Opinion: Why no tenant should vote for Buffy Wicks for Assembly

Wicks is the only candidate in the race who refuses to support the repeal of the Costa Hawkins Housing Act.

Tenant protections such as rent control and just cause for eviction are the cornerstones of any strategy to end the housing affordability crisis. Buffy Wicks, who is running for the Assembly District 15 seat, will never be a champion for tenants. She is the only candidate in the race who refuses to support the repeal of the Costa Hawkins Housing Act (a state law that prevents cities from stabilizing rents in housing built after 1995 by imposing rent control.)

In fact, Wicks has failed to seek any support from tenants because she knows that none of us can support her and she cannot support us. She has sold herself to the highest bidders instead of looking to the community she claims to want to represent. Buffy has received less than 5.5% of her campaign chest from our district. The rest of the donations are from outside the district. When it comes to housing issues she has accepted money from contributors that don’t even support the Democratic Party, let alone tenants.

Of particular concern for tenants should be her acceptance of $4,400 dollars from Republican-supporting Warren Spieker, Jr., who donated $100,000 to Mitt Romney’s PAC in 2012 and supported Marco Rubio’s presidential run in 2015. The Spieker family owns several real estate companies, controls 2,900 units in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties alone, and spent almost $50,000 to prevent rent control from passing in Richmond, Alameda and other cities across the Bay Area during the November 2016 election. (The Spieker Aquatics Center at UC Berkeley is named after the family.)

Voters in District 15 need a leader that can see tenants as people and not as a business model that benefits only realtors, corporate landlords and for-profit developers at the expense of working families. Tenants need anyone but Buffy Wicks.

Signed by:
Maria Poblet, Berkeley Rent Board Commissioner, Past Executive Director of Causa Justa Just Cause*
James Vann, Co-Founder of Oakland Tenants Union*
Paola Laverde, Vice Chair Berkeley Rent Board Commissioner*
Leah Simon-Weisberg, Berkeley Rent Board Commissioner, Managing Attorney Centro Legal de la Raza*
Carol Fife, Director of Alliance of California Community Empowerment, Oakland and San Francisco Chapters*
Jeffrey Carter, Member of Berkeley Tenants Union*, Tenant AttorneyDavid Sharples, Director of Alliance of California Community Empowerment, Richmond Chapter*

*for identification purposes only

The authors are all active in tenants rights and housing issues.

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