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E-176 - Monday, September 9, 2019
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RECENT AURAL PLEASURE:
TRUMP TAX RETURNS: Lawsuit information page for SB 27 (McGuire and Wiener): Primary elections: ballot access: tax returns.
WEEKEND'S AT THE NOONER:
IN TODAY'S NOONER:
What a beautiful weekend that was. Even the news cycles were relatively good, Cal beat Washington while we were sleeping in a lightning-delayed games and Davis won a close one at USD. I know better than to talk about Stanford at SC in this space. The wildest game on the West Coast was of course in Eugene, where the Ducks beat the Nevada Wolf Pack 77-6. What was wild is not the final score but that the 11 touchdowns were by 11 different Ducks. Cray-cray town.
The Giants picked up two games at Chavez Ravine, but the Dodgers had the last laugh by blanking their northern rivals 5-0 yesterday. Fans of both sides will be ribbing each other at the water cooler this morning. Classy tribute on Friday by the boys in blue to retiring Giants manager Bruce Bochy.
Meanwhile, the Rams, Chargers, and 49ers all won. I'm hoping the legislative sessions today speed right along, as Denver is at Oakland at 7:20pm. Go Broncs!
How much sports did I watch this weekend? Maybe a total of 20 minutes.
AB 1482/SACRAMENTO RENT CONTROL ORDINANCE: I've written in this space a lot since the AB 1482 (Chiu) language came out at 9pm Thursday and we talked about it on the pods on Tuesday and Friday. I suggested an amendment that can be used and has been in some cities that ensures that unjust evictions don't occur between adoption and effective dates in that bill to provide that the rent adjustment base applies to the rent of the unit as of the baseline date (March 15, 2019), whether the unit was occupied or advertised as of that date. Legally questionable? Yes, as are most rent control measures.
That's all I will say as I really don't try to influence legislation in this space. That's not my job. That said, with over 8,000 active email readers and countless more online and through forwards, I hear feedback on lots of legislation and I share it with you and if I see solutions I mention them here. I never actually lobby members on them. Everyone sees the same thing.
I only bring up the issue today because over the weekend, I heard many stories with several first-hand of folks who have received eviction notices in Sacramento since the City Council adopted its rent control ordinance on August 13. The reason is that the city's ordinance takes effect this Friday (seemingly, everything is on Friday the 13th).
I write about it because some of the stories I have heard are from young staffers and other folks around the Capitol. Yes, some of you and your fellow readers.
The new ordinance, which only applies to units with a certificate of occupancy issued before February 1, 1995 (Costa-Hawkins state law date), limits rent increases to 6% per annum plus the change in the consumer price index (CPI) for tenants who have continuously occupied the unit for 12 months. The base for rent increases for continuing tenants is July 1, 2019. It further affords such 12-month tenants with new protections from "unjust" evictions.
Rent control will always be controversial, period. It's a philosophical issue that also is frequently a class issue. I'm in a unit that appears to have had a certificate of occupancy issued in 2005, so I'm not personally affected by any of these. I say it every time I write or talk about this issue to make that clear. I do have friends that have already been impacted.
Some of you may have received 60-day notices in the last month with an eviction date after this Friday, September 13. The ordinance, which instead of going into effect 60 days stated in the item goes into effect Friday (30 days) pursuant to the motion to adopt with amendments, includes both notices and actual the actual eviction date. Thus, while a 60-day notice for "renovation" is allowable under current state law, the actual eviction is a separate action under the new City of Sacramento ordinance taking effect this Friday.
As of Friday, affected units within the city have a new 120-day notice and much tighter allowable justified evictions. For renovations, which I've heard from some of you and others, they are limited to health and safety reasons, and there are provisions about relocation and right to reoccupy at the same rent, and the same 6%+CPI annual increase to the base date applies.
Again, understanding many of you philosophically opposed to rent control, that ship has sailed and I'm not here to debate that. The ordinance was negotiated with interested parties and, in the end, I'm told the realtors were okay with it while apartment owners were not.
In implementation, there is one known glitch. Under the ordinance, the remedy for tenants who believes a rent increase or eviction violates the ordinance can appeal to a city hearing officer. The same is true for property owners, who can seek rent increases beyond 6% per annum for such things as necessary repairs to ensure that they can both maintain the property while earning a reasonable return on their investment. Thus, both sides get something--a product of negotiations.
However, the hearing office process won't be in place for several months and requires further council action. So, like the season, tenants may find themselves in a strange shoulder season (farmers market was beautiful yesterday--tomatoes and Brussels sprouts at the same time--I digress), with a 60-day notice given under state law but new rights under the city's new ordinance. In theory, everybody could run to Sacramento Superior Court to seek an injunction against their landlord.
Obviously, that's not feasible for many low- to middle-income residents (disproportionate because we're talking about 24-year and older units), and particularly undocumented residents fearful of the courts. So, whether you are faced with a specious eviction as we're hearing about, or have a friend or constituent (in the city of Sacramento), this is what I am advising folks.
Talk to the landlord/property manager. Explain the new ordinance taking Friday and rights under it. Those rights continue even after eviction and a tenant (or former tenant) can go to court to (a) demand injunctive relief against evictions not allowed under the new ordinance, (b) challenge and recover rent increases exceeding the 6%+CPI per annum with a base rent of July 1, 2019, and (c) recover court costs and likely attorney fees for such violations of the ordinance.
Attorney fees would likely apply whether the tenant retains a private attorney or uses a nonprofit such as Legal Services of Northern California. There are many other organizations that can assist and I don't really have time to research them this morning but know of "liz-nick."
Tell the landlord that nobody wants a showdown in court and the costs involved, which will likely exceed any immediate benefit the property owner would get from an unjust eviction for the purposes of rebenching rent before the new ordinance takes effect. A tenant could even voluntarily offer to sign a new 12-month lease and perhaps a higher rent in exchange for some unit improvements.
