Sacramentians Must Demand Rent Control !


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Building Boom:  Many new apartments on 16th Street Midtown

“Rent Control in Sacramento?”

Every day renters in the State of California are waking up to 30 day notices on their doors or in the mail notifying them of rent increases of 20% to 50%.  Landlords, aren’t making capital improvements to their properties, or facing major tax increases or fees.  Its simply greed. No where in California is rent increasing faster than the Capitol City.  In fact there are only two other cites in the nation where rents are increasing faster than Sacramento, Arlington Texas and Reno Nevada.

There is currently a shortage of housing and construction workers in the state.

Sacramento’s Mayor Darrell Steinberg says he has “significant concerns” about rent control, saying the city should focus more on finding money for affordable housing and giving tenants additional notice when rents increase. Steinberg said he isn’t outright dismissing rent control, but he’s worried about the “unintended consequences” of discouraging developers from building housing.   Steinberg said much of the issue stems from the fact that Sacramento “is not building enough housing.” “We need to change that and be very aggressive about it,” (sacbee)

The reality is,citizens need relief yesterday.   Locating funding for affordable housing could take years or decades.  High rental costs will only increase homelessness in the city effecting the quality of life for all Sacramentians.

Basics in Bold Print

As of July 2017, average rent for an apartment in Sacramento, CA is $1439 which is a 14.18% increase from last year when the average rent was $1235 , and a 0.14% increase from last month when the average rent was $1437. 

One bedroom apartments in Sacramento rent for $1275 a month on average (a 15.45% increase from last year) and two bedroom apartment rents average $1507 (a 13.27% increase from last year). (source Rent Jungle. Com)

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Wage Growth in Sacramento  5%

Minimum Wage in Sacramento $10.50

Minimum Monthly Income Required for a one bedroom Apartment in $3094.00 or $19.33 an hour.

Maximum Rent for an individual earning Minimum wage $693

(Source: https://www.zillow.com/rent-affordability-calculator/)

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Every night, more than 3,600 people are homeless in Sacramento County, a statistic that’s 30 percent higher than it was in 2015. (SacBee)

Many homeless individuals are employed .According to a 2002 national study by the Urban Institute, about 45 percent of homeless adults had worked in the past 30 days. About 3.5 million people experience some kind of homelessness every year, and about a quarter of them are employed at the time (National Coalition for the Homeless) 

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What is Rent Control?

Rent control is a special set of laws that particular cities adopt. It generally includes rent increase limits and eviction restrictions. Some cities’ rent controls require relocation assistance to be paid to tenants under certain circumstances, and interest on security deposits.

These laws do not apply to other cities, nor to every rental unit in the city. One of the most commonly misunderstood ideas by tenants is that they were under rent control, when they weren’t.

 Los Angeles passed rent control in 1978 amid cries from the landlords that rent control would prevent future apartment construction, so Los Angeles exempted any structure built after October, 1978 as a political compromise. Newer structures [built after 1978] in Los Angeles are not under rent control, at all.

Under the “Costa-Hawkins” law, when a tenant voluntarily leaves or is evicted for most reasons [ie, not 30-day notice, nor after change of a term, for that term], the landlord can raise the rent to ANY AMOUNT for the new tenant, whose rents are thereafter locked into the rent control limits [3% or whatever].  Any rental unit built after 2/1/95, as well as houses and condos, are not under rent restrictions.  Even where these rent restrictions do not apply, eviction protections do continue.

Two new additions to LA Rent Control are worth noting. Ordinance 175130 [3/5/03] now prohibits the landlord from changing terms of tenancy [other than legal rent increases and government required terms] without mutual agreement of the tenant. Ordinance 174501 prohibits landlords from raising the tenant’s portion of rent [eg, beyond the legal 3%] after terminating a rental assistance program, like Section 8; the landlord can get out of the program, but gives up all the assistance money if he does.

Another exclusion applies to single family dwellings: a rented house by itself on a lot is not under rent control, but a duplex or “two on a lot” houses would be under rent control [if built before 1979]. There are other exclusions like college dorms, motels, and hospitals.

Cities that have rent control provide call-in numbers where you can find out whether the area you live in has rent control and whether your unit is registered under that rent control.

    Normally, rent can be increased with a 30-day notice.  However, due to the current wave of rent hikes, effective January 1, 2001, newly revised Civil Code Section 827 requires a 60-day notice if the rent increase will make that year’s increases exceed 10%.  The idea is to give tenants the ability to adjust to gouging rent increases, but not to stop them. The calculation is a little weird; it doesn’t have to be a large rent increase at once, but just the total of increases over a year.  This new law will mostly affect the expensive rentals, which also tend to have proportionately much bigger hikes.  Also, it does not affect yearly leases, but only month-to-month [or shorter] tenancies. This law expires automatically in 2006, unless the Legislature extends the time or makes it permanent.

