Landlord Attack on Rent Control Fails to Qualify for 2018 Ballot Mountain View Rent Control Measure Survives Deceptive Repeal Campaign

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The real-estate industry-backed effort to undermine Mountain View rent control failed to gather enough signatures to qualify for the November 2018 ballot. The so-called “Mountain View Homeowner, Renter, and Taxpayer Protection Initiative” would have placed a poison pill in the 2016 Community Stabilization and Fair Rent Act, also known as Measure V, effectively eliminating the applicability of rent control to tenants across the city.

Tenants Together supported the effort to pass Measure V in 2016. This win, led by the Mountain View Tenants’ Coalition (MVTC) and the Day Worker Center of Mountain View, was an inspiration to renters around the state who sought to similarly pass rent control measures despite little funding and mostly volunteer and community organizing. For this effort to fight the rent control repeal, MVTC joined up with the Mountain View Mobile Home Alliance and the Silicon Valley Democratic Socialists of America as well.

Signature gatherers for the California Apartment Association-supported “sneaky repeal” reported that they were being offered an unprecedented $40 per signature. This affected the ability of less well-funded ballot campaigns to gather signatures for local measures as far afield as San Francisco. An MVTC press release on Tuesday wrote, “Landlord campaigns to overturn rent control have faced widespread allegations of misconduct during signature gathering campaigns across the state in recent years. Signature gathering drives backed by landlord trade groups like the CAA have been criticized for employing paid signature gatherers who misrepresent petitions to obtain signatures in Richmond, Santa Rosa, Pacifica, and Alameda. In March 2018, the District Attorney of San Mateo County filed 21 felony charges against signature gatherers financed by the CAA for forging signatures in a Pacifica anti-rent-control campaign.”

Many Mountain View voters filed to revoke their signatures, feeling they were misled. According to the City Clerk, nearly 300 people filed signed signature withdrawal forms with the city. The rent control repeal campaign missed the deadline to submit their signatures to qualify for the November 2018 ballot, however, it is unknown whether the campaign will continue to gather signatures to qualify for the 2020 ballot.

“This local win has important statewide implications. The opposition to Proposition 10, which would repeal Costa-Hawkins and allow for the expansion of rent control, has already raised millions of dollars. We have beaten the landlord lobbyists before and we can beat them again,” said Shanti Singh, Communications Coordinator for Tenants Together.

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