Chapter 16 – June 1978: Proposition 13 Spells Rent Control

The June 6, l978 Election – Was This Trip Necessary?

On March l9, l978, BCA held its endorsement meeting for the upcoming June Primary. After a year of recovery and success, people were enthusiastic about returning to the electoral wars. In addition to the familiar names, the BCA leadership now included a large contingent of Campaign for Economic Democracy (CED) activists, including Walt Millikin, Royce Kelley, Kume Neufield, Barbara Buswell, and Jodie Lerner.

Regardless of the electoral outcome, many endorsements were obvious:

* Dellums and Bates for re-election as usual. They were both unopposed in the primary.

* No on State Proposition l3, the Howard Jarvis-Paul Gann Initiative to cut property taxes and destroy funding for local governments.

* Yes on Proposition 8, the State Legislature’s alternative to l3.

* Berkeley’s own Marcia Perlstein for Alameda County Superintendent of Schools. (This turned out to be a hopeless race, helping prove that Berkeley people cannot win county-wide.)

* Andy Ford for County Sheriff, another futile effort. Alameda County wasn’t going to elect a black sheriff.

* BCA endorsed Jacqueline Tabor, an Oakland Municipal Court Judge, running for the Alameda County Superior Court against the conservative incumbent, Judge John Sparrow. Jackie Tabor also received BDC support and went on to a landslide county-wide victory.

Harris vs. Meador vs. Perata for Assembly

For a local main event, in the absence of any Berkeley ballot measures, BCA looked to the l3th Assembly District race.

Assemblyman John J. Miller, BCA’s ally since Mayor Widener foolishly challenged him in l976, was finally being appointed to the Court of Appeals by Governor Jerry Brown. Miller’s desire for a judgeship had been well known in political circles. His chairmanship of the Assembly Judiciary Committee was intended as preparation for the bench. Miller’s departure created an open seat in the l3th Assembly District, covering west and southwest Berkeley, Alameda, Emeryville, and a large portion of west Oakland. This had been considered a black seat ever since the election of Byron Rumford, Sr. thirty years earlier.

Miller’s protege and heir apparent was his former administrative assistant, Elihu Harris of Berkeley, a 30 year old attorney. Harris had been executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based National Bar Association, an organization of black lawyers. Elihu’s campaign would be well financed through Miller’s connections with Assembly Speaker Leo McCarthy.

Attorney Beth Meador was the candidate of BCA’s Oakland allies against Elihu Harris. Meador had worked closely with Congressman Dellums, Supervisor George, and Assemblyman Bates, all of whom were supporting her as a more progressive and dynamic alternative to Harris. People also felt it was time to elect an impressive black woman to higher office.

Don Perata, from the City of Alameda, was the third candidate in the race. He did not seek BCA’s endorsement.

Elihu Harris and Beth Meador were both trying for BCA support. I knew Elihu from his days in Assemblyman Miller’s office. I thought he would be a legitimate representative of the Berkeley black community in the independent John Miller tradition. To me, neutrality seemed BCA’s wisest approach to the Harris-Meador race in which the organization had no vital interests. But the Beth Meador bandwagon was rolling through the progressive community. My friends were already labeling Elihu as the enemy. Beth Meador won the BCA endorsement and her campaign became the June l978 primary’s main event.

Central Committee

The Alameda County Democratic Central Committee’s surprise endorsement of BCA’s City Council slate in l977 had an unusual repercussion – a contested race for Central Committee. There were two rival slates competing for seven seats in the 5th Supervisorial District. The Berkeley Democratic Club fielded one slate, obviously intent upon preventing any future BCA endorsements by the County Central Committee. BDC would have preferred such endorsements for themselves. The other slate, including several incumbents, had been organized by Supervisor John George and was allied to BCA. Berkeley Citizens Action endorsed the John George group and entered the Central Committee battle.

This Democratic Party Central Committee endorsement was unprecedented. At the April Coalition’s l97l convention, City Council candidate Craig Murphy had been publicly denounced by a member of the International Socialists (IS) for the heinous, conservative act of being onthe Alameda County Democratic Central Committee. Now BCA officially embraced an entire slate for that office as part of a struggle over future City Council endorsements. Very tentatively, BCA was breaking with the past and entering into a relationship with the Democratic Party. It would be a long courtship.