    For example, if last year in January you were paying $500, and the landlord already raised the rent $25 in July, an increase for more than $25 this January would require a 60-day notice, because the total of increases for the year would be more than $50, 10% of $500. If the increase total was 10% or less for the year, all you get is the 30-day notice. If the year’s rent increases already total 10% and the landlord then wants to increase rent by one dollar, it has to be by 60-day notice, to mitigate the impact.

    The new law also adds 5 days for mailed notices of change of terms of tenancy. A mailed 30-day notice is effective 35 days later; a mailed 60-day notice is effective 65 days later.

How Can We Get Rent Control?

   Rent control is really only necessary where the vacancy rate in the area is below about 5%, because at about that point, landlords don’t worry about having a vacancy by raising the rent or neglecting repairs, and you don’t have much of a choice when you look around. Consequently, rent control is a law passed by cities where the housing market is tight and rents are going up just because landlords are in control of a necessity of life that is in short supply.  Rent control is not likely going to be a state law, because the problem is local.

   There are two ways to get rent control. The easiest but weakest is for your City Council to enact it, as Los Angeles did. The hardest but strongest is where tenants organize and put rent control on the ballot by getting petition signatures [and then the voters approve it], like Santa Monica did. Both of these require tenant voting clout, that a large number of tenants are registered to vote, do vote in the local election, and all vote together. If the City Council enacts it, it would be an ordinance [city law], but the voters can make it a Charter Amendment [a city constitutional change, more powerful].

    Your first step would be to go to the City Council meeting, and during the Oral Presentation portion [or whatever public input is called there], you tell them about the problem and ask if they are considering enacting rent control [like Beverly Hills, Palm Springs, San Francisco, Santa Monica, and other high class towns have], or at least Just Cause Eviction, like Glendale [a notoriously conservative town] has. You want to mention these towns in your presentation, since their first knee-jerk reaction is that “rent control destroys cities,” but they can hardly say that about those cities.

    They say whatever publicly, but you then make an appointment with them individually to see where they personally stand and how far they would go. You might find that Just Cause Eviction is not objectionable, and that they might even agree with paying relocation assistance for tenants of buildings being demolished or going through major rehabilitation or termite fumigation. Avoid being confrontational with them. They don’t want to offend the landlord contributors to their campaigns, but may be sympathetic enough to put their political toe into the water. If you get a majority of them to privately approve of something, one of them has to introduce the idea in public discussion.

   If the City Council is going to enact something, they want to be heroes for doing it, even if it’s short of rent control. While they are getting ready to take that step, you’ll want to be in touch with the local newspaper to talk about your plan to organize tenants for better legal protections. Once you’re in the news, other tenants will start to contact you, and you can form a group that can all go the City Council and amplify what you have said. This public clamor then triggers the City Council’s response to take action, and you’re on your way.  The group thanks the City Council for their concern and they get to see the public reaction to that.  If it’s a good reaction, they are encouraged to do more.

   Meanwhile, you do need to find other tenants who are both motivated to do something by their own situation and willing to put in some time to do it. Senior groups, somereligious institutions, teachers, firemen, labor unions, the local Democratic Club or similar liberal group, some liberal organizations, and a lot of local business owners, can help in various ways to get the word out and help you form a political group. There are a lot of talkers, but few doers, so you want to get volunteers into project-based committees, which naturally filter out the talkers. Here’s a helpful explanation for the new people.

   If you have to get rent control by petition, you might as well have the strongest possible law, since the landlords are not going to fight you any less if the law is weak. They fight dirty all the way, and always have. Election fraud is their main tool. Propaganda, false information, and misleading arguments are all you hear from them. They have the money to buy millions in political advertising, while you’ll be lucky to get out one mailer to the voters.  They will have celebrities and public figures telling the public that Rent Control will bring crime to your city, turn it into a slum, drive down their property values, steal from the landlords, prevent the landlords from being able to pay for repairs, run up millions in taxpayer expenses, and force landlords to evict all their tenants. Here’s some common rent control myths. None of these are true, of course, but unquestioning voters will be persuaded.  On your side, you have public controversy, newsworthiness, talk shows, newspaper stories, TV coverage, and pathetic stories about landlord abuses of vulnerable tenants. The political battle is not over the wording of the law, at all, but over emotional and philosophical issues in general.

