Last Minute Ad Blitz Has Chamber Supporting Renters Rights

Chamber-DoorhangerThe Davis ChamberPAC send out notification that it had purchased around 4000 door hangers that would be distributed throughout Davis today at around 9 am.

According to the notification, “These door hangers advocate for a ‘Yes’ vote on Measure D and for support of Davis City Council candidates: Lucas Frerichs, Stephen Souza and Dan Wolk.”

The Davis ChamberPAC also announced they would be sending out 1763 text messages to registered Davis voters at 10am. Again, “These text messages advocate for a ‘Yes’ vote on Measure D and for support of Davis City Council candidates: Lucas Frerichs, Stephen Souza and Dan Wolk.”

Of particular interest is the message on the door hanger.  It says, “Protect students’ and renters’ rights.”

It is a curious message for a few reasons.

First, the ChamberPAC is comprised primarily of property managers and developers, who would generally be on the landowner side of the issue of renters’ rights.

Moreover, while students have frequently raised problems with the Davis Model Lease and, in 2006, Lamar Heystek campaigned in support for the renters’ bill of rights, his efforts in particular were not supported by one of the candidates on the slate.

While the candidates back in 2010 seemed to recognize problems with the model lease, no efforts have been undertaken to deal with the issue.

Back in 2010, candidate Joe Krovoza said , “You guys have got to get your security deposits back.  It’s absolutely ridiculous.”   He went on to talk about a Davis Media Access video which showed the difficulty of getting security deposits back.  He said that as long as it is normal wear and tear, people should get their security deposits back.  He pointed out that it just does not happen.  “Davis Model lease is very very complicated and there’s nothing about it that strikes me as slanted in the students’ favor.”  He continued, “If you look at the Davis Model lease in Davis and think that that must be kind of geared towards students, since it’s a university town.  It’s not slanted towards students and its overly complex for any of you to get your arms around.”

Daniel Watts went even further, calling the Davis Model lease, “ridiculous.”  And arguing, “There are several provisions in that that are against State of California Tenant Law.”  He wants to work with the landlords to change that.  “The security deposit is a real problem.”

However, these issues have largely been ignored by council and not raised much in this election.

We are not suggesting that the supported candidates are anti-renter, but only that the issue has not been widely discussed and the Chamber supporting such a message seems, at best, odd.

In fact, we hope that this is a sign that the Chamber will working with student groups to address these issues that have gone unaddressed for at least the six years the Vanguard has been in operation.

—David M. Greenwald

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

Related posts

79 Comments

  1. David M. Greenwald

    Someone just reminded me that one of the members of the PAC, Tom Cross, a property manager, came down to the council four years ago to oppose the ordinance that allowed renters to put political signs in their windows.

  2. dlemongello

    Don Shor, thank you for pointing this out (above). It’s a means to an end, and we all pretty much know it, unless they come up with some reasonable answer. But I do not believe there is one. In our cynical world however, if these renters are astute, they may realize and recognize it for what it is.

  3. dlemongello

    The Davis model lease is written for the mature and thorough mind. It is comprehensive and for a lease to bear any validity, it needs to be. It is a lesson for young people to learn to pay attention to what agreements they are making. I am a landlord (my husband and I own 1 property in addition to our home) and we practically walk our tenants through this lease. Students in particular tell me they never get deposits back from apartment landlords and I tell them it is not right if they did their part. When they vacate our property they get back what is fair and square and I help them know what to do to achieve a good return during the pre move-out walkthrough (which is a requirement of the lease to conduct). That does not make me a saint, that makes the Davis model lease an excellent guide.

  4. DT Businessman

    “First, the ChamberPAC is comprised primarily of property managers and developers, who would generally be on the landowner side of the issue of renters rights.” -David Greenwald

    Fact check. This statement is false. The PAC is comprised of a civil engineer, a non-profit executive / business consulting firm operator, a full-service commercial brokerage operator, a developer, and a retailer. Two of the five are active in residential rentals, 3 are not.