The Campaign

The June l978 primary became a muted Berkeley city election imitation, with BCA and BDC each running low-key slate campaigns. BDC endorsed both Elihu Harris (l3th District) and Tom Bates (l2th District) for Assembly.

The Meador-Harris race thus took on a traditional partisan Berkeley flavor. BDC’s support for Bates seemed to signal a new strategy, possibly aimed at persuading Tom to be more neutral in future Berkeley City Council races. BDC, calling itself the Better Democrats Committee, actually did a l2 candidate slate mailer for Bates, Harris, three county candidates, and their 7 person Central Committee team. BDC had never been this active in previous June primaries.

BCA concentrated its precinct workers in the l3th Assembly District portion of the city, west and southwest Berkeley. There, a great deal of volunteer energy was expended on Beth Meador’s behalf, primarily in distribution of literature such as the BCA tabloid. The Dellums-Bates-George coalition did its best for Beth Meador, including television spots that featured her and Congressman Dellums. Television ads for a Berkeley/Oakland campaign were another first.

Elihu Harris raised and spent a fortune, most of it coming from Assembly Speaker Leo McCarthy, John Miller’s close ally. Harris’ campaign flooded the l3th Assembly District with mailers and paid campaign workers.

Harris won the campaign spending battle by a wide margin. On the plus side, Meador and Harris both ran affirmative campaigns, with little mud slinging.

As election day approached, BCA leaders such as Walt Millikin began to realize that the invisible Assembly candidate, Don Perata, might be a strong contender because he was white. In this “black district”, Perata was concentrating on winning his hometown of Alameda by a large margin. The island City of Alameda was a white bastion, and even though Perata had been defeated there for municipal office, he could score a landslide victory against a pair of black opponents. With black votes in Berkeley and Oakland split between Harris and Meador, Perata could win the primary on the strength of block voting by whites.

Since Harris still seemed to be leading Meador among black voters, Elihu appeared to have the better chance at stopping Perata. However, the Meador campaign could potentially elect Perata if it closed the gap on Harris.

BCA, by enthusiastically campaigning for Beth Meador, was contributing to a vote split that might lose a black seat. It was a politically scary prospect that almost came true.

The June 6, l978 Results: 42,222 Berkeley Voters

l3th Assembly District Democratic Party Primary

Grand Total Berkeley Oakland Alameda

Elihu Harris l5,l87(37%) 4,987(48%) 9,0ll(50%) 893(7.5%)

Don Perata l4,6l6(36%) l,365(l3%) 3,430(l9%) 9,l95(84%)

Beth Meador l0,922(27%) 4,094(39%) 5,546(3l%) 950(8.5%)

Berkeley

The Jarvis-Gann Property Tax Cutting YES ll,050(27%)

Initiative, Proposition l3 NO 29,959(73%)

Elihu Harris won the l3th Assembly District Democratic Primary by 57l votes over Don Perata. Perata’s 84% support from Alameda nearly carried the entire district. But Harris beat third place finisher Meador by enough votes in Oakland and Berkeley to barely survive. Elihu won decisively among black voters. Harris’ best showing was in Oakland, where Meador lived. Thanks to BCA’s energetic campaign, Meador’s strongest support came from Berkeley, Harris’ hometown. BCA people were more relieved than disappointed. Had Perata won, everyone associated with Beth Meador would have been blamed for letting the racist City of Alameda capture a black Assembly seat.

The Democratic Party Central Committee race ended with an indecisive thud. BCA led in Berkeley, while BDC generally carried Oakland. BDC elected four people and the BCA-backed ticket won three seats. The leading vote getter was BDC’s William Rumford, Sr., the former Assemblyman, Billy Rumford’s father. BDC also elected Booker Jackson, who later ran for municipal judge, and Andrea Washburn, who became a Berkeley City Council candidate in l979.

BDC’s Central Committee losers included former City Councilmember Ed Kallgren and Pat Devaney, who finally won a BDC nomination but finished l3th.

BCA’s Central Committee winners were a pair of Oakland people plus Mary Jane Shenkin from Progressive Berkeley Neighbors, who finished second to Rumford.

The June l978 primary’s major legacy was passage of Proposition l3, drastically slashing local property taxes. Although Berkeley voted against it by nearly 3 to l, the initiative carried 2 to l statewide. Since both Berkeley’s city government and the school district were heavily dependent upon property taxes as their major revenue source, Proposition l3’s adoption created an immediate, long-term budget crises. The Jarvis-Gann Initiative also had a significant but unintended side-effect: the resurrection of rent control throughout California. (See ).

