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November 8, 2016 — California General Election
Local

City of Berkeley Rent Stabilization BoardCandidate for Commissioner

Photo of Judy J. Hunt

Judy J. Hunt

Commissioner, Rent Stabilization Board
20,721 votes (13.75%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Build more safe, habitable affordable housing for moderate and low income people.
  • Protect tenants from unwarranted rent increases and unjust evictions.
  • Provide rent board agency transparency and fiscal accountability with detailed annual reports.

Experience

Experience

Profession:Non-profit Executive & Consultant
Commissioner, Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board — Elected position (2012–current)
Commissioner, Alameda County Advisory Commission on Aging — Appointed position (2006–2010)

Education

Case Western Reserve University Master of Science, Social Administration, Maternal Child Health Specialization (1972)
Pepperdine College Bachelor of Arts, Sociology (1970)

Community Activities

Advisor/Trainer, Advisory Board, West Oakland Senior Center (2015–current)
Poll worker, Alameda County Registrar of Voters (2010–current)
Member, Alumni Council, Head Royce School (2010–current)
Member, Alameda County Leadership Academy (2004–2005)

Biography

A West Berkeley small rental property owner, I was born and raised in the East Bay Area. My family has roots in Berkeley for over 60 years. I attended Franklin Elementary School, which is now the Berkeley Adult Education School campus. I graduated from the Anna Head School for Girls (now Head Royce School) in Oakland.

As a Head Start consultant in Cleveland, Ohio I worked to improve poor housing and environmental health conditions that impacted the health, education and well-being of children, youth, families and elders. While working at a community mental health center, I worked with senior adults to support their advocacy efforts for housing options that preserved their dignity and independence.

After working as a non-profit executive with international organizations in New York and public health in New Jersey, I returned home to my childhood neighborhood in 2002.

Who supports this candidate?

Organizations (1)

  • Berkeley Democratic Club

Elected Officials (4)

  • Susan Wengraf, Berkeley City Council, District 6
  • Darryl Moore, Berkeley City Council, District 2
  • Laurie Capitelli, Berkeley City Council, District 5
  • Elizabeth Scherer, Former Rent Board Commissioner

Individuals (2)

  • Jerome Singer, Professor Emeritus, UC Berkeley
  • Julie Holcomb, Executive Board, Berkeley Democratic Club

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters—Berkeley, Albany, Emeryville (2)

If you are elected, what would you like to achieve during your term in office?
Answer from Judy J. Hunt:

I would like to have the Rent Board agency publish a detailed annual report to the community. The report would provide agency transparency about its operations and share the following information:

A. Updated survey data about tenants and rental property owners in Berkeley.

B. Criteria utilized for registration fee increases.

C.. The number of petitions, hearings and mediations filed by tenants and landlords and the outcomes/results of those petitions, hearings and mediations.

D. Data about lawsuits filed by the Rent Board agency and against the agency, the results of such actions and the associated costs of litigation and any outside counsel.

E. The units of operation within the agency (Registration, Information, Outreach, Hearings, Research and Administration) what each unit does and the number of staff in each unit.

F. Fiscal Accountability - how monies are allocated and spent for staff, funding for legislative advocates and agencies that provide legal services for tenants.

G. Vision of the Rent Board agency for the future of rent control in Berkeley utilizing census data, Bay Area employment, transportation and housing (real estate market) data.

 

I would also like to see the Rent Board engage real estate professionals, landlords and property owners in more collaborative discussions that lead to positive cooperative relationships.

 

What do you consider the most important issue facing the Rent Control Board?
Answer from Judy J. Hunt:

The most important issues facing rent control include:

A. How to sustain rent control. The number of rent controlled units are decreasing as the rent ordiance is clear that rental units built after 1980 are exempt from rent control. The number of non rent controlled units are increasing with market rate rents. Rent controlled unit rents are generally below market rate rents. Rental units near downtown and the university tend to turn over more due to incoming and graduating students every year.

B. Rent controlled units tend to have long term tenants with aging landlords and property owners who cannot afford rising property maintenance costs without sufficient profit from rents to reinvest into the properties. This is particularly true for West Berkeley and South Berkeley.

C. Strategic planning for housing in Bekeley needs to include: UC Berkeley housing administration, real estate professionals, tenants, landlords and property owners. All housing stakeholders should be included to develop a comprehensive, realistc housing plan for city residents of various socioeconomic incomes, ages and cultural groups to maintain a vibrant, healthy community.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

It is important for me to maintain authenticity, intregrity and a moral compass. I work with my commissioner colleagues without rancor or disrespect. I hold firm to share issues and concerns of older adult tenants, landlords and property owners because they are most affected by the economics related to rent control.

The costs related to property maintenance of older rental buildings are often not covered by lower rents. Maintaining safe habitable housing for older adults is basic to their automony and independence to remain in their communities for as long as possible. This is true for both older tenants and landlords and property owners. Older landlords and property owners live on retirement incomes that do not rise as fast as property maintenance costs. So increases in registration fees without definitive criteria is not fair to elders who have contributed to the city infrastructure that make Berkeley a desirable community.

I shall continue to raise and address issues that impact the most vunerable citizens so they do not face being homeless in their twilight years. I will vote for what I believe to be fair to our elders, fair to their pocketbooks and fair to the community as a whole.

 

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