Why We Support Proposition 10 — it's crucial for fighting the affordable housing & homeless crises

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This measure would repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act (passed by the state legislature in 1995) and as a result, make it possible for California cities to strengthen rent control. Rent control laws determine when, why, and by how much a landlord can increase rent, in order to prevent displacement of tenants and to prevent housing costs from leading to financial crisis and even homelessness. These policies also provide protections from arbitrary eviction and large payments if a tenant is evicted in order for the building to be torn down or converted to condos.

In the City of Los Angeles, the Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO) limits annual rent increases to the approximately the amount of inflation (usually around 3%) for renters in multi-unit buildings constructed before 1979.

The problem with Costa Hawkins is that it severely restricts cities and counties’ authority to enact, amend, and expand rent control laws. Currently, the law:

  • Makes it impossible for cities and counties to control rents on anything built after 1995 or the date in which a city’s rent control was initially put into effect.

  • Mandates “vacancy de-control,” which means that landlords have the right to raise the rent to whatever they want once a tenant leaves, something that encourages harassment against tenants in “hot” neighborhoods.

  • Bars any form of rent control on single family properties.

This last point is is especially significant in Los Angeles, where working-class families rent out tens of thousands of single-family homes, many of which have been acquired by Wall Street giants like Blackstone (aka “Invitation Homes”) in the wake of the 2008 foreclosure that Wall Street caused in the first place.

There’s been a housing crisis for poor and working people for decades, but it’s accelerated over the last several years and is impacting people higher and higher up the income scale. Repealing Costa-Hawkins will give cities and counties a powerful tool to keep people in their homes as rental prices skyrocket. Repealing Costa Hawkins would not create rent control. But it enables cities to consider enacting and expanding rent control and go through their own, local legislative process.

Rent control policies have been shown to be very effective at reducing displacement and helping tenants remain in their homes in the face of cost pressures from booming rental costs citywide as well as gentrification of previously poor and working class areas. It would be an especially valuable tool to cities that are rapidly gentrifying and have no rent control, such as Inglewood, Long Beach, and Pasadena.

Some cities with rent control ordinances badly need to update their policies — in Los Angeles County, the cities of Los Angeles, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Santa Monica have rent control on some properties, but not on properties built in the last three decades or single family homes. In the City of Los Angeles, single family properties have been a boom for corporate and Wall Street landlords, but are increasingly unaffordable for long-time residents of gentrifying parts of South LA, Boyle Heights, and Highland Park. Yet, the city cannot extend any form of rent control to these properties because of the Costa Hawkins Act.

Opponents of rent control policies typically argue that rent control increases housing costs by raising rents and curtailing housing production. These arguments are overblown. Empirical findings on these questions are mixed. Some studies have found rent control policies that slow down housing production, but others have found little effect. A Stanford economics study made big headlines early this year for its finding that rent control in San Francisco led to higher rents for residents of non-rent controlled housing. But the increase in rent that the study attributed to rent control only accounted for a very small fraction of San Francisco’s astronomical rise in rents, with other factors accounting for the vast bulk of the increase in rents. Moreover, the study also found that San Francisco’s policy created very notable benefits for tenants of rent-controlled units and made them much less vulnerable to displacement.

 There’s little doubt that a badly designed rent control ordinance can have ill effects in reducing private investment in housing construction or maintenance — but a well-designed one can hugely benefit vulnerable renters who are struggling to survive in a housing market that radically tilts the scales of power towards homeowners and landlords. Repealing Costa Hawkins would be a small but crucial step to giving renters a greater voice in local housing policy debates and allowing cities to tailor policies to their own local conditions.

The other main argument against Prop 10 is that this kind of change should be done through the legislature. That would make sense if powerful interests like the California Apartment Association and corporate developers hadn’t given so much money to legislators that a bill to repeal even parts of Costa Hawkins can’t get passed though a single committee. When opponents say Prop 10 is a bad idea because the repeal of Costa Hawkins needs to be fined tuned, it is unlikely they supported or put much work into repealing it through the legislature.

