FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Richmond is the New San Francisco: City Rejects Moratorium on Evictions

In a dramatic meeting in mid-September, the Richmond City Council rejected an emergency 45-day moratorium that would have stopped the evictions and high rent increases, a major force that is driving out of this Easy Bay city hundreds of medium and low income residents.

The timid resolution proposed by councilwoman Gayle McLaughlin, was defeated with a vote of three against and four in favor. It needed a super majority.

Richmond is the new San Francisco. Tenant advocates and housing lawyers are forecasting an alarming increase of 65% in the eviction cases in Richmond. Only from tenants that pursuit legal aid, “last year we served 730 tenants. Now in September 2016 – we are no even finished with the whole year – we already served 790; if you are doing the calculation, we anticipated that there will be an increase by 65 % of the amount of tenants” facing evictions said Oraneet Orevi a lawyer with the Bay Area Legal Aid.

Particularly, the displacement is affecting Latinos, Black and other minority communities of color that are being served with 30 or 60 days no-cause notices, said Orevi.

For long periods of time council member Nathaniel Bates, who voted against, seemed uninterested, even sleepy, looking at his computer screen like video-gaming, mindless from the more that forty heartrending testimonies of neighbors being evicted. The measure is “interrupting the tranquility of the city … we don’t know how much this is going to cost,” he said in one of his short intervention.

McLaughlin said the moratorium is to “slow down gentrification … It is not about money it is about helping people.”

The moratorium was also to prevent voters from leaving the city missing the November opportunity.  With a poster in hand, the young activist Edith Pastrano said the proposal is “to ensure that there is more time for tenants to vote for rent control and just cause for eviction in the elections. The idea is also to defend democracy because people pushed out of the city would be left without casting their votes,” said Pastrano who works with the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE).

Maria Escalante, who rents a house with her family on Duboce Ave. in North Richmond, said their four children will be the most affected. “We are paying $1200. Now the owner wants us to pay $500 more. How are we going to get $1700? I have a son who is studying in San Francisco State and the other three are in elementary and middle schools. My husband is the only one who has a job. We were thinking about moving to Vallejos, but it is impossible because my son takes the Bart here in Richmond to go to school across the bay. They want to see us on the street! All they want is to fill up their pockets. It’s crazy!” said Escalante.

To no avail, Mayor Tom Butt tried to annul the vote, alleging that the measure come from an old ordinance. Butt said “rent control is the cause of the housing crisis,” a comment that caused laughter from the audience who packed the city hall.

“They are evicting us, my family, with no motive,” said German Sevilla in Spanish. The same fate for dozens of families living in the apartment building at 24 St. and Garvin Ave. “We don’t have a place to go. It is very difficult to find an affordable place to live. But, while we keep paying the rent they cannot evict us,” asserted Sevilla.

In a poignant moment after the vote, council member Jovanka Beckles stood up and pointing to Butt and Bates said “these are landlords … Shame on you!” The vote, described as a “disgraceful” by the audience send a discourage message to hundreds of Richmond tenant and set the stage for the November elections when voters will face a measure to establish rent control, a rent board and a just cause eviction. Assigned with the letter L the proposition was quickly nicknamed by its proponents as the Proposition Love.

More articles by:

January 15, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
Refugees Are in the English Channel Because of Western Interventions in the Middle East
Howard Lisnoff
The Faux Political System by the Numbers
Lawrence Davidson
Amos Oz and the Real Israel
John W. Whitehead
Beware the Emergency State
John Laforge
Loudmouths against Nuclear Lawlessness
Myles Hoenig
Labor in the Age of Trump
Jeff Cohen
Mainstream Media Bias on 2020 Democratic Race Already in High Gear
Dean Baker
Will Paying for Kidneys Reduce the Transplant Wait List?
George Ochenski
Trump’s Wall and the Montana Senate’s Theater of the Absurd
Binoy Kampmark
Dances of Disinformation: the Partisan Politics of the Integrity Initiative
Glenn Sacks
On the Picket Lines: Los Angeles Teachers Go On Strike for First Time in 30 Years
Jonah Raskin
Love in a Cold War Climate
Andrew Stewart
The Green New Deal Must be Centered on African American and Indigenous Workers to Differentiate Itself From the Democratic Party
January 14, 2019
Kenn Orphan
The Tears of Justin Trudeau
Julia Stein
California Needs a 10-Year Green New Deal
Dean Baker
Declining Birth Rates: Is the US in Danger of Running Out of People?
Robert Fisk
The US Media has Lost One of Its Sanest Voices on Military Matters
Vijay Prashad
5.5 Million Women Build Their Wall
Nicky Reid
Lessons From Rojava
Ted Rall
Here is the Progressive Agenda
Robert Koehler
A Green Future is One Without War
Gary Leupp
The Chickens Come Home to Roost….in Northern Syria
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: “The Country Is Watching”
Sam Gordon
Who Are Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionists?
Weekend Edition
January 11, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Richard Moser
Neoliberalism: Free Market Fundamentalism or Corporate Power?
Paul Street
Bordering on Fascism: Scholars Reflect on Dangerous Times
Joseph Majerle III – Matthew Stevenson
Who or What Brought Down Dag Hammarskjöld?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Joshua Frank
How Tre Arrow Became America’s Most Wanted Environmental “Terrorist”
Andrew Levine
Dealbreakers: The Democrats, Trump and His Wall
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Que Syria, Syria
Dave Lindorff
A Potentially Tectonic Event Shakes up the Mumia Abu-Jamal Case
Nick Pemberton
There Are More Important Things Than The Truth
Brian Cloughley
How Trump’s Insults and Lies are Harming America
David Rosen
Sexual Predators in the Era of Trump
Tamara Pearson
Everything the Western Mainstream Media Outlets Get Wrong When Covering Poor Countries
Richard E. Rubenstein
Trump vs. the Anti-Trumps: It’s the System That Needs Changing Not Just the Personnel
Christopher Ketcham
A Walk in the Woods, Away from the Screens
Basav Sen
Democrats Failed Their First Big Test on Climate
Lauren Smith
Nicaragua – The Irony of the NICA Act Being Signed into Law by Trump
Joseph Natoli
Will Trumpism Outlive Trump?
Olivia Alperstein
The EPA Rule Change That Could Kill Thousands
Medea Benjamin – Alice Slater
The New Congress Needs to Create a Green Planet at Peace
Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
Cuba: Trump Turns the Vise
Ramzy Baroud
When Bolsonaro and Netanyahu Are ‘Brothers’: Why Brazil Should Shun the Israeli Model
Mitchell Zimmerman
Government by Extortion
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail