During California’s Proposition 10 campaign, 527 organizations and civic leaders endorsed the statewide ballot measure that would have allowed cities and counties to expand rent control policies. Prop 10 was not approved, but a broad housing coalition has been born.
Proposition 10 would have repealed the 1995 Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, a state law that stops communities from expanding rent control to apartment buildings constructed after 1995, among other restrictions. Over the past 23 years, Costa-Hawkins has gamed the system in favor of corporate landlords and big developers, who have jacked up rents to unaffordable levels and have helped fuel California’s housing affordability and homeless crises.
Corporate landlords Blackstone Group, Essex Property Trust, AvalonBay Communities, Equity Residential, and others spent a whopping $77.2 million to oppose Prop 10, paying for a relentless attack of TV ads that confused and misled voters. Regardless, top organizations and leaders banded together to support the repeal of Costa-Hawkins. They now make up a formidable coalition for more just, fair, affordable housing in California.
That coalition included U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, labor and civil rights icon Dolores Huerta, the California Democratic Party, Our Revolution, Democratic Socialists of America, the ACLU, California Labor Federation, California Teachers Association, the Sierra Club, Eviction Defense Network, the League of Women Voters, California Nurses Association, LA Tenants Union, ACCE, and AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation Co-Founder and President Michael Weinstein noted in a statement: “Despite being vastly outspent, we succeeded in beginning a debate on housing affordability that will continue beyond this election in the legislature, in city councils, on the ground and on the ballot in 2020. The most important achievement of this campaign is the building of a broad-based, magnificent coalition of more than 500 organizations and elected officials. We must build upon this base to strengthen the affordable housing movement.”
The Los Angeles Times has already called for Governor-Elect Gavin Newsom and the California legislature “to take on the same issue that Proposition 10 sought to address — how to fairly and effectively ease the existing state restrictions on rent control in order to protect tenants.”
The “magnificent coalition” will be urging Newsom and state legislators to act swiftly in 2019. Fifty-four percent of all California renters are “rent-burdened.” Three-quarters of California’s low-income seniors are struggling to pay the rent. And California’s homeless crisis continues to worsen. There is no time to wait.