News

[Richmond, California] Renters File Ballot Initiative for Rent Control & Just Cause!

Richmond Renters File Initiative for an Affordable and Fair City
Rent Control Ordinance Could Appear on November 2016 Ballot

Press Contact:
Gabriella Miroglio
510-862-8458

Feb. 24, 2016

Richmond – Today, led by Richmond City Council Member Gayle
McLaughlin, Fair and Affordable Richmond, a coalition of renters,
labor and homeowners, requested from the City Clerk, title and summary
for a potential November 2016 ballot measure. The ballot measure, if
approved, would protect Richmond renters from being evicted without
just cause and establish rent control.

Ms. McLaughlin explains, “The renters of Richmond deserve protection
during the current housing crisis, and our coalition believes voters
this November should be able to take a stand on the subject of just
cause evictions and rent control.”

The proposed ballot measure would establish a rent board that would
set annual limits on rent increases for the City of Richmond, as well
as provide a process for tenants to appeal rent increases. Richmond
renters, living in units built before 1995, would be protected from
outrageous increases in rent and evictions for reasons that are
without cause.

A recent poll commissioned by Fair and Affordable Richmond shows that
nearly two thirds of voters would vote today to enact rent control and
just cause eviction protections. Richmond voters understood that
similar limits on evictions and unreasonable rent increases have
helped to prevent thousands of middle-class and low-income people from
losing their homes, making communities safer and more stable for
everyone, and they think the City of Richmond should have such
protections.

‘The Bay Area housing crisis has already begun to hurt Richmond, and
it's effects will only get worse. Richmond residents have spoken, and
Fair and Affordable Richmond is working to give those residents a
chance to better Richmond by voting for just cause eviction protection
and rent control,” said Edith Pastrano, a Richmond renter and member
of the Fair and Affordable Richmond Coalition.

City Council passed rent control last year, but was forced to overturn
after a successful legal challenge on behalf of the city's landlords.
Fair and Affordable Richmond believes it is time for the voters of
Richmond to have their chance to vote on just cause eviction and rent
control.

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(February 24, 2016)

The Richmond Fair Rent, Just Cause For Eviction And Homeowner Protection Ordinance

Click below…

http://tinyurl.com/h7o2lxe

Poughkeepsie,NY: A Huge Victory for Utility Justice & Against Displacement!

#Homes For All Partner Group Nobody Leaves-Mid Hudson announced a major victory in the campaign against utility giant Central Hudson on Wednesday January 13, 2016!

From Jonathan, the Executive Director at Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson:

The New York Public Service Commission has announced it will be conducting an investigation into Central Hudson based on Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson's legal petition!

We applaud the Public Service Commission's decision to launch an investigation into Central Hudson's collection practices. We believe it's time to shine a light on Central Hudson's misconduct.

The Public Service Commission wrote a letter to Central Hudson on December 29th, announcing it will be investigating the issues brought to light by Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson. These include unlawful debt transferring, failure to negotiate payment agreements in good faith, failure to follow shutoff procedures, and racial discrimination in collection practices.

The letter emphasized that “the investigation is expected to include, without limitation, a review of pertinent Central Hudson documentation.” To ensure that this “investigation can proceed unimpeded,” the letter ordered Central Hudson to make available all relevant records. The full text of the letter is below.

This decision comes after many months of research into consumer violations and racial inequality, our members speaking up for their rights, a courageous letter sent to us by a whistleblower at Central Hudson, and a productive meeting with the Public Service Commission's staff. Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson submitted a legal petition for an investigation on December 21st.

This type of investigation is rare. That it is taking place is a reflection of the courage and efforts of our members, and the seriousness of the issues raised.

Full text of the Public Service Commission's letter to Central Hudson:

Paul A. Colbert

Associate General Counsel – Regulatory Affairs

Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation

Re: Case 15-M-0756, Complaint of Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson Against Central Hudson Gas & Electric

Corporation Concerning Collection Practices

Dear Mr. Colbert,

As you are undoubtedly aware, on December 21, 2015, the organization Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson filed a petition seeking an investigation of Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation's (Central Hudson) collection practices. The petition alleges the following: (a) Central Hudson's transferring of unlawful debts to parties that are not legally responsible for them, (b) Central Hudson's lack of consistency in negotiating in good faith on Deferred Payment Agreements (DPAs), (c) Central Hudson's failure to follow required shut-off procedures, especially in cases of medical conditions substantiated by a doctor's note, and (d) Racial discrimination in Central Hudson's collection practices.

The Department and the Commission will be conducting an investigation into the issues raised in the petition. That investigation is expected to include, without limitation, a review of pertinent Central Hudson documentation. In order to assure that this investigation can proceed unimpeded, it is imperative that pertinent documentation pertaining to HEFPA, transfer of debts, DPAs, shut-off procedures and/or collection practices; including but not limited to: all training materials; records of any communications, including emails, paper documents, recordings or electronic records, between employees; records of any communications between employees and members of the public, including emails, paper documents, recordings or electronic records, regarding complaints, inquiries or other contacts with customers or other members of the public, including organizations; and other relevant records remain available for the Department's review.

By this letter, Central Hudson is on notice that it must take all steps necessary to ensure that it preserves all such documents and/or electronically stored information that Central Hudson, its corporate parents, subsidiaries and/or affiliates have in their possession, custody or control during the pendency of this investigation. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Kimberly A. Harriman

General Counsel

Public Service Commission

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