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Secret Landlord Campaign Revealed

Secret Landlord Campaign Revealed image Secret Landlord Campaign Revealed image
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Your landlord is trying to buy this election, and is using your money to do it. The SUN has uncovered documents which prove that the front organization for local landlords, "Citizens for Good Housing" (CGH), has raised over 535,000 from various rental agencies. CGH proposed a 557,000 scare campaign, coordinated by a professional advertising agency, aimed at defeating the rent control charter amendment on April 1 . Based on a series of lies and half-truths, the campaign counts on the lack of funds by charter supporters preventing any counter attacks to the landlord claims. Not only have the landlords provided incredible sums of money for this campaign (which will most likely be recovered through major rent increases in every new lease), but the rental companies have had their own staffs working full-time on CGH projects. Individual landlords have contributed amounts up to $7,000, and if the money doesn't succeed in buying the electorate, plans are already underway to organize a major court case against rent control if it passes. BRINGING IN THE BREAD Citizens for Good Housing began their campaign with a series of letters asking each property owner to dónate 55 per rental unit. With over 17,000 units in the city according to the 1970 U.S. Census, the group could have raised up to the incredible sum of S85,000. At that point, organizers had already mapped out an advertising campaign estimated at S57,920, of which $9,250 alone was budgeted to pay the professional agency which drew up the plan. However.because pledges did not live up to expectations, the proposal was reduced to about $30,000 early in March. Included in the sum was money for a paid, full-time political consultant for CGH. On March 10, the Ann Arbor News quoted James Brien, a property manager and major organizer of CGH as stating' that they had raised "more than S5,000" so far for the campaign. He went on to say, "that is not anywhere near the ludicrous sum of 585,000 mentioncd by the Human Riglits Party." But what he failed to mention was how much over $5,000 CGH had actuallycollected. By the end of February, they had already been promised $34,630. This sum comes from only 62 donors, with twelve giving over $1 ,000 each. The biggest contributors were McKinley Associates - $7,045, and J. Ronald Slavik - S4,450. (For a complete list, see bo on this page to find out how much your landlord paid into the coffer!) BREAKING THE LAW While S35.OOO is an incredible sum to be laying out in a local campaign, it is not illegal for an individual to give $7,000. Corporate donations, to a political campaign. however, are completely illegal. And local landlords are currently breaking the law. Under the city's campaign finance law, any subsidized labor is defined as a contribution. If it seems your landlord is less efficiënt this week, or you find the phones continually tied up, it's because the staff of the rental agency is busy stuffing letters for CGH or conducting a phone survey to local homeowners, telling them to vote no on Amendment A. This use of staff is illegal, and the landlords know it. These donations will never appear on any campaign finance statement, and the chances of the current city administration actually prosecuting a landlord for breaking campaign laws is highly unlikely. These advertisements, from the A2 News, are only the beginning of a $35,000 scare campaign to defeat rent control. y' N ggii A source trom insiae CGH said at first the landlords were being very careful to follow the laws exactly. "But as time goes on," the source stated, "they become more corrupt, less principled. They're becoming more purely political, and getting off on the dirty tricks." The reports of dirty tricks have been growing in the past week. Many of the incidents reported have been aimed against the HRP. From rumors of political spies, to evidence of apartment managers removing HRP flyers from in front of doors, and replacing therh with CGH flyers, all can be laid at the feet of landlords of Citizens for Good Housing. Other action includes a staged letter writing campaign to the "Ann Arbor News" by local residents knocking rent control. But so far, the landlord campaign has been mild. The plans for the next week and a half include another mailing, more ads in the "Ann Arbor News," a two color flyer to be distributed to apartment dwellers (no doubt by paid staff again), radio spots the week before the campaign (the original budget put S5,2OO for this), and a handout for outside the polls on April 1 . Landlords have also proposed to their staff members that they take a sick day April 1 , and work at the polls. Don't be surprised to find a landlord agent outside of every voting place in the city. PSYCHEDELIC PARANOIA Landlords are not going to stop at the reasönable ads now being run in the "Ann Arbor News." The next step includes linking