Make Voting Great Again: Prop. 64 and Oakland’s Pot Cash Grab, Stadium Subsidies and More

Plus: Renter Protections in Advance of Measure JJ

Oakland To Own Pot Clubs?: A vote on marijuana legalization looms on November 8, but the city of Oakland is already looking to profit off of the local marijuana business.

According to a new proposal put forward by Councilmembers Desley Brooks, Larry Reid, and Noel Gallo, the city would require any new Oakland pot company to make the city a partner — and direct revenue from the cannabis industry to elected officials’ special projects.

The idea, however, might run afoul of several laws — such as state medical-pot regulations that ban an entity from owning multiple cannabis licenses.

Specifically, Oakland would require new pot-shop owners to give the city 25 percent ownership stake in a business, plus one seat on a company’s board. Companies that don’t cut Oakland in would not get a permit and would not be allowed to operate under local or state law.

The proposal builds on Oakland’s Equity Permit Program, which sends convicted Drug War offenders to the front of the line for new canna-business permits. Residents of certain police beats would also be prioritized under the program.

Brooks’ pitch to take the city directly into the local pot biz will come up at next week’s Public Safety Committee meeting. But Brooks’ plan might not be legal, according to state Assemblyman Rob Bonta, who spoke to the San Francisco Chronicle on the matter.

Stadium Drama, Everywhere: If you thought the Oakland Raiders stadium spectacle and rumored Las Vegas getaway was confusing, then you haven’t been paying attention to San Diego.

On Election Day, voters 490 miles south of the Town will chime in on two ballot initiatives, Measures C and D, which could possibly impact whether the Raiders stay in the Bay or move to Sin City, or Los Angeles — or even San Diego, for that matter.

Both measures would increase taxes to defray costs of a new stadium in San Diego — something Oakland voters and pols would likely never support. Measure C would be a bigger subsidy for the Chargers: $1.5 billion in new taxes, which is undoubtedly why the team supports it. But C would also put taxpayers on the hook for stadium-cost overruns. Measure D would raise less money for a convention center, which the new stadium could adjoin, and would not give money directly to the team. Both measures need two-thirds majority to pass, which is unlikely.

Renter-Protection Laws Keep Coming: The really big proposals to change Oakland’s landlord tenant laws are on the November ballot as Measure JJ, the “Renter Protection Act.” We’ll write more about this before you go to the polls. In the meantime, several city council members are trying to tweak some of Oakland’s housing laws. 

This past Tuesday night, Dan Kalb, Lynette Gibson McElhaney, and Abel Guillen were scheduled to discuss a package of landlord-tenant laws. The three councilmembers are proposing the following: One, requiring landlords who move into a two- or three-unit apartment building to prove they’ve lived there for at least two years before they can exempt their building from rent control. Currently it’s one year. This is an important shift, because owner move-in evictions are sometimes used by landlords to remove tenants who are otherwise protected by rent control and just cause. After getting rid of the older tenants, a landlord can increase rent on the units by as much as they want.

Two, they would require landlords who want to increase rent by more than the consumer price index-adjusted amount to petition the rent board for permission. Currently, landlords can do whatever they want, and it’s up to tenants to know their rights and file a petition within sixty days if they think their landlord has increased their rent by more than the allowable amount set each year by the rent board, which can only be exceeded under special circumstances.

The new rules being proposed would also increase the amount of time a tenant has to petition the rent board from sixty to ninety days. The councilmembers’ proposal would also prevent landlords from “gold-plating” housing units with fancy, unnecessary improvements to drive up the rental price, and require that landlords spread the costs of capital improvements over the useful life of the improvement, rather than pass the expense on in one or several large rent increases.


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