    -Michael Bisch, Davis Chamber PAC

  5. Matt Williams

    Help me out everyone. I’m feeling pretty dense right now. Was there even a single moment prior to today where either the issue of Renters Rights, or the issue of Students Rights was mentioned, much less discussed?

  6. dlemongello

    I do not recall any discussion but since I am so familiar with Sue’s Greenwald’s literature I can tell you there is reference made to the topic/issue in her campaign piece.

  7. DT Businessman

    Don, yes, I stand by the contents of the door hanger. I encourage all residents including renters and students to engage in the democratic process by voting today. I’d like to see them all vote for Souza, Wolk, and Frerichs and to vote YES on Measure D, but it’s up to them to determine who/what they vote for.

    The Chamber PAC has worked hard to encourage voters to focus on community sustainability when casting their votes today. I think we have met with some measure of success.

    -Michael Bisch, Davis Chamber PAC

  8. dlemongello

    I might need to correct that, the mention I recall in Sue’s piece is for student housing, I don’t recall any mention exactly of rights. I don’t recall any in the others’ literature either, and I read them all.

  9. DT Businessman

    “It will be interesting to find out whether student renters who showed proof of having voted received any gifts from property managers.” -eagle eye

    Pretty nasty foul, eagle eye. Merits a yellow card. Of course, it’s not your first yellow card offense, so the ref should probably eject you from the game.

    -Michael Bisch, Davis Chamber PAC

  10. Matt Williams

    DT Businessman said . . .

    [i]”Don, yes, I stand by the contents of the door hanger. [b]I encourage all residents including renters and students to engage in the democratic process by voting today.[/b] I’d like to see them all vote for Souza, Wolk, and Frerichs and to vote YES on Measure D, but it’s up to them to determine who/what they vote for.

    The Chamber PAC has worked hard to encourage voters to focus on community sustainability when casting their votes today. I think we have met with some measure of success.

    -Michael Bisch, Davis Chamber PAC[/i]

    Michael, as a “win the election” tactic, I would say your door hanger was a stroke of genius. None of the five candidates have done anything to engage the students. Heck, we don’t even know what the student issues are in this electoral cycle. Jobs after graduation, tuition and fees hikes, student loan burden are all clearly student issues, but also are well outside the Council’s ability to deal with.

    The other master stroke of your initiative is the timing. Waiting until election day meant that the candidates you don’t support have no recourse.

    The incremental votes you got were probably expensive, because so few student will vote today, hanger or no hanger, but in a low turn-out election every incremental vote counts more, and the expense was probably worth it. The fact that the message on the hanger was vacuous is incidental.

  11. Jim Frame

    As with the “our candidates support Measure D” line, the “protect students’ rights” line is both perfectly legal and intentionally misleading.

    I think the one positive thing that both of these campaign pieces do is highlight the fact that the ChamberPAC — and, by extension, the Chamber itself — is not a community service organization, something that’s not clear in the minds of many. The Chamber is an entity designed and operated to bring financial benefit to its members. Sometimes its interests overlap with those of the community at large, and sometimes they don’t.

    .

  12. DT Businessman

    “The Davis Chamber of Commerce is a membership organization whose mission is to promote, support, and advocate the general economic vitality of its membership and the quality of life for the community.”

    Jim, your statement is at odds with the Chamber mission statement.

    -Michael Bisch, Davis Chamber PAC

  13. wdf1

    M. Williams: [i]None of the five candidates have done anything to engage the students. Heck, we don’t even know what the student issues are in this electoral cycle.[/i]

    I agree with this. I don’t have a problem with the door hanger except the line, “Protect Students’ and Renters’ Rights”.

    DT B: [i]Don, yes, I stand by the contents of the door hanger.[/i]

    Could you elaborate on what students’ and renters’ rights the DC PAC is concerned about protecting?

  14. David M. Greenwald

    “Help me out everyone. I’m feeling pretty dense right now. Was there even a single moment prior to today where either the issue of Renters Rights, or the issue of Students Rights was mentioned, much less discussed?”

    Not that I recall

  15. JustSaying

    What do you folks have against protecting students’ rights? The Vanguard has been promoting them for months. David has argued for better consideration of students and their views, including during the recent effort by the police chief to get an “stop and chat” ordinance passed.

