Wednesday, March 19, 2008

CalChamber OPPOSES Prop. 98

California Chamber of Commerce Votes to Oppose
Proposition 98 on the June Ballot

Sacramento, CA --
The California Chamber of Commerce voted to oppose Proposition 98 at its March 14 Board of Directors meeting. In particular, the CalChamber board cited concerns about Prop. 98's potential impact on needed water infrastructure projects and our state's economic growth.

Prop. 98 on the June 2008 ballot will jeopardize water infrastructure projects, destroy land use planning, encourage NIMBY lawsuits and eliminate rent control.

The Chamber joins a broad and diverse coalition including AARP, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, League of California Homeowners, League of Women Voters of California, National Wildlife Federation, California Teachers Association, California Police Chiefs Association, California Fire Chiefs Association and many others. For a complete list of Prop 98 opponents see below or click here.

The CalChamber did not take a position on Proposition 99, also on the June ballot.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Landlord Watch - Follow the Funding!!!

Landlord Watch!!!
Exposing the Wealthy Landlords Behind Proposition 98 and Their Deceptive Attack on Renters.

Wealthy apartment and mobile home park owners spent millions to get Prop. 98 on the June 2008 ballot. Prop. 98 is a deceptive scheme that would wipe out rent control and eliminate important renter protections like laws requiring the fair return of deposits. Prop. 98 is the worst kind of special interest proposition there is: It benefits a few wealthy landlords at the expense of millions of Californians. Landlord Watch is a periodic publication intended to expose the landlords behind Prop. 98 and their attack on renters.

Landlord Watch:

Tatum-Kaplan Financial Corporation
Total Contributions to Prop. 98: $200,000.00*

Tatum-Kaplan owns or operates more than 20 mobile home parks throughout California. A news search of Tatum and Kaplan uncovers dozens of news articles painting a troubling picture of landlords with a history of mistreating tenants and neglecting their properties. The company has been sued, fined or cited numerous times for...

Operating Slum-Like Conditions

In Mira Loma, Kaplan and Tatum were accused of operating a ‘slumlike’ mobile home park.

“…more than 100 residents at Swan Lake have accused the partners in court of allowing their property to deteriorate. Park residents contend… that owners and managers neglected the Swan Lake electrical system, which caused blackouts."

“They also said the park had an inadequate septic system that allowed raw sewage to back up into homes…”

“Other complaints about maintenance have been made in lawsuits filed by tenants in several Kaplan-Tatum parks, including Tokay Manor in Fontana. Conditions there prompted city officials to declare the park a public nuisance...”

-Source: Riverside Press Enterprise, “Rent Control Foe Pushing Prop. 199”, February 18, 1996

Rent Gouging
In 2000 a Santa Clara County Judge ordered Kaplan and Tatum to pay a $1.2 million judgment for “improperly inflated space rents well in excess of the city’s rent control regulations.”


“After a five-year delay, prosecutors went to trial… accusing the owners of two mobile-home parks of rent gouging and running an intricate sham to skirt San Jose’s rent control ordinance.”
“The companies… are managed by Thomas Tatum and Jeffrey Kaplan.”

“Santa Clara prosecutors claim that… park operators manipulated 90 prospective tenants…”
-San Jose Mercury News, Prosecutors Accuse Mobile-Home Park Owners of Rent-Gouging, January 8, 2000

*CA Secretary of State filings as of 2/22/08: Individual contributions from Donna Kaplan = $33,333.34; Jeffrey Kaplan = $66,666.66; Thomas Tatum = $75,000; Claudia Tatum = $25,000.00

Meet Real Renter Janelle Longwell!

Profiles of Real People Who Would be Affected By Prop. 98 - Meet Janelle Longwell!

Janelle Longwell has struggled with epilepsy most of her life. Janelle lives in a small Los Angeles area apartment protected by rent control – the only way she can afford a roof over her head. Because of her disability, Janelle struggles with normal daily living, cannot drive, and has to live close to her daughter and a friend of thirty-seven years in case of emergencies. If Prop. 98 passes, many individuals like Janelle are worried about where she would go if her landlord wanted to force her out. Prop. 98 will make it easier for landlords to evict tenants with no notice and no just cause. She also worries about Prop. 98’s impact on her Section 8 voucher that she waited 10 years to receive. If rent control is phased out, many Section 8 recipients may have to pay more out of their pockets toward their rent, leaving them with less money for basic necessities like food, prescriptions and utilities. Defeating Proposition 98 is paramount to the survival of many renters like Janelle.

