Tenants flexed their power at the polls this week with resounding victories for housing justice in both Oakland and San Francisco. In this COVID climate of inflation and housing insecurity, we sent a clear message to corporate landlords and speculators, renters will stand together to defend the future of our cities.
In Oakland, we passed Measure V with an impressive 62.4% of the vote. Measure V strengthens our existing Just Cause eviction protections, which previously covered tenants in units built before 1995, and extends those protections to prevent tenants living in all buildings that are more than 10 years old from being evicted without reason.
As a result of the tireless organizing of our members, volunteers, and coalition partners at Protect Oakland Renters, 25,000+ new Oakland tenants are now protected from displacement.
Measure V is a victory for Education Justice; it prohibits no-fault evictions of families with school-aged children, educators, and school employees during the school year.
Measure V also extends Just Cause protections to renters (who have landlords) living in RVs and wheeled tiny homes. It means that these renters, who often live without access to basic amenities, now have recourse to fight for habitable, healthy living spaces without fear of eviction—a major win.
Measure V is the culmination of more than two decades of renter organizing and builds upon the legacy of Causa Justa and the Oakland Tenants Union's early work. CJJC and OTU first organized to pass the original Just Cause eviction ordinance in 2002 when Black and Brown communities were being displaced due to the dot com boom. In 2016, the Protect Oakland Renters Coalition expanded Just Cause to cover tenants in buildings built before 1995 with Measure JJ. In 2018, with Measure Y, we closed a loophole that was being used to push tenants in smaller buildings out.
We’ve hit the streets, knocked on thousands of doors, called tens of thousands of voters, built up coalitions, and raised our voices and our fists to proclaim “Housing is a Human Right! With Measure V and each previous victory for Just Cause, we have built our power as organized tenants to defend our communities.
Oakland Can’t Stop Won’t Stop, Victories for Measure Q and U
Protect Oakland Renters also came together to pass Measure Q which will allow the City of Oakland to develop, construct or acquire up to 13,000 units of affordable housing. This victory gets around the limitations of Article 34, a law that, as part of a racist backlash against desegregation in the 1950s, requires voters to approve all affordable housing construction. South San Francisco and Berkeley also passed similar measuring approving the construction of thousands of units of affordable housing. https://www.kqed.org/news/11931068/in-pushing-affordable-housing-measures-local-leaders-ask-voters-to-contend-with-racist-housing-law
We organized to pass Measure U, which will provide $350 million for affordable housing in Oakland. With further organizing, Measure U could become a way to resource removing properties from the speculative market and a future Tenant Opportunity to Purchase ordinance in Oakland. This would support working-class tenants, in partnership with community-based organizations and land trusts, to buy their own homes and turn them into permanently affordable housing for themselves and the community.
The movement to transform tenant rights in this country continues. Folks across the country worked hard and tirelessly. When there is strong outreach to the poor and working class, and deep grass roots organizing, change CAN happen to wake up a powerful voting bloc that created the wins in this election and can create massive turnout in 2024. When we fight, we win!