    Which candidates have made a effort during the campaign to meet with student groups?

    Which PACs are smart enough to target their advertising? Is this better or worse than tearing out other candidates’ signs and blocking them? What’s the problem?

  16. Jim Frame

    [quote]Jim, your statement is at odds with the Chamber mission statement.
    [/quote]

    Nice try. The order in which those statements appear clearly indicates which is subordinate. The last statement is so generic it might as well have read “and the health of puppies everywhere.”

    .

  17. Mr.Toad

    just because the candidates didn’t reach out more to students doesn’t preclude a last minute attempt. Those that protest have no one to blame but themselves for not doing more to try to reach that constituency.

  18. Jim Frame

    I don’t find anything wrong with the ChamberPAC’s political activities — they’re entirely consistent with the Chamber’s mission and its status as a 501(c)(6) corporation. They do, however, make starkly clear the fact that the Chamber is not a community service organization.

    In my view, this represents a significant change in the public’s perception of the organization. Traditionally, the local Chamber has been seen as being very mom-and-apple-pie, when in fact it has the same purpose as the much-despised U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The difference now is that it’s overtly acting the part.

    .

  19. Ryan Kelly

    What’s the big deal. It’s a door hanger. It is the day of the election. The students complain about their rights, but hardly ever vote. Maybe this will get them out of their apartments on the last week of the Spring quarter to vote. Probably not.

    Without the Vanguard picking this up and publishing it on the Internet, it would have had a very narrow reach into a distracted and fairly apathetic constituency.

  20. Rifkin

    [i]”What’s the big deal. It’s a door hanger.”[/i]

    The question with all deceptive advertising is: How stupid are the people (i.e, voters or consumers or whatever the target audience is)?

    If the Chamber PACs endorsed candidates win, place and show due to this flier, then the answer is “mighty.”

  21. Don Shor

    No, Michael. He’s changing the subject, and so are you. My comment was not “unfounded.” But he didn’t respond to the substance of my post, he just attacked me. Per usual.
    I am not happy about the image that the Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber PAC, and the DDBA are presenting to the citizens of Davis. These groups don’t speak for this business owner.

  22. Mark West

    David G: “[i]Mr. Bisch: Please disclose the rental properties that the members of the ChamberPAC Board own and operate.[/i]”

    A perfectly valid question that you could have asked the candidates.

  23. Mark West

    Rifkin: “[i]The question with all deceptive advertising is: How stupid are the people (i.e, voters or consumers or whatever the target audience is)?[/i]”

    The exact same thing can be said about every other piece of political advertising. I have had several pieces of ‘rosy’ literature placed on my doorstep these past few days with far larger whoppers than what is in this piece. Once again, we are talking about the sideshow and not the main event.

  24. DT Businessman

    “In an utterly misleading last-minute action, the ChamberPAC is distributing 4000 door hangers endorsing their 3 candidates with the slogan “Protect Students’ and Renters’ Rights”.” -Don Shor

    This is Don’s entire quote from DavisWiki together with a link to David’s article above, to which Kemble responded in kind. “utterly misleading” is the attack. And I fail to see any support for the attack in your quote or “substance”. Have your written the “substance” in invisible ink? There is no “substance” in your attack to respond to. It’s an assertion, an opinion, entirely without factual support or a persuasive argument. Those on one side of the partisan divide perhaps share your opinion, and those on the other side don’t.

    -Michael Bisch, Davis Chamber PAC

  25. Mark West

    Don: You are someone I respect, but your attack on Kemble Pope on Davis Wiki (that was linked above) was unfounded and unjustified. You should be embarrassed.

  26. Don Shor

    Mark: [i]Why do you make this personal? Kemble’s job is to do what the Chamber Board wants him to do.
    [/i]
    I did not reference Kemble in my comment on the Davis Wiki. He then chose to directly attack me there (again).

    The ad is misleading. If the Chamber Board is authorizing Kemble’s behavior, then I will say they should be aware of the harm they and he are doing to the image of the local business community.

