SACRAMENTO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--As the COVID-19 pandemic continues its deadly course and epic housing affordability and homelessness crises continue to wreak havoc across California, AHF is offering a suggestion to Governor Gavin Newsom—and reminding all Californians—that appointing Big Real Estate political operative Jim DeBoo as his new Chief of Staff would be a very bad look. The position is opening now with the departure of Ann O’Leary, a longtime Newsom associate, who is leaving for a likely role in the Biden administration. It is believed that Newsom may be seriously considering DeBoo for the role.
AHF’s opposition to DeBoo is rooted primarily in his role as a highly paid political consultant for Big Real Estate concerns in campaigns to defeat two renter protection measures: 2018’s Prop. 10 and this year’s Prop. 21, the Rental Affordability Act, which Governor Newsom opposed. Neither measure prevailed at the ballot.
The California Secretary of State’s campaign finance reporting website indicates that DeBoo’s eponymous consulting firm was paid anywhere between $297,000 to as much as $429,000 by the campaign committee ‘Californians for Responsible Housing sponsored by the California Apartment Association’ for work to oppose Prop. 21 this year.1 CAA is the powerful landlord lobbying group that's known for aggressively opposing renter protections on the state and local levels.
“Governor Newsom: please understand that appointing Big Real Estate’s Jim DeBoo as your new Chief of Staff would be a very bad look. It would be yet another politically tone-deaf move, given Mr. DeBoo’s extensive background working for billionaire landlords and property developers to defeat much-needed basic renter protections for California’s 17 million renters. The optics are just terrible,” said Michael Weinstein, president of AHF, which was the sponsor and primary funder of both Props. 10 and 21. “Given the tremendous work you still have to do on state’s housing and homelessness crises, which have understandably been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, Mr. DeBoo simply lacks the tools, understanding and skillset to effectively guide you toward successful outcomes on these critical issues. Please dig deep for a candidate with skills commensurate with the problems you—and all Californians—face today.”
1 According the CA SOS Campaign Finance Reporting website, a series of nine to as many as 13 monthly payments in the amount of $33,000 each was made by ‘Californians for Responsible Housing sponsored by the California Apartment Association’ DeBoo Communications, with possible duplicate reporting of some months.