the anti-rent control campaign to "creeping socialism" and "creeping dopeism." As a major Ímpetus to get homeowners to the polls, CGH plans to point out how lower rents in the city will encourage "undesirables" to settle in Ann Arbor. Attempts will be made to link rent control to the $5 marijuana fine, in the hopes of getting them both defeated. Part of the reason for the secrecy of CGH is a real fear of rent control supporters. Voter registration in the dorms had them really worried over hundreds of freeks going to the polls They envision lines of busses taking people from the Hash Bash to the polls. They don't want to see young people flocking to vote and they will use any means they can to prevent it. Their base of power is threatened, and paranoia is increasing to the point where they actually suspect physical violence from rent control supporters. Landlord secrecy has now reached the point where few t written documents are being kept. They want as little known { about them as possible, and the Watergate cov'er-up seems to have given them ideas. f In fact, after HRP crashed a landlord meeting last week, it was agreed to keep no minutes of any future meetings. ( HRP's presence prevented the landlords from meeting with c University Housing Director John Feldkamp, and the rest ( of the U Housirtg staff to discuss rent control. . Í The landlords have not only been conspiring with Univerr sity officials. A series of meetings have been held between ' "Ann Arbor News" business-labor reporter, Dan McLeister, who ran the long article March 10 detailing the CGH campaign. THREATS TO RENTERS Voting rights are not the only thing threatened by Citizens for Good Housing. The intense media and direct mailing campaign are using a series of threats against both tenants and homeowners if rent control passes. If you happen to believe CGH propaganda, you know rent control will bring abandoned buildings, a "bureaucratie monster," no profits for landlords, decreased maintenance, no new housing, and black markets to obtain. local housing. Of course, all the charges can be answered, because they are as untrue as the upcoming "creeping dopeism" campaign. A quick rundown on each claim shows: 1) Abandoned buildings - the study done in New York by the Commission on Living Costs and the Economy showed that rent control had no effect on abandonment, although this is the example CGH uses. 2) "Bureaucratie monster" - its unlikely with a nine member commission directly responsible to the voters. 3) No profits - the amendment allows a 14% profit, and allows rent to cover all reasonable property expenses. No landlord will go broke innn Arbor. 4) Decreased maintenance - with profits linked directly . to maintenance, landlords are encouraged to keep up their property. This will discourage the usual "slumlord" tactics which allow buildings to totally run down. 5) No new housing - in the central city area, ZERO housing has been put up in the past four years. How can it decrease from there? 6) Black markets - this is the most direct (and illegal) threat made by landlords, making it clear they will make a profit at any cost. However, the amendment specifically deals with this, allowing any house-finding costs to be deducted from actual rent. Landlords are willing to go to any lengths to keep rents (and pfofits) high in Ann Arbor. Their advertising makes it clearer than ever that they don't care about tenants. Rent control can pass if all the so-called "undesirable" elements go to the polls April 1 , and that is the landlords biggest worry. No amount of their money can buy this election, because we are the real majority, and they know it. ■ ■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■! WHERE CGH GETS ITS MONEY j Brauer Investments 55 ; Stanley J. Krajewski 30 George C. Hanseiman 25 : Mr. & Mrs. Neil Snook 300 ; Cliffoid J. Morris 25 Basil W. Wentworth 20 Montgomery Merryman 200 William Rogcrs-Markeson ; &Zahn 10 Clarence G. Markeson 1 5 " LeoT. Zahn 15 '. William Rogers (personal) 15 ; Neil Internationa) House 400 ; Andrew Gülies 5 ■ Alf E. Shanklen 25 ■ David Welch 10 '. Esther Smith Niks 25 Z Garden Town Ilouses 50 '. Edward Klepac 15 ï Swisher Realty 1 60 Arnold B. Proehl 45 Harold D. Peters 70 ■ Shore View Apartments 640 Wilson White 1155 i Nob Hill 1900 : Slavik 4450 Z Manchester Proporties 1 80 J Ann Arbor Trust 1 340 ; Albert & Lauria Bethke 25 ; University Tovvers 200 Island Drive ApartmentslOOO Post Realty 275 ï Maynard House 1 75 ■ John E. She (Swisher) 50 ; John E. She (Swisher) 100 McKinley Associates 7045 Tower Plaza 1500 '. Greenough 5 Z Unger 105 : Ciata 15 Ohax 20 A.T.W. He win 310 Maize & Blue Management 835 ! Calswell 110 l Trony 365 Frey 1 5 Pheavant Run Apartments 640 ; Campus Management 1000 Meadowbiook Insurance 100 Broadview 420 " 800Fuller 210 '. Hiehlands 640 : Pisi Realty 450 : Arbor Milh 420 ; Standard Realty 1800 ; Village Green 1500 ; Board ol Rcaltors 1000 Hidden Vallcy 400 Heritage 140 Oak Tefrace 40 Arbor Village 500 lsland Drive Apartments 740 ! Proctor, Homer, I Warren, Inc. 300 "m 7 +$ 34,630 ï