months. But it was a special day.

His grandson, Akil Riley, 19, had organized a demonstration to protest police violence against black and brown people, part of the nationwide movement following the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota.

Thousands of people gathered in front of Oakland Technical High School, with crowds spilling out into the street and extending for several city blocks.

“I hadn’t seen numbers like that since the Civil Rights Movement,” said the elder Riley, an Oakland attorney and activist who had organized similar demonstrations in the South a half a century ago. “I was impressed that so many young black people came out for this. It was a moving and powerful moment for me.”