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Richmond City Council votes ‘no’ on eviction, rent increases moratorium

on September 14, 2016

At a special meeting on Tuesday, City Council voted not to pass an urgency ordinance that would have implemented a 45-day ban on certain evictions and high rent increases.

Mayor Tom Butt and Councilmembers Nathaniel Bates and Vinay Pimple voted ‘no’ on the moratorium, which required six out of seven votes to pass. The decision came after the council voted 4-3 to overturn Butt’s ruling that the urgency ordinance violated Rosenberg’s Rules of Order, which govern parliamentary procedures in California.

According to Butt, the urgency ordinance was simply a replica—or a “motion to reconsider”—of a moratorium on evictions that Councilmember Jael Myrick failed to pass earlier this year. The Rules of Order state that a “motion to reconsider” must be made on the same day as the original motion, and cannot be made only by a member of the council who voted in the minority of the original motion.

The council’s final decision was met with chants of “shame on you” from the assembled crowd. One attendee received two warnings from the mayor for her conduct. Councilmember Jovanka Beckles, who supported Councilmember Gayle McLaughlin’s motion to place the ordinance on the council’s agenda, echoed the crowd’s condemnations.

“Shame on you, Nat; shame on you, Vinay; shame on you, Tom,” said Beckles after the mayor adjourned the meeting.

The meeting was preceded by a press conference held at Civic Center Plaza on the steps outside the City Council Chambers, where over 35 Richmond renters gathered to show support for the moratorium.

Many of them were also among the 42 people who signed up to speak during the open forum for public comment. City council candidates Ben Choi and Melvin Willis were among those who spoke in favor of the moratorium.

At the end of the meeting, Bates said that supporters of the moratorium knew in advance that he, Pimple and Butt would oppose it. “What have we gained? Nothing,” he said.


  1. Confidential Commenter on September 14, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    The RPA could have passed one of several other rent control measures that had widespread support a year ago and avoided all of this fighting altogether. The city manager recommended it as well and the votes were there. Instead they insisted on an extreme version of rent control that is definately going to produce more negative effects for renters and owners alike than positive ones. You are beggining to see that now and it will only get worse with the passage of Measure L. The evidence and data for this is overwhelming. This is why the opponents of rent control on the council are against it, not because they lack compassion. I urge readers to read Council member Vinay Pimples statement on Mayor Tom Butts email forum about how he was treated by Jovanka Beckles. This is the RPA’s true colors, disturbing and it’s time for people to wake up to pay attention to these red flag and warning sign behaviours by RPA members.

  2. […] Last week, Councilwoman Gayle McLaughlin attempted to prevent this kind of situation by introducing a moratorium that would have allowed a 45-day ban on just-cause evictions and high rent increases. It failed in a 4-3 vote. […]

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