By Michael Tarbet, SMRR Organizer
It was really a thrill at the No 98/Yes 99 Victory Party in Echo Park the night of the June 3 election. Phone bankers, leafleters, and campaigners of all stripes from around the region joined together in cheering throngs in front of TV cameras with Larry Gross from CES taking his deserved role as spokesperson.
Prop 98 was defeated 61%-39% (68% in LA County and almost 75% in San Francisco) Prop 99 won 62.5%-37.5%
I cherish Santa Monica’s Rent Control Victory of April 10, 1979, like no other, but this night was almost as dear. It meant that the tenants and mobilehome residents who live in rent controlled and eviction protected jurisdictions will be able to stay in affordable housing in relatively stable communities. It was a ringing endorsement of Renters’ Rights and the future of the tenant movement looks much brighter.
We owe it to the landlords and mobilehome park owners and to the Jarvis and apartment associations for overreaching and providing us with this golden opportunity to meet and join with so many new friends and allies working for social justice in the region and around the state. We have formed a renters’ rights alliance, called Tenants Together, an offspring of which worked effectively in this effort and has great promise of growing, spreading, and improving tenant protections in the Legislature and in many localities.
Thank you to all who phoned, leafleted, emailed, donated, whispered, spoke, cheered, and otherwise campaigned to get out the message that a preventable disaster was at hand. It so worked.
A very special thank you goes out to Fran Pavley (and her campaign consultant and SMRR cofounder Parke Skelton) who graciously opened their doors and sent so many messages for our cause. Congratulations Senator Fran on your two-to-one victory over that negative-campaigning hypocritical carpetbagger. Sometimes the voters really get it, and in their vote for you, we got exactly what we need to have a chance of saving life on our poor battered planet. Your work is cut out for you.
With Prop 99’s eminent domain reform now firmly part of the California Constitution, homeowners and their families and communities will be better protected from governments taking their properties to transfer to big businesses and developers. ¡Viva Chavez Ravine!
Homeowners and tenants voted together to protect both our living situations, and as Humphrey Bogart’s Rick fondly said to Louie at the end of Casablanca, “This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”