“A lot of these landlords are just plain heartless, and they would stop at nothing to evict people like me. Some of us are barely making it financially with rent control, and I have no clue how we would survive without it. It’s shameless that these landlords would try to deceive California voters -- just to put money in their pockets at the expense of renters like me!”
- Janelle Longwell
Los Angeles

Monday, March 10, 2008

Prop. 98 Is An Attack on Real People! Meet Larry Jackson.

Prop. 98 Is an Attack on Real People! Meet Larry Jackson.

Profiles of the types of people who will be harmed by Proposition 98 - the landlords’ deceptive attack on renters, rent control, and renter protections.

Larry Jackson is an ex-Peace Corp member who lives in a mobile home park in Riverside with his wife Jean. After working his whole life, Larry is now out of retirement and working part time at Castle Park amusement park to make ends meet. If Larry’s mobile home park was not protected by rent control, the Jacksons would not be able to afford to live in their home.

Larry also worries that if Prop. 98 passes, mobile homeowners will face extreme difficulties selling their homes. Once buyers learn rent control will be lifted on the space as soon as the unit is sold, they will no longer be interested and the unit will be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars less. Prop. 98 will devastate home owners like Larry by eroding the equity he’s spent years building in his home.

“Everyday we see attacks from wealthy landlords to maximize their profits on those who can least afford to defend themselves. My wife and I are concerned about our survival if prop 98 passes. We continually ask our representatives, what is rent stabilization all about? If not to protect seniors and low-income families then who is rent stabilization meant to protect? Affordable housing will be just another cliché if we lose to prop 98.” -- Robert Fleak, Rohnert Park

Friday, March 7, 2008

No on Prop. 98 Coalition Disappointed in Judge’s Ruling to Keep “Rent Control” Out of Prop. 98 Title

In Legal Filings, Both Judge and Attorney General Acknowledge that Rent Control is Major Component of Prop. 98.

Sacramento, CA – No on 98/Yes on 99 coalition members today expressed disappointment in Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Timothy Frawley’s decision to leave the Proposition 98 title & summary unchanged. Plaintiffs argued that Prop. 98’s rent control provisions were a principle point of the initiative and, as such, should be referenced in the title.

In his ruling, Judge Frawley acknowledged rent control was a key component of Prop. 98, writing: “If the proposition is approved, the proposition would prohibit any new rent control measure…” However, the judge ruled that there is no distinction between the title and the summary and since the prohibition on rent control was already the second bullet in the summary, the Attorney General had substantially complied with the law. However, in oral remarks today during the hearing, Judge Frawley also acknowledged that if he had been tasked with writing the title and summary he might have written it differently.

In pleadings filed in connection with this lawsuit, the Attorney General also acknowledged that rent control is a primary provision in Prop. 98, writing: “The Attorney General agrees with petitioners that the prohibition on rent control is one of the chief points and purposes of Proposition 98”. But the Attorney General refused to mention rent control in the title.

Plaintiffs in the case respond to the ruling:

Dean Preston, Executive Director of Tenants Together in San Francisco and a co-plaintiff in the lawsuit said: “Today’s ruling is a disappointment. The only reason Prop. 98 was put on the ballot is to end rent control, pure and simple. We strongly believe that some reference to rent control should be reflected in the title. Eighty-five percent of funding for the Yes on 98 campaign – more than $2 million – comes from landlords and the organizations that represent them. Millions of people in rent controlled communities will be negatively impacted, as will more than 14 million California renters who will lose renter protections if Prop. 98 passes.”

Nan Brasmer, President of the California Alliance for Retired Americans and co-plaintiff said: “Regardless of the ruling, we’re moving full steam ahead to educate voters about the hidden provisions and dangers of Prop. 98. We know voters strongly oppose Prop. 98’s provisions that would abolish rent control and renter protections. Voters are smart, and we’re confident they’ll see through the landlords’ smokescreen and vote No on 98 on Election Day.”

Background: The No on 98/Yes on 99 coalition filed a lawsuit February 25 in Sacramento County Superior Court asking the court to change the official title of Proposition 98 to include mention of the measure’s rent control provisions. The official title of the measure prepared by the California Attorney General’s Office only informs voters of the measure’s eminent domain provisions, and excludes any mention of eliminating rent control, which is one of Prop. 98’s main provisions. The summary itself includes mention of rent control as the second point, but not the title.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Californians Against Proposition 98 - The Landlords' Attack on Renters
Campaign Video Contest: Win a $1,000 Prize


What: The No on Prop. 98 Campaign is hosting a statewide contest to expose Prop. 98's devastating flaws and its potential negative impacts for California renters. We are looking for short videos that explain to voters why they should vote no on Prop. 98. The best entries will be profiled on the campaign web site and with the press. The winning entry will receive a $1,000 prize.

