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Opinion: San Diego County needs a majority Latino voting district. It shouldn’t take so long.

San Diego Union-Tribune - Garcia is the policy director at the Environmental Health Coalition and lives in Chula Vista. López is the director of Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment-San Diego. He lives in Imperial Beach.

One in three San Diegans are Latino. One in four San Diegans eligible to vote are Latino.

Yet in the last 50 years, Nora Vargas is the only Latino candidate elected to the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.

You read that right. One Latino leader in five decades.

Go back a full century — 100 years — and that number skyrockets up to ... two.

It’s a stark and shameful history of political disenfranchisement for a cross-border region that prides itself as home to a vibrant, growing Latino community.

And it’s time to end this injustice by including a majority Latino district in San Diego County’s 2021 redistricting plan. In fact, this is required by the federal Voting Rights Act.

Richmond renter sues former landlord amid pandemic-era spike in harassment

Richmond Confidential - These days Clara Realageno sleeps in her car.

In the morning she packs up her things — a pillow, blankets, a suitcase and some toiletries — and drops them off at a friend’s house so they don’t get stolen while she’s at work.

It’s been five months since Realageno’s landlord evicted her by changing the locks to her studio in Richmond. With nowhere else to go, Realageno now spends most nights in her backseat.

In September, Realageno sued her former landlords, Gabriel and Ibeth Lopez, in Contra Costa County Superior Court, alleging the lock-out was the culmination of months of harassment, threats and intimidation.

New Study from Social Justice Group ACCE-San Diego Finds Stronger Tenant Protections Most Effective in Preventing No Fault Evictions in San Diego County

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. 

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New Study from Social Justice Group ACCE-San Diego Finds Stronger Tenant Protections Most Effective in Preventing No Fault Evictions in San Diego County

SAN DIEGO (November 2, 2021) - Eviction moratoriums and strong just cause tenant protections were most effective at decreasing “no fault” evictions and the number of deaths from COVID-19 in San Diego County, according to a new study, Tenant Protections in San Diego County, released today by Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment-San Diego (ACCE-San Diego). The study used data contributed by Legal Aid Society of San Diego (LASSD). With the end of California and San Diego County eviction moratoriums in September, it is now more important than ever for cities to pass strong local tenant protections to avoid a new wave of evictions and homelessness, and a rise in new COVID-19 infections.

Inquilinos y activistas exigen que se cumpla la ordenanza anti-acoso en Los Ángeles

La Opinion - Desde el sur de Los Ángeles activistas e inquilinos pidieron el jueves a los propietarios de viviendas de renta que detengan el acoso. También solicitaron al ayuntamiento de la ciudad a que hagan cumplir la ordenanza contra las prácticas que llevan a las personas a ser expulsadas de sus hogares.

El grupo se reunió frente al hogar de Yadira Plancarte, una miembro de la Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE),  quien ha vivido en el 4132 San Pedro Street por 11 años. Plancarte dijo que en el 2019 el edificio de cuatro unidades cambió de propietario y este nuevo llegó con reglamentos extremos.

“Nos dio un contrato del cual no estábamos de acuerdo y ahí comenzó el acoso”, dijo Plancarte, quien es madre soltera.

Antioch councilmembers urging tenant anti-harassment ordinance

FOX 2 KTVU - Two members of the Antioch City Council held a press conference Monday, urging Mayor Lamar Thorpe to include a proposed tenant anti-harassment ordinance and an ordinance requiring just cause for evictions into the next city council agenda.   

Vice Mayor Monica Wilson and council member Tamisha Torres-Walker said the ordinances are necessary to protect low-income renters and historically marginalized communities who are susceptible to harassment, retaliation and evictions during the ongoing pandemic.   

California’s eviction ban ends soon. Here’s how renters can protect themselves

Sacramento Bee - As California’s coronavirus eviction moratorium ends Friday, state officials and community advocates are urging renters to apply now for help from a housing and utility assistance fund that could give them cash to catch up on bills.

The state has billions of dollars to spend from money allocated through a federal pandemic relief law. People who receive support from the program also get extend eviction protections through March.

“Tenants who owe back rent or who will have trouble paying rent on the first of the month should not wait to apply for rent relief,” Department of Housing and Community Development Department Director Gustavo Velasquez said in a press release this week. “The sooner they apply for rent relief, the sooner they will be protected from eviction for non-payment of rent.”

