Judge denies petition to remove Alameda ballot question

An Alameda County Superior Court judge denied a petition Thursday morning by former Alameda Councilmember Tony Daysog to remove a ballot question for a rent stabilization charter amendment slated to appear before voters this November.

Daysog argued the question, approved by the Alameda City Council last March, was “false, misleading, and partial to one side” and sought to replace it with one written by the proponents of the ballot measure.

The lawsuit filed by Daysog, who is a candidate for the Alameda City Council this fall, and Alameda resident Michael Gorman, also asserted the approved ballot question failed to sufficiently inform voters about the specifics of the existing rent stabilization ordinance (also known as Ordinance 3148). Landlords seek to enshrine the ordinance in the City Charter through the November initiative.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Kimberly E. Colwell disagreed. “The court finds that the omission of the four points describing Ordinance 3148 does not prevent voters from making an informed decision,” Colwell ruled. “The court finds that Petitioners have not met their burden to show the approved language is insufficient, misleading, or false, and defers to the language approved by the City Council.”

Wednesday’s preliminary decision was not contested by Daysog’s attorney, making it unlikely they will appeal the ruling.

In the meantime, the charter amendment ballot measure, along with question describing its intent, will appear on the Nov. 6. ballot.

Voters will simply be asked whether to place in the City Charter, the existing rent stabilization ordinance, which primarily requires landlords to petition the Alameda Rent Review Advisory Committee if they intend to raise a tenant’s rent above five percent annually.

Doing so, landlords and their advocates argue, prohibits the city council from making any changes to the ordinance without a vote of people through the initiative process. A majority of the City Council, while supportive of the ordinance, oppose the charter amendment initiative on the grounds it will hinder their ability to tweak the ordinance, at a moments notice, if needed.

Advertisements