Grassroots organizer and physical therapist Negeene Mosaed is running with the Right to Housing Slate for the Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board.
Witnessing firsthand the effects that housing insecurity had on her patients sparked Mosaed’s interest in advocating for rent control and tenant protection laws. She has been fielding calls as a committee member of the Berkeley Tenants Union, assisting tenants — including UC Berkeley students — with landlord and eviction issues.
“I know what the problems of the community are, and I just want to continue my advocacy at that level,” Mosaed said.
Mosaed said she would like to increase the number of rent-controlled units that are on the market and maintain the rent-controlled units currently available by keeping them upgraded and habitable, if elected.
The most important role of the rent board, according to Mosaed, is stopping unjust evictions.
Mosaed said she plans on doing this by educating renters on their rights and how the rent board can serve them. One group she wants to reach, in particular, is UC Berkeley students.
“We need to have at least some seminars on campus for students so they can know what are their rights, what are the 12 reasons a person can be evicted and what can’t they be evicted for,” Mosaed said. “That’s the kind of thing we need to do more outreach for.”
Mosaed said she also wants to tackle the displacement of Black and Latine communities from South Berkeley and West Berkeley, respectively, by providing affordable or very low-income housing in those neighborhoods.
The best way to accomplish these goals, according to Mosaed, is by organizing tenants.
“We have 57% renters in the city,” Mosaed said. “There are more tenants than there are homeowners, and so if we organize the tenants, we have a fair chance of getting some of our needs met.”
Mosaed said she has already made organizing efforts by working with the Black and other communities of color of South Berkeley through the community organization Friends of Adeline.
In addition, she has been speaking with Berkeley tenants on campus and throughout the city about preserving and expanding rent control.
The Right to Housing Slate has received endorsements from Cal Berkeley Democrats, the Berkeley Tenants Union and Berkeley Progressive Alliance, as well as all current rent board commissioners — with the exception of Commissioner Soli Alpert, who is currently running for reelection with the slate, and Berkeley City Councilmembers Ben Bartlett and Kate Harrison.
Mosaed has been individually endorsed by the Alameda County Democratic Party, Latino Young Democrats of the East Bay and the Berkeley Democratic Caucus.
“My thumb is on the pulse of this city,” Mosaed said. “I know what’s working and what’s not working and I hope to bring my deep knowledge of this community and of organizing to the rent board.”