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General News    H3'ed 2/8/12

21 CA Dems Join GOP & Vote Against Low-Income/Sr Mobile Home Owners & Rent Control

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Much too many times Democratic elected officials have let us down, voting on key issues like there were Republicans. This is nowhere truer than in the California Legislature. Away from media coverage in Sacramento where the influence of lobbyists and campaign contributors are greater than ever, Democrats all too often cast votes against the 99% and in flavor of the 1%. Those of us fighting for renters' rights and for affordable housing have been consistently disappointed by the actions of state legislators over the years.

A recent example of this is AB 317, which revises the conditions and terms of tenancy in a mobile home park for a tenant to receive rent control protections. The bill is being advanced by Democratic State Assembly Majority Leader Charles M. Calderon who represents portions of

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Downey, Whittier, East La Mirada, East Los Angeles, Hacienda Heights, Industry, Montebello, Pico Rivera and Rowland Heights.

Calderon has become the mobile home park owners' point person in their quest to eliminate the over 100 local rent control laws throughout California that protects mobile home owners.

Two year ago, Calderon unsuccessfully sponsored  AB 761, which would have extended Costa-Hawkins mandated vacancy decontrol to all of the state's mobile home rent control laws. Mobile park owners would have been able to raise rents on mobile home spaces without limits when a mobile home is sold to a new owner. This would have grave consequences for mobile home owners who own the mobile home, but rent the space it sits on. It would have likely wiped out the investments of senior and low-income mobile home owners by instantly de-valuing the worth of their mobile home coaches.

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Assembly Majority Leader Charles M. Calderon

The new attack on senior and low-income mobile home owners in the form of Calderon's AB 317, would change the rules for determining when a mobile home is considered a vacation home and, thus, would be exempt from rent control protections. Under AB 317, instead of defining a home as one's "principle" place of residence to receive protection, which is the standard rules used for tax purposes, the bill would limit protections to residents "sole" place of residence. This means if someone owned any other property or had interest in any other property they would be exempt from rent control So, for example, if someone was left a home by their deceased parents, or if it's a shared ownership with their siblings, or they had property in their name that their kids were living in it, they would forfeit their protections against rent gouging and unjust evictions.

Incredibility, this unfair bill passed the state Assembly by a 44 to 22 vote with 14 not voting. Almost half the votes came from Democrats. Nineteen Democrats joined Assembly Member Charles Calderon and Assembly Speaker John Perez (Los Angeles), and with all but four Republicans in supporting AB 317. The bill would not have passed if it were not for the support of all these Democrats.

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Voting Against Rent Control and the Rights of Tenants

In addition to Perez and Calderon, listed here are the other Democrats that turned their backs on senior and low-income mobile home owners:

Toni Atkins (San Diego), Jim Beall (San Jose), Marty Block (Lemon Grove), Steven Bradford (Inglewood), Joan Buchanan (San Ramon), Nora Campos (San Jose), Wilmer Amina Carter (Rialto), Mike Eng (Alhambra), Mike Gatto (L.A., who is considering running for L.A. Council District 13), Richard Gordon (Los Altos), Isadore Hall (Rancho Dominguez), Roger Herna'ndez (West Covina), Ricardo Lara (South Gate), Fiona Ma (San Francisco), Tony Mendoza (Democrat), Richard Pan (Sacramento), Henry Perea (Fresno), Jose Solorio (Anaheim), Norma Torres (Chino),

Assembly Members Standing in Support of Rent Control and Tenants' Rights

At the same time there were Assembly Members who held firm to their principled stand in support of tenants'/mobile home owners rights and

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affordable housing, and should be thanked. They are:

Luis Alejo (Salinas), Michael Allen (Santa Rosa), Tom Ammiano (San Francisco), Bob Blumenfield (Van Nuys), Susan Bonilla (Concord) Julia Brownley (Santa Monica), Gil Cedillo (L.A.), Wesley Chesbro (Santa Rosa), Mike Feuer (L.A.), Warren Furutani (San Pedro), Mary Hayashi (Hayward), Jerry Hill (San Mateo), Alyson Huber (Lodi), Jared Huffman (San Rafael), William Monning (Santa Cruz), Anthony Portantino (Pasadena), Nancy Skinner (Oakland), Sandree Swanson (Oakland), Bob Wieckowski (Fremont), Das Williams (Santa Barbara), Mariko Yamada (Vacaville).

Assembly Members Not Voting

In situations like this not voting at all or abstaining is the equivalent to a No vote. And, while we appreciate these members withholding their vote from undermining rent control, it clearly is not the same as those member who had the courage to take a firm principled stand against this attempt to destroy or weaken rent control protections. Those Assembly Democrats not voting were:

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Larry Gross is the Executive Director of the Coalition for Economic Survival (CES). He has been with CES for 42 years, since its inception in 1973. CES is a grassroots, multi-racial, multi-ethnic tenants' rights organization serving low and (more...)

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