The “Yes on Measure JJ” campaign kicked off last Saturday at Lake Merritt, as dozens of community members and local leaders gathered to show their commitment to making sure renter protection passes in Oakland this November.
With less than seven weeks before the elections, the Committee to Protect Oakland Renters—a coalition of local housing rights, labor and interfaith organizations—is gearing up for its campaign to spread awareness among voters.
“The campaign is planning to hit the streets and go into neighborhoods, especially with high voting impact, and to also do a voter registration drive,” said James Vann of the Oakland Tenants Union and Post Salon Community Assembly.
“The committee knows that voter registration is fairly low in the flatlands and other neighborhoods where renter protection is most needed,” he said. “That’s where we’re going to have to pull a lot of votes.”
Twenty local organizations are spearheading the campaign efforts to pass Measure JJ and register Oakland voters, including SEIU Local 1021, California Nurses Association, ACCE Action, Causa Justa: Just Cause, Asian Pacific Environment Network (APEN), PolicyLink and the Ella Baker Center.
The ballot measure also has the endorsement of many local politicians, the Alameda Labor Council and the Alameda County Democratic Party.
Locally, there is broad support for the need to pass a strong renter protection law in Oakland and the City Council made a unanimous decision to place the measure on the November ballot.
However, committee members are expecting a highly visible opposition campaign, funded by state and national real estate groups.
“We’re definitely expecting these non-local groups to come out strong, and we’ve estimated they’re going to spend around $3 million to fight this measure,” said Camilo Zamora of Causa Justa: Just Cause.
The estimated spending by anti-rent protection organizations is based on what they have done in other California cities that have put renter protection measures on the ballot in the past, said Zamora.
Already, sources have told the Post that people are receiving phone calls for an anonymous “push” poll opposing the renter protection measure in Oakland.
It is for this reason that this group of community organizations will need all the help it can get, Vann said.
“We’re reaching out to the faith community and other local organizations and asking that they endorse the measure and make it a priority issue in their community,” said Vann.
“Spread the word and reach out to us to help get people registered to vote,” he said.
To get information on how to endorse, volunteer or become a part of the “Yes on Measure JJ” campaign, visit www.protectoaklandrenters.org
For help registering to vote, you can visit acceaction.org/ register_here