The Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council held its first voter information town hall Saturday, where residents learned about Proposition 10 and voiced concerns about rising rents.
The proposition, which will be on the statewide ballot in November, would repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, a 1995 law that limits the use of rent control in California.
The Neighborhood Council invited groups from both sides of the debate over the divisive measure to help residents make an informed choice on November 6. The only organization to attend and participate was the Los Angeles Tenants Union; about 15 people attended the town hall.
“We want to highlight both sides of the debate so people can make an educated decision and of course we ultimately want everyone to vote on Election Day,” Neighborhood Council Rules and Elections Chair Marisol Sánchez said.
The Neighborhood Council invited several groups to present, including the No on 10 Campaign, the Eviction Defense Network and the Greater LA Chamber of Commerce.
The LATU’s hour-long presentation focused on rising rents in Boyle Heights, the Costa-Hawkins Act’s negative effects on renters, and the need for tenants to organize, know their rights, and see past the misinformation being presented by those opposed to Prop 10.
“The TV ads are being paid for major real estate and housing corporations, ” said LATU Organizer Enrique Velásquez. “They say passing Prop 10 will make rents rise, but the truth is that Prop 10 will help us put limits on what landlords can do to renters.”
After LATU’s remarks, residents shared stories about their struggles with rising rents. Boyle Heights resident Héctor Huezo shared that in the last six years, the rent for the neighboring unit in the duplex he rents increased from $1300 to $2250 per month as tenants have moved in and out.
Despite a recent slow-down in rising housing costs, the median rent in Los Angeles County is still hovering at about $2400 per month, according to a recent Los Angeles Times report.
Daisy Chávez, president of the Neighborhood Council and also a Boyle Heights resident, said that she has seen landlords attempt to intimidate undocumented tenants into vacating their apartments, a practice targeted by the California State Legislature.
Boyle Heights homeowner Rashida Holmes said that town halls are key to getting the proper information to voters.
“It’s important for people to understand the difference between information and misinformation,” Holmes said. “If you a dig beneath the surface you might find that the people paying for the ads are the same people who are trying to kick you out of your home. They’re selling the same lie they’ve been selling for 20 years.”
The next voter information town hall will be held on October 20th at 2 pm at Alma Family Services, where Propositions 1 and 2 will be discussed.
Alma Family Services
3218 Wabash Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90033
Photo above: Enrique Velásquez, from the Los Angeles Tenants Union, speaks at Saturday’s Town Hall. Photo by Marco Covarrubias.