I will fight to win housing for people, not for profit:
- Expand rent control at the local and state level to protect housing affordability.
- End harmful Costa-Hawkins limits and allow strong, universal rent control by winning Yes on Proposition 10 in November.
- Protect working homeowners against foreclosures and predatory lending.
- Support strategic rezoning with local control to prevent displacement and build affordable housing near transit corridors.
- Build Housing for All, with several hundred thousand units of new affordable social housing statewide in ten years through a mixed-income, high-quality public or not-for-profit model.
- Raise taxes on housing speculation and vacant investment properties to fund affordable social housing.
California has an unprecedented housing affordability crisis driven by the failures of the for-profit housing system. While corporations and housing speculators make record profits from our homes, working tenants pay the price in skyrocketing rent, and homeowners face growing vulnerability to market bubbles and foreclosures. Nearly all of us have seen families and communities torn apart by housing speculation. Luxury housing developers see no profit in building the affordable housing we need.
I am proud of our housing justice accomplishments in Richmond. As a City Councilmember for the past eight years I helped win the first new rent control law in California in 30 years, supported a major redevelopment plan, and developed a nationally-leading program to protect homeowners from foreclosure. If elected to be your Assemblymember, I will be a leading champion for working renters and homeowners.
Protecting Our Homes by Expanding Rent Control
I strongly support Yes on 10, the Affordable Housing Act, on the ballot this November. Prop. 10 will repeal the Costa-Hawkins Act of 1995, a state law passed due to real estate corporation lobbying and campaign donations. This law prevents cities from setting the strong rent control they choose. Costa-Hawkins blocks rent control on single-family buildings, on buildings constructed after the 1980s or 90s (depending on the city), and any rent control for new tenants after a vacancy. Costa-Hawkins was a huge giveaway to the real estate lobby and housing speculators. In just one year after it passed, average market rent increased by 40% in Berkeley alone. We must end harmful Costa-Hawkins limits on rent control. By winning Yes on 10 this November, we can take back control of our homes and put a stop to the price-gouging and displacement destabilizing our communities.
If elected, I will vigorously advocate for expanding rent control across our state. If we win Yes on 10, then I will use my state position to support efforts to cover single-family homes, buildings constructed after the 1980s, and new tenants after vacancy. I will lead the effort from Sacramento to support local expansions of rent control and will work toward a statewide rent control policy that sets a reasonable baseline of protection for all. I will be a committed leader in the fight against housing corporations' further attempts to block rent control at the state level.
To expand rent control across our state while also encouraging housing expansion, I will support careful local control exemptions. Until we have our Housing for All plan in action, private development is likely to play an important role in new housing construction. Our efforts to expand rent control must protect the security of working homeowners who live in their homes. Along with new incentives for affordable housing construction, I will support local measures for an 8 to 15-year exemption from rent control for new housing units, to be reviewed again when social housing construction is well underway.
With careful measures to expand rent control, all working people in California will be able to benefit from security, affordability, and control over our homes.
Building Housing for All
Between 2010 and 2016 the Bay Area added 500,000 jobs, but only 50,000 homes. In Oakland in 2017, the for-profit housing system built 3,960 high-cost market-rate housing units, and only 324 affordable housing units. At the same time, on an average night, 2,761 people lived unhoused on the street and over 5,000 homes stood vacant as investment properties. The for-profit housing system focuses investment on maximum profit opportunities and luxury market-rate housing, not affordable housing for working people. We need to move beyond the trickle-down, for-profit housing system to the bold, publicly-supported models that can provide affordable homes for all.
I will advance a Housing for All plan to fund construction of hundreds of thousands of new affordable social housing units across our state within ten years. We will provide state funding for local governments to build a new generation of social housing: homes built through high-quality public, non-profit cooperative, and community land trust models. We will learn from the successes of cities across the world with active input of community members statewide, as we build a not-for-profit social housing system with beautiful facilities, density near public transportation, and strong mixed-income communities.