 

Walnut Creek Landlord Tries Evicting Residents Despite Moratorium

Dahbia Benakli speaks to supporters at a protest in front of her landlord's Walnut Creek home


NBC Bay Area - Dahbia Benakli gave up her job as a preschool teacher when Covid hit. She had nobody to watch her kids.

The Algerian immigrant and single mom turned to the gig economy, driving for Door Dash and bringing her two young children along for the ride.

“I don’t want to face anything like an eviction, being in the streets or in the car,” Benakli said.

But despite cobbling enough money each month to pay the rent, and a county moratorium banning most evictions during the pandemic, an eviction is exactly what Benakli and her neighbors are now facing.

Many renters to get help when California eviction protections end this week

Los Angeles Times - Some California eviction protections expire this week, but low-income tenants who are behind on their rent can continue to hold on to their housing by applying for a state rent relief program, officials said Monday.

State law adopted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic protects low-income tenants from eviction if they pay at least 25% of their rent, but that safeguard is set to end Thursday. Still, state officials note that a program that pays 100% of back and future rent for low-income tenants will continue accepting applications after Thursday until it doles out all of the $5.2 billion available from the federal government.

The state tenant law approved this year also blocks landlords through March 31, 2022 from getting a court order for eviction in cases in which tenants have completed a rental assistance application.

Grandmother, single mother of 3 fight displacement from their homes

Spectrum News 1 - Over the last few years, 69-year-old Ines Alcazar has become closer than ever with her neighbor Teresa Soto.

Soto has lived in a rent-controlled neighborhood on Flower Drive between USC and the 110 freeway for 28 years, Alcazar for the last 50. 

“This place is my home, my community, my life,” Alcazar said.

It's a home and life they’re trying to protect because Alcazar — who is retired and on a fixed income — and Soto — a single mother of three with a disabled child — have started seeing signs that their days on Flower Drive may be limited.

After recall, work continues toward multi-racial democracy

 

CalMatters - By Christina Livingston, Luis Sanchez, Special to CalMatters

In the weeks leading up to California’s recall election, Gov. Gavin Newsom warned voters that the Republican-led effort was about turning California into Texas or Florida.

Republicans in those two states have made COVID-19 a political issue and, in the process, contributed to unprecedented spikes in COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths. When Texas outlawed abortion, the governor’s appeal and his message became more urgent and the stakes very real. 

But, the defeat of the recall showed that California could follow the playbook for multi-racial democracy carved out by organizers in another Southern state, Georgia. With that same playbook, we defeated a right-wing attack meant to roll back the progress we are making in California. In his victory speech, Newsom stated that our values were on the ballot and named economic justice, social justice, racial justice, environmental justice as “values where California has made so much progress.”

Gavin Newsom won the recall election with liberals’ help. What do they want from him now?

Sacramento Bee - Hours after Gov. Gavin Newsom crushed the effort to oust him from office, he said it was time to “get back to work.”

California’s left-leaning advocacy organizations are ready with a list of ideas. They want Newsom to refocus on health care, police accountability and climate change.

They waited to press the governor harder until the election was over, and now they say it’s time to regroup. Their organizations helped deliver him a victory, after all.

Fondos estatales de ayuda para el pago del alquiler

Alma Quiñonez, miembra de ACCE Los Ángeles, comparte su historia de como fue afectada por COVID-19, y como el Programa Ayuda Con La Renta de COVID-19 le ayudará a ella y a miles de familias a permanecer alojadas.


Los Angeles, CA - Aproximadamente 4,000 propietarios ya han recibido los fondos.

Appeals court upholds city of Los Angeles' eviction moratorium

Spectrum News 1 - LOS ANGELES (CNS) — A federal appeals court panel Wednesday upheld the city of Los Angeles' COVID-19 eviction moratorium, rejecting an effort by Southern California's largest landlord organization to reverse the restriction.

The Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles sued the city on June 11, 2020, challenging the eviction ban, prohibitions on late fees and interest on unpaid rent and moratorium on annual rent increases.

U.S. District Judge Dean D. Pregerson in November issued an order keeping in place the citywide ordinances designed to protect tenants during the public health crisis. AAGLA, which consists of 55,000 rental property owners and managers, appealed the decision in December.

Corporate Property-Buying Spree May Make Housing Even Less Affordable Amid COVID

A woman holds a sign during an outdoor protest in New York City on August 6, 2020.