The initiative’s biggest opponents are the California GOP, the California Apartment Association, and the California Rental Housing Association. Private equity firms such as Blackstone, which own rental properties across California, have contributed handsomely to the No on 10 effort. The California NAACP is opposing it, but its president, Alice Huffman, is being paid $25,000 a month by the campaign. Likewise, the president of California Community Builders, John Gamboa, is vocally opposing Prop 10, but his organization is heavily funded by big banks like Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase.

Supporters include dozens of community, tenants rights, and social justice groups, as well as the California Democratic Party, LA City Mayor Eric Garcetti, LA City Councilmember Mike Bonin, and other local elected officials.

We encourage voters to support Prop 10 and give local communities one more tool to address the housing and homelessness crises.

SUPPORTERS

Affordable housing developers such as East LA Community Corporation, Esperanza Community Housing Corporation, Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California (NPH), Southern California Association of Non-Profit Housing (SCANPH), Thai Community Development Center, TRUST South LA, Venice Community Housing Corporation, Women Organizing Resources Knowledge and Services (WORKS), and Affordable Housing Alliance.

Tenants organizations like Tenants Together, Affordable Homeless Housing Alternatives, Anti-Eviction Mapping Project, California Coalitionfor Rural Housing, Chinatown Community for Equitable Development, Coalition for Economic Survival, Hunger Action Coalition Los Angeles, Inquilinos Unidos, Los Angeles Tenants Union, San Francisco Anti-Displacement Coalition, San Francisco Tenants Union, Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE), United Neighbors In Defense Against Displacement (UNIDAD), Uplift Inglewood.

Legal and policy advocates like the ACLU of California, ACLU of Southern California, Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus, California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, Center for Community Action & Environmental Justice, Eviction Defense Network, Inner City Law Center (LA), LA Center for Community Law & Action, Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, National Lawyers Guild – LA, Public Advocates, Public Counsel, Public Interest Law Project, Western Center on Law and Poverty, and Housing California.

Social justice groups like the Alliance for Community Transit – Los Angeles (ACT-LA), Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE Action), Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN), California Partnership, Consumer Watchdog, Courage Campaign, DSA, League of Women Voters of California, Liberty Hill Foundation, Pasadenans Organizing for Progress, PolicyLink, Richmond Progressive Alliance, and Silicon Valley De-Bug.

Racial justice groups like API Equality – LA, American Indian Movement Southern California, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights Los Angeles (CHIRLA), Dellums Institute for Social Justice, Fannie Lou Hammer Institute, Latino Equality Alliance, Los Angeles Urban League, MLK Coalition of Greater LA, Black Women for Wellness, and Latino Health Access.

Labor groups like California Labor Federation, AFSCME, California Nurses Association, California Teachers Association, Central Coast Alliance United For A Sustainable Economy, Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance, Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, Los Angeles Black Worker Center, Oakland Education Association (OEA), National Union of Healthcare Workers, SEIU California, UFCW Local 770, Unite HERE Local 11, Warehouse Worker Resource Center.

Political groups like Indivisible California, League of Women Voters, California Democratic Party, Los Angeles County Democratic Party, Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, and dozens of Democratic Clubs across the state.

Senior groups like California Alliance for Retired Americans Senior and Disability Action.

Religious/faith groups like Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice, Clergy & Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE), Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement (COPE), LA Voice, PICO California, Sojourner Truth Presbyterian Church, and Unitarian Universalist Faith in Action Committee.

Education groups like InnerCity Struggle and University of California Student Association. Newspapers like Los Angeles Times and Sacramento Bee.

OPPONENTS

Blackstone, Wall Street firm that is also largest landlord of single-family homes, through its subsidiary “Invitation Homes.”

Billionaire conservative developers & Trump supporters Geoffrey Palmer and Sam Zell

Developers like AMCAL Multi-Housing, BRIDGE Housing, GTM Holdings, Highridge Costa Housing Partners, JH Stark Companies, TELACU, The Pacific Companies, and USA Properties Fund, Inc.

