Saturday, October 17, 2015

San Leandro Landlords Want More Money

Richard Mellor

I went down to Bayfair Mall in San Leandro today with a flier the Project for a Working People's World put out encouraging tenants/renters to attend the next Rent Board meeting on October 27th and most likely the San Leandro Council's  meeting on November 16th (target date) when the Rent Board's recommendation will be acted on.

I should add that there were a few tense moments here and I was alone. As you can see though, I refused to leave as I normally do citing the Pruneyard decision and the California Constitution.

Before this security guard came two young guys came who worked for target. They were OK but at one time or another they all used the same term, I was corralling people. The target guys told me I could stay though.

I just assumed the security were the same folks but when the police came they told me that the security were employees of the mall.  The cop was decent and told me he didn't know why Target contacted security as they'd OK'd me to leaflet. It was me that told the security to call the police

The Pruneyard decision was a very important Constitutional Amendment that allowed free speech, the handing out of election material, literature, union information on private property like shopping centers and such. It was determined that this private property is not the same as ones home. One doesn't invite the public in to their home. But the corporation, giant stores, etc, do invite the public in.

Anyway, the cop told me that Pruneyard has been challenged so may times it only now applies to union organizing drives.  I am not sure about this and will contact the ACLU or if there are any constitutional lawyers that read this maybe you can help. If you go to the Wikipedia link on Pruneyard above you can see that as California's Supreme Court has become more conservative, Pruneyard has been weakened.

One of the conservative CA Supreme Cout members argues: "Pruneyard was wrong when decided. In the nearly three decades that have since elapsed, jurisdictions throughout the nation have overwhelmingly rejected it. We should no longer ignore this tide of history. The time has come for us to forthrightly overrule Pruneyard and rejoin the rest of the nation in this important area of the law. Private property should be treated as private property, not as a public free speech zone."

As in all cases of language, interpretation and rights, they have class content. There is clearly a difference between Wal Mart's parking lot and your house. It is not the right to defend one's home as private property that the investors that own these corporations are worried about, it's a disruption of economic activity, business, in short, profit making and talking to their workers about unionizing. Remember when Target was GEMCO and it was union.

We know that our homes are not the issue, as the Kelo case in New London Connecticut showed. Eminent Domain was used to take private property, peoples homes, for a mall or shopping mart and development. Normally this was used for public projects like freeways and such.  But the argument was if I recall, that taking a home (our private property) on behalf of a corporation like Wal Mart so it can build a store, is justifiable and acting in the "public good" because it means jobs etc. From what I recall, the project was never built and the land sits idle though don't quote me on that do your own research.

I made the attempt and was successful in reaching Ms Kelo at the time and interviewed her about her fight.

Back to why I was leafleting. As the video points out San Leandro tenants need to attend the rent board meeting on October the 27th where the board are expected to make a recommendation that will be acted on by San Leandro City council on November 16th.  These municipal boards are dominated by landords and moneyed interests but that doesn't mean we shouldn't show up in force.

Not only must we demand a rent freeze as some tenants have but an actual lowering of them and the building of affordable and decent public housing. Human habitation cannot be left to the market and entrepreneurs. There is no more disgusting term in my opinion than house flipping, it creates artificially high prices depriving people of a decent place to live.

Lastly, although I was not happy with the way this security guard dealt with me I  have no animosity toward him. The investors and other wasters behind these corporate ventures are scum. This is a working man and it's clear the power behind the place has not bothered to spend any decent money to help him and train him to deal with the public. They pay him nothing to protect their "private property".  He doesn't earn enough trying to kick me off the property or on other occasions risking his life protecting the boss's investments and neither him nor the Target workers can afford to pay the lanldord's fees to put a roof over their heads, never mind buy a home.

If you are a renter and live in San Leandro and want to get the flier for your yourself or to hand out in your building you can download it by clicking here or on the link under the image below.

1 comment:

Sean said...

Thank you Richard for your courage in standing up for renters. You are an inspiration. Sean.