Truthout - As the eviction moratorium sputters uncertainly onward, a new genre of news article has emerged from the chaos: the woes of the so-called “mom-and-pop landlord.” These landlords — individuals with just a handful of rental properties — are hard-pressed to keep up mortgages and maintenance due to their inability to collect rent during the COVID crisis. Most landlords featured in such stories agree that ending the moratorium is the answer . . .

As Mangal’s situation suggests, the plight of the small landlord is complicated. It is true that the so-called mom-and-pop landlords are feeling the squeeze, though not to the extent they like to pretend. At worst, these beleaguered landlords will lose their rental properties, while those they evict stand to lose housing, a financially stable future and even their lives as the Delta variant surges. Yet landlord complaints are not entirely unfounded. As mom and pops begin to exit the rental market, large corporate entities are already swooping in to buy up the excess stock, which threatens to funnel wealth into the pockets of the ultra-rich, put further pressure on remaining small landlords to sell and create worse conditions for tenants down the road.

San Diego’s strict eviction ban is ending. Here’s why it might affect renters

San Diego Union-Tribune - San Diego County renters are still protected from eviction until early October, but a stricter local law is expiring.

On Sunday, the San Diego County eviction moratorium, which was tougher than state and federal laws, will end. The local ban was controversial in preventing homeowners from moving back into properties if they had a renter and triggered an unsuccessful lawsuit.

Starting Monday, San Diego landlords could send 60-day eviction notices to renters if they intend to move back in or make significant repairs to their property. It also might be easier to get rid of problem tenants.

Landlord sues over ban on evictions: Landlord sues L.A. for $100 million, saying anti-eviction law caused ‘astronomical’ losses

The Orsini

The Orsini, left, is one of several buildings that have incurred financial losses as a result of an eviction moratorium, according to a new lawsuit filed against the city of Los Angeles. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles Times - One of the region’s most prolific apartment builders has sued the city of Los Angeles over its COVID-19 eviction moratorium, saying his companies have experienced “astronomical” financial losses and are legally entitled to compensation from the city.

 

GHP Management Corp., owned by real estate developer Geoffrey Palmer, said in its lawsuit that 12 buildings it manages have experienced more than $20 million in lost rental income as a result of the measure. GHP, which filed the lawsuit along with several other Palmer companies, expects that number to triple by the time the moratorium’s provisions have expired.

 

The city enacted its temporary eviction restrictions in March 2020 — just as COVID-19 was triggering business shutdowns that threw people out of work — barring building owners from forcing out tenants who could not pay rent because of hardships caused by the pandemic.

 

California promised 100% rent forgiveness for struggling tenants. Most are still waiting

The Guardian - California’s ambitious program to provide rent relief to every low-income tenant struggling during the pandemic has been plagued by delays and challenges, and some renters who are waiting for the aid to arrive say they are now facing eviction threats.

California officials have been working since March to distribute funds to landlords whose tenants fell behind on rent during the pandemic, and in June authorities promised that the state would pay off the entirety of the rent debt of qualifying tenants. But the program has been slow to roll out, with eligible tenants across the state having difficulties applying while others say they’ve had to wait months for funds.

LA ordinance fighting tenant harassment is launched

Activists and members with the Hillside Villa Tenants Association of Chinatown march from City Hall to LAPD headquarters to demand the city fund the purchase of their 124-unit building in order to stop evictions on Thursday, April 8, 2021. 


San Gabriel Valley Tribune - An ordinance aimed at preventing landlords from harassing tenants went into effect on Friday, Aug. 6, after being adopted by the Los Angeles City Council by a 13-0 vote.

The ordinance approved June 23 when two council members were absent and signed into law by Mayor Eric Garcetti prevents landlords from harassing tenants by eliminating services, withholding repairs, refusing to accept rent payments or taking other retaliatory actions.

Tenant leaders organized by the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment gathered outside City Hall Friday morning to celebrate the ordinance going into effect. The alliance had been organizing to put pressure on council members to pass the ordinance, which had been stalled in committee.

“The anti-harassment ordinance had been in limbo for over four years in the housing committee. During the pandemic, the Stay Housed Coalition and ACCE saw an uptick in cases of landlord harassment, so ACCE along with other organizers decided to come together to fight for a just tenant anti-harassment ordinance,” an ACCE representative said Friday.

Tenant Leaders, Advocates and City Councilmembers on Friday Mark First Day of Anti-Harassment Ordinance Enforcement at Los Angeles City Hall

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. 

