A #GivingTuesday Appeal from Sonja

Hello CaRLA Supporters!

The national news might be depressing, but here in the Bay Area, we are fighting for more housing. You can help by making a tax deductible donation to support our pro-housing lawsuits and education efforts. If you work at Google, GOOGLE WILL MATCH YOUR DONATION. If you have a DAF, advise your fund to send your money to us. You already took the tax deduction.

Our lawsuit against the City of Lafayette for refusing to build 315 apartments, and trying to build 44 single family homes instead, is moving right along. Our trial date is January 25th, 9am, at Contra Costa County Superior Court in Martinez. Please come watch & support if possible. Here is ABC7 news coverage of the Lafayette suit: ABC7.

We had a very fast victory in the City of Berkeley just before the election. The City Council voted to disapprove 3 zoning compliant single family houses proposed at 1310 Haskell Street. We quickly filed a petition asking the Superior Court to overturn the decision. The City agreed, and now the City Council will rehear the project. Read more here. In addition, the City of Berkeley will now include a section in every staff report explicitly evaluating whether the housing development project is subject to the Housing Accountability Act ("HAA"). This is a big deal. To find out more about why, ask me or Brian in person, perhaps on December 7th.

Lawsuits are effective, and expensive. Our legal strategy is to enforce the good state laws that already exist. It is already working. The results from last year were very good. And we will have to continue this strategy for at least another year.

Last year we raised and spent or committed about $250,000. Last year's expenses were one full time employee (me, Sonja) and two lawsuits. Next year's expenses will be two full time employees (welcome aboard Brian Hanlon) and at least twice as many lawsuits. We made incredible progress this year, but we also let good lawsuits pass because we didn't have the resources to pursue them.

This #GivingTuesday I want to raise $50,000. It sounds like a lot, but it's not. Just 4 Google employees maxing out their matching funds would raise $24,000, that's half way there. Raising $50,000 from our mailing list will put Brian & me in a good position to go back to our institutional funders and ask for even bigger money. My experience raising money is that for every dollar we raise in "small" (< $1000) donations, we get $6 more from big funders.

This year we'll make a proper resource guide for planners, legislative aids, zoning board members, commissioners, councilpeople, supervisors and interested members of the general public. Part of that project will be publishing the Order we got in Berkeley. Find out more about that too on December 7th, 6pm.

  • We could still file a CEQA appeal to stop the downzoning in Midtown Terrace.
  • We should have resources available to promote the proposed Forest Hill Senior Housing.
  • We can look at challenging single family zoning under the Fair Housing Act.
  • We can help the Baylands secede from Brisbane.

It depends on how much we raise, and what people seem excited about.

Get in touch, tell a friend,

Sonja Trauss
Founder, SF Bay Area Renters Federation
Co-Founder, Ca Renters Legal Advocacy & Education Fund