SACRAMENTO – Fourteen major California veterans groups today announced their opposition to the November ballot measure financed by Michael Weinstein and the AIDS Health Foundation that would repeal significant portions of the Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act, and undermines the strongest statewide rent control and renter protections in the nation.
The groups include: American Legion, Department of California; AMVETS, Department of California; AMVETS Service Foundation, Department of California; Association of the U.S. Army, Northern California Chapters; Association of the U.S. Army, Southern California Chapters; Cesar E. Chavez Sacramento Chapter of the American G.I. Forum; Filipino-American United States Marines Association; Jewish War Veterans, Department of California; Marine Corps Veterans Association; Military Officers Association of America, California Council of Chapters; Reserve Organization of America, Department of the Golden West; Scottish American Military Society – California Chapters; Vietnam Veterans of America, California State Council; and the Women Veterans Alliance.
The groups say the measure would hurt existing homeowners, and those who are struggling to find affordable housing – including many men and women who served in the armed forces. A similar measure, defeated overwhelmingly by California voters in 2018, also was strongly opposed by veterans groups.
“Veterans already face difficulties securing stable and affordable housing, and measures like the Housing Freeze promise to deepen veterans’ housing affordability concerns. American Legion, Dept. of CA looks for balanced solutions that keep veterans in their homes without compromising construction of new housing. That’s why we opposed the nearly identical Proposition 10 in 2018, and why we urge our veterans to once again vote no on this initiative in November.” – Ed Grimsley, Commander, American Legion, Department of California
This measure would make the state’s housing crisis worse, and create new hurdles for veterans, seniors and other vulnerable populations, housing experts say.
Housing affordability is still a major concern for veterans—over a third of veterans pay too much for their housing, and nearly two-thirds of homeless veterans in California are living unsheltered, the highest numbers in the nation. Over 70% of veterans are homeowners and will suffer reduced property values of up to 20% should this initiative pass; senior veterans on fixed incomes that rent out their homes for supplemental income will lose their ability to decide their own price for their property. The Housing Freeze does nothing to help our most vulnerable populations because it fails to target those most in need, say experts.
The state’s legislative analyst and leading economists from UC Berkeley and USC have warned that passing restrictive measures like this could lead to more housing being taken off the rental market, cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars in lost property tax revenues and slow the construction of new development to meet our state’s need for more units. Local governments’ revenue loss impacts the services that veterans and seniors rely on – such as programs run by the County Veteran Service Officers, who are funded by local county revenue.
Here’s what other veterans groups are saying about why they are opposing the Housing Freeze initiative:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has created economic pain for millions of Californians, and has hit veterans particularly hard. California voters have already spoken out on this issue. Our state’s housing crisis needs real solutions, not the false promises contained in this initiative. The Weinstein initiative will make housing less affordable for all Californians and make it harder for veterans to find housing for themselves and their families.” – David Black, State Commander, AMVETS, Department of California
“Just like his nearly-identical initiative that was overwhelmingly rejected by voters two years ago, the new Weinstein initiative will make housing less available and less affordable for veterans and all Californians. It will create chaos in our housing market and reduce property values for homeowners robbing them of their nest eggs they are relying on for retirement. It’s the wrong solution for the wrong problem and a bad deal for veterans and for California.” – Melissa Washington, CEO & Founder, Women Veterans Alliance
SACRAMENTO, May 28, 2020 – More than 45 labor groups from throughout California today announced their opposition to a measure slated to appear on the November ballot that repeals significant portions of the state’s rental housing law (Costa Hawkins) and undermines the strongest statewide rent control and renter protections in the nation.
Labor opposition to the measure has grown substantially after voters overwhelming rejected a previous version of this initiative that appeared on the ballot in 2018. This year’s version is substantially similar.
Robbie Hunter, President of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California said: “This initiative will only further the economic pain created by COVID-19 that is hurting working families across the state, including the men and women of the building trades. It will stifle housing construction and increase housing costs while killing thousands of good-paying union jobs our economy needs to emerge from this unprecedented crisis.
