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In my opinion, if there ever was a murderous conspiracy committed by a city governing body, Oakland is it. Building and Fire Codes, Health Codes and Fire and Safety Regulations mean nothing to building owners, law enforcement and agencies designed to protect residents. Oakland city government members are elected, charged with and paid to see that code enforcement is being carried out in all public and private buildings in its zones. As a result of a monstrous dereliction of their duties, 36 young people have lost their lives in the most horrific way one can imagine. They were burned alive and/or killed by smoke inhalation, trapped in a flaming inferno with no warning and no means of escape.
On March 3, the same day that Oakland tenant activists filed a ballot initiative to strengthen renter protections called the “Renters Upgrade,” the California Apartment Association (CAA) announced that they were keeping an eye on things and are coming up with their own plan to counter the tenant’s movement efforts somehow, including in Richmond and Alameda.
Funktown, which is near Lake Merritt, is rapidly being gentrified. You can still find “Funktown” scribbled on sidewalks here and there when the concrete was fresh. But economic cleansing has taken its toll on the hood. It’s just not the same any more. As the renters of Oakland are being terrorized by skyrocketing rents and greedy landlords evicting them by the thousands, city officials have mostly turned a blind eye to the economic cleansing taking place on their watch.
Now that the California Apartment Association (CAA) has blocked the implementation of renters’ protections, including rent control and just cause eviction protections, in Richmond, thousands of renters are at risk of being severely exploited with massive rent increases. Additionally, thousands more are now at risk of displacement and homelessness due to no-cause evictions.
On Tuesday, June 23, the Richmond City Council vote was 4 to 2. The vote in support of just cause eviction protections and rent control was the culmination of a yearlong effort to fight back against gentrification, greedy landlords and real estate profiteers targeting renters with huge rent increases and 30-day no cause evictions. Just cause eviction protections and rent control already exist in Berkeley, San Francisco, Oakland and other cities in California.
This wasn’t 1967. This wasn’t Missisippi or Atlanta, South Africa or Argentina. This was San Francisco and this was the new Freedom Ride. We were trying to save another Black family from forced out-migration and eviction to make way for privatization. Eviction of Sabrina Carter and her sons is scheduled for tomorrow, Wednesday; call Mayor Ed Lee, 415-554-6141, and ask him to stop the eviction.