In other words, don't yell and scream at the landlord/property manager. Some may not know about the ordinance, but most do, and there appears to be coordinated activity during this period of uncertainty between state law and the new local ordinance. I heard about a couple of incidental cases last week, but it blew up over the weekend with stories heard at farmers market and the corner market from people who I don't know. As I mentioned, I've also heard from some of you.
To my friends who are practicing law, sorry that I'm suggesting the non-legal route first, but I think that's what is best for all involved.
The quick summary for those not hanging on to every word (and I don't blame you):
Again, while I graduated from UC Davis Law and passed the bar, I never sought bar admission because that's not my thing. Talk to your landlord/property manager and, if necessary, a lawyer.
For those outside of Sacramento who know no renters here, I'm sorry I've spent three of the six hours afforded to today's Nooner on this, but these issues also relate closely to AB 1482 (Chiu) and in many other cities around the state. I've talked to legislators, councilmembers, mayors, renters, landlords, and property owners on this issue this weekend.
Please do not reply to me to argue against or rent control or for a better ordinance. You have local councilmembers and legislators who have ears for that reason. I don't represent you.
Oh, the Legislature? First, let's help pay Scott's rent, which can go up by whatever amount next year under either Sacramento's ordinance or the proposed AB 1482.
AB 824 (Wood): Business: preserving access to affordable drugs.: Yesterday, I wrote long-form on Assemblymember Jim Wood's bill to end "pay for delay" bill on pharmaceutical drugs, brand names and generics. If you haven't read that yet, then go back to put it in this context as I don't have time to repeat myself.
As I mentioned, the generic manufacturers (Association for Accessible Medicines -- AAM) is opposed to the bill, while the brand-name folks in Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers (PhRMA) have removed their opposition after amendments removing the language that put the legal burden of proof to defend against noncompetitive agreements between brand and generic manufacturers to demonstrate that a more pro-competitive agreement was not available.
AAM argues, and I believe legitimately so, that in many cases, the agreements allow for earlier entry into the market of generic and biosimilar bills rather than what could be a prolonged legal fight over molecular construction and patents. They have compiled examples to support that argument.
They have suggested conceptual amendments, including:
I try to always get a sense from both sides adn just didn't know who to reach out to at 6am yesterday. I also don't want to write on a novel issue (for The Nooner) while the Legislature was meeting for perhaps final consideration on any bill, so I did it on Sunday. My job is not to influence legislation but rather to explain and tell the story.
Anyway, if anyone says that I am in somebody's camp, remember that, when possible, I try to look at both sides of issues. I haven't had any advertising on either side of this issue, but even on those I have, I've often written on both sides.
Do I have personal feelings about something like vaccinations because I have friends with cystic fibrosis who are immuno-compromised? Of course, I am human. But I've also cited the argument by opponents who argue that they were promised in 2015 that medical exemptions would not be changed. I've also written that the "commitment" by Dr. Richard Pan in 2015 in committee was before the cottage industry of physicians willing to write exemptions for non-ongoing patients emerged over the last four years, so I gave my state senator a pass on that. Things change.
I'm not a journalist and I'm not an advocate. Thank you for your reading and support.
SD19 (Santa Barbara), CAKEDAY and CLASSIFIEDS after the jump...
SD19 (Santa Barbara): All of the competitive State Senate district primaries for 2020 have solid and interesting fields and I can't wait to write after this week's legislative cray-cray on them. I owe Nooner Premium subscribers many additional hours and have lots of full scratchpads already. That is, except for Senate District 19, which stretches from Santa Maria through Santa Barbara to Oxnard. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D) is termed out.
The thought was that Santa Barbara supervisor Das Williams (D), a former member of the State Assembly would run, but he has appeared to have taken a pass. Then, the eyes shifted to Santa Barbara Unified School District board member Laura Capps (D), the daughter of the late former congressman Walter Capps and former congresswoman Lois Capps. Both Das and Laura have young kids and, while the district is one of the most beautiful in the state ("The California Riviera"), it's not an easy one from which to commute. Laura is running for supervisor, challenging Das in a campaign that has split local Democrats.
There are several rumored local candidates for the Senate seat, however many of them may instead look to the Assembly seat currently held by two-term Assemblywoman Monique Limón (D). While a few legislators have been afforded the opportunity to move from the Assembly's green carpet to the red beneath the desk of Senators, under the 12-year term limits law, most folks are staying put (an exception was Bill Dodd (D-Napa)).
However, if a State Senate seat opens up in an Assemblymember's fourth year, it's a unique opportunity. A member can run for the State Senate and serve a cumulative of the same 12 years (4 Assembly, 8 State Senate) as if one stays put in the "lower" chamber. The salary and bennies are the same, but you only then have to run for election two more times rather than four. For a district like SD19, that's a very attractive prospect.
So, after the California Target Book's (h/t Rob Pyers) bot caught a domain registration for moniquelimonforsenate.com over the weekend. The domain registration information, as usual, is private, but I think we've got enough to put her Limón down as a probable candidate, which as note at the top in Elections Updates, I have done.
Hey all, before we get to Cakedays and Classifieds, let's say hello to our friend and supporter, the great pollster Adam Probolsky.
Okay folks. That's it. No main course today but more like an amuse bouche and dessert. I'm sending this out early and heading to the Capitol. I'm told that the opponents of SB 276 (vaccinations have the north and south entrances largely blocked, so I'm going around to the east entrance from my normal entrance on the south. It should be a nice morning for a walk. That is until I run into the AB 5 and SB 276 madness.
CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Coby Pizzotti and Kathryn Ramirez!