Video Profile / Outline of Content:
* Videos must be no more than 1 minute in length.
* All videos must be submitted no later than March 28, but are welcome before that.
* Winning videos will focus on Prop. 98's hidden rent control provisions and will: Highlight Prop. 98's disastrous impacts on renters, such as seniors, widows, young families, students and others; and/or
* Expose the wealthy mobile home park and apartment owner landlords who have spent more than $2 million to get Prop. 98 on the ballot. For a list of Prop. 98 funders, visit
* Creativity and thinking outside the box is encouraged. While Prop. 98 is serious, humor and light-hearted submissions are encouraged.

Submission Instructions:
They should be posted on You Tube, with a link to the video sent to
Please include your name, phone number and e-mail address with your submission.
Any questions should be sent to or

Background on Prop. 98: Prop. 98 on the June 2008 ballot would eliminate rent control in California and is an attack on other important renter protections that protect ALL renters against unfair landlords. Proposition 98 will strip away important renter protections, allowing landlords to pursue unjustified evictions of renters just so they can raise rents as soon as that tenant moves from the unit. Once rent control is lost, it is gone forever. Prop. 98 would jeopardize other laws for all renters, like laws requiring the fair return of rental deposits. Behind Prop.98 are wealthy landlords and mobile home park owners who are trying to pass Prop. 98 for their own financial gain. California Secretary of State records show that more than 85% of funding to put Prop. 98 on the ballot came from wealthy landlords and organizations representing them. These landlords are trying to trick voters into believing Prop. 98 deals with eminent domain. But these landlords don't care about eminent domain - they only care about provisions in the initiative that get rid of rent control laws and other important renter protections at the expense of seniors, veterans, single moms and working families. Prop. 98 is an attack on all existing and future renters in California. Visit for more information on the initiative.


Children under age 18 must have a parent or legal guardian's written permission to submit their material and such permission must accompany the material or it will not be considered.

Employees (and their immediate families and household members) of the No on 98 Committee and its parent, subsidiaries, divisions, and affiliated entities are not eligible to submit material.

By submitting your material, for good and valuable consideration, the sufficiency and receipt of which you hereby acknowledge, you hereby grant to the No on 98 Committee and its affiliates a non-exclusive, perpetual, worldwide license to edit, telecast, rerun, reproduce, use, syndicate, license, print, sublicense, distribute and otherwise exhibit the materials you submit, or any portion thereof, as incorporated in any of their programming or the promotion thereof, in any manner and in any medium or forum, whether now known or hereafter devised, without payment to you or any third party. You represent and warrant to the No on 98 Committee that you have the full legal right, power and authority to grant to No on 98 Committee the license provided for herein, that you own or control the complete exhibition and other rights to the materials you submitted for the purposes contemplated in this license and that neither the materials nor the exercise of the rights granted herein shall infringe upon or violate the right of privacy or right of publicity of, or constitute a libel or slander against, or violate any common law or any other right of, any person or entity. This license shall be governed by the laws of the State of California.

The No on 98 Committee has the right to edit and/or alter any submission. The No on 98 Committee reserves the right not to use the material you submit at all and/or as little of the material as it chooses.

You acknowledge and agree that by submitting your material you are not entering into an employment relationship with the No on 98 Committee and that no relationship is created other than licensor/licensee.
Prop. 98 Is an Attack on Real People
Stop the Landlords’ Attack on Renters!

Profiles of the types of people who will be harmed by Proposition 98 - the landlords’ deceptive attack on renters, rent control, and renter protections.

Elizabeth (77) and John (79) Cirica, who live in the Summerset MHP in Alviso, a community in the City of San Jose, narrowly avoided losing their home four years ago when the owner of their park tried to increase everyone’s rent by $620 dollars per month -- more than doubling their rent payments. That effort was defeated by San Jose’s strong rent control ordinance which protects seniors like the Ciricas against unfair massive increases in their rent. Elizabeth, who recently lost a leg due to diabetes, worries that Proposition 98 will strip away important renter protections, allowing landlords to pursue unjustified evictions of tenants just so they can raise rents. Prop. 98 would also make it easier for landlords to raise rents on seniors like Elizabeth and John.

“We bought this home so John and I could live the rest of our lives peacefully in a safe and secure environment, and remain close to our grandchildren and great grandchildren. With rent control we can budget the yearly increase, but there is no way we could afford to pay rent in the amount these Park Owners demand as their due.”
- John and Elizabeth Circa, Alviso, California