Proposition 21! – California Rent Control Ballot Measure Now Heads to Voters as Campaign Rolls Out 200+ Endorsements

ahfweb Press Release

LOS ANGELES (June 26, 2020)  Housing justice advocates and backers of the Rental Affordability Act (RAA), a November 2020 state ballot initiative that will allow for the expansion of rent control throughout California, today welcomed news from California Secretary of State Alex Padilla’s office that it has formally assigned an official number for the ballot initiative, which will now be known as Proposition 21.

The news comes as the Prop. 21 campaign gains steam, adding key endorsements from federal and state elected officials; local city councils; and social, housing, and racial justice organizations. The measure has also received the endorsement of the Reverend Al Sharpton and the National Action Network, as well as the endorsements of Senator Bernie Sanders, labor and civil rights icon Dolores HuertaCongresswomen Maxine Waters and Barbara Lee, California Senate Pro Tempore Emeritus and L.A. City Councilman-elect Kevin de León (CD-14), and a suite of California’s tenant advocacy and social justice organizations, including the statewide Housing Now! California coalition (which consists of over 100 labor and housing justice organizations), the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), the Urban League of Los Angelesand the Eviction Defense Network (EDN), as well as major labor unions, such as UNITE HERE Local 11. The Campaign has also locked-in the endorsements of every elected rent control board member in the state. (See Full List Below)

“Today’s announcement marks the end of the long on-ramp to the November election and the fight for housing justice. Our initiative is more urgent than ever, as millions of renters face the worst economy in this country for a century. We cannot afford to carry on as we have to address our deteriorating housing crisis,” said René Christian Moya, campaign director of the Rental Affordability Act campaign. “Onward with Prop. 21!”

The measure first qualified for placement on the November California ballot in early February after the backers submitted over one-million voter signatures in support of the measure. Signatures of 623,212 California voters were needed to qualify the measure. (For random sample qualification, the number was 685,534 signatures). 

“Proposition 21 is an important way for California voters to weigh in and really help address the twin crises of housing affordability and homelessness in California,” said Cynthia Davis, MPH, one of the five (5) citizen proponents of the ballot measure and co-chair of AHF’s Board of Directors. “Even before the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc with the economy, California’s housing affordability was among the worst in the nation. The Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act of 1995—which passed in Sacramento by just one vote—currently limits rent control across the state. Prop. 21 will amend the misguided law to allow for wider implementation of rent control—something I believe is key way to help keep people in stable, affordable housing and to prevent more Californians from falling into homelessness.”

The rent control ballot measure has gained increasing urgency during the COVID-19 pandemic, as millions of Californians already struggling with the state’s high housing costs have now lost work and income in the nation’s shuttered economy. 

California is home to one in four homeless people in the United States. Earlier this month, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) released its 2020 Los Angeles homeless count—which took place in January before the coronavirus pandemic wreaked medical, social, and economic havoc across the region. The report showed a double-digit percentage increase: up 13% in Los Angeles County to 66,433 individuals despite hundreds of millions spent by city and county officials. In the City of Los Angeles, the count jumped 14% to 41,290 homeless individuals living unsheltered or on the streets.

The Rental Affordability Act

When passed, The Rental Affordability Act will remove current state law restrictions, giving cities and counties the power to implement and expand rent control policies that limit how much rents can increase each year. It would allow local communities to:

  • Expand rent control to more buildings while exempting newly constructed buildings
  • Exempts Single-Family homeowners who own up to two homes
  • Allow limits on rent increases when a new renter moves in

Housing Is A Human Right (HHR) is the housing advocacy division of AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), and the leading sponsor of the RAA. The full slate of endorsements includes:

Federal Leaders

Senator Bernie Sanders

Congresswoman Maxine Waters

Congresswoman Barbara Lee

State Leaders

Kevin de León, CA Senate Pro Tempore Emeritus

Chairman of the California State Board of Equalization Tony Vazquez

State Senator María Elena Durazo

State Senator Ben Allen

State Assembly Member Rob Bonta

State Assembly Member Miguel Santiago

State Assembly Member Wendy Carrillo

Dolores Huerta

Cities and Local City Leaders

City of West Hollywood

City of Santa Monica

City of West Hollywood Mayor Lindsey Horvath

City of Santa Monica Mayor Kevin McKeown

Alameda City Council Member Jim Oddie

Antioch Unified School District Board Member Debra Vinson

Los Angeles City Council Member David Ryu

Los Angeles City Council Member Herb Wesson

Los Angeles City Council Member Mike Bonin

Los Angeles City Council Member Paul Koretz

Los Angeles Unified School District Board Member Jackie Goldberg

Oakland City Council Member Dan Kalb

Riverside Community College Board of Trustees Jose Alcala

Santa Monica City Council Member Sue Himmelrich

Local Rent Stabilization Board Members

Berkeley Rent Board Chair Paola Laverde

Berkeley Rent Board Vice-Chair Leah Simon-Weisberg

Berkeley Rent Board Member Alejandro Soto-Vigil

Berkeley Rent Board Member Igor Tregub

Berkeley Rent Board Member James Chang

Berkeley Rent Board Member John Selawsky

Berkeley Rent Board Member Mari Mendonca

Berkeley Rent Board Member Maria Poblet

Berkeley Rent Board Member Soli Alpert

Santa Monica Rent Board Chair Nicole Phillis

Santa Monica Rent Board Vice-Chair Naomi Sultan

Santa Monica Rent Board Member Anastasia Foster

Santa Monica Rent Board Member Caroline Torosis

Santa Monica Rent Board Member Steve Duron

Leading Statewide Labor and Advocacy Organizations

UNITE HERE Local 11

UAW Local 2865

Our Revolution

ACCE Action

AIDS Healthcare Foundation

Courage California

Dolores Huerta Foundation

Housing Now! California

Urban League of Los Angeles

Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE)

