San Luis Obispo Democratic Socialists of America (SLO DSA) Public Comment to the SLO City Council

November 26, 2019

Good evening Mayor Harmon and city council members. My name is Ethan Stan, and I am speaking this evening on behalf of the San Luis Obispo chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, or SLO DSA.

Earlier this year, our chapter made a statement regarding the City’s overnight car camping ban. We’ll say again what we said then—we believe housing is a human right, and that a housing-first approach should be at the core of our City and County’s efforts to eliminate homelessness and housing insecurity in our community.

That we now have to comment on an ordinance that, if not passed, would likely create exactly the sort of homelessness the car camping ban punishes is shockingly unfair and unjust.

The housing crisis has gotten so extreme that the state government has had to step in and pass the incredibly moderate tenant protections enshrined in AB 1482. These include:

  • Rent stabilization—not rent control—that caps increases at 5 percent plus inflation
  • The elimination of most “no fault” evictions that allow landlords to kick renters out on a whim
  • And does not even apply to units put on the market in the past 15 years
  • It doesn’t even apply to single-family homes unless they’re owned by a corporation—which, it should be added, many are due to private equity firms buying foreclosed properties in the wake of the Great Recession

AB 1482 does not apply to small-time landlords. It is not a form of rent control. And as many housing justice advocates across the state argue, it won’t go far enough, only covering a portion of the state’s millions of renters. It wasn’t even opposed by landlord lobbying groups like the California Apartment Association.

That landlords in our community are still seeking to make an extra buck or kick their tenants out in the time between the bill’s signing and when it goes into effect is beyond the pale. These actions are not just counter to our community’s values—they are against the values of a humane society.

Renters make up over 60% of our city’s population. The hourly wage needed to afford a one-bedroom unit in our city without becoming rent-burdened is estimated to be over $25; our minimum wage is still at $11–12. There are already countless people sleeping under bridges and in their cars across town, and the rainy season starts tonight.

Please, pass this emergency ordinance. Thank you.

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