IMPORTANT UPDATE ON:TENAC URGES TENANTS,TESTIFY AGAINST MEANS TESTS FOR RENT CONTROL,OTHER "REFORMS!
TROJAN HORSE LEGISLATION LABELED "REFORM" FOR TENANTS
This is an important update about our request (TENAC release below) that tenants testify on the Bonds bills. We include important information on the round tables, who to contact, and on deadlines to testify (below in Careen Kaston's email). We also include more analysis of these "reforms" for you to refer to. (The bills themselves and official summaries are at very bottom.) MORE ON THE BONDS BILLS: Startling and even maddening, if we read it correctly, the Bonds bill on "certificates of assurance" (below) would allow tax breaks to make up for what landlords CLAIM they could lose in market rate rents if more buildings are included under rent control. These rates, of course, could (and judging from past behavior, will) include fictitious rents that landlords claim the market would bear. Nothing prevents them from dreaming up wishful or unreasonable "market rates." Worse, there is no enforcement mechanism to restrain fanciful claims of rent income "lost." A BLANK CHECK. This "reform" would prevent any real reform that tenants have been pleading for. (Expansion of rent control to newer buildings is a key component of real reform. This effort would prevent expanding rent control to buildings built after 1975 by making it too expensive a budget item for the District to implement.) Having to compensate landlords with tax breaks for what they alone contend are losses in market rate gains (producing large losses of revenue to the District) is very dicey. This blank check is a blatant use of government power for private profit, not the public good, the purpose of governing that many seem to have forgotten. Landlords are already guaranteed 12 percent profit by law. We say, let them file for that. Twelve percent is a guaranteed Warren Buffet-size return; this bill would allow them to make up their own inflated figures on what they claim the market would yield. And there will be no enforcement mechanism; though they write one into law, it will be meaningless. We see currently that there are many enforcement mechanisms written in statute now, and they are meaningless. They're only worth the paper they are written on, due to the way landlords and developers have operated, through loopholes, coercion, developer donations, favors, and threats. Imaginary market rates are subjective and can hold no weight in law. If enacted, something tells us those market rates will always increase, even during the rental market depression sure to come, now accelerated by the coronavirus. We venture to think that sensing this collapse, landlords are preparing an end-around, to make further rich profits despite market conditions. The days of corporate welfare and socialism by government largesse for the rich must end, and that end should begin with your vote in November. An end-around regarding the real reform bill. Have hearings on that. Why are there none scheduled? What about the real reform bill - the Omnibus Rent Control Reform bill introduced by Councilmembers Trayon White and Brianne Nadeau? We need hearings on this example of good government. The omnibus bill is a feat of accomplishment, taking years of debate, compromise and thought. Any attempt to block this bill is an attempt to stymie years of sincere effort. We think that it seems the Bonds bills are no substitute for real reform, except to help landlords. The District doesn't need to dole out more favors to rich developers and landlords, especially after all the tax breaks, subsidies and favors given them, and then label its work for tenants done. P.S - Errata: The figure in our prior release was incorrect (below); The District is looking at a potential of 60,000 evictions. We were thinking of the nationwide stats, which number in the millions. In any event, any evictions number above zero is too many. ----- Forwarded Message ----- From: Carren Kaston <firstname.lastname@example.org> Sent: Thursday, September 10, 2020, 12:50:26 AM EDT Subject: VERY IMPORTANT -- ** NEW INFO RE DATES WHEN YOU NEED TO ASK TO TESTIFY ** -- Please Testify at Anita Bonds' Rent Control Reform Hearings + Roundtables NOTE THESE REQUIREMENTS from the City Council's Housing Committee: Public witnesses will have three minutes to provide testimony (virtually). Persons who wish to testify are requested to email the committee at email@example.com or telephone the committee at 202-724-8198, at least two days before the hearing, and are encouraged to submit an electronic version of their testimony to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can submit written testimony up to the day you present it, and the record will also be held open for an additional 10 business days after the hearing or roundtable for you to submit written testimony. In the case of Monday, Sept. 14's roundtables, requests to testify will be accepted until close of business this Friday, Sept. 11. Please also note that the Office of the Tenant Advocate regards the 1985 "Certificates of Assurance in Rent Control" bill that Councilmember Anita Bonds offers as a reason not to consider expanding rent control to more buildings, as well as not to enact other substantive rent control reforms, as such a "menace" that the OTA will testify "100% in favor of repealing the bill." (See attachment to read descriptions of all the Housing Committee's bills.) Councilmember Bonds' roundtable hearing to collect feedback on the Certificates of Assurance bill will take place Monday, Sept. 14, at 9 am. It's the centerpiece to her group of mini bills, which for one reason and another don't truly strengthen rent control in our city. Her second roundtable that day, Monday, Sept. 14, starting at 12 noon, called "Tenant Protection and Eviction Prevention," says, "The Council has temporarily halted evictions during the public health emergency and for 60 days after the emergency, but we know these actions are not enough to address existing and imminent housing insecurity for low- and middle-income renters." Period. Nothing proposed that would be "enough." Presumably that's what we can fill in with our testimony. REMEMBER -- YOU MUST REQUEST SEPARATELY FOR EACH ROUNDTABLE OR HEARING FOR WHICH YOU WANT TO OFFER TESTIMONY. All testimony must be tailored for the particular proposed bill or roundtable. One testimony can't be submitted for all the bills and roundtables together. Please let's each of us do our part to support the repeal of the Certificates of Assurance bill by testifying and writing, as well as testifying against the inadequacies of the other bills being proposed. Let's also request in all of our testimony that the full omnibus rent control reform bill that Councilmembers Brianne Nadeau and Trayon White reintroduced this summer be allowed to come forward for a hearing. At the moment, CM Bonds has not set a date for the omnibus bill to see the light of day and it's in her hands. Carren Kaston Sedgwick Gardens