Pasadenans Organizing for Progress (POP) Board of Directors has voted unanimously to support and endorse Pasadena Tenants Justice Coalition’s (PTJC) campaign to put a Rent Control / Just Cause Eviction measure on the November 2020 ballot. The PTJC announced its campaign at the Pasadena City Council Meeting, Monday, May 20.
“Rent control is an effective tool to stabilize and bring affordability back to rental housing” said Ed Washatka, Chair of POP’s Housing Justice Committee. “The struggle for affordable housing is at crisis proportions in Pasadena. Some tenants are only a rent increase away from becoming homeless,” he added.
A survey of 700 registered voters revealed that 69% of Pasadena voters want the Pasadena City Council to adopt a rent control law that would put an annual limit on the amount a landlord can raise the rent.
An even larger number of voters – 82% – support a law to prevent landlords from evicting tenants without a just cause, such as not paying rent, destruction of property, or exhibiting loud or violent behavior.
The survey results were part of a poll conducted by David Binder Research on behalf of POP’s to learn voter opinion on local rent control and “just cause” eviction laws.
Even though the Mayor and Council members have gone on record repeatedly against rent control and just cause, registered voters are saying emphatically they want laws passed that protect renters against skyrocketing rent increases and unjust evictions.
“The survey results show the political establishment is out of touch with the reality of ever rising housing costs and unjust evictions for immigrant and working class families and families of color, said Pablo Alvarado, POP board member and Executive Director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network.
“I hope,” Alvarado continued, “that our political leaders engage in a constructive and honest dialogue to bring justice to the housing market in our city. POP will work in solidarity with the Pasadena Tenants Justice Coalition to ensure that there are protections in place for all renters in our city.”
“The support for rent control and just cause is extremely favorable throughout the city, in every council district and is strong across all demographics of age, gender, home ownership, or renter,” said Kim Douglas,.
For example, 78% of 18-38 year olds, 68% of 39-54 year olds, 61% of 55-73 year olds, and 62% of voters over 74 support rent control. It also found strong support among white (65%), Latino (78%), Asian (74%) and Black (76%) voters.
The poll asked voters their political party identification and discovered that 78% of Democrats, 73% of those with no party preference, and 37% of Republicans support rent control. More than half (55%) of homeowners and 81% of renters embrace rent control.
The poll found even stronger support for a local just cause eviction law among all demographic groups, including 86% of 18-38 year olds, 79% of 39-54 year olds, 82% of 55-73 year olds, and 76% of voters over 74; and 79% among whites, 88% among Latinos, 86% among Asians, and 79% among Black voters.
In terms of political party, 84% of Democrats, 88% of independents (“no party preference”), and 68% of Republicans support a just cause eviction policy. Almost three-quarters of homeowners (74%), and 88% of renters want the City Council to adopt a just cause law.
Language in the PTJC initiative will provide for yearly rent increases based on rises in the Consumer Price Index or CPI. Landlords will also be able to recover the costs of capital improvements.
The scientific telephone survey, with an error rate of +/- 3.7%, was conducted by David Binder Research in February. The survey included questions of rent control and just cause eviction as well as about voters views about raising Pasadena’s municipal minimum wage to $15 by 2020.
After that survey showed 82% of Pasadena voters supported increasing the minimum wage, the City Council voted 7-1 in favor of continuing to raise the minimum wage to $15 on July 1, 2020. POP had organized the community in support of the minimum wage and protections against wage theft for the past several years.
“Research shows that students do better in school if their families have stable housing,” said Juliana Serrano, a member of POP’s board of directors. “Raising the minimum wage and protecting families from rent gouging and unfair evictions go hand in hand.”
“We want tenants’ voices to be heard. We’re about to launch a major voter registration drive, focusing on tenants, who represent a majority of voters in Pasadena,” explained Kim Douglas, POP co-chair.
“We’re also heartened that so many homeowners recognize the importance of protecting the city’s affordable rental housing so that janitors, nurses, teachers, retail clerks, waiters and waitresses, social workers, and others can live in our city.
“POP is a multi-issue community organization,” Douglas said. “We led the fight to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour and we’ve worked with the City Council and Pasadena Police to protect immigrants. We’ve been working on reforms to limit the use of lethal force and racial profiling by Pasadena Police Department. Now POP intends to organize the community to support the PTJC ballot initiative on rent control and just cause eviction.”