“We are trying to put forward five progressive referenda to put people first,” said Kate Sykes, this afternoon as she was working a table on the Eastern Promenade. Sykes. She and a team of volunteers were busy collecting signatures to put the the five on the November ballot. “The pandemic has made this process challenging,” said Sykes. She went on to explain that usually under similar situations there is usually one or more proposals that people support. “As soon as they see all five, they sign them all gladly.”
- PROTECT TENANTS – It contains four basic protections for renters that the Anti-Renter Housing Committee, chaired by Councilor Jill Duson, should have enacted long ago: Limits most annual rent increases to the rate of inflation; bans discrimination against tenants with public vouchers; incentivizes landlords to provide 90-day notice for evictions; and creates a tenant/landlord board to consider requests to exceed the limit under certain circumstances, such as major capital improvements.
- RAISE THE MINIMUM WAGE – $12./hour is not enough to afford rent, food and healthcare. The minimum-wage worker is not the stereotype that you’ve heard: most of us are adults between 25 and 54; more than half are women; 28% have children; we span industries such as manufacturing, healthcare and construction; and on average we provide 52% of our family’s total income. Raising the minimum wage not only helps us workers; when we have extra money to spend, local economies also get a boost. a) Increase the minimum hourly wage from $12. to $15. from 2022-2024; b) Set the tip credit to half the increased wage; c) Requires a higher minimum sage for essential workers during declared states of emergency and d) Move the effective date of annual cost-of-living increases to the minimum wage from July 1 to January 1 to maintain consistency with state law.
There are three other referenda proposed by People First Portland. They include: Ban Facial Surveillance, Restrict Short Term Rentals and a Green New Deal. Those three will not be detailed herein – but perhaps in another post.
According to Sykes the city has given the campaign until July 1st to collect all the signatures it needs to get on the November ballot. That is 1,500 for each of the five referenda listed above. The campaign is more than half way to reaching that goal, although the signatures from today’s peninsula wide day-of-action have yet to be tallied.
“We are deeply disappointed that the city has made it extra difficult for us to collect signatures because the primary has been moved to July 14th which is outside our window for collection,” said Sykes. “We thought we would be able to collect signatures at the primary polling places.”
However, on Monday, the city council will consider whether or not to extend the “People First Portland” campaign deadline because in a pandemic it is dangerous to rush this process with voters. It is particularly relevant during this recession, because we may need to take care of Portland people Sykes said. Sykes, a community activist, said she is considering a run for councilor Kim Cook’s seat because it is rumored that she will not seek re-election in November. Cook has been called the most conservative member of the Portland City Council by the Republican Press Herald in an in depth article it published.
Mhn.com note: In many cities across this nation the above protections of tenants and others are common sense legislation. Only in Portland are these protections labeled “progressive” because of this city’s regressive attitude toward renters.
On August 19, 2015, councilor Nick Mavadones, at a press conference on the steps of city hall, announcing his once again bid for city council. He “noted the out of control rent increases” many tenants are getting – forcing them out of apartments.” When asked by mhn.com what should the city do to alleviate the crises that the Mayor (Brennan) has not done, Mavadones whispered: “I’ll talk to you privately.” Obviously, he never did. Privately or publicly. At the time the city of Portland was receiving negative national pr about its high rents that don’t align with the incomes of its residents. Mavadones has done nothing to alleviate the “out of control” rent increases. Rather, it has taken the public, by referenda, to correct the inequities that Mavadones has done nothing to remedy. To read this entire post herein, please read: “Mavadones Hammers Mayor Brennan with Empty Rhetoric, Endorsing Strimling,” dated August 19, 2015.
It should be noted as well that councilor Jill Duson, chair of the Anti-Renter Housing Committee, did not propose or endorse one piece of legislation that would have alleviated the plight of renters during the past and ongoing gentrifications. Good job, councilor Duson. Good job.
For more information, please visit www.peoplefirstportland.org. Email: email@example.com for more.