Once in Sacramento I will push for building hundreds of thousands of units of social housing within ten years. Serious policy planning by state agencies and local governments will be guided by this goal. I will push for state laws to support expansion of community land trusts that can provide not-for-profit, affordable housing.
Protect Housing Security for Working Homeowners
Working homeowners in the Bay Area are becoming more vulnerable every year to runaway housing speculation and financial manipulation. I will be a legislative leader for protecting working homeowners through foreclosure prevention, credit counseling, and pre-purchase assistance. As an elected leader on the Richmond City Council, I helped lead the nation with a public program intended to keep foreclosed homeowners in their homes by using eminent domain to take foreclosed homes from the big banks and turn them back to their residents. As housing bubbles and financial speculation loom as a greater threat to the security of our homes, I will work creatively to use every public tool available to protect the security of working homeowners.
Abandoned housing creates risks for homeowners and tenants, and I will draw on my experience with in Richmond to lead on state policy. Derelict homes pose a fire danger to surrounding homes and can create safety hazards for a neighborhood's children. We need to pass legislation allowing communities to quickly take over abandoned buildings, renovate them with public and non-profit support, and make them available for those who need housing.
Immediate Actions for Affordable Housing
We need a serious, studied response to the housing affordability crisis. I support many existing efforts, and I'll vigorously build and participate in legislative alliances for innovative housing solutions. I support these goals from housing bills introduced in the Assembly this session:
- AB 2065: To advance the use of surplus public land for affordable housing.
- AB 2562: To provide $500 million in low interest state loan funds to affordable housing and community development projects, to replace federal funding cuts.
- AB 3152: To provide property tax relief for affordable rental housing.
- AB 2162: To fast-track approvals for supportive housing for the homeless.
On the ballot this November, I also support Proposition 1 to approve $4 billion in new state bonds for building and renovating affordable housing, and Proposition 2 to allow a transfer of existing tax revenue to support homelessness prevention programs.
For-profit evictions are rampant in our state. We need to repeal the Ellis Act of 1985 to ensure that cities can limit landlords' abilities to evict renters or change building purposes through bankruptcy or conversion to condominiums.
I am critical of the recent Senate Bill 827. I strongly support building more affordable housing near transit corridors. However, as it was written, SB 827 gave major benefits to for-profit developers while restricting communities' ability to shape their own development. SB 827 would have cut the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) impact statement requirements for many new developments, putting local communities at risk. SB 827 would have removed height restrictions and municipal parking capacity requirements for "transit corridor" developments. I believe such changes should be made with local community participation, not under a state mandate designed to benefit for-profit developers. We need to build high-quality, affordable housing near transit, and we can best do so through a not-for-profit, social housing model driven by local community planning.
To fund strong public programs for affordable housing I'll work to eliminate the tax credits, loopholes, and subsidies that benefit for-profit developers, housing speculators, and luxury property owners. As I explain in fuller detail in my Just Economy plank, I will work to raise taxes on housing speculation, vacant investment housing, and luxury home sales. Working people create California's great wealth. We should use that wealth to provide the good housing we all need.
To protect moderate and low income residents, while encouraging high-quality, mixed income housing developments, I support laws to allow income averaging in affordable housing credit properties. This reform will allow the 60 percent of area median income (AMI) occupancy ceiling to apply to the average of all apartments in a property rather than to each individual apartment.
Teachers in our communities have been especially hard hit by out-of-control rents and housing costs. Too often, this has forced educators to leave their communities or undertake punishing long distance daily commutes. I will support affordable housing programs that place a priority on providing good housing for teachers in the communities they serve. Both our immediate and long-term housing plans can be designed to prioritize housing security for public educators and thus strengthen our education system.
To immediately increase affordable housing construction, I will work to enable state-supported loans to single family homeowners who build an in-law unit on their property, so long as they rent the unit at affordable rates. Like an existing state solar installation program, homeowners will be able to pay back these loans as a deductible through their state property taxes. This program will help working homeowners build equity while providing new affordable housing where working tenants have a need.