Labor groups like State Building and Construction Trades Council of California and Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building & Construction Trades Council

Business groups like California Chamber of Commerce, California Building Industry Association, National Association of Home Builders, Central City Association of Los Angeles, California Apartment Association (landlords), regional and ethnic chambers of commerce

California State Conference of the NAACP.

Newspapers like the San Francisco Chronicle.

For detailed analysis and recommendations all the other California and Los Angeles propositions, download our voter guide at https://LosAngelesForward.org/ballot/

"Defending Immigrant Communities," a live podcast

Check this out — a special episode of LA Forwards & Backwards, recorded live at the SIJCC and features our first ever panel discussion. We bring together leaders from four of California's leading immigrant rights organizations to discuss how to effectively fight back the Trump administration's attack on immigrant communities — through sanctuary policy campaigns, political organizing, lawsuits, legal representation for individuals, guerrilla post-it-noting, and more.

Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Play | Stitcher

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Sandra Fluke joins the LA Forwards & Backwards Podcast

Season 2 of the LA Forwards & Backwards podcast is here—thanks to the generosity of listeners like you! To kick things off, we welcome Sandra Fluke, California Director of Voices for Progress who gives us the inside scoop on how politics works in our state. From gerrymandering and term limits to corporate capture of certain Democratic legislators, we get real talk about who wields power in Sacramento and how they do it. Then we discuss the fight for a strong "net neutrality" law and the abolition of "money bail," plus how you can get involved.

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Listen to this episode

 

 
 
 

Damn it. Let's do something about it.

Every day when I read the news, I get angry and upset. The last few weeks have been especially heartbreaking and infuriating.

What keeps me going is taking action. I'm motivated that people are using LA Forward to get involved for the first time beyond marching and donating money. (Both of which are super important!)

Join in as we gather on Sunday, July 22 to learn about the housing crisis and kickstart our campaign to Get Out The Vote for the November elections!

LA Forward Take Action Meeting — Housing & the November Elections  

Sunday, July 22, 3:00 - 5:00 PM

Looking to get involved with LA's most pressing issues? Want to fight like hell to win some elections in November?

Join us for a meeting we'll focus on housing issues, with a deep dive into how the housing system works (and doesn't) and discuss one of this November's most important ballot initiatives — Prop 10 which would repeal the "Costa-Hawkins" restrictions that limit cities' abilities to enact strong rent control.

Then we'll further develop plans for voter registration, education, and mobilization and start phone-banking and meme-making to make it happen.

RSVP at https://actionnetwork.org/events/july-campaign-meeting-housing-and-the-november-elections

NEW MONTHLY MEETING SCHEDULE

We're re-starting our monthly meetings with a new format. To keep it easy to remember and put on your calendar in advance, they will always be every Second Sunday of the month from 3:00 to 5:00 PM.

August 12, September 9, October 14, November 11, December 9, etc. You get the idea.


SAVE THE DATES

The Busy Person's Guide to Making a Difference in the November Elections
Saturday, August 4, 10:00 AM  12:00 PM

Super busy with young kids or even just a demanding job BUT know you need to get involved with the elections? We'll cover the basics of phone-banking and canvassing, plus tips for making time to do it all from experienced campaigners and trainers.

Panel Discussion: The Criminalization of Immigrants + What We Can Do to Fight Back
Wednesday, August 15, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Hosted with the Silverlake Independent JCC. More details soon.

The Other Blue Wave — An Abbot Kinney Political Pop Up Event

Saturday, August 18, 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM

Hang out with us at on Abbot Kinney and learn about California's water issues and solutions from some of your favorite young experts and elected officials.

STAND-LA's Fight Against Urban Oil Drilling

The 11th episode of the LA Forwards & Backwards podcast has arrived! Martha Dina Argüello talks with us about the STAND-LA coalition’s work to phase out the silent but deadly oil drilling that still exists near homes, schools, and hospitals across Los Angeles. Martha shares her story and highlights the need to push for a just transition where disadvantaged communities and workers all benefit from the move from fossil fuels to clean energy.

