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Sonoma County Gazette
SCTU is a union of tenants from many backgrounds banding together to advocate, legislate, and demonstrate for fair and affordable housing here in Sonoma County.

Sonoma County Tenants Union Rises

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Sep 30, 2019
by Deborah Taylor-French


“America is a monument to power and greed…A race for rent.”
Frank Lloyd Wright

Sonoma County Tenants Union Rises

I met people from Sonoma County Tenants Union (SCTU) at the Cotati Accordion Fest. Reading their five pages on social justice and the positive impact made by rent control, I wanted to run with this hot topic. Nineteen cities in CA have some form of rent control or just cause for eviction protections.

County rents have risen an average of 50% over five years.

Those numbers represent the period prior to our county’s October 2017 fires. Rents SPIKED 36% after the fires. Many homeowners moved to other counties to find a place to. live. I know a family who lost their home in the fires, then were charged eight thousand dollars a month for rent. Unfortunately, post fire rent gouging gave great distress to those who had lost ALL. Unreasonable rental charges forced longtime residents to relocate to the South Bay and elsewhere. Others who were not so lucky to have homeowners fire insurance lived in their car or became homeless.

Is Homelessness Our Legacy in Cotati or in Your City?

Evidence suggests that homeless people are often fully employed. Often a household with two working people cannot afford current day rental costs. In fact, many “shelter-less people” once rented apartments or houses here. When a landlord imposes a substantial rent increase, the tenant has few options, pay a price they can’t sustain, share a rental or live in their vehicles. Does a three-hundred-and-fifty-dollar raise in rent sound terrifying? If not, you are most likely a homeowner, therefore somewhat isolated from landlord greed. People I know were slapped with that rental increase with only a single month’s notice. Could you find another rental and move within thirty days?

Watching local apartment buildings clear out all tenants due to sale or remodeling, I wonder where in our county those hundreds of renters relocated. After all, we have SSU students who often prefer to rent and share apartments rather than live in a dorm.
If you want to help prevent more homelessness, vote for rent control.

National Coffee with a Cop Day, October 2nd
Cotati Police Officers will greet you at Oliver’s Market and serve you free coffee. You are invited to chat on topics of local interest. Bring your own mug or be served in a to go cup.

Oktoberfest in La Plaza Park, October 12th come at noon
See Dachshund races. Get to know neighbors, sing harvest songs, buy a beer, and lift a glass to the bounty of local farms. Held inLa Plaza Park at 60 W Cotati Ave., Cotati, CA.

The Trumpet Lesson book launch at The Sitting Room, Saturday, October 19th
Dianne Romain, SSU Professor Emerita, Sonoma State University, has authored a book. A Kirkus Review deems The Trumpet Lesson as “An interesting novel about tightly wound secrets and the art of letting go of them.”Free from 4-6 p.m. at 2025 Curtis Drive, Penngrove, CA.

Creepy Treats at City Hall on Thursday, Halloween
Bring the little ones in costume to gather treats at city hall at 201 W Sierra Ave., Cotati. Please call 707-792-4600 for event time.

Save the Date: The Annual Harvest Dinner, a Benefit for The Living Room
Featuring Karen Fitzgerald’s enchiladas plus a poetry reading from Rim and Rassan Zahra. They will read from their newly published translations from the Arabic of Ghada Samman. “Turning to poetry in order to follow the thread of her life, to seek light in chaos.” Copies of the book will be for sale. Held at The Sitting Roomon Friday, November 8th at 6:00 p.m. RSVP to J.J.,  or phone 707-795-9028 to reserve your place at the table. 


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