Opinion: Buffy Wicks is the best AD 15 candidate to help solve our housing crisis

Buffy Wicks understands rent stabilization is the only thing that stands between many families and the terrifying prospect of untenable rent hikes or even losing their homes.

Solving the housing crisis will require pragmatic solutions that involve all stakeholders.

Imagine if tomorrow you found out that your housing costs were going to double, or even triple, and there was nothing you could do to stop it. Could you afford to stay in your home? What would happen to your family? Buffy Wicks understands that rent stabilization is the only thing that stands between many families and this terrifying prospect and her position on this issue was misrepresented in an op-ed piece published on Berkeleyside on April 11.

Wicks has stated her strong support for rent stabilization and eviction protections. She supports reforming Costa-Hawkins, the state law that restricts cities’ ability to apply rent control to any unit built after 1995.

Helping tenants stay in their homes is one very important piece of solving our housing crisis. As Wicks has stated in many forums, her concern about a full repeal of Costa-Hawkins is the potential unintended consequence of a slowing or all out stopping of any new home construction, thereby exacerbating our housing crisis.

This is a compelling point and one that many affordable housing advocates have made. We believe it’s counterproductive and dogmatic to use the repeal of Costa-Hawkins as a litmus test in the AD 15 race, because this does not paint a full picture of a candidate’s position on our very challenging and complex housing crisis. Wicks has called for other important pro-tenant measures as well, including a significant increase in the Renters Tax Credit and a legal defense fund for renters facing unfair eviction. She has called for Costa-Hawkins to be reformed rather than repealed because she wants to find real solutions to our multifaceted housing crisis.

As Berkeleyans, we hope we can have a conversation about solving the housing crisis that includes all stakeholders — tenants, developers, aspiring homeowners, landlords, local and state policy makers — to come up with pragmatic solutions to spur the creation of desperately needed new housing while simultaneously helping low and middle income renters stay in their homes. We’re confident Buffy Wicks is the best candidate to help lead this conversation and that’s why we are supporting her candidacy for the AD 15 Assembly seat.

Kim Kruckel, Alex Sharenko and Beth Gerstein are Berkeley residents who are supporting Buffy Wicks in the AD-15 Assembly election.