   The technical wording of the rent control law requires a lawyer to write. It needs to be constitutional, not prevented by State laws, cover all the loopholes, and effectively create the kinds of protection you want. It has to be clear and organized, so that it can be easily followed and doesn’t end up in court for years. When it is circulated for signatures, there are specific laws that must be followed as to procedure, format, timing, and public information, and you should have a lawyer’s help to make sure that those things are done. This website CAN provide some of that assistance, but as a practical matter, local legal advice is necessary. For a start, here is a draft of a rent control law that you might want to circulate by petition in your city. It can be modified to some extent, easily, but major changes would require a re-drafting because so many things are interconnected within it. [Rent Control Draft]

   Tenant voter registration is an important part of this process. Tenants are so used to not having a say, not having their views considered, not having any power to change their lives, that voting seems inconsistent with how they’ve come to view themselves. Only about 5% of tenants actually vote in local elections. Tenants are truly a politically disenfranchised majority. Landlords are only 2% of the population, but seem to run things, because they leverage their money and power. A 10% tenant voter turnout could change the history of politics in your town. Politicians would stop saying they’re against rent control, and start expressing concern for the abused tenants who need their help. It’s a numbers game, to be sure.

   If you are really sincere about wanting to take action, there are groups like ACORN that will help, for a percentage of your donations. There may already be a tenant group formed in your town, which the local reporters or city clerk might know about, and you can join them. You aren’t the only one thinking like this. (source: http://www.caltenantlaw.com/rent-control/)

In San Francisco:Annual Allowable Rent Increase March 1, 2017 – February 28, 2018 = 2.2%  Most tenants are covered by rent control. This means rents can only be raised by certain amounts per year and the tenant can only be evicted for “just causes.” In addition, some rental units have restrictions on how much the landlord can charge the new tenant due to previous evictions. Tenants who do not have rent control can have their rent increased by any amount at any time with a proper written notice.

Rent control is administered by the San Francisco Rent Board. The Rent Board website has extensive information and you can download the San Francisco Rent Ordinance and Rent Board Rules and Regulations or come to our counseling clinic for more information.One of the more unjust parts of rent control is the capital improvement passthrough. Capital improvements are improvements for the building, the landlord’s investment, which tenants mostly pay for through a passthrough. Not only can the landlord get the tenants to pay for increasing the value of his or her investment, the landlord can then write the cost of the improvements off in their taxes. Capital improvements are things like new windows, a new roof, painting of the exterior of the building,  and other similar improvements to the property which add substantially to the life or value of the property as opposed to routine maintenance. Landlords must complete the work, petition the Rent Board and win approval of the rent increase before the cost can be passed on. Tenants can contest the increases at the hearing on certain grounds, like that the work was never done, or was not necessary, or was done to gentrify the building, but it is difficult to stop such a pass through in its entirety. (Source; https://www.sftu.org/rentcontrol/)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Unstable foundation: Union leader says he was fired for starting investigation into Sacramento public housing agency


Jim Landberg, president of Local 146 Sacramento County California Employees SHRA, says the public housing agency fired him from his maintenance position after he started a union investigation into SHRA’s practices. PHOTO BY SCOTT THOMAS ANDERSON

Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency faces new retaliation claims, tenant safety concerns

By Scott Thomas Anderson /Sacramento News and Review 

Weeks after a Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency employee claimed she was terminated for whistleblowing, another longtime agency employee is stepping forward with the same accusation.

In June, Laura Cedidla said that SHRA, which controls all public housing in the city and county, fired her for reporting safety threats to tenants and employees. Cedidla shared her concerns with the Sacramento County grand jury, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration and her union, Local 146 Sacramento County California Employees SHRA.

Now, Jim Landberg, president of Local 146 and a former maintenance specialist for SHRA, says he was fired for launching a union investigation into Cedidla’s claims.

Testimony about conditions at SHRA properties was expected two weeks ago in a civil court case involving Cedidla. Residents at three SHRA complexes told SN&R last month that Cedidla was the most competent and responsive SHRA employee they’d encountered. Nevertheless, after Cedidla began speaking out about problems she perceived with SHRA management—ranging from neglected bedbug infestations to the handling of federal documents—management accused the seven-year employee of behaving threateningly toward other employees. In particular, SHRA interpreted a doodle she made during a staff meeting as a bomb threat. The agency filed a restraining order against Cedidla in March and started a termination process.

