Dozens of Redwood City residents and visitors from nearby descended on the City Council meeting on Monday September 25, demanding that the city cap annual rent increases as East Palo Alto, San Jose, San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, and other Bay Area cities currently do. Rent Control NOW!
“We will adjourn to recess if it’s just going to be a shouting match,” threatened Mayor John Seybert (650-533-5053), after members of the public audibly protested his proposal that each speaker be given just 30 seconds, and to cut the entire public comment period to 15 minutes.
“We don’t have the time to take every speaker’s card that’s come in tonight,” said Vice Mayor Ian Bain (650-780-7565). Only after wasting six minutes arguing with the public about how little time is available, the Mayor and Vice Mayor finally began listening to public comments.
“Large rent increases like these are forcing people to live in their cars or in RVs,” said resident Joella. “Would you be able to pay double your mortgage?”
“Section 8 only helps seniors and homeless people and not people with disabilities,” protested resident Jenny, who has a disability and works three jobs to pay her rent. “I now pay $1,870 a month. This is $230 a month more in two years, this is not fair!”
“It kills people not to have single-payer health care,” said resident Andy. “The system is rigged, and it’s rigged against the working class people. The greed is insatiable here!”
Rent control policies are “the only policies that truly protect renters from excessive rent increases and unjust evictions,” said resident Diane Howard, who criticized the myth from the “real-estate lobby playbook” that San Francisco’s high rents are due to rent control. “San Francisco’s median rent is $1000 less than in San Mateo and $800 less than it is in Redwood City, two communities that do not have rent control,” reported Howard.
Rent control advocates next plan to place a Rent Stabilization Initiative on the city’s 2018 ballot. Mountain View voters passed such an initiative with 53 percent support in November 2016.