Proposition l3’s Aftermath

The Budgetary Front

Berkeley’s l977-78 budget was adopted unanimously on July 26, l977 in a relatively harmonious atmosphere.

One year later, the l978-79 budget became a major political battlefield because of Proposition l3. A long series of bitterly contested budget votes were taken on June 26 and 29, l978. By a 5-4 margin the Council majority used Proposition l3 as a basis for stripping nearly all community agencies of city funding they had relied on for most of the decade.

Mayor Widener insisted that Federal programs such as the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) be substituted for city money. Community agencies objected because of Federal restrictions and funding uncertainties. (For example, only certain people qualified to be CETA workers, and the entire program was later abolished under President Reagan.) Rumford and Davis stood solidly with Loni and John in opposing this wholesale assault upon community agencies. It appeared that the burdens of Proposition l3 were being unfairly distributed in a punitive manner.

The Council majority’s budget was adopted on June 29, l978 and Berkeley’s community agencies soon had no choice but to compete for CETA funds. The Council then moved on to the subject of new revenues.

Section 4 of the Jarvis-Gann Initiative prohibited cities from adopting “special taxes” without a 2/3 vote of the people. This section took effect on July l, l978. That gave the Berkeley City Council time to act. On June 30, l978, the Council hastily adopted a catch-all package of tax and revenue increases to make up for Proposition l3’s property tax cuts. The package included significant increases in some existing fees and taxes plus three significant new taxes:

* An admissions tax on entertainment events including movies.

* A pair of alternative employee license taxes (really payroll taxes) at a l% to 3% rate.

* A l% real property transfer tax. (A similar tax had been killed by a conservative referendum in the l960’s).

All of these new taxes were emergency ordinances that required 7 votes and took immediate effect. To induce the Council minority to support the new revenues, Sue Hone offered a most unusual political guaranty: For one year, allocation of these new funds would also require 7 votes. The Council minority cooperated in the adoption of the new revenues with the primary hope that they would be used to continue funding of Berkeley’s community agencies.

However, a 5% utility users tax was defeated on a party line 5-4 vote. The Council minority opposed such a tax on the grounds it was regressive, the same argument used in the successful l97l initiative campaign that repealed an earlier utility tax. But nearly every other proposed new revenue source received the needed 7 votes. Having beaten the July l, l978 effective date for Proposition l3, the Council deferred collecting the new taxes. They became a revenue stockpile or savings account, to be tapped when and if the Council felt it necessary.

Budget-related uncertainties caused by Proposition l3 and the presence or absence of state/Federal aid to cities became a feature of Berkeley City Council life. The State Legislature ultimately distributed a large portion of its multi-billion dollar surplus to local governments, cushioning the immediate Proposition l3 blow. Existence of that surplus and the Legislature’s failure to pass a property tax relief bill had paved the way for Proposition l3 in the first place.

Once the state surplus was exhausted, most cities were forced to create new revenue sources. In the next several years, Berkeley’s endless search for money produced ballot measures, higher fees, special assessments, and withdrawals from the June l978 tax stockpile. But the three most controversial new taxes, those on admissions, payrolls, and real property transfers, have never been implemented because of strong public opposition.

The Rent Control Front

California’s tenants rights never held a testimonial dinner in honor of the man who inadvertently brought rent control back from the dead in l978: Howard Jarvis, the Father of Proposition l3. Ironically, Jarvis had worked for the Los Angeles Apartment Owners Association.

After the defeat of Berkeley’s l977 rent control initiative, there wasn’t a single city in the state which had such a law on the books. Rent control initiative were subsequently beaten in Cotati, Santa Monica, and Santa Barbara, two of them going down on the same day that the Jarvis initiative passed. Rent control was a losing proposition.

However, Howard Jarvis’ official ballot arguments for his tax cutting measure were full of promises, including this unqualified assertion: “Proposition l3 will make lower rents certain.”

During the June l978 campaign, Jarvis wasn’t bashful about repeating his pledge that landlords would refund at least some of their property tax savings to California’s tenants. Many renters obviously voted for Proposition l3 with the expectation that they would share in the benefits of greatly reduced property taxes. In practice, this meant rent reductions for nearly everybody.

The first people who volunteered to implement Jarvis’ promise to tenants were Assemblyman Tom Bates and his legislative aide Lenny Goldberg.

