Alameda Rent Control Measure Qualifies for November Election
But there’s no word yet on whether a competing, landlord-backed measure that would ban rent control in Alameda also qualified.
Alameda voters will have a chance this fall to decide whether to enact rent control on the Island. The Alameda County Registrar of Voters Office on Wednesday certified the renters-backed measure for the November ballot, setting the stage for a contentious fall campaign in Alameda between tenants and landlords.
“We’re thrilled,” said Alameda Renters’ Coalition spokesperson Catherine Pauling. “So many have worked so hard for this, but we have more work to do to actually get it passed.”
The Alameda City Council will next be asked to approve a resolution at its July 19 meeting to formally place the rent control measure on the ballot. That action is considered a formality.
Questions over whether the rent control measure would actually qualify were rising in recent days. Some within the renters’ group and Alameda City Hall were beginning to worry whether the number of 7,882 signatures turned in by the renters’ group—7,882—was enough. The number of valid signatures needed is 6,461. In addition, concerns were heightened by the fact the registrar too a long time to certify the measure’s signatures.
At Tuesday night’s council meeting, Pauling showed some concern about the measure’s future, telling the councilmembers, “Failure is not an option. We will be back.”
In an interview Wednesday, Pauling said, “There’s always worry. I just didn’t know whether we would qualify, but I was more worried about the people who worked so hard to gather signatures, many who are seniors who did it to the detriment of their health.”
A second rent-related ballot measure in Alameda, this one backed by landlords seeking a charter amendment to ban rent control, turned in 7,491 signatures to county registrar on June 15. Whether or not it will be certified in time for the August 12 deadline for inclusion on the November ballot is unclear.
Certification of the landlords’ measure may not come until later this month. Further complicating the matter is the tight window available for the city council to formally approve the landlords’ measure. The July 19 council meeting is last scheduled before the annual August recess, observed by almost every East Bay council.
Alameda Mayor Trish Spencer and Councilmember Tony Daysog suggested Tuesday night that they are open to scheduling another meeting in late July or early August if the landlords’ measure is indeed certified. Spencer said Tuesday night that she opposes the renters’ measure, but did not take a position on the landlords’ measure.
In the meantime, the Alameda Renters Coalition is preparing for the fall campaign. Pauling said the group is currently training volunteers and registering new voters and formulating a ballot statement for the measure. Starting September, they plan to ramp up their get-out-the-vote efforts, said Pauling.