Listen to this episode:

Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | GooglePlay

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Our Live Podcast with Homeboy Recycling is Now Available!

Get ready -- we're offering a bunch of new  episodes this month!

Kabira Stokes of Homeboy Electronics Recycling joins the podcast for our first live show which took place at the beautiful, historic Pico Union Project building. Kabira shares the fascinating story of she came to establish and lead a social enterprise that employs formerly incarcerated folks, boosting the local economy, and fighting both toxic pollution and climate change in the process. 

Apple Podcasts / iTunes: 
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/la-forwards-backwards/id1281847259?mt=2#episodeGuid=1560ad8becce4b32a374304df0e5785b

Stitcher: http://www.stitcher.com/s?eid=54534785

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/episode/4yCKl4lm19PXwYJk4gH8Kx

Google Play: https://play.google.com/music/m/D5wbujp5dvctfip2ik2xylupznm?t=Homeboy_Electronics_Recycling_with_Kabira_Stokes-LA_Forwards__Backwards

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SPRING INTO ACTION! A Live Podcast Event on April 12

JOIN US for a free community event as LA Forward's founding director and podcast host, David Levitus, gets on the mic for a special interview with leading social entrepreneur, Kabira Stokes.

As Founder and CEO of Homeboy Recycling, Stokes will discuss Homeboy's work to discover great value in things that have been discarded by society, and share her inspiring, action driven approach to creating positive, lasting change in Los Angeles.

And she'll tell the story of how an aspiring costumer designer from the suburbs of Philly ended up working for the LA City Council Council and getting a master's in public policy from USC, before going on to launch a successful business.

Hosted in partnership with The Pico Union Project, this event will take place inside their majestic sanctuary. Don't miss this chance to SPRING INTO ACTION and connect with your community inside an historic space and hub for progressive Angelenos!

DTLA bakeries will be on-site with tasty treats, along with LIVE MUSIC & a special GIVEAWAY.

ALL guests will be eligible to win an original work of art by L.A. based artist Mike Stilkey. A master of recovering value, Stilkey's "Book Sculptures" feature whimsical paintings on the covers of discarded books and printed material. With Stilkey's work exhibited throughout the United States as well as internationally, this is a rare opportunity to collect a painting donated by the artist himself. 

 

Talking Youth Justice with Liberty Hill's Julio Marcial

It's raining podcasts -- check out the 3rd LA Forwards & Backwards episode of the month!

Julio Marcial of the Liberty Hill Foundation talks with us about LHF's work to transform the youth justice system so it focuses on investing in young people, intervening with community-based solutions, and shutting down youth prisons. We discuss how youth of color are overpoliced and overincarcerated and survey the incredible work of grassroots organizations across LA County that have already cut youth incarceration in half.

Apple Podcasts / iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/la-forwards-backwards/id1281847259

Android Podcasts / Google: https://play.google.com/music/m/Dil5mm4r76nxirrfi5xpwvun3pi?t=Youth_Justice-LA_Forwards__Backwards

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Fighting Sexual Harassment and Violence

New podcast episode!

Maya Paley of NCJW-LA joins the show to discuss the fight against sexual harassment and violence beyond the headlines. After she shares the story of her own involvement in this work, we dive into the data on the widespread nature of the problem, discuss this year's top policy priorities, and learn about NCJW-LA's "Talk" project to engage teens in peer-to-peer trainings.

Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Play | Stitcher |

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Tackling Climate Change Locally

What Can We Do To Fight Climate Change In LA?

Our latest LA Forwards & Backwards podcast explores the answer.

Bryn Lindblad of Climate Resolves joins us to discuss the unique challenges faced by our region as a result of climate change and what we can and should be doing in response. We discuss how critical it is to stop the construction of "High Desert Freeway," which will generate massive carbon emissions and destroy Joshua Tree-filled wilderness. We also chat about the importance of more trees and shade structures to make our streets walkable, as well as initiatives to combat the "urban heat island" effect through "cool roofs" and "cool streets." 