MEDIA CONTACT

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Tenant Leaders, Advocates and City Councilmembers on Friday Mark First Day of Anti-Harassment Ordinance Enforcement at Los Angeles City Hall 

Tenant Leaders Also Urge Improvements to the Ordinance to Further Protect Renters From Abuse

LOS ANGELES (August 6, 2021) - Hailing a new citywide anti-harassment ordinance as a major victory in the fight for strong tenant protections, tenants’ rights advocates and attorneys representing tenants gathered at Los Angeles City Hall on Friday to mark the first day the city’s new anti-harassment ordinance goes into effect. 

Tenants’ Rights Leaders Protest Foundation’s Billion-Dollar Real Estate Deal With Blackstone

KPBS - Local leaders and tenants rights advocates gathered in National City on Tuesday to demand that Conrad Prebys Foundation stop the sale of it’s nearly 6,000 apartment units to the private equity firm Blackstone.

Anne Marine McKellob has called Golden Tree Apartments on Ave A her home for the past three years. It’s one of the 66 buildings the foundation is selling to Blackstone for over $1 billion. McKellob worries about what will happen when Blackstone takes over.

“I am pretty much afraid that we got to move out,” said McKellob. “They aren’t in favor of us, they are in favor of themselves and growing their money higher.”

Chula Vista tenants facing eviction despite county ban

San Diego Union-Tribune - San Diego County has a strict eviction ban, but local attorneys and tenants’ rights advocates say they are still seeing a number of tenants forced from their homes, especially low-income families.

Tenants of a Chula Vista apartment complex are among those who recently found themselves being evicted from their homes in an apparent violation of those laws.

On May 15, Luis Castro, a former restaurant server who lost his job because of the pandemic shutdown, and other tenants at an apartment complex on Smith Avenue were told to vacate their units within 60 days.

“I’ve been here for 12 years and I don’t know where I would go. This is unfair; this is displacing families,” Castro said.

Eligible Tenants, Landlords Will Have Rental Debt Erased: Will It Come Soon Enough?

Times of San Diego - By the end of this week, eligible tenants in the San Diego region will start seeing 100% of past-due rents erased from the beginning of the pandemic through the end of September. 

A new state law that extends eviction protections also allows local agencies to cover all back rent due for low-income tenants impacted by COVID-19. 

This comes after news organizations across the state, including inewsource, reported low participation rates for rental and utility assistance programs, which left millions of dollars unspent.

Richmond is beefing up protections for renters facing harassment from landlords

East Bay Times - Clara Luz Realageno was at work at the end of May when she received a notification on her phone that there was movement detected by security cameras she had installed just days earlier.

The camera monitor on her phone showed that it was her landlord. He was entering her home and changing the locks, barring her from returning to the studio she had rented for four years.

“I left for work; I had no idea I would be coming back to nothing,” she said through a translator in a recent interview.

Realageno didn’t expect to be locked out of her house that day, but her landlord’s violation wasn’t unprecedented. In fact, his pattern of harassment toward her in recent weeks was what prompted her to buy and install the two security cameras inside her home.

Bay Area city may explore allowing undocumented residents to vote in local elections

San Francisco Chronicle - Richmond officials will soon consider a plan that could allow undocumented residents to vote in local elections, citing their lack of a public voice despite the “significant contributions” they make to the community and its economy.

The City Council is expected to vote this month on a first step: directing the city attorney to conduct a sweeping review of the city’s charter along with legal research to determine whether it can allow noncitizens to participate in local elections, such as school board contests.

Councilmembers Claudia Jimenez and Eduardo Martinez and Vice Mayor Demnlus Johnson III introduced the proposal, which was scheduled for consideration at the council’s regular meeting Tuesday but postponed due to time constraints.

Newsom signs into law extension of California eviction protections, rent relief

LA Times - California tenants will be protected from evictions for another three months, and those with low incomes will have all of their past-due rent paid by the state, under a bill signed Monday by Gov. Gavin Newsom in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The governor acted just hours after both houses of the Legislature approved the bill extending the eviction protections through Sept. 30. Lawmakers cited urgency stemming from the expiration of previous protections that was set for Wednesday.

“California will significantly increase cash assistance to low-income tenants and small landlords under the state’s $5.2 billion rent relief program, making it the largest and most comprehensive COVID rental protection and rent relief program of any state in the nation,” said a statement by Newsom’s office.