A week before the election, Lenny asked me to draft a bill refunding the property tax savings in the form of lower rents. This amounted to a very weak form of state-wide rent control. It was already clear that Proposition l3 would pass and Lenny Goldberg wanted to be ready. The Renter Property Tax Relief Act of l978, AB 2986, was drafted before the polls opened on June 6, l978. It called for tenants to receive 80% of their landlords’ Proposition l3 savings in the form of rent reductions during l979.

Following Proposition l3’s triumph, the Bates bill received massive press coverage, combined with reports that landlords were not voluntarily reducing rents. Governor Jerry Brown came out in favor of AB 2986. Howard Jarvis belatedly explained that he was only making a recommendation to apartment owners and lower rents were not a certainly after all. But Jarvis had already set in motion a grass roots renters’ rebellion.

In cities throughout California, tenants rights groups began working on new rent control laws, many of which were patterned directly after AB 2986.

Tom Bates’ Renters Property Tax Relief Act of l978 never had a chance against powerful landlord interests such as the California Housing Council and the California Real Estate Association who had pushed their own rent control extermination bill through the Legislature two years earlier, only to have Governor Brown veto it. (See pages ). With Senator David Roberti from Los Angeles valiantly leading the outnumbered pro-tenant forces, AB 2986 went down to defeat in the State Senate by l2 to 2l on August 28, l978. But the bill helped revitalize rent control supporters at the local level.

By the fall of l978, the city councils of Los Angeles, El Monte, and Cotati had adopted rent freeze ordinances. Tenant activists placed renters property tax rebate initiatives on the November ballots in San Francisco, Davis, and Palo Alto. And then there was Berkeley.

Berkeley’s rent control veterans and the BCA leadership made an immediate decision in June l978 to draft their own Renter Property Tax Relief Ordinance as an initiative for the November l978 ballot. As with AB 2986, the measure would pass 80% of the landlords’ Proposition l3 savings back to tenants. This BCA effort was spearheaded by Mal Warwick plus co-authors Marty Schiffenbauer and Kathy Reilly.

Unlike all other Berkeley initiatives, this measure was exclusively a Berkeley Citizens Action project. Final drafting decisions were made by the BCA Steering Committee. Use of the BCA organizational structure eliminated the need to form a new rent control group, allowing the drafting to proceed at the rapid pace required to qualify for the November ballot. By placing all power in the Steering Committee’s hands, BCA people neatly disposed of the Berkeley Tenants Union. As BCA saw it, BTU, with its ideologically inspired talent for losing elections, wasn’t going to be allowed any control over this initiative.

BTU demanded a rent rollback equivalent to l00% of the landlords’ Proposition l3 savings. Dissatisfied with the 80% rollback in the BCA measure, the Tenants Union disassociated itself from the new initiative.

Berkeley Citizens Action and the Berkeley Tenants Union severed diplomatic relations and entered a cold war era that lasted for over three years. The split was often very bitter. BTU saw BCA as an unprincipled organizational rival that was willing to sacrifice tenant interests for political purposes. BCA viewed BTU as living in an ideological dream world, so out of touch with political realities that it was a menace to Berkeley’s tenants.

The overall struggle between BCA and BTU for political leadership of the tenant movement had a strong l973 April Coalition flavor. BCA was now the successor to the Pragmatic/Electoral Caucus while BTU carried the Ideological Caucus banner. The l973 split had torn the April Coalition apart. But since BCA and BTU were already separate, viable organizations, both could exist in a state of continuous mutual antagonism.

BCA began this divisive era from a position of strength because it was offering an initiative while BTU only complained. BCA’s rent control leadership wasn’t challenged until l982 when BTU presented its own initiative.

Berkeley Citizens Action’s Renter Property Tax Relief Ordinance of l978 was carefully drafted to avoid the mistakes of l977’s disastrous Rent Control Charter Amendment, Measure B. BCA sought wide community input before finalizing a text. The new initiative had these key features:

* It was a modest, temporary measure, with its major rent reduction provisions lasting only through the end of l979.

* The ordinance would primarily be self-enforced by tenants in small claims court. No rent control board or other city agency was created to administer the law, although the City Attorney was designated as an enforcement agent. Thus, the financial impact on the city was negligible.

* Owner-occupied residential buildings of four units or less were exempt from the ordinance. However, commercial property was included.

* There were no rent registration requirements. Landlords could legally raise rents to pass through various categories of increased costs, such as improvements or repairs to the property.

