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Our Future On The Ballot #3

Heading into the highest-stakes election of our lifetimes, The Appeal launched a newsletter called Our Future on the Ballot covering insurgent candidates across the country, their elections, and what’s at stake.


In today’s issue, we’ll cover:

  • In cities across the country, housing as a human right is on the ballot this November. Meet Carroll Fife, a leader of the Moms 4 Housing Movement, who is running for a spot on the Oakland City Council.
  • Plus: Senator Elizabeth Warren endorses Oklahoma criminal justice advocate, Mauree Tuner in her bid for a statehouse seat; Deedra Abboud looks to shake up the historically Republican Maricopa County Board of Supervisors; and more news from around the country.

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CARROLL FIFE, A LEADER OF THE MOMS 4 HOUSING MOVEMENT, RUNNING FOR OAKLAND CITY COUNCIL.

  • OAKLAND MOMS RECLAIM AN UNOCCUPIED HOUSE — In December 2019, a group of unhoused mothers occupied a vacant three-story house on Magnolia Street in Oakland. At the time, the house was owned by a mega-landlord, Wedgewood Properties.

  • SHERIFF EVICTS MOTHERS  — As Wedgewood Properties sought to evict the mothers, over 300 supporters gathered in solidarity outside what became known as “Moms House.” In January 2020, Alameda County Sheriff’s Deputies, dressed in military-style garb, rolled up in armored vehicles to “Moms House” to enforce an eviction order on the moms.

  • RETURN TO MAGNOLIA STREET — The moms were able to build enough support from donors to purchase the Magnolia Street house through the Oakland Community Land Trust which allowed the mothers to stay in the home.
  • FROM PROTEST TO POLICY CHANGE — Fife, who has experienced periods of homelessness, leads the Oakland chapter of Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE). She’s been an early and continuous supporter of the moms who took over the Magnolia street home. As the moms movement began to amass more media attention, Fife and ACCE worked with Oakland City Council member Nikki Fortunato Bas to pass the Tenants Opportunity to Purchase Act, which prioritizes tenants as prospective buyers of the home they are living in.

FROM MOVEMENT LEADER TO MOVEMENT CANDIDATE. 

  • FIFE ANNOUNCES HER CANDIDACY FOR OAKLAND CITY COUNCIL — Fife’s progressive credentials are unimpeachable — she’s the director of ACCE Oakland, she founded the Black Women in Elected Leadership PAC, she was elected to Oakland NAACP’s Executive Committee, and she served as a two-time delegate for presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. In July 2020, she announced her candidacy for Oakland City Council, running on a platform with three primary planks — a Black New Deal, Defunding the Oakland Police Department, and Meeting The Housing Crisis Head On.

  • “A MOVEMENT BUILDER, AN ORGANIZER” — Fife recently joined The Appeal’s Our Future on the Ballot to discuss her candidacy for Council, which included drawing a clear distinction between herself and incumbent politicians:

“I’m a movement builder, I’m an organizer. From the population of people that I’m seeking to serve. I’m not seeking to serve the one percent or the Police Officers Association. I don’t receive donations from them or any development.” 

  • DIVEST AND REINVEST — Speaking of police officers, shifting resources away from the Oakland Police Department is central to her vision for a safer, more equitable Oakland. Fife argued in an interview with The Appeal that there is no evidence the city’s police budget is “actually giving us back the type of returns that one might think with that investment.”
  • FIFE’S HOUSING AS A HUMAN RIGHT PLAN — Her plan includes: creating a publicly-funded program to employ Oakland residents to convert abandoned homes into affordable housing, passing the Moms 4 Housing Act that allows tenants to purchase the homes they live in, expanding land trusts, and establishing a Right to Return for displaced Oakland residents.
  • CALIFORNIANS AGREE THAT HOUSING IS A HUMAN RIGHT — The Justice Collaborative Institute released a report with Moms 4 Housing which found that a majority of Californians — 56% of all respondents, including most Republicans — support an amendment to the California constitution to establish that housing is a fundamental human right.
  • FIFE TEAMS UP WITH SENATOR ELIZABETH WARREN — In July, Fife joined The Briefing along with Senator Elizabeth Warren to discuss why the country’s housing crisis is a racial justice failure. Following their conversation, Warren and Fife co-authored an op-ed in the Washington Post highlighting predatory private equity housing speculation.

  • GOOD TROUBLE — Eric Tars, Legal Director of the National Homelessness Law Center, told The Appeal: “Carroll Fife is bold and visionary and her work with Moms 4 Housing has been transformative in the national movement to make housing a human right. 50 years from now, we will look back at the Mom’s House with the same reverence we hold for the Edmund Pettus bridge in Selma, understanding that Carroll, like the late Rep. John Lewis, was someone who was ready to get into good trouble, and work inside and outside the system as needed, for the cause of human rights.”

LIKE FIFE, EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS HAS FUELED OTHER MOVEMENT CANDIDATES:

  • JULIE OLIVER (@JulieOliverTX) — is running for Congress on a platform to bring Medicare for All to Austin and central Texas. She also experienced homelessness herself, living where she could after she left high school early. She went back and completed high school, college, and law school while raising a child. She wants to address the housing crisis by building low-income housing, ending exclusionary zoning laws, and funding Community Land Trusts to invest in marginalized and displaced communities.
  • JACKIE FIELDER (@JackieFielder_) — As an Indigenous organizer running to represent the 11th district in the California Senate, and a person who has herself experienced homelessness, Fielder believes housing is a human right and would build toward that right with her “California Homes for All” plan. Her plan would make massive investments in building new social housing, revitalizing public housing, and using community land trusts to prevent houses from being flipped and displacing residents.
  • TERRY TAPLIN (@TaplinTerry) — A community organizer who is also a primary care provider for his infirm mother, Taplin is running for District 2 of the Berkeley City Council on a local Green New Deal that prioritizes protecting households from displacement, increasing housing production for low and middle-income families, and empowering community land trusts. He also comes to the issue of housing from personal experience: he and his partner lost their rent-controlled apartment just before their wedding.

THINGS WE ARE TRACKING:

  • Deedra Abboud, an attorney and activist running for District 2 of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors joined Our Future On the Ballot on Wednesday to discuss the immense power of the board over issues spanning from housing, immigration, corruption, to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office budget in the fourth largest county in the nation.
  • L.A. DA Race: America’s most important local election this year is in Los Angeles, where a tough on crime incumbent prosecutor faces a challenge from a reformer pledging to transform the office. The Appeal profiled the race yesterday.
  • New Orleans DA Race: The Appeal profiled the race to replace Leon Cannizzaro, New Orleans’ notorious District Attorney.
  • OR Measure 109: Oregon voters will decide whether to legalize psilocybin for medical use this November. The Briefing discussed the ballot measure earlier this week.
  • CA Proposition 17: The Briefing discussed the statewide impact of Proposition 17, which would allow 55,000 people currently on parole to vote.
  • AZ Proposition 207: The Arizona Republic, the largest newspaper in Arizona, just endorsed a voter initiative to legalize marijuana.

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