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News :: Human Rights : Organizing : Politics : Social Welfare
Candlelight vigil at city hall in support of the Community Stabilization Act
08 Dec 2004
Despite the cold wind and dripping rain, over 60 people gathered outside City Hall on Tuesday night for a candlelight vigil organized by City Life/Vida Urbana in support of the Community Stabilization Act (CSA), which the city council will vote on, Wednesday.

The CSA would provide protections for tenants against rent gouging and unfair evictions by empowering elderly, disabled and low-income tenants to protest rent increases of over five percent. All other tenants would be given the right to protest rent increases of over ten percent. The bill would also provide protection against foreclosure for small homeowners.

[Update: The CSA lost 8-5 in the City Council vote.]
The candlelight vigil was organized by City Life/Vida Urbana, a local social justice organization working on tenant organizing, in conjunction with the Boston Tenant Coalition. The vigil was attended by supporters of the CSA including local residents who are threatened by Boston’s housing squeeze. Three city councilors were also in attendance. Organizers reported that all thirteen city council members were invited.

Vigil organizers reported that the city council is currently split on the issue of the CSA, with five in favor, five opposed, and three undecided.

Although the CSA is supported by over 65 local organizations and tenant groups, it has been opposed by some powerful voices. Several large real estate firms, including Avalon Bay and Equity Residential, both multi-billion dollar firms, have threatened to not invest in Boston if the CSA passes.

Vigil participants stood outside the main doors of City Hall from 4:30 until 7:00 pm, holding signs and candles, chanting, and singing. Speeches were given by representatives of City Life/Vida Urbana and the Boston Tenants Coalition and by City Councilors Chuck Turner, Maura Hennigan, and Felix Arroyo.

As part of the vigil, a tent was pitched by City Life/Vida Urbana at the bottom of the steps to City Hall. Organizers explained the tent was to show that “We’ll be living HERE if they don’t pass Community Stabilization.”

City Councilor Chuck Turner spoke at length about the pressing need for the passage of the CSA. He urged the crowd to stand up and work for change

City Councilor At-Large Maura Hennigan, a co-sponsor of the CSA, addressed the crowd and voiced her support for the CSA.

City Councilor At-Large Felix Arroyo described the process of creating the CSA. He explained that the act was repeatedly changed to meet that demands of its detractors: it was given a ten-year sunset clause, for example. Yet despite every effort to find consensus and to work with those opposed to the bill, there has been no agreement, said Arroyo. “What more do they want?” he asked the crowd, “we gave them everything that they asked for!”

The final person to speak was Mary Wright, a resident of Roxbury, who was told by her landlord in April of 2004 that her rent was to be raised from $400 per month to $1800 per month. This is an unprecedented rent increase for the city of Boston. Wright contacted Mark Pedulla of City Life/Vida Urbana, who helped the residents of Wright’s building to organize themselves and protest the $1400 increase. Wright said that initially the landlord responded by challenging Pedulla to find someone who would be willing to buy the building from him. When Pedulla found a buyer for the building, Wright said, the landlord changed his mind and decided not to sell it. Wright and her fellow tenants are still in negotiations with the landlord. Their rent has not yet been raised.

The final vote on the Community Stabilization Act will be at the Wednesday meeting of the City Council, which begins at 2:30. Large rallies at City Hall in support of the CSA are planned for Wednesday.
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Good to see less Opinion & more facts.
09 Dec 2004
Thanks for this article. Its great to have some local news and to see some people in action.
Re: Candlelight vigil at city hall in support of the Community Stabilization Act
09 Dec 2004
It lost 8-5. Boooo!
Re: Candlelight vigil at city hall in support of the Community Stabilization Act
10 Dec 2004
There's a Globe article about the vote here:

According to the article, there were about fifty people chanting shame at the City Councilors who voted against it, and some of them had to be taken out by the police.
shame on them
10 Dec 2004
Click on image for a larger version

I work at city hall and it is a shame to see that the work of so many progressive individuals here can be destroyed just because a few city councilors are in bed with real estate execs and developers. Its evident that money is more important to the mayor and councilors than health and well being of the residents of Boston.
Re: Candlelight vigil at city hall in support of the Community Stabilization Act
10 Dec 2004
Especially that Jerry McDermott fucker. I hope he roasts in hell.
Re: Candlelight vigil at city hall in support of the Community Stabilization Act
10 Dec 2004
How's about John Tobin? Anyone who can purport to represent JP while supporting rent control is just ubelievably full of it. Or more accurately, he knows that propoerty owners in West Roxbury will support him while tenants in JP can fuck off. Who's going to run against this guy next Fall?!
Re: Candlelight vigil at city hall in support of the Community Stabilization Act
16 Dec 2004
Rent control is a bad idea. I've lived in two rent controlled cities and have seen first hand how it simply does not work.

There is less incentive for property owners to make rental units available, or to maintain their properties. That squeezes the market, and drives the price up for everyone.

The select few people who are lucky enough to get rent controlled units often end up subleting them and pocketing the profit.

It's a good thing it was shot down. Again.
10 Jun 2006
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