Tenants’ rights advocates were recently shocked when a bill, AB 761 (Calderon, D-Whittier), that would severely cripple all of California’s over 100 local mobile-home rent control laws, passed the Assembly with the minimum votes needed. What was so shocking is that the bill only passed due to the support of a number of Los Angeles area progressive and liberal Democrats providing their support.
AB 761 would extend Costa-Hawkins mandated vacancy decontrol to all of the state’s mobile home rent control laws. Mobile Park owners would be able to raise rents on mobile home spaces without limits when a mobile home is sold to a new owner. This would have grave consequences for mobile home owners who own the mobile home, but rent the space it sits on. AB 761 would likely wipe out the investments of senior and low-income mobile home owners by instantly de-valuing the worth of their mobile home coaches. The bill’s passage would also give the real estate industry confidence and momentum to seek other attacks on rent control, tenants' rights and affordable housing laws.
Bill Resurrected From the Grave
On Monday, June 22, the bill appeared to be dead, falling three votes short of the required 41 votes. But days later the bill was reconsidered with two key Democrats who did not vote earlier, switching to supporting the anti-rent control bill.
Advocates Shocked by Who Supported the Anti-Rent Control Bill
Shockingly, those legislators who switched their votes and sold out the interest of mobile home owners were Speaker Karen Bass (D-South LA) and Anthony Portantino (D-Pasadena). The other Assembly Members who were surprise anti-rent control bill supporters from the get-go were John Perez (D-LA), Mike Davis (D-South LA) and Kevin De Leon (D-LA). After the initial vote Mike Villines (R-Fresno) added to the Aye votes giving it 42 votes.
Assembly Members Supporting Tenants’ Rights
There were Assembly Members who held firm to their principled stand in support of tenants'/mobile home owners rights and affordable housing, and should be thanked. They are: Mike Feuer, Julia Brownley, Bob Blumenfield, Felipe Fuentes, Bonnie Lowenthal, Dave Jones, Warren Furutani, Tom Ammiano, Pedro Nava, Mary Hayashi, Alberto Torrico and some others.
State Senate Vote Still Needed
Luckily, AB 761 has met a chillier reception in the Senate. For the past weeks it has been stalled in the Senate Rules Committee where bills are sent for referral to policy committees. Normally a bill is referred to its policy committee within a few days after it arrives. Any bill still sitting in Rules Committee at this point in the legislative year is considered dead for the year.
But, no one is willing to write AB 761's off just yet because legislative rules are routinely waived. Until the clock strikes midnight on the final day of session, few are willing to sign the death certificate. (Larry Gross is the Executive Director of the Coalition for Economic Survival. He can be reached at www.cesinaction.org) ◘
Vol 7 Issue 59
Pub: July 24, 2009
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