Thursday, March 12, 2009

Tenants Protest at Page Mill Properties

Youth United in Community Action (YUCA) organized a spirited march and protest yesterday that started in East Palo Alto and ended at Congresswoman Anna Eschoo's regional office in downtown Palo Alto and included a stop at the headquarters of notorious predatory landlord, Page Mill Properties.


YUCA members and organizers were joined by numerous Page Mill tenants, the EPA Fair Rent Coalition, SEIU local 521, the Raging Grannies and Tenants Together to protest Page Mill's excessive rent increases and evictions and to call on CalPERS and Rep. Anna Eschoo to intervene in the crisis. CalPERS, the California public employee pension fund, has committed a $100 million investment as a limited partner in Page Mill's rental real estate scheme in EPA.

Several tenants and activists spoke to the protesters and members of the media outside the Page Mill headquarters and Rep. Eschoo's office. The speakers included Ed Burns, an East Palo Alto Page Mill tenant and member of SEIU Local 521. The executive board of Local 521 unanimously passed a resolution in December denouncing Page Mill's practices and calling on CalPERS to intervene and pressure their limited partner to cease their rent increases and evictions. Some 25,000 members of Local 521 participate in the CalPERS pension plan.

In his speech, Mr. Burns, a homecare worker, noted the ironic and unfortunate fact that his pension dollars, and those of other Local 521 members who live in Page Mill units, are indirectly funding a predatory landlord that might evict him.


Ed Burns, representing SEIU Local 521, is a EPA Page Mill tenant.
He denounced Page Mill's conduct and called on CalPERS to
to intervene in the crisis.

The rally preceded a hearing before the EPA Rent Stabilization Board last night during which Page Mill Properties requested "substantial rehabilitation" exemption from rent control for 44 of their buildings. Tenants who live in is some of the 44 buildings testified in the hearing that many of the improvements Page Mill has been making are merely cosmetic and do not meet the required standard of "primarily structural in nature" for exemption of rent control. The Rent Board denied all of Page Mill's petitions. As the next step in their ongoing efforts to circumvent EPA's rent control laws, It is assumed that Page Mill will now file a writ in Superior Court against the EPA rent board.

For more coverage on the protest visit Palo Alto Online, Palo Alto Daily, and Indy Bay.

Check our our Flickr page for more photos. For more information on the tenant crisis in EPA visit

UPDATE: Check out SEIU L521's coverage of the event.

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