National: “A New Breed of Guard Dog Attacks Bedbugs,” by Penelope Green, The New York Times, March 10, 2010
CRUISER made four house calls on a recent rain-soaked Tuesday. There were two happy endings and two unhappy ones, a fairly typical outcome for a typical day in the life of a bedbug-sniffing puggle. “Except that there’s nothing typical about this business,” said his handler, Jeremy Ecker, 35, whose six-month-old company, the Bed Bug Inspectors, has vetted hotels, college dorms and Midtown office buildings, suburban homes, bare-bones Brooklyn rentals and tony Manhattan co-ops. (Mr. Ecker, who charges $350 for a residential inspection, is an independent inspector, meaning he has no affiliation with an exterminator, though many hire him to check a property they have treated.)
East Palo Alto: “East Palo Alto council approves revised rent law,” by Jessica Bernstein-Wax, San Jose Mercury News, March 10, 2010
East Palo Alto voters will decide whether to approve a new rent stabilization ordinance this June after the city council finalized changes to its existing 22-year-old law late Tuesday night. After more than four hours of discussion during which some audience members appeared to be on the verge of slumber and one council member left in exasperation, the three remaining council members voted unanimously just before 11 p.m. to submit the revised rent control law to the San Mateo County elections office ahead of a Friday deadline to be placed on the June 8 ballot. “No one ever said legislation was easy,” Vice Mayor Carlos Romero said with a laugh when a community member yawned loudly shortly before the vote.
San Francisco: “Supes, mayor agree on new tenant protections,” by Saul Sugarman, SF Public Press, March 9, 2010
The Board of Supervisors today passed new protections for renters who face eviction from foreclosing buildings — and Mayor Gavin Newsom says he plans to support the measure. Currently, San Francisco landlords who own properties built after 1979 can evict tenants without “just cause” — meaning even those who pay their rent in full and on time can get evicted. Under the new policy, if owners can’t make their payments and buildings are foreclosed, tenants will have the same legal protections as those who occupy pre-1979 units.
National: “Census About to Hit the Mail: Renters Among Hardest to Count,” by Dean Preston, BeyondChron, March 9, 2010
California tenants – and everyone else for that matter – take note. Starting March 15, census forms will be mailed to all households. Forms should be completed and sent back in by April 1, National Census Day. Census workers will follow up with in person visits to households that do not complete the forms by mail. If you need help with the form, call the Census Bureau’s call center (1-800-923-8282). Who cares about the census? We all should. The national census has huge implications. Hundreds of billions of dollars are allocated each year based on census data. The California Senate’s website notes that the state loses an estimated $1,300 per year for 10 years when a person is not counted.