East Bay renters advocates gather last month
in Hayward.

After nearly two years of activism, Alameda’s more stringent rent control initiative performed miserably at the polls Tuesday night.

Island voters rejected Measure M1, which would have limited annual rent increases to a percentage of the Consumer Price Index, while also indicating support for the rival Measure L1.

Nearly two-thirds of Alameda opposed Measure M1, while over 55 percent supported Measure L1.

Rumors of Measure M1’s demise had been percolating among union and local public officials during the last week of campaign, but the depth of its opposition was somewhat surprising.

Meanwhile, rent control measures in Richmond, Mountain View, and Oakland, appear on their way to approval. However, like Alameda, rent control is failing in San Mateo and Burlingame.

Yet, in some ways, Tuesday’s election became a referendum on the Alameda City Council’s rent stabilization ordinance passed in March. Measure L1 was based on the ordinance. Alameda’s support for Measure L1, however, does not represent any demonstrative change to the status quo regarding the regulation of rising rents.

Members of the Alameda Renters Coalition, the group largely responsible for bringing the issue of sky-rocketing rent increases to the forefront of the city’s political dialogue, voiced disappointment over Tuesday night’s results.

“We fought a good fight, but lost,” said Eric Strimling, a member of the Alameda Renters Coalition. “Being outspent by 20-to-1 was simply too difficult to over come. Their strategy was to to confuse the electorate and it succeeded.” The California Apartment Association and a local landlords group spent roughly $750,000 to defeat Measure M1.

But the issue of rent control in Alameda may not be done just yet. The two city council candidates most sympathetic to the renters’ cause–Councilmember Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft and Malia Vella–both won Tuesday night. During the campaign, both expressed a willingness to revisit the rent stabilization ordinance in order to bolster its restrictions.

Measure L1 – Alameda
City Council rent control measure
Precincts reporting 100%…..VOTES….PCT
YES……………………. 11954  55.61%
NO…………………….   9544  44.39% 

Measure M1 – Alameda
Renters’ backed rent control measure
Precincts reporting 100%…..VOTES….PCT
NO…………………….. 14195  66.42%
YES……………………   7178  33.58%