Former Alameda Councilmember Tony Daysog has filed a complaint in Alameda County Superior Court against the city alleging a ballot question for the rent stabilization charter amendment measure to be decided by voters this November is biased, and is asking for an injunction to block it from appearing on the ballot.
“Without this Court’s prompt intervention, the democratic process will be thwarted and the City will be allowed to get away with sabotaging a citizen-initiate ballot measure that it does not like,” according to the complaint filed on June 5 by Daysog and Alameda resident Michael Gorman.
“…the City of Alameda and its City Council have decided to present the Measure to the voters in an unbalanced and biased manner–putting the City’s thumb on the proverbial scale against the Measure–instead of complying with the law and providing a fair and balanced ballot question to the voters.”
Daysog, who has previously served a total of 14 years as an Alameda councilmember, is a confirmed candidate for two open seats on the council this fall. Daysog did not respond to an email asking for further comment.
The complaint urges the Alameda County Superior Court to act quickly as an Aug. 24 deadline looms for the printing of the voter information pamphlet.
The legal complaint centers on Daysog and Gorman’s contention that a ballot question composed by the city last March is “biased and misleading.” Instead, they favor ballot question language similar to Measure L, the landlords-backed ballot measure approved by voters in November 2016 that reaffirmed the council’s original rent stabilization ordinance.
In addition, knowledge they say is pertinent to educating voters about the rent ordinance at the center the charter amendment was wrongfully omitted by the council.
If approved this fall, the ballot measure would be enshrined in the City Charter and will also prevent any future council from making changes to the amendment. Instead, revisions will require voter approval–a fact clearly delineated in the council-approved ballot question.
The rent ordinance approved by the council in early 2016 primarily limits annual rent increases to five percent. Any percentage above the threshold requires landlords to petition the city’s Rent Review Advisory Committee.
Although a majority of the current council has voiced support for the rent stabilization ordinance, four of its five members (Mayor Trish Herrera Spencer excluded), voted last week to sign a ballot argument against the charter amendment, citing a fundamental need to be able to make changes to the ordinance at a moment’s notice.
Note: For the sake of clarity, a change was made to reflect Daysog’s time on the Alameda City Council from terms in office to years served.