For the rest of the story Click the Link Below

https://www.newsreview.com/sacramento/unstable-foundation-union-leader-says/content?oid=24673415

 

 

Fresh Not Frozen: For Friday May 5th


“Cousin What”

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Katy Perry in a Masion Margiela by John Galliano at Tuesday’s Met Ball the annual fundraising gala for the benefit of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York City.

“Coconut Pie Theater”

After smacking Former Mayor Kevin Johnson with a Safeway Coconut Creme Pie and being smacked down by the mayor.  Pie Activist Sean Thompson is getting his day in court.  His attorney wants a show.  News reports indicate she wants the former Mayor and his wife Michelle Rhee to appear on this open and shut case.   If he hit an old lady with a pie, she’d kick his ass too..     News at eleven.

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How Sweet, Just Before Rating Sweeps

Image result for Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski

It’s officially official  MSNBC’s  “Morning Joe” co hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzenzinki are engaged  It’s a mixed marriage she’s a brunette and he’s a Republican.  The location of the marriage will be determined by the spring ratings. It will be extravagant affair or an intimate gathering at the Red Roof Inn.

Na Na Na-Na Na Na-hey hey Good Bye” 

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Sang by the Democrats in the chamber to the Republicans after Obamacare was finally repealed.  It took several months to draft Obamacare, the GOP came up with a plan in 30 minutes in Crayon.  45’s Pepsodent Smile was never so bright.  Paul Ryan not as bright and some of the members facing re-election in 2018 cut up their Macy’s cards.

92 & Flooded

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Ninty + in Sacramento and Discovery Park is still underwater and there is still a lot of snow in the Sierra’s .    Two Words    “Melt Slow”

Your Standing on My Coat

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One More from the Met Ball.  Priyanka Chopra in a Ralph Lauren.   Can you see her on he “Meadowview” Light Rail, telling passengers, “your standing on my coat!”

CityFella

The “Real”City People of Sacramento


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He was there to gives God’s message. He talked about Hell and women submitting to men and bondage (not what you think).  He said girls should submit to men so they can grow up to have little babies and that gay people were bad.

He chose to say all of these things at the Women’s March in Sacramento yesterday. A place where everyone was welcome!

CityFella

Spanking the Demanding Customer


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photo: Google

Tantrums, Threats, and Violence:  For a free drink

A Career of Bad Behavior

There are some people who believe they’ll get better service, upgrades, if they are demanding.      Many of these people believe loud and obnoxious, is an effective tool in getting what you want!

The prize is can range  from a free drink or a free vacation.   A lot of these people have made a career of bad behavior. It doesn’t matter if they create an environment that makes others uncomfortable, it doesn’t matter if they’ve embarrassed friends and family, its all about the prize.

One well heeled couple are known in the Sacramento Area restaurants for demanding free meals. Their goal is to never pay for a meal.  If their demands aren’t met ,they will call or write the corporate headquarters demanding full reimbursement AND a coupon or credit towards  future meals.    Big chain or small restaurants, they will threaten the owner  with poor reviews on yelp and other areas of social media.  One restaurant chain has banned them from all their restaurants in the region.

One couple harassed customers outside the restaurant, telling potential diners they were refused a refund after one of them found a roach in her pasta.  The story: After nearly finishing his meal, the diner complained to the server his food had a funny taste and he didn’t want to pay for his meal and his companions meal.  The police were called and the diner reluctantly paid.   After the police left, they started talking to customers as they entered the restaurant.    Again, the owners called the police. The coupled returned the next day .

And its not limited to restaurants, hotels, they attack or abuse other businesses.

Some people have brought their own insects to hotel demanding a full refund and  then demanding the hotel return the insect to them so they could show the offending insect to their attorney.

Seasoned professionals can often recognize the abusers its tone, a directness.   These individuals are often successful because its easier to right giving them something to leave.  For some major chains.  There are financial penalties to management if the case isn’t closed in quickly .

Some business are striking back.  Some restaurants are invoking “Their right to refuse service”  Hotels, Rental Car Companies and Airlines are telling some of their reward customers being told no thank you.

One customer refused to accept No and his case  went all the way to the Supreme Court.

In 2008,  Rabbi Binyomin Ginsberg, a Platinum elite member of Northwest (merged with Delta Airlines) Airlines frequent fryer account was canceled because they believed  Rabbi Ginsberg complained too much.  They said he abused the system by complained too much (more than 24 times in a six month period)  He complained about delayed baggage and intentionally booking himself on full flights in the hopes of getting lucrative bump opportunities.   (To retain reward/frequent travelers-customers are often compensated in the form of points/miles )

Rabbi Ginsberg believed the move was an effort by Northwest to purge its expensive frequent flyer program before proceeding with its merger with Delta. The case was fought at the state level, in federal circuit court, at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and finally wound its way to the Supreme Court who ruled that  an airline had the right to dump a frequent flier who complained too much.

