Poor, unhoused, barely housed, indigenous, Black, Brown and Red people don’t have presidents. We have prison wardens, police, sheriffs, anti-social workers, landlords, judges, bailiffs, poverty pimps, case manglers, ICE agents, CPS workers and debt collectors. Under Clinton, we lost welfare and the criminalization and incarceration of young people was institutionalized. Poor people don’t have presidents or governors or mayors. We have ourselves.
On Sept. 13, Richmond Mayor Tom Butt and Councilmembers Nat Bates and Vinay Pimplé blocked a proposed 45-day “urgency” moratorium on rent increases and no-cause evictions. Before Mayor Tom Butt voted “no” to block the moratorium, he failed to disclose to the residents at the Sept. 13 City Council meeting that he has been accepting political contributions from the California Apartment Association, an organization representing the interests of landlords, not tenants.
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.
Richmond Mayor Tom Butt has set himself up to be the spokesman for landlords in a campaign against rent control in Richmond. The jump in Richmond rents the past few years, reflecting trends in the Bay Area, has produced new calls for the progressive city council to respond with rent control and “just cause” requirements for eviction. The mayor’s arguments are classic examples of misusing numbers and logic.
San Francisco’s housing woes are characterized by inflated rent and a shortage of residential units – a combination that has left many long-term residents feeling pushed out and priced out of their city. While many groups have been affected, it is now well established that the city’s African-American population has borne the brunt of what the city’s mayor aptly describes as a “housing crisis.”
Unseen scars are what so many of our single parents in poverty are struggling with, living with, pushing through. Add the requisite criminalization of poor parents through welfare systems, child protective services, landlords and school systems and, for immigrant parents, the anti-immigrant hate and racism; it is a constant battlefield.