Note that this October 2020 edition of the newsletter was written in early September to accommodate a short-term leave for one of the team, as well as to “reset” our publication to be ahead of the month for which it is named.
By time of writing in September, three significant developments had already taken place.
First, we began to engage two part-time “full stack developers.” These new roles will drive our website toward better member retention, the long-awaited roll-out of the Certified Massachusetts Landlord™ Level Two test, and to an eventual pricing change that will set dues based on the number of units owned or managed. We screened 181 applicants for this role.
Second, the Individual Claims Council finished the menu of self-help and litigation options available to intake participants. Unfortunately, as was discussed at the September 10 event, none of our legal options are very likely to succeed. The injustice surrounding the eviction moratorium is real. Under our current laws, the state has broad authority to step on individual lives and fortunes in the name of public health, and to get away with it scot free. The resulting sell-outs and evictions will be a manmade disaster. Elected officials and judges will blame us for it. We will keep trying at lasting reform.
Third, we launched our broadcast communication process in support of ballot Question 2 Ranked Choice Voting. This ballot initiative is critical. It is the only viable route we see to change the incentives under which our elected officials campaign. Currently, many of our incumbent (recumbent) Reps and Senators can remain in office indefinitely by eking out a plurality of votes. Jake Auchincloss just won the 4th congressional district with 22%, despite 78% of voters preferring another candidate. When 22% is the threshold, any candidate can win campaigning just to renters (31% of the state) without considering the owner/manager perspective. The Board of Directors has endorsed and is asking everyone to vote Yes on Two.
Some among our landlord membership say ranked choice voting is a trick by the progressive left to further erode landlord rights. Not so. Australia has used ranked choice voting for a century, where reasonable (conservative) views can and do win out over partisan proposals from left and right alike. Ranked choice voting is not inherently ideological. To a remarkable degree, it helps elected officials listen to all sides. This is what Massachusetts desperately needs.
We will discuss Ranked Choice Voting extensively at a free webinar on October 16. We hope you will join us. Thank you for supporting our mission to create better rental housing in Massachusetts.