One tool many companies used is a profile that follows the member from store to store city to city.  In the travel industry, locations are alerted if there is a pattern of behavior and they are advised not to compensate the abuser.

Spanking an Abusive Customer

Many customers abuse for sport. Yelling screaming tantrums that may include throwing items off desks.   Its not a single event because they have been rewarded after these events.  For a lot of them tears, screaming, threats, represents  bonus points, empathy doesn’t exist. One angry customer berated a server for 10 minutes leaving her in tears. He later blamed the manager for hiring such an incompetent employee.

At one rental car agency at an airport location a customer insulted the rental representative bring her to tears.  A manager was called and refused to rent him a car.  The angry customer went to the rental car company next door and they said they were out of cars.  As the frustrated customer was at the counter, one of the representative was calling the other agencies with a full description of the gentleman.   The gentleman took alternative transportation to the city.

Two thousand years ago ,I bused tables in a restaurant at a large hotel in San Francisco.  There was a regular guest of the hotel who was notoriously abusive to the staff, if the supervisor wasn’t around we personally handled her food.

The Ultimate Revenge

From 1994 to 1999 Ford imported a car from Korea called the Aspire.  It was a horrible vehicle. Those of us who work at a major rental car company often chose to upgrade a customer then to give them this unreliable car.    However they would save the Aspire for one special customer, not because he requested the car, it was simply because he was an ass.

Every Friday, it was the same, he would book an subcompact car at the downtown location  arriving just before closing.   Hoping to get a upgrade , when he didn’t get the upgrade, he would remind the agent how long he has been a customer, and owed him for his loyalty. What he didn’t know, if he were nicer and simply asked for an upgrade he would likely get one.

The gentlemen was well known in the office. In a fit of anger he narrowly hit one of the service agents who delivered his car.  He threaten two of the managers, and even yelled at the custodian.   Every one knew that Ford Aspire belonged to Mr. W****. They also knew his routine. He would drive to the San Francisco airport and tell them the car was defective and demanded to be upgraded for his inconvenience.  He seem to have a negative fan base there as well and the staff at airport made sure have an Aspire ready for him between 10 and midnight.  After returning a with Chevy Corsica a call as made to the Oakland and San Jose Airport locations.  By winter the customer stopped patronizing our office.

Rarely does a company go to such  lengths to rid themselves of a customer. Within reason, its easier to give an inch, allow the customer a win, instead of fighting. However, many of us felt, vindicated.  This was the one! We spanked him good!

When the service is Bad!

There are many instances when the service is truly horrible.  Before having an aneurysm take a breath.  Screaming may get their attention but you may not get what you want, after all they are human.     Before calling a manager or supervisor. Again take a breath. Speak to the employee he or she may have the ability to resolve some customer service issues.  This may also reduce your wait time as there are only a limited number of supervisors or managers on .   If she is unable to resolve the issue, she can help facilitate for you or refer you the proper department within the company. the calmer you are, the more she is able or willing to fully help you.

What if they are unwilling to help you or their solutions are unsatisfactory? 

Take a breath!  Its now about perspective.   While you would like a immediate resolution, the reality is , it simply may not happen today.   I’ve witnessed individuals miss flights, concerts, and seen individuals arrested due to principal!

Take a BREATH!

Remember, like you they’re human.  If voices are raised for an extended time or there are threats the police will be called.

The Pen is much more effective than the tongue”

Take a breath!   Take out a pen and write down date and time you were in the business  dates and time and the names (last names are not necessary) of the employee you came in contact with.      Make copies of all pertinent documents(receipts, coupons etc)  Ask for a telephone number or the address of the company headquarters. Write a concise letter. (not war and peace) to the company.   Include a daytime number as they may need additional information.

If the issue is under $100, send the letter by regular mail.   If it is considerably more , send it via express mail or a registered letter requiring a receipt.

Most businesses take customer service issue seriously, a letter, especially one sent via express mail will get their attention.

Many decades ago, I visited an Sacramento area Wal Mart, the children clothes was reduced to $3.  Thinking it was mispriced I asked someone to verify the price.  The department manager confirmed.  The cashier refused to honor the price.  Even in the presence of the department manager.  I lost it, after waiting 30 minutes for a manager who never came, the cashier agreed to honor the charges.     Arriving home, I wrote Wal Mart. Three weeks later Wal Mart refunded all the charges.  They cared.

Many large companies have a file on the abusers.

CityFella