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New Update: Top 10 Contributors Opposing Rent Control in California

HOUSING IS A HUMAN RIGHT-Big Real Estate keeps pumping millions into campaigns that oppose Proposition 21, the November ballot measure that expands rent control in California.

And in June, a new No on 21 committee was established, adding up to four political committees that are raising big bucks to stop Prop 21. AvalonBay Communities, led by CEO Tim Naughton (pictured above), is one of the top contributors. 

Last month, the real estate industry had raised a total of $14 million through three No on 21 committees:  Californians for Responsible Housing sponsored by the California Apartment Association, Californians for Responsible housing — General Purpose Committee, and Californians for Affordable Housing sponsored by the California Rental Housing Association. Now Californians to Protect Affordable Housing has joined the pack. 

Californians to Protect Affordable Housing has raked in $413,516 in campaign contributions, with large checks coming from the Issues PAC of the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles ($100,000), the Berkeley Rental Housing Coalition ($75,000), and Californians for Affordable Housing sponsored by the California Rental Housing Association ($100,000).  

Just as Californians for Responsible Housing — General Purpose Committee has contributed to the CAA-backed committee in an apparent tag-team effort, Californians to Protect Affordable Housing and the California Rental Housing Association-backed committee also appear to be creating an alliance.  

For Californians to Protect Affordable Housing, the leading contributor is not the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles or Californians for Affordable Housing. That title goes to Palos Verdes Estates landlord Gerald Marcil, who’s delivered more than $115,000 under the names of his various limited partnerships, such as Azul Apartments LP and Vio Cerritos Investment LP. In 2017, Marcil griped about rent control to L.A. Times columnist Steve Lopez, but apparently he’s trying to keep a low profile this time around. It’s not working. 

In addition to shelling out big money to stop Prop 21, Marcil contributed more than $20,000 to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2019. In fact, No on 21 contributors Clyde Holland (CEO of Holland Partner Group), Jackie Safier (CEO of Prometheus Real Estate Group), and Gerry Ranglas (CEO of R & V Management Corporation) have forked over tens of thousands each to Trump’s campaign either directly or indirectly, according to Federal Election Commission filings.  

In Safier’s case, she contributed $233,800 to the Republican National Committee after Trump won the presidential nomination in 2016. Clyde Holland delivered $315,4000 directly to Trump’s campaigns while sending $15,075 to the Republican National Committee. Gerry Ranglas shelled out $24,425 to Trump campaigns and $6,395 to the Republican National Committee. Telling facts about the power players behind the No on 21 campaign. 

The totals below include all contributions to the four anti-rent control committees. The top 10 is made up of some of the largest corporate landlords in the nation, including Essex Property TrustEquity Residential, and AvalonBay Communities. California Apartment Association CEO Tom Bannon and Equity Residential vice president and CAA board president Barry Altshuler are key decision makers for the CAA-backed committee. 

Top 10 Contributors Opposing Proposition 21 

  1. Essex Property Trust, led by CEO Mike Schall (includes $223,814 in contributions from Essex Property Trust founder George Marcus): $3,879,544 
  1. Equity Residential, led by co-founder Sam Zell and vice president and California Apartment Association board president Barry Altshuler: 2,922,002 
  1. AvalonBay Communities, led by CEO Tim Naughton: $2,294,853 
  1. Californians for Responsible Housing — General Purpose Committee (contributions given to Californians for Responsible Housing sponsored by California Apartment Association): $1,012,219 
  1. Prometheus Real Estate Group, led by CEO Jackie Safier: $935,497 
  1. UDR, led by CEO Tom Toomey: $891,801 
  1. Jackson Square Properties and JSP managing partner Tom Coates: $734,851 
  1. Invitation Homes, led by CEO Dallas Tanner: $619,340 
  1. R & V Management Corporation, led by CEO Gerry Ranglas: $550,000 
  1. General Investment & Development (GID), led by chairman W. Gardner Wallace: $472,615

 

Out of the four No on 21 committees, Californians for Responsible Housing sponsored by the California Apartment Association has raised the most money: $15,127,672. Together, the four Big Real Estate committees have raised $18,691,370, according to California Secretary of State filings.

In the meantime, the Yes on 21 campaign keeps gaining momentum, with new endorsements by Rev. Al Sharpton, the National Urban League, AFSCME California, and numerous others. The Proposition 21 battle is taking a clear shape: Big Real Estate versus social justice organizations, labor unions, and longtime fighters for equality and fairness, including labor and civil rights icon Dolores Huerta. Come this fall, California voters will have to ask themselves a simple question: which side am I on? 

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(Patrick Range McDonald was a longtime staff writer at LA Weekly, where he won numerous awards. He’s now an advocacy journalist for Housing Is A Human Right and an occasional contributor to CityWatch. Follow Housing Is A Human Right on Facebook and Twitter.) Prepped for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.