One Alameda council member called testimony 
Tuesday from renters the most emotional in years.

ALAMEDA CITY COUNCIL | Alameda officials, who have long asked for hard data to gauge whether the island’s renters are being gouged by exorbitant rent increases and forced out of their homes by evictions, appear to be realizing the problem is more widespread than previously acknowledged. A council meeting this week to approve final passage of an ordinance to reform the city’s rent review board process — legislation one councilmember now calls “toothless” — also featured another round of heartbreaking tales of steep 15 to 20 percent rent hikes and waves of 30- and 60-day eviction notices. Councilmember Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft described Tuesday night’s Alameda City Council meeting as one of the most emotional she has witnessed in years.

Linda Weinstock, a seven-year Alameda resident, said her rent was recently raised 10 percent. After the increase, her rent for a two-bedroom apartment is now $2,950 a month, she said. The property’s management later told her to expect an additional 15-25 percent increase next year. “I think it’s unreasonable. It’s almost like they’re asking us to leave,” said Weinstock. “I’ve given everything to Alameda. I found you and I feel like I’m being asked to leave.” She is now looking for a possible “exit strategy” from the island.

Seniors are feeling the brunt of the burgeoning rental crisis, said longtime resident Barbara Duncan, who is advocating for rent control in Alameda. Holding a sign that read, “I Rent & I Vote,” Duncan told the council that landlords are pushing out Alamedans with an eye at reaping vastly higher rents from out-of-towners. “There’s no way we can survive if the rents keep going up,” she said. “If they want San Francisco people here, let us know now. We’re all wondering whether we’re going to be able to stay or are San Francisco, Palo Alto people going to move us out.”…