As Californians vote early this year, they should be aware of the corporate landlords behind the No on Prop 21 campaign. They’re not only contributing millions to stop Prop 21, but they’re also calling the shots in a multi-million-dollar effort to protect their profits — no matter who suffers.
Prop 21 is the statewide ballot measure that puts limits on unfair, sky-high rent increases, reins in corporate landlord greed, and prevents homelessness. Top experts at USC, UCLA, and UC Berkeley agree that sensible rent limits are key for stabilizing California’s housing affordability crisis. It’s why U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, labor and civil rights icon Dolores Huerta, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, the California Democratic Party, the Los Angeles Times, and California’s housing justice movement have thrown their full support behind Prop 21.
But corporate landlords such as Blackstone Group, Essex Property Trust, and Equity Residential are banding together to kill Prop 21, shelling out millions to the No on Prop 21 campaign. To wit:
Billionaire landlords Stephen Schwarzman (CEO of Blackstone Group) and Geoffrey Palmer are using a shell committee to funnel money into the No on Prop 21 campaign, attempting to dodge the media spotlight and the ire of Californians suffering from the housing affordability crisis. They’re determined to keep charging unfair, sky-high rents so they can keep making billions off our backs. (Both are pictured above, with Schwarzman to the left.)
Sam Zell, nicknamed the “grave dancer,” is a billionaire and chairman of Equity Residential. Yet as Californians struggle through the COVID-19 pandemic and housing affordability crisis, Zell wants to maintain a rigged and broken housing market — and keep charging wildly inflated rents — that’s turned him into one of the richest people on the planet. Equity is one of the leading corporate landlords calling the shots for Big Real Estate’s No on Prop 21 campaign.
Essex Property Trust, helmed by CEO Mike Schall, is the top contributor to the No on 21 campaign. In addition, Essex Property Trust executive John Eudy is the co-chairman of a secretive “executive committee” that’s making the big decisions for the No on Prop 21 campaign, such as hiring controversial political consultant Steve Maviglio and approving misleading TV ads.
Schwarzman, Palmer, Zell, and Schall will do anything to stop Proposition 21. They’re known to be ruthless in business, and they’re acting the same way to defeat Prop 21. But Californians have a golden opportunity to finally rein in their greed and ruthlessness — by voting YES on Proposition 21.
Vote now. Vote Yes on 21. It’s a no-brainer!
Patrick Range McDonald is the award-winning advocacy journalist for Housing Is A Human Right.