Tenants could withhold rent if their landlord violated the ordinance.

In rent control terms, this was a relatively mild measure, so weak that BTU considered it to be somewhat fraudulent. Yet, this was still rent control, and coming only a year after the Measure B massacre, BCA was taking a daring step.

The summer is a poor time to collect signatures for a progressive Berkeley initiative because many students are gone. But BCA’s July l978 petition drive was a tremendous success. In three weeks, 7,000 signatures were collected, double the required amount. l00 volunteers circulated petitions as BCA spent the massive sum of $l54, mostly for printing.

The petitions were filed on August 2, l978, and a week later the City Clerk certified that the initiative had qualified for the November ballot. But that did not mean it was on the ballot. City Attorney Michael Lawson and the Council majority managed to create one of the worst legal/political messes in modern Berkeley history.

The legal comedy of errors started with a drafting mistake in the Charter Review Committee’s June l974 Election Law Charter Amendment, Measure T. (See pages ). The screw-up was attributable to several people, and I was one of them.

We inadvertently placed an ambiguity in the Charter concerning the definition of a “special election” which could only be called by a 2/3 Council vote. We meant that special (unscheduled) Berkeley elections required the support of six Councilmembers (2/3). This was a technique for discouraging costly special elections at which relatively few people voted. However, we also intended that consolidating Berkeley ballot measures with regularly scheduled elections, such as the November 7, l978 state-wide general election, would not constitute a “special election” and thus only required five Council votes, a simple majority.

Although the Charter Review Committee’s intent concerning the definition of “special election” was very poorly expressed in the Charter, it could easily be discerned by reference to Measure T’s legislative history. Under established principles of law, the Charter Review Committee’s intent should have been followed.

However, City Attorney Michael Lawson made an honest mistake in mis-reading the Charter and concluding that 2/3 (six votes) were required for the Council to call a special election placing Berkeley measures on the November l978 ballot. Lawson’s error would have been irrelevant if the only ballot measure involved was BCA’s Renter Property Tax Relief Ordinance. Everyone knew it had a right to the ballot once sufficient signatures were filed.

But, at the July 25, l978 Council meeting, the Council majority suddenly revealed the intention to place four of their own hugely controversial measures on the November l978 ballot. Collectively, the following threatened Council measures amounted to a major sneak attack upon BCA:

* Mayor Widener’s own renter property tax relief law, promising tenants l00% of the landlords’ Proposition l3 savings.

The tactic of offering a Council-sponsored ordinance against a progressive initiative had first been used by Sue Hone in the campaign reform battle of June l974 (The U,V,W Problem, pages ).

But the Hone amendments turned out to be acceptable modifications to the initiative, not sabotage.

However, Widener’s l978 rent measure was a complete fraud, part of a landlord-inspired plot to confuse the voters and defeat the BCA initiative. The Widener version essentially allowed unlimited rent increases and would have provided tenants with zero protection.

* Repeal of the Berkeley Election Reform Act of June l974.

This was a continuation of the Council majority’s l977 effort to destroy campaign reform.

* Establishment of a Run-off Election for Mayor, should no candidate receive a majority of the vote.

This Charter Amendment was a sudden Widener inspiration to help insure his re-election in l979.

The Mayor was afraid that one or more minor candidates would take way enough center/right votes to cause his defeat. Widener, who in November l972 helped lead the passionate crusade against run-off election Measure M, had now done another complete flip-flop.

* Weakening the Police Review Commission (PRC) Initiative Ordinance of April l973 by removing the $5.00 an hour compensation for commissioners.

Additionally, Widener engineered a surprise 5-3 vote on July 25, l978 to repeal Zoning Ordinance section l5.l-l, a protection against the unlimited conversion of houses to commercial uses. Although the item wasn’t on the agenda, Widener rammed it through by falsely claiming that there was no other way for a black church to use a house for child care. The repeal of section l5.l-l was to result in a severe housing loss for the city.

BCA people were stunned and outraged by the Council majority’s ruthless ballot measure assault. The Council minority was ready to do anything to keep these measures off the November l978 ballot. Lawson’s erroneous legal opinion that six votes were needed to place measures on the November ballot thus became pivotal. The City Attorney’s conclusion went against the Council majority’s political interests, because Widener and Hone only had five votes.