    As I said there: “In an utterly misleading last-minute action, the ChamberPAC is distributing 4000 door hangers endorsing their 3 candidates with the slogan “Protect Students’ and Renters’ Rights”.”
    That is utterly, intentionally misleading. What about my statement was unfounded, Mark? What was unjustified, Mark? Where in that did I “attack Kemble Pope”, Mark?
    For what should I be embarrassed?
    This last minute mailer on behalf of the Davis Chamber of Commerce and the Davis ChamberPAC is an embarrassment to the organization(s) and to the principals thereof.

  27. Mark West

    Don: I stand corrected, you did not make the first personal attack. I misread the order.

    Your comment however is still unjustified in my opinion, and does more to damage your own credibility than anything else. The ad was not misleading. It was perhaps vacuous as Matt says, but there is nothing in it that can be construed as being untrue. Your bias is getting in the way of constructive dialog in my opinion.

  28. Don Shor

    Mark,

    Kemble Pope, in a previous exchange, singled me out on the DavisWiki for criticism for the edits to the Davis Chamber page. A page I had not edited. Apprised of his error, he did not correct it. You can see that at his Wiki page: http://daviswiki.org/Users/KemblePope

    In an email to me, cc’ed to a number of Chamber board members, referring to the Chamber and the ChamberPAC, Kemble stated that “David Greenwald [b](and you, by lack of action) [/b]continue to falsely promote the idea that they are one and the same….. Please, do the right thing and make the changes to the article title and throughout the body.”
    Apparently Kemble thinks or thought that I can edit the content of the Vanguard articles, and that I have influence over David Greenwald’s editorial content. I informed him otherwise.
    Apparently Kemble thinks or thought that I was changing the Davis Wiki pages about the Chamber and the ChamberPAC. All changes had been done by other Wiki editors.

    He has not acknowledged or corrected any of his errors regarding my actions there or my role as moderator (not editor) here at the Vanguard. So he is persistently misrepresenting my positions and actions here and elsewhere, and has yet to correct his erroneous statements.

    I’ll let others here respond as to whether the ChamberPAC’s door hanger, which you helped pay for and which apparently the ChamberPAC board approves of, is misleading or merely vacuous.

  29. psdavis

    Sue and Brett are both anti-growth. The lack of rental housing supply keeps vacancy rates extremely low, rents artificially high, and opens the door for landlords to abuse their tenants. I think the DCOC got this one just about right.

    I also agree with Matt’s comments on the politics.

    The crocodile tears about a late hit are self-serving.

    On issues like the Model Lease and tenant rights, I would trust the liberal democrats (Dan, Lucas, and Steve) more than I would trust Brett or Sue. I also think that the the DCOC slate is the best team to (along with Joe and Rochelle) collaboratively negotiate with UCD to get them to provide more on-campus rental housing.

  30. DT Businessman

    That’s right, the Chamber PAC was worried about a “late hit” backlash when we picked the door hanger distribution date. The most effective distribution date for turning out student voters played no part in our consideration. Please note the sarcasm. There is a serious amount of projecting from some paranoid individuals going on here (I’m not referring to you ps). Some of these comments are getting really silly.

    -Michael Bisch, Davis Chamber PAC

  31. Matt Williams

    Don Shor said . . .

    [i]”I’ll let others here respond as to whether the ChamberPAC’s door hanger, which you helped pay for and which apparently the ChamberPAC board approves of, is misleading or merely vacuous.”[/i]

    Don, I was going to ask you this question anyway . . . how do you feel the door hanger is misleading. There doesn’t appear to be enough information on it to be misleading.

  32. Matt Williams

    DT Businessman said . . .

    [i]”That’s right, the Chamber PAC was worried about a “late hit” backlash when we picked the door hanger distribution date. The most effective distribution date for turning out student voters played no part in our consideration. Please note the sarcasm. There is a serious amount of projecting from some paranoid individuals going on here (I’m not referring to you ps). Some of these comments are getting really silly.

    -Michael Bisch, Davis Chamber PAC”[/i]

    Michael, backlash, no (not at all). Timed so the opposition couldn’t mount a response, yes (good politics). Further, the attention span of students is notoriously sort, so doing it the morning of election day was the best possible timing IMHO.