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/la-forwards-backwards/id1281847259

Google/Android:

https://play.google.com/music/m/Djvpsqqsxw667ebn6pkxx2tw3ge?t=Climate_Change-LA_Forwards__Backwards

 

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Planning for Metropolitan Equity - a podcast episodes + a long read

NEW Podcast Episode!

Laura Raymond of ACT-LA joins us to discuss recent successes of the "Transit-Oriented Communities program," why the market can't solve all problems, and the importance of regional planing that integrates a racial equity approach from the start. We talk about work to expand equitable transit-oriented development across LA County and the need to build upon, not undermine, such work at the state level.

Apple Podcasts / iTunes

Android Podcasts / Google Play

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To go deeper and learn more, check out this essay on how history should shape the way we think about solution's to today's housing crisis: YIMBYism and the Cruel Irony of Metropolitan History

"The tradition stretching from the “housers” to the regional planners to today’s equitable development movement offers a third way to ensuring adequate supply of housing affordable to all levels of the community. It’s a tradition which has never been able to fully realize its promise, but it is finally gaining steam, with notable victories like Measure JJJ and the enactment of the People’s Plan in South LA..."

https://la.streetsblog.org/2018/02/27/yimbyism-and-the-cruel-irony-of-metropolitan-history/ 

 

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How the heck does government actually work?

Exciting News — we are repeating the Civics 101 course we did this fall at the Silverlake Independent JCC.

Why?

Because even if you paid attention in high school social studies, our daily political news is probably confusing the hell out of you. How the government is “supposed” to work is very different from how it works in reality. And if you’re confused about all the executive orders, lawsuits, and investigations flying around the Trump administration, you’re probably even less clear on how our local governments are supposed to be dealing with challenges like our housing crisis. With a population of 10 million people and a budget of $30.1 billion, LA County, on its own, would be the 9th largest state in the country.

  • Mar 5: Federal Government 101
  • Mar 12: California Government 101
  • Mar 19: LA County & LA City 101
  • Mar 26: LA City (continued) & other local governments 101

Learn more: https://www.facebook.com/events/194494061287269/

Get your tickets: https://sijcc.net/calendar/#event|civilized|19166 

 

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What is Affordable Housing?

The FIFTH episode of the LA Forwards & Backwards podcast is now live! 

KeAndra Dodds of Enterprise Community Partners joins the show for a conversation about what "affordable housing" means, how the different types of affordable housing get built, and how local ballot initiatives like Measures H, HHH, and JJJ and recent state housing bills are part of this evolving landscape. If you've been affordable housing-confused or just affordable housing-curious, this is the episode for you.

Check it out:

On Apple Podcasts / iTunes.

Google Play / Android.

On the web at Player FM.

Love the podcast and want to keep it going strong?  

You can your chip in here with a tax-deductible donation to our 501(c)3 nonprofit!

 

 Broadcasting straight out of Vista Hermosa Park, on a chilly late December day.

Broadcasting straight out of Vista Hermosa Park, on a chilly late December day.

Talking Transportation with Jessica Meaney of Investing In Place

The fourth episode of the LA Forwards & Backwards podcast is live on iTunes and Google!

We had a ton of fun talking to Jessica Meaney, founder and ED of Investing In Place

Jessica talked with us about how she came to found a transportation-advocacy organization, the often-ugly history of transportation in LA, and reasons for hope in the present moment. We discuss Measure M, the massive funding measure passed by LA County voters in November 2016, some of the good things it'll do and where we need to keep pressing the Metro Board and the 88 city councils across the County.

Our New Website

We're excited to share the launch of our new website with all of you. The look is similar to our previous site but this new site will allow us to include a lot of new content, like an updates/blog page, photo galleries, a calendar, and all of our podcast episodes in one place. Feel free to offer feedback through our contact form too. We want to hear from you.