“Two years ago, California voters soundly rejected Proposition 10, Michael Weinstein’s deceptive initiative that would have made our state’s housing crisis even worse. Now he’s back with a nearly identical measure that would inflict more damage on a state that is already in an economic freefall brought on by the pandemic. We need to defeat this measure that will limit affordable housing, kill blue collar jobs and reduce funding for state and local services.”
The labor groups include: State Building and Construction Trades Council of California; International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Shipbuilders, Blacksmiths, Forgers & Helpers AFL-CIO; International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Shipbuilders, Blacksmiths, Forgers & Helpers AFL-CIO; California State Pipe Trades Council; California District of Iron Workers; California State Association of Electrical Workers; Building and Construction Trades Council of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties; IBEW Local Unions 6, 11, 47, 234, 302, 332, 413, 428, 477, 551, 595, 617, 684, 952; Insulators & Allied Workers Local Union 16; Kern, Inyo and Mono Counties Building Trades Council; Los Angeles/Orange County Building & Construction Trades Council; Northern California Carpenters Regional Council; Plumbers & Pipefitters UA Local #477; Plumbers & Steamfitters UA Local 159; S.M.A.R.T. Sheet Metal Workers’ Local 104; Sacramento-Sierra’s Building and Construction Trades Council; San Diego Building & Construction Trades Council; Santa Clara and San Benito Counties Building and Construction Trades Council; Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, & Transportation Workers Local Union No. 105; Southern California Pipe Trades District Council 16; UA Local 114 Plumbers & Pipefitters; UA Local 230 Plumbers, Steamfitters, HVAC & Refrigeration; UA Local 345 Landscape/Irrigation Sewer, Storm Drain Underground Industrial Piping; UA Local 364 Plumbers, Steamfitters & Refrigeration; UA Local 38 Plumbers and Pipefitters Union; UA Local 398 Plumbers & Steamfitters; UA Local 460 Plumbers & Steamfitters; UA Local 467 San Mateo County; UA Local 484 Plumbers & Steamfitters; UA Local 582 Plumbers, Steamfitters, Welders, & Apprentices; UA Local 62; UA Local 709 Sprinklerfitters; UA Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 403; UA Plumbers & Steamfitters Local 761; and UA Plumbers Local 78.
It’s been a few months that AIDS Healthcare Foundation qualified its ballot measure for the November ballot. Here’s an update of the state of the campaign and some housing trends affecting it.
On the housing front:
For the latest news, follow us on Twitter: @CA4RespHousing.
Roaches. Bedbugs. “Slum-like” conditions.
That’s what the Los Angeles Times found tenants complaining about when it did a deep dive into a property owned by Michael Weinstein’s AIDS Health Foundation, the “nonprofit” that plans another rent control measure for the November ballot. AHF, a de facto drug company that generates $1.4 billion per year in revenue, once again is showing that it’s more interested in politics than providing and advocating for affordable housing for Californians.”
Reporter Gale Holland reports:.
“When the AIDS Healthcare Foundation began acquiring aging, single-occupancy hotels on skid row three years ago, its president, Michael Weinstein, lambasted L.A.’s handling of the homelessness crisis and boasted that he could house people at a fraction of the cost.
“Some questioned why the nonprofit powerhouse, which operates 64 outpatient healthcare centers and 48 pharmacies in 15 states, was jumping into housing at the same time it was tangling with the city over “mega-developments” near its Hollywood headquarters…
“But now, questions are arising about whether the foundation has gotten in over its head. Tenants at the Madison Hotel on 7th Street on skid row, the first single-occupancy — or “residential” — hotel in its growing housing empire have filed a lawsuit accusing the foundation of allowing slum-like conditions to fester at the aging 220-unit building.
“The suit filed on Wednesday cites persistent mold, as well as bedbug and roach infestations, and plumbing and electricity problems. One of the most serious accusations involves the elevator, which has been out of order for nine months, tenants say, forcing elderly and disabled renters to labor up to five floors on foot.”
Non-Profit Status Could Be Suspended for Not Filing Documents Required for Transparency
SAN FRANCISCO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has labeled the AIDS Health Foundation “delinquent” in its nonprofit status after the group failed to file documents required to meet the requirements to claim charitable standing in the state.