  33. David M. Greenwald

    “The most effective distribution date for turning out student voters played no part in our consideration.”

    Michael: I would say this – the most effective distribution date for turning out student voters would have been coupled with a real strategy of registration and making sure your lists are current. My guess is you delivered 90 percent of your material to deadwood (at best). Most students are not registered, most lists have not been cleaned up and therefore contain layers of previously registered and moved students.

  34. David M. Greenwald

    PS: The problem here is not necessarily the candidates on renters issues, but a group of property managers (and their surrogates) acting as though they were the conveyors of renters rights, although I do note that Mr. Souza has been on the council for eight years and to my knowledge has never touched either of the issues you apparently trust him to deal with. Dan and Lucas, as younger individuals may be another story, we’ll see.

  35. David M. Greenwald

    “Don, I was going to ask you this question anyway . . . how do you feel the door hanger is misleading. There doesn’t appear to be enough information on it to be misleading. “

    It portrays itself as a renters rights piece supporting a renters rights slate, when in fact it was designed and paid for by property managers supporting their candidate irregardless of their position or track record on the issues. And so I’m clear again, I have not seen Souza touch the issue of renters rights while I think Dan and Lucas as men in their 30s might be more sympathetic to them. The problem though is not the message (ie the candidates) its the messengers.

  36. Mark West

    David G: “the ChamberPAC is comprised primarily of property managers and developers”

    “when in fact it was designed and paid for by property managers”

    Both statements quoted above are demonstrably false. Any accurate reading of the donor list would not support your conclusions.

    Which of the five candidates are landlords? If we are talking about renter’s rights, that seems to be the interesting question, not your rabid accusations.

  37. David M. Greenwald

    I was referring to the voting board who is making all of the decisions.

    “If we are talking about renter’s rights, that seems to be the interesting question, not your rabid accusations. “

    How about their voting record? Or is that just my rabid accusation?

  38. Matt Williams

    David M. Greenwald

    [i]”The problem though is not the message (ie the candidates) its the messengers.”[/i]

    David, how can you have a problem with a messenger carrying a message in an election?

    If you don’t have a problem with the message then there is no problem at all IMHO.

  39. Mark West

    David: “I was referring to the voting board who is making all of the decisions.”

    OK, prove your point. Name the voting members and demonstrate that a majority are property managers and developers. If you can, I will concede the point. If not, then both your statements and the premise of your comments are false.

  40. Matt Williams

    David M. Greenwald said . . .

    [i]”How about their voting record? Or is that just my rabid accusation?”[/i]

    Countdown to both Toad and Don jumping in and pointing out that the rents for renters and students are incredibly high because of poor proactivity in increasing the housing inventory in Davis. Don’s focus will be purely on apartments. Toad will be ecumenical.

    5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1

  41. Don Shor

    Mark,
    Before the results come in, I’d like to make my final comment on the way this campaign and the Chamber’s involvement has gone.

    What the board of the Chamber of Commerce, the ChamberPAC, the executive director, and to a large extent the co-president of the DDBA have done is to change the brand of “Chamber of Commerce” in Davis.

    Jim Frame has it exactly right. [i]Chamber of Commerce[/i] generally has been an image of your local business owner, mostly thought of as your local merchant. What the state and national Chambers of Commerce have done is strongly associate their brands with a particular wing of the political spectrum. Until recently, not so the Davis Chamber.

    Believe it or not, on several occasions over the years people have asked me if I thought they should join the Davis Chamber. Even during and after the Second Street Crossing debacle, I would usually say that it could be of benefit to them. For networking, for getting active in the programs the Chamber sets up and the meetings they sponsor. Now, unfortunately, they also have to consider whether they want to be associated with the brand as it is being identified and marketed by the new leadership. I believe and have stated vigorously that brand is not in the interests of Davis business, especially retail, in many ways.

    I believe the Chamber has narrowed its image from a general to a specific interest group. Its actions and advocacies must be weighed now for the business types that predominate at the ChamberPAC, as David Greenwald alludes in his comments here. And I would urge any current retail members and any prospective business members to consider whether that association is likely to help or hurt them in a town with core liberal instincts.

