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Landlord Lies & Dark Money: Don’t Let Them Buy Our Election!
By Ty Moore, Tacoma for All Campaign Manager
Last week thousands of Tacoma voters received auto-dialer calls and texts with outright lies about the Tenant Bill of Rights. The opposition poll tested a long list of deceptive statements against Initiative #1, clearly designed to hone their message as the landlord lobby prepares to flood Tacoma with negative mailers and ads.
Polls like this cost at least $30-$40,000, but whoever funded it remains in the shadows: no opposition PAC has filed yet with the Public Disclosure Commission, a legal requirement for all electoral spending. However, this poll appears to confirm credible rumors that the Rental Housing Association and their chief lobbyist, Jim Henderson, have established a PAC and amassed over a quarter million to bombard voters with deceptive mailers and ads.
We can defeat the corporate landlords, but it will take everyone pitching-in. Can you donate $15, $30, or $300 right now to ensure we have the resources to fight back?
Answering the Landlord Lobby Lies
The poll claimed that under Initiative #1, “taxpayers would be responsible for paying tenants' relocation fees… and require a whole new city bureaucracy to make payments and enforce.” The truth is, big landlords – not taxpayers – will be required to pay relocation assistance, and only if excessive rent hikes force tenants to move.
Voters were also told that Initiative #1 will “cap rent below the rate of inflation.” The unfortunate truth is that local rent control is banned by state law. While Initiative #1 may discourage landlords from raising rents over 5% to avoid paying relocation assistance to tenants who can’t afford the hike, there are no rent caps.
These are just a sampling of the disinformation campaign the landlord lobby is pushing to confuse voters. Please help us expose these landlord lies and set the record straight by sharing our infographics on social media. Go to @tacoma4all on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter
You can also fight back by signing our Pledge to Vote for Initiative #1 today, and by forwarding this article to ten friends, family, and co-workers asking them to also pledge their support!
Outside Corporate Money vs. People Power
In a press release two days after the deceptive poll dropped, the Rental Housing Association of WA “put the call out to its 5,000 members” – wealthy landlords from across the state – to “help organize and defeat” Initiative #1.
With no hint of irony, the statement of this statewide corporate landlord organization headquartered in Seattle went on to paint our broad labor-community coalition as outside agitators! “The Socialist Party of Seattle is taking to Tacoma their failed public policies,” their statement claimed, adding that Tacoma for All is “funded by deep pocketed tenant advocacy benefactors.”
This is another lie. The reality is, our coalition and leadership is deeply rooted in Tacoma, and over 7,200 Tacomans signed to put Initiative #1 on the ballot. We’ve raised over $73,000 and, unlike our opposition, we have reported every donor and every dime to the Public Disclosure Commission. About 95% of our 324 donors gave less than $200 each, and 85% of donors live in Pierce County.
Among endorsing organizations, our biggest donation so far is from UFCW 367, a union of 8,000 local grocery workers whose members face high rates of housing insecurity. Grocery workers voted to donate $11,000 of their hard-earned dues money to this fight because they’ve seen their wage increase negotiated at the bargaining table eaten up by endless rent hikes.
Please take a moment now to help us defeat this outside corporate money. Become a monthly sustainer of Tacoma for All today!
Working people in Tacoma can’t afford to let outside corporate money buy this election. We can’t afford to let big corporate landlords – many owned by Wall Street financiers – keep sucking the wealth out of our communities.
By standing together in solidarity – and by calling out these landlord lies – we can defend our democracy, we can defend our neighbors, and we can win the Tenant Bill of Rights this November.