“It’s a tale of two cities,” said Justin Tombolesi, lead organizer for Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, which has been negotiating with the landlord on behalf of the tenants. “You go to his house in Piedmont and there’s a Tesla and a BMW and then you come here.”
“Here” refers to a low-income neighborhood in the flatlands of Deep East Oakland, where many of the residents are immigrants from Mexico and Central America.
Norma Sanchez, a housekeeper, logs 12-hour work days commuting to Mountain View because the pay is better. Her husband Ambrocio Carrera works at a Togo’s sandwich shop. They’ve lived in their two-bedroom place on Hillside Street for eight years. The youngest of their three sons was born there.
The couple said their initial rent of $1,100 has increased by just $100 since they’ve lived there. But then a month ago, a notice came saying that the new rent would be $2,400 on Nov. 1.
“We can understand that he would want to raise the rent, but not to such an extent,” Sanchez said. “We’re barely making it as it is.”
Steve Kalmbach was involved with Rebuilding Together Oakland