  42. Matt Williams

    Indeed they are

    Dan Wolk 4,704 29.7%
    Brett Lee 2,911 18.4%
    Lucas H. Frerichs 2,859 18.1%
    Stephen Souza 2,701 17.1%
    Sue Greenwald 2,653 16.8%

  43. Mark West

    Don: My company was a member of the Chamber off and on through our 6 1/2 years in business. Early on, I had the impression that the organization was focused on supporting local businesses, and I was happy to pay our dues and support the organization. After a couple of years however, there was a change in the focus for the worse, where I felt that the primary goal of the organization was to raise money for the Chamber, regardless of the impact on the business community. More recently I have felt that the Chamber has once again changed their focus, this time for the better. Now I see them working to change the environment for local businesses, to bring economic development to the forefront in the political discussion, and push for economic growth. In the past the Chamber has been too passive, ignoring the problems that the City is facing, and ignoring the problems of businesses in town, and focusing primarily on the next opportunity for people to come together and enjoy free alcohol. Now, I see the Chamber is attacking the problems that we face in an aggressive and positive way. You may prefer the old Chamber, but this one is an organization that I am proud to support. Kemble Pope (whom I met for the first time a little more than two weeks ago) is a breath of fresh air.

  44. Jim Frame

    What’s most interesting is that the 15,828 mail-in ballots shown comprise over 40% of the vote, if the 2008 council election total is any indication of turnout. It used to be that the mail-in (“absentee”) ballots could be counted on to reflect a demographic different from that of the in-person ballots, but I’m not sure that’s the case any more.

    .

  45. Don Shor

    That’s interesting: I quit the Chamber about 6 1/2 years ago. I can’t say I preferred the old Chamber; I wasn’t active, except in helping with the first two years of the Business Expo. Other than that, I was just a dues-paying member for about 25 years.

  46. preston

    Add the votes….then divide by three. Or just go with the measure D votes = 6,579.
    Anyway, it looks like we may be in store for a completely different council than 2 years ago. Are the voters of Davis tired of the Greenwald and Souza show. Tune in later to catch the amazing conclusion……………..

  47. Jim Frame

    [quote]Jim didn’t vote for 3 spots evidently. [/quote]

    Evidently not (i.e., there’s insufficient evidence for that conclusion). However, having been around Davis elections for 40 years I’m well aware of the concepts behind strategic voting, and the fact that some people choose to exercise their right to employ it.

    .

  48. psdavis

    DG: I said I trust the liberal democrats (of which Steve is one) on this issue more than I trust Brett and Sue. Your feelings about the PAC are irrelevant since they don’t get to vote from the dais.

  49. Don Shor

    Looking at the maps, there is amazing geographical separation as to how the candidates other than Dan performed. He was truly a city-wide winner: first in every single precinct. After that, though: Brett carried East Davis, Lucas carried West Davis, Sue got the central corridor, and Stephen only in parts of South Davis.

  50. wdf1

    I got the numbers for Greenwald and Souza switched. Should look like this:

    12:28 a.m. 75% reported
    Wolk 29.1%
    Frerichs 19.3%
    Lee 18.0%
    Greenwald 17.2%
    Souza 16.4%

  51. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]The Davis model lease is written for the mature and thorough mind. It is comprehensive and for a lease to bear any validity, it needs to be. It is a lesson for young people to learn to pay attention to what agreements they are making. I am a landlord (my husband and I own 1 property in addition to our home) and we practically walk our tenants through this lease. Students in particular tell me they never get deposits back from apartment landlords and I tell them it is not right if they did their part. When they vacate our property they get back what is fair and square and I help them know what to do to achieve a good return during the pre move-out walkthrough (which is a requirement of the lease to conduct). That does not make me a saint, that makes the Davis model lease an excellent guide.[/quote]

    I am deeply concerned that students may not fully understand their lease. This would be an excellent project for the UCD Law School to take up – providing legal advice to students BEFORE they sign a lease…

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
$ USD
Sign up for