For Immediate Release: July 15, 2014
Tuesday, July 15, 5:30-9PM / Oakland City Council, First Reading of West Oakland Specific Plan
First reading of WOSP takes place at Oakland City Council tonight
Longtime residents voice deep concerns over lack of protections
OAKLAND--A decision over the future of West Oakland gets one step closer tonight as the first reading of the contentious West Oakland Specific Plan (WOSP) takes place at the Oakland City Council. A large public turnout is expected as opponents fight to maintain relevance to proposals in the plan.
The recently released draft plan outlines a number of areas ripe for development in West Oakland and calls for incentives for investment in these areas.
Organizers say the plan will displace working families who have lived in West Oakland for years and that it was not created to keep current working-class residents/families of color in the neighborhood.
"While proponents try to simplify the opposition by using a broad brush to make us out to beanti-development and investment -- we're not. But we understand that the process needs to be driven by the residents who are impacted by it to prevent further displacement," says Robbie Clark, Housing Rights Campaign Lead Organizer for CJJC.
Community opposition to the plan has been growing over the last several months as it has become clear that there are few measures included that would help keep current residents in the neighborhood, such as protections for renters, preservation of land for low-income housing and community use, significant affordable housing requirements, or community control over development decisions.
As gentrification sweeps the San Francisco Bay Area, West Oakland has seen rents increase dramatically and residents evicted to make room for new residents who can pay higher rents.
From the WOSP:
Renter households comprise 78% of the households in West Oakland compared to the city’s overall share of 58%, which in turn is already much higher than state and national rates.
There are several reasons for a higher proportion of renters. Some are renters by choice. Some are because of lack of jobs, lack of availability or access to well-paying jobs. Some of the higher renter percentage is also due to the intention of some San Francisco workers to live in West Oakland and commute to San Francisco.
Renter units can be a strong part of the economy but when such a high portion of the populations consist of low income renters, that population is extremely vulnerable to displacement. (emphasis added)
A report recently released by Causa Justa :: Just Cause, outlines the causes of gentrification in the Bay Area as well as a number of recommendations for how local governments can slow, prevent and reverse it. The report is available for download here.
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For Immediate Release: June 17, 2014
Proposed Anti-Speculation Tax Measure & Release of National Report to be Announced in SF
When: Tuesday, June 17, 2014 at 12:30PM
Where: SF City Hall steps/Polk Street, 1 City Hall, 1 Dr Carlton B Goodlett Pl,
Who: Tenants; Supervisors John Avalos, David Campos, Jane Kim and Eric Mar; housing rights organizations
Community members, tenants and several lawmakers including SF Supervisors John Avalos, David Campos, Jane Kim and Eric Mar, will gather at SF City Hall tomorrow to support a move to curb real estate flipping. The SF Anti-Displacement Coalition of which Causa Justa :: Just Cause is a member, announces a "Stop the Flip" action, to announce a ballot measure that would place protections to slow real estate speculation.
The anti-speculation tax ballot measure, which includes exemptions for single-family homes, condos, or owner-occupied tenants-in-common, would reduce incentives for speculators to target and flip the shrinking supply of rent-controlled apartments and address the growing affordability crisis being fueled by this type of speculation. The “Anti-Speculation Tax” grew out of the neighborhood tenant convention process in 2013, and where more than 800 tenants voted to place it on the ballot at the City-Wide Tenant Convention this past February.
The proposal will impose a special surtax on the sale of certain apartments by increasing the real estate transfer tax if a property is bought and sold in less than five years.
Says Ana Gutierrez, long-term Mission district resident, and Causa Justa :: Just Cause lead member. "We need to keep fighting because this housing crisis has reached a fever pitch. Especially for elders, and for people whose income now doesn't even cover rent. We need to keep fighting for our city for the city that we have built by living here for years, by paying taxes here. We won't stand for people coming into our neighborhoods snatching our homes from under us to enrich themselves."
Adds Maria Zamudio, SF Housing Rights Campaign Organizer for Causa Justa :: Just Cause, and Anti Displacement Coalition member. “Renters from every neighborhood are living in fear. It is clear that tenants from throughout the City are ready to join forces with their neighbors and fight together and demand change from City Hall."
National Report Release
In addition, a national policy report by Right to the City: Rise of the Renter Nation: Solutions to the Housing Affordability Crisis will be unveiled. Gentrification and affordability of housing remain at crisis levels in the U.S.. Rents are soaring and it is a struggle to pay for basic expenses like food, healthcare, and childcare. Through our actions across the country, the Homes for All (a campaign of Right to the City Alliance) is demanding – immediate funding to the National Housing Trust Fund by the Federal Housing and Finance Agency at the federal level and the passage of Renter’s Bill of Rights legislation in cities, that are in compliance with solutions outlined in the report. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY HERE
n the report, scores of grassroots organizations detail a 5-pillar approach to policy solutions to the ongoing housing crisis in the U.S. which include: Ensure affordability, Improve Quality and Health Standards, Full Accessibility, Stability and Permanence and Community Control.
Key Highlights of Report:
The vast majority of the net increase in renters over the next decade will be people of color, with Latinos alone accounting for more than half of the total.
• WOMEN The burden of renting also falls disproportionately on women. In 2010, women-headed households represented almost 75 percent of all renter households receiving assistance from HUD, or 3.2 million households nation-wide.
• LGBTQ Housing accessibility is a major concern for LGBTQ populations. LGBTQ youth are more likely to be homeless than the general youth population and, once homeless, are at higher risk for victimization and mental health problems.
In 2009 74.5 percent of renters with children were paying more than 30 percent of their income in rent, compared with 54.4 percent of all rental households.