While looking for a way to stop the anti-Police Review Commission measure, attorney Peter Hagberg, the PRC Investigator, first diagnosed the legal situation and then predicted the Council majority’s strategy. The Lawson interpretation required the Council majority to obtain six votes for a special election in order to put anything on the ballot. But once the six vote special election was called, then only five votes were necessary to consolidate additional measures with the November election.

Thus, the Council majority needed to pick up one more vote for a special election, and as Peter brilliantly deduced, they would try to get it by placing the BCA initiative on the November ballot. That was the only motion the Council minority would be certain to support. Except, thanks to Peter Hagberg, the script was changed.

On July 3l, l978, the Council convened for what was supposed to be its last meeting prior to the scheduled month-long August recess. To beat legal deadlines, placement of measures on the November ballot had to be completed at this meeting. September would be too late. Thus, even though the BCA petitions had not yet been filed, it was routine under such circumstances to place initiatives on the ballot contingent upon the filing of sufficient signatures. But nothing was routine at this meeting.

Sue Hone moved to call a special election to place BCA’s Renter Property Tax Relief Ordinance on the November 7, l978 ballot. The result was a perversely twisted 5-4 party-line vote, the Council majority voting “Yes”, the entire minority voting “No” to prevent the calling of a special election that opened the floodgates to the Council majority’s threatening measures.

The City Attorney’s mis-interpretation of the Charter now held the entire Council captive, as the special election motion failed because it received 5, rather than 6 votes. Stalemated, the Council adjourned for its traditional August recess having placed nothing on the November ballot.

BCA’s strategy now called for a lawsuit to put the initiative on the ballot, where it belonged as a matter of right under the City Charter once it was certified as having sufficient signatures.

However, Mayor Widener preempted BCA by calling a special Council meeting on August l5, l978. The Council majority now formally rejected City Attorney Michael Lawson’s legal opinion that six votes were required to put measures on the November l978 general election ballot. By a 5-0 vote, the majority ordered that the BCA initiative, Widener’s rival rent rebate measure, the Run-off Election for Mayor Charter Amendment, and the Election Reform Act repeal all be placed on the November ballot. City staff dutifully complied.

The anti-PRC measure had to be withdrawn because it violated another Charter provision requiring amendments to an initiative to appear only on general municipal election ballots (April of odd-numbered years).

The Council majority also added three advisory measures, soliciting voter opinion on which of the mothballed new taxes should be implemented.

The next step, although taken with the best of motives, really turned things into a farce. In good faith reliance on Lawson’s erroneous legal opinion that six votes, not five, were required to call a special election for November, Councilman Billy Rumford retained attorney Alfred Knoll and filed a lawsuit to delete all the Council measures from the ballot. (Rumford vs. Widener, filed on August 25, l978.)

City Attorney Lawson, backed by City Manager Rogers, was still maintaining in writing that the Council’s actions violated the Charter. Rogers’ August 2l, l978 memo to that effect was an exhibit in Rumford’s lawsuit. The legal situation was identical to that in CARC vs. the City of Berkeley where Lawson was on record agreeing with the plaintiff that section 602 of the Election Reform Act was unconstitutional. But the Council majority nevertheless let Lawson defend the city in the campaign reform case since they had no interest in prevailing.

However, Widener and Hone weren’t about to let Lawson represent them in the Rumford litigation since it threatened the Council majority’s vital interests in having their measures on the November l978 ballot. Former Charter Review Committee member Jerry Falk volunteered to defend his Council majority friends and the city against Rumford. A prolific and renowned litigator from the San Francisco firm of Howard, Prim, Rice, Nemerovski, Canady & Pollak (now Howard, Rice, Nemerovski, Canady, Robertson & Falk), Jerry knew from his own Charter Review experience that Lawson and Rumford were wrong.

I was therefore shocked when the Alameda County Superior Court issued preliminary injunction against placement of the Council measures on the November ballot. BCA people were ecstatic. Billy Rumford, formerly the right-wing champion, conqueror of D’Army Bailey, now appeared to be Berkeley’s leading BCA/rent control hero. But Jerry Falk managed to get the Court of Appeals to issue a September 8, l978 order staying the preliminary injunction. This meant victory for the Council majority as all the measures remained on the ballot.

Jerry obtained his miraculous order from the Appellate Court division that included his friend (and Hone’s and Widener’s friend/endorser) Justice Paul Halvonik. Friendship aside, this bizarre episode ended with the correct legal result. BCA had to stop celebrating and prepare for a bruising November campaign.