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Alternative Visions – Rent Price Gouging and Grass Roots Resistance – 02.26.16

Jack welcomes local community organizers, Maria Marroquin, director of the Worker Day Center in Mt. View, California, and Gayle McLaughlin, former mayor and now city councilperson in Richmond, California, to explain the grass roots efforts underway in their cities today to resist and rollback skyrocketing rent prices. With apartment rents having risen 25%-30% the past two years, and wages either frozen or falling for working and middle class families, more are being displaced and forced to move out of their homes—often evicted unfairly and arbitrarily by apartment chain property owners owned by hedge funds and other big finance Wall St. organizations. Maria describes the efforts in progress in her city to unite forces to resist unjust evictions and stabilize rents by passing city ordnances giving renters some basic rights. Gayle describes how the Richmond Progressive Alliance in her city challenged and won majority seats on the city council and passed rent ordnances and how the California Apartment Association—the big business lobbying arm for multi-unit apartment owners—temporarily blocked the ordnance. Gayle describes the organizing underway today for an even better rent ordnance coming up this November. Jack offers suggestions how the various fragmented efforts need to unite and ‘march on Sacramento’ to force statewide rights for renters and stop the rent price gouging that is now out of control, much like pharmaceutical drugs and education price gouging.

For more information about events underway and planned in Richmond, go to: gayle@definingourdestin.net or richmondprogressivealliance.net website. For events in Mt. View go to mtviewtenantscoalition.org. Find out how successful resistance to rent gouging is done.