Berkeley has been my home for the last 30 years. My son was born, raised and educated in Berkeley public schools. I have no intention of ever moving out because this is the only place that I truly belong to. I strongly believe in retaining Berkeley‘s diversity and being an example for other cities in the US and beyond. Therefore, I care that our city government represent all residents equally whether they are homeowners or renters and that we don’t lose the Berkeley character. I grew up in Poland under a communist regime and I have seen the results of “good intentions” doing lasting damage to the whole society. As a result, I want to provide a “voice of reason” to the current Rent Board. Democracy is a process of working out a compromise among the various points of view so that we can move forward towards better solutions. Unfortunately, as of now, there is not a single person on the Rent Board that represents homeowners. I intend to change that. I am a progressive liberal but not an ideological purist. I believe in a pragmatic approach to solving problems and most of all in a transparent decision making by public servants.
Tirelessly work to shift the Rent Board’s priorities away from harassing homeowners and “mom and pop” landlords to a collaborative problem solving that benefits everybody. I will use my experience of 30+ years as a renter, homeowner and single-family housing provider to be a voice of reason on the Board. I will support evidence-based policies that have proven to be effective in Berkeley or similar municipalities. I will advocate for policies that increase supply and quality of rental housing and work with the city council to incentivize home and ADU owners to create more rental units and streamline the city approvals process. I will oppose policies that fail to improve rental housing, regardless of how well intentioned they seem. We don’t need more bureaucracy. We need smart, result-based policies to encourage creation of rental units that will mutually benefit tenants and housing providers.
I believe that California state and Alameda county laws are sufficient to protect tenants from unreasonable eviction and there is no reason for spending Berkeley taxpayers’ funds to create a bureaucracy to duplicate the same. We should re-allocate a portion of the $6,000,000 annual Rent Board budget to pressing issues such as: climate change, fire prevention, mental health services for homelessness and basic infrastructure. Rent Board should focus on helping to mediate disputes between renters and corporate landlords. Rent Board should not regulate what homeowners do with their houses, ADU’s, duplexes or small multi-unit rentals. There is general agreement among economists that rent control is counterproductive and it has the perverse effect of causing higher rents and gentrification that lead to higher home prices and displacement of residents. Certainly, in Berkeley it is causing poor quality of rent control units, unacceptable housing shortage, displacement of residents and higher home prices. As residents of Berkeley, we should act according to proven, evidence-based solutions rather than ideological beliefs.
Copyright 2020 Paid for by Bahman Ahmadi for Rent Board 2020 FPPC #1431231; McDunn for Rent Board 2020 FPPC #1434066; Soulmaz Panahi for Rent Board 2020 FPPC #1431229; Wendy Saenz Hood Neufeld for Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board for 2020, FPPC # 1432145; Moldenhawer for Rent Board 2020 FPPC #1432468. Major funding provided by pawel Moldenhawer, Berkeley, $1,000.