The San Jose City Council on Tuesday night voted 6-5 in favor of a policy against no-cause evictions, the culmination of a heated public debate over renters' rights issues that had been brewing for months.
The crowd inside the City Council chambers was very emotional as city leaders heard proposals on halting no-cause evictions and preventing landlords from kicking out rent-control tenants in favor of market-rate renters.
Renters rights activists started the day crashing a party at City Hall, where council members and city officials welcomed Silicon Valley Comic Con 2017. The spontaneous demonstration came as activists wound down a hunger strike that began Friday.
Activists said they needed to be heard.
"It was worth it. It's more than worth it. It's necessary," said Salvador Bustamante of Latinos United For A New America. "It's necessary that we take this action and we make this small sacrifice."
Robert Aguirre said he is one of many San Jose renters who received an eviction notice but no explanation from his landlady. And like many, he's outraged that the law allows such action.
"She doesn't have to give a reason for evicting us. She can evict us," he said. "As a matter of fact, on the form. there's absolutely no reason (given) for it."
One council member said before Tuesday's vote why he believes requiring just cause for all evictions won't work.
"Sounds great. But when you put it into action, it makes it very hard to get rid of people causing trouble in neighborhoods," Councilman Johnny Khamis said.
Landlord Peter Noonan agreed, saying he just kicked out a drug dealer tenant.
"The tenant moved out. We've had no drug dealing in the building since," Noonan said. "I've been running my buildings for years, taking good care of them."