“Once again, it appears that Michael Weinstein’s group, which essentially is a drug company masquerading as a charity, is trying to hide the ball about its involvement in political campaigns and failing to comply with basic state transparency requirements,” said Steven Maviglio of Californians for Responsible Housing. “The Attorney General should consider suspending Weinstein’s group as a so-called ‘charity’ not only because it fails to meet basic filing requirements, but because of the millions it spends on racist and misleading attack ads that are contributing to California’s affordable housing crisis behind the shield of being a nonprofit.”
The Attorney General’s office can suspend the AIDS Health Foundation from operating in the state if it does not file its required documents. According to the AG’s guidelines, “When a charitable organization fails to submit complete filings for each fiscal year, its status on the Attorney General’s Registry of Charitable Trusts will be listed as Delinquent. If the delinquency is not remedied, the Registry status will be further changed to Suspended, and/or Revoked. A charitable organization that is not in good standing with the Registry of Charitable Trusts may not operate or solicit donations in California. (Cal. Code of Regs., tit. 11, § 999.9.4.)”
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation is under increasing fire for its massive political spending.
Last week, California YIMBY filed a formal complaint to the state’s political spending watchdog, the Fair Political Practices Commission, charging that AIDS Healthcare Foundation failed to report undisclosed amounts of funds to defeat Senate Bill 50, a key housing bill. Last August, Senator Ben Hueso (D-San Diego) also called on the Attorney General to investigate the AIDS Health Care Foundation, charging that the group was fraudulently misusing savings from a federal drug-discount program designed to help low-income patients.
These actions came after the FPPC fined the AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s committee in 2018 for its failure to disclose political campaign spending on Measure S, a housing ballot measure in Los Angeles.
Sacramento – The State Building and Construction Trades Council of California today announced its opposition to the “housing freeze” ballot initiative financed by anti-housing activist and businessman Michael Weinstein that has qualified for the November 2020 ballot. The initiative would repeal significant portions of the state’s rental housing laws and undermine the strongest statewide rent control and renter protections in the nation, which became law in January with the enactment of Assembly Bill 1482.
The following statement can be attributed to Cesar Diaz, Legislative and Political Director of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California:
“The State Building Trades Council does not waver in our commitment to provide all working families with access to affordable housing. Our Council, along with a diverse coalition, helped pass the state’s landmark rent control legislation, AB 1482, ‘the Tenant Protection Act of 2019.’ Californians are suffering from record levels of income inequality combined with skyrocketing rents. This initiative, disguised as a solution to these problems, will interfere with historic renter protections and block the path towards future investment in the construction of affordable housing units for the working class.
“The ballot measure is a distraction aimed at delaying important advances in protecting renters and building housing to alleviate the crisis impacting our working families. We will work hard to ensure its defeat in November.”
At a press conference yesterday in Los Angeles, serial initiative filer Michael Weinstein blasted the work of California’s legislative Democrats in passing a landmark anti-rent gouging legislation that was signed into legislation by Governor Gavin Newsom. The law takes effect on January 1, 2020.
“We have an overwhelming majority Democratic legislature and yet not a single, real meaningful renter justice issue has been approved by them,” said Weinstein.
Weinstein’s assessment may come as news to housing advocates — as well as Democratic legislators and Democratic leadership (including Governor Newsom) — who enacted Assembly Bill 1482, widely recognized as one the strongest rent protection laws in the nation.
The author of the legislation, Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco), praised the new law, saying “Sacramento has finally heard the voices of renters across our state who have traditionally been overlooked and ignored.”
Governor Newsom noted “These anti-gouging and eviction protections will help families afford to keep a roof over their heads, and they will provide California with important new tools to combat our state’s broader housing and affordability crisis.”
With a headline of “California’s New Renters’ Protection Act Reflects Tenants’ Power,” two renters advocates called AB 1482 an “historic victory for tenants and renters” in CalMatters.
Fortunately, legislative Democrats are unlikely to be cowed by Weinstein’s barbs (and are listening to the voters who rejected Prop 10) by focusing on measures that will help end California’s housing crisis instead of making it worse.