#stoptheflip #stopflippingSF #OurCity #homes4all #RenterNation
The SF Anti-Displacement Coalition was formed by tenant organizations and allies to organize against soaring evictions and rent increases in our city. Members include the Affordable Housing Alliance, AIDS Housing Alliance, Causa Justa::Just Cause,, Chinatown Community Development Center, Council of Community Housing Organizations, Eviction Defense Collaborative, Eviction Free San Francisco, Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco,, San Francisco Tenants Union, Tenants Together and Tenderloin Housing Clinic.
For immediate release: May 29, 2014
SF immigrant coalition welcomes SF's decision to end all unconstitutional ICE holds
SF now in line with new standard set by scores counties across the US; Due process truly a reality for all
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - Today, in the wake of a major federal court decision that has spurred more than 70 counties in several states to completely end the unconstitutional practice of holding immigrants in jail for extra time solely for deportation purposes, San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi announced that the county jail would also stop responding to the unconstitutional requests altogether.
The new policy corrects a deficiency in the city's landmark "Due Process for All ordinance," upholding basic constitutional protections for all San Franciscans and protecting the city from significant liability. In California, the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, Sonoma, Sacramento, San Diego, San Bernardino, Riverside, Santa Cruz, and Monterey, among others, have already adopted parallel practices.
The San Francisco Immigrant Rights Defense Committee, a coalition of leading immigrant and civil rights groups which led efforts to pass the city's Due Process for All ordinance, issued the following comments in response to this development:
"We warmly welcome today's announcement, which strengthens a vital principle at the core of our justice system: that no human being should be detained without a valid reason. We believe that all people are created equal and should be treated fairly no matter where they were born.
Last year, San Francisco took a major step toward pushing back on the President's cruel deportation policies by enacting the Due Process for All ordinance, which significantly limited cruel and costly immigration holds.
But a compromise amendment still allowed these unconstitutional detentions in the local jail in some circumstances, putting at risk the cherished rights that keep us all safe and free.
Now, that narrow breach of due process rights has been closed. We celebrate a policy that upholds our values of rehabilitation, community, and equality under the law."
Supervisor John Avalos, author of the Due Process for All ordinance, added:
"I'm glad to see San Francisco join the emerging national consensus on ICE holds that the Due Process Ordinance help push forward. Each and every time local jails hold an immigrant community member without probable cause, it's a constitutional concern and a lawsuit waiting to happen. This new policy will further strengthen confidence between immigrant community members and local law enforcement while protecting the basic civil rights of all San Franciscans."
Driving the changes in San Francisco and a recent federal court decision, Maria Miranda-Olivares v. Clackamas County,which found ICE “hold” requests unconstitutional and ordered county officials to pay money damages to a woman held in jail for extra time on a hold.
San Francisco has been a national leader in fighting back against the "Secure Communities" deportation program for four years. In July 2013, eight members of the Board of Supervisors introduced the "Due Process for All" ordinance, legislation that would have prohibited prolonged detentions in response to all ICE “holds” in the City if it had been passed without amendments.
The legislation in its original form enjoyed broad support from diverse community based organizations and community leaders, including District Attorney George Gascon and policymakers, who agreed with advocates that responses to any ICE hold requests posed constitutional due process concerns and should be completely eliminated.
However, due to pressure from the Mayor’s Office, the Board of Supervisors eventually passed a compromise bill, permitting, but not requiring, the County Sheriff to comply with unconstitutional ICE detainers in certain circumstances. SFIRDC and its allies celebrated the unanimous passage of the Due Process for All Ordinance, but also questioned the need for an exception, maintaining that every single hold was a constitutional crisis.
For immediate release: May 21, 2014
Immigrant Rights Organizations welcome Alameda County Sheriff Ahern’s decision to end his department's unconstitutional and unjust compliance with ICE immigration "holds."
OAKLAND, CA — Today, Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern announced that he would completely stop holding people in jail for extra time under unconstitutional and unjust immigration "hold" requests. The policy change comes after years of community advocacy and in the wake of a major federal court decision which has spurred parallel reactions from sheriffs in Monterey, Sonoma, Santa Cruz, San Bernardino and Riverside counties. These counties join Santa Clara and San Francisco in pushing back on ICE holds through local laws, and build upon the protections of California's TRUST Act, a state law which placed limits on sheriffs’ assent to ICE hold requests while warning that each hold risks violating the US Constitution. Sheriff Ahern’s announcement builds on his January memorandum, which limited when Alameda County would assent to ICE hold requests.
Advocates applauded January’s decision, but continued to warn Sheriff Ahern that all ICE holds opened him up to liability and undermined public safety by entangling local law enforcement with ICE. Although advocates remain concerned that ICE has full access to people detained at Santa Rita jail, today’s news is considered a key victory in the struggle to keep people from being ensnared by ICE’s deportation dragnet.
In response to this development, the Alameda County United in Defense of Immigrant Rights coalition issued the following statement:
"When we fight, we win! Today is a victorious day for immigrant communities and the values of due process and equality under the law in this county. For years, Alameda County families have organized, raised their voices and demanded an end to immigration holds, which have torn apart families, wasted local resources, and threatened the most fundamental principles of our justice system.
Today, Alameda County is helping to set a national model of public safety that honors constitutional values and works to rebuild community confidence in law enforcement. We call for continued dialogue so that we can ultimately end all entanglement between our local law enforcement and ICE's cruel deportation machinery.”
ICE holds have had a disastrous effect on Alameda County, resulting in the detention and deportation of countless family members and heads of household. Over 2,377 Alameda County residents have been deported as a result of the Sheriff’s Office’s entanglement with the agency as of March 31st of 2014 .
ACUDIR is hopeful that the end of Alameda County’s assent to ICE hold requests will be a major step forward in halting the draconian and inhumane administration of disastrous federal deportation policies.