Alameda councilman questions whether rent control measure can be defeated

Is Alameda Councilmember Tony Daysog really
fearful of the rent control measure passing or just
giving its proponents a false sense of security?

ALAMEDA CITY COUNCIL |
With two rent measures now slated for the ballot–down from a possible four a few weeks ago–the next three months will be crucial for both sides.

The Alameda Renters Coalition’s already formidable grassroots effort is already ramping up outreach, said Eric Strimling, a spokesperson for the group. But, one Alameda councilmember appears to be looking past the Nov. 8 election with dread.

During a special meeting Monday night, Councilmember Tony Daysog questioned on two separate occasions whether the city’s own rent measure stands a chance of beating the more organized Alameda Renters Coalition at the ballot box in November.

“I admit, it might be a losing battle,” said Daysog, who suggested the Alameda Renters Coalition’s ever-improving outreach in the community might be a difference maker against the city’s initiative, likely to attract support from landlords now hoping just to maintain the new status quo on rents regulations in Alameda. The council’s measure is based on the current rent ordinance.

Daysog’s candid admission is notable given he was amendable to landlords’ proposed initiative to ban rent control that failed to attract enough valid signatures for the fall ballot, in addition, to his own stalled measure seeking to tweak the existing rent ordinance approved in March.

He is also up for re-election this November, along with Councilmember Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft. In addition to Mayor Trish Spencer, Daysog is viewed negatively by the renters group.

Meanwhile, a number of questions over how the city’s rent initiative will get its message out against the more nimble rent control effort is unclear. By law, the city’s campaign cannot be funded with taxpayers’ money. Like the voter outreach the city is doing for the Utility Modernization Act ballot measure, it can only educate the public about the initiative, not openly advocate for it.

That job will likely fall on landlords and funding from the powerful California Apartment Association, which vehemently opposes any form of rent control anywhere in the state.

In addition, sources say the city’s initiative is already polling poorly with Alameda voters. Such outcomes, though, might be attributive to a lack of knowledge in the community over the city’s measure, which only came to the forefront as a possible initiative within the last month.

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