Eviction Defense Network

Los Angeles Tenants Union (LATU)

Democratic Socialists of America – Los Angeles

Inquilinos Unidos

LA Voice

Santa Monicans for Renters Rights (SMRR)

Southern CA Americans for Democratic Action

Black Skeptics Los Angeles

Brown Beret National Organization (BBNO)

Burbank Tenants’ Rights Committee

Burrito Project L.A.

California Democratic Party’s Renters Caucus

CALOR (AIDS Service Organization)

Chinatown Community for Equitable Development (CCED)

Ground Game Los Angeles

Healthy Housing Foundation

HEART LA (Housing Equality & Advocacy Resource Team)

Helping Hands of USA

Impulse Group

Los Angeles Center for Community Law and Action (LACCLA)

National Lawyers Guild – Los Angeles

Peninsula for Everyone

Pomona Economic Opportunity Center

Pomona United for Stable Housing (PUSH)

Progressive Democrats of the Santa Monica Mountains

Reed For Hope Foundation

San Diego Tenants United

San Francisco Berniecrats

Small Property Owners for Reasonable Controls – Long Beach

Union de Vecinos

WORLD (Women Organized to Respond to Life-Threatening Diseases)

            Democratic Party Leaders

DNC Members/ Members-Elect:

Ada Briceno

Christine Pelosi

Derek Devermont

Carolyn Fowler

Sean Dugar

Malehat Rafeiei

Garry Shay

Laurence Zakson

Susie Shannon

Mary Ellen Early

Steven Alari

Otto Lee

Becca Doten

Andrew Lachman

Will Rodriguez-Kennedy

Kerman Maddox

Keith Umemoto

CDP Caucus Chairs:

Taisha Brown – African American Caucus

Carlos Alcala, Chicano Latino Caucus

Mahmoud Zahriya – Arab American Caucus

Christine Pelosi – Women’s Caucus

Ruth Carter – Senior Caucus

Lester Aponte – LGBT Caucus

Tiffany Wood – LGBT Caucus

Hene Kelly – Disabilities Caucus

Amar Shergill – Progressive Caucus

Ray Bishop – Business and Professions Caucus

Thom O’Shaughnessy – Irish American Caucus

Jillynn Molina-Williams – Veterans Caucus

Brigette Hunley – Computer and Internet Caucus

Regional Directors:

Sergio Carrillo

Deborah Cunningham-Skurnik

Rocky Fernandez

Humberto Gomez

Eric Sunderland

Diana Love

Larry Gross

Hene Kelly

Michelle Krug

William Monroe

Maha Rizvi

Omar Torres

Amy Champ (Past RD)

Assembly District Representatives:

Wendy Bloom

Sean Dugar

Amy Hines-Shaikh

Susana Williams

Cary Brown

Sue Himmelrich

Michelle Pariset

Steveonna Evans

Ana Gonzalez

Nick Andre

Prameela Bartholomeusz

Elizabeth Talbott

Amar Shergill

Tom Camarella

Francisco Ramos

Ruth Lopez

Jonathan Aboud

County Central Committee and CDP Committee Representatives:

David Campos – San Francisco County Chair

Ada Briceno – Orange County Chair

Will Rodriguez-Kennedy – San Diego County

Deb Baumann – Lake County Chair

Chris Robles – San Bernardino Chair 

Brigette Hunley – Solano County Chair

Tisa Rodriguez, Riverside County Chair

Rosemary Wren, San Luis Obispo Chair

Michael Barnett

Andy Kelley

Michael Nye

Debra Baumann

Bobbie Jean Anderson

Victor Castellano

Marcella Cortez

George Bates

Jordan Eldrige

Tristan Brown

Gabriel Haaland

Jeff Daar

Stacy Fortner

Stephen Gale

Leah Herzberg

Deana Igelsrud

Ron Lozano

Dorothy Reik

Cara Robin

Patt Sanders

Dotty Lemiuex

Ted Perle

Mike Curran

Wendy Eccles

Cody Petterson

David Campos

Petra De Jesus

James Johnson

Shane Parmely

Jimmie Woods-Gray

Denise Penn

Caro Avanessian

Jonathan Lyens

Lanny Swerdlow

Royce Kelley

Elizabeth “Nikki” Linnerman

Bob Nelson 

Andrea Reyna

Julie Waters

Debra Vinson

Barbara Calhoun

Richard Matthews

Iyad Afalqa

Kevin Sabellico

Lisa Andres

Ted Perle

Drexel Heard II

Mary Rose Ortega

Shannon Ross

Jerilyn Stapleton

Jane Wishon

Barbara Leary

Ralph Miller

Other Individuals

Reverend Al Sharpton

The Rental Affordability Act is sponsored by Homeowners & Tenants United, with significant funding by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. To learn more go to https://www.rentcontrolnow.org/ and https://www.housinghumanright.org/