Interested Party Memo: Quick Update on Weinstein’s “Housing Freeze” Initiative / Housing Trends

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.

  • Michael Weinstein’s AIDS Healthcare Foundation is the only major contributor to the ballot measure. According to the California Secretary of State, this so-called “nonprofit” has spent more than $4.7 million to put it on the ballot so far.
  • The California Fair Political Practices Commission is investigating a complaint against Weinstein/AHF involving violations of state lobby disclosure laws. According to the San Jose Mercury News, the complaint notes that Weinstein’s group failed to report spending on numerous ads, including a mailer attacking a legislator for “negro removal,” a reference to a 1960s James Baldwin quote about San Francisco pushing people of color out of the city that were blasted as racist and offensive by the NAACP.
  • Last month, Weinstein offered to withdraw his initiative in a letter to Governor Newsom and the Legislature after attacking Senators Scott Wiener, Holly Mitchell and other Democrats with paid political ads. The response: crickets.
  • The Los Angeles Times exposed Weinstein’s AHF as a “slumlord” in a blockbuster piece that found numerous complaints by tenants about roaches, bedbugs and mold in AHF-owned buildings in LA.
  • The No campaign – Californians for Responsible Housing – has more than 50 organizations that already have announced opposition, including the state’s powerful Building Trades Union, the California State Association of Electrical Workers, and the California Chamber of Commerce.

On the housing front:

  • Rents are falling across California, eliminating the need for this measure. The apartment rental tracking firm CoStar, reported decreases in Orange County and Los Angeles County during recent months.
  • Construction of new multi-family housing is expected to slow across the state, particularly in the affordable housing arena. Affordable housing experts, including the California Council for Affordable Housing, oppose the Weinstein measure because they believe it will result in a housing construction freeze.
  • Property owners are under increased pressure because of rent strikes, and many “mom and pop” landlords may be forced to sell or face foreclosure from the banks, notes a Bloomberg report. More than two-thirds of California’s property owners own less than 10 units.

For the latest news, follow us on Twitter: @CA4RespHousing.

Paid for by No on Prop 21: Californians for Responsible Housing, a coalition of seniors, veterans, affordable housing advocates, labor & social justice organizations, sponsored by California Apartment Association. Committee Major Funding from Essex Property Trust and Affiliated Entities; Equity Residential; and AvalonBay Communities.
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