TENANT ADVOCATES FILE 21,946 PETITION SIGNATURES – DOUBLE THE NUMBER REQUIRED – TO QUALIFY THE “NO EVICTION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION INITIATIVE” FOR JUNE SF BALLOT
January 26, 2018: A coalition of tenant groups, neighborhood leaders, and senior advocates gathered today on the steps of San Francisco City Hall to submit 21,946 petition signatures – more than double the number of signatures required – to the Department of Elections to qualify a historic tenant protection initiative for the June 5, 2018 San Francisco ballot. At least 9,485 valid petition signatures from registered San Francisco voters are required to qualify the initiative for the June ballot.
“The overwhelming success of this petition drive shows that voters are ready for bold steps to stop our displacement crisis,” said Dean Preston, longtime tenant advocate and the ballot measure proponent. “A right to counsel for tenants facing eviction will deter unfair evictions and prevent homelessness.”
If qualified for the ballot and approved by voters in June, the No Eviction Without Representation Initiative would give all San Francisco being evicted from their home the right to legal representation, making San Francisco the first city in California to provide a right to counsel for tenants facing eviction. Last year, New York City became the first city in the nation to enact a tenants’ right to counsel law. Currently, in eviction legal proceedings in San Francisco, most tenants have no legal representation.
“I grew up here, and my living situation is stable, but I’ve been collecting signatures because I want others whose home is here in San Francisco to not be needlessly uprooted, especially working class people of color,” said Rhonda Smith, a tenant in the Visitation Valley neighborhood of San Francisco.
“Tenants have been scared out of their apartments by corporate landlords for too long, but with legal representation, we have a chance to stay in our homes,” said Sekani Moyenda, a retired elementary school teacher who has lived in the Western Addition neighborhood for over 20 years. She was able to prevent being evicted from her home because she had legal representation – which the vast majority of tenants now do not.
The Department of Elections has 30 days to review the petition signatures to confirm that more than the required number of valid signatures were submitted.
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