Statement from Public Advocates
Updated 1:00pm, November 19, 2019
By pulling text messages out of context, The Sacramento Bee continues to paint a misleading picture. Michelle Pariset is a respected and courageous community advocate who stands undaunted under extraordinary pressure by the powerful opponents of rent control.
In today’s editorial, the Bee again shows itself to be among those opponents, using its power to thwart the will of Sacramento voters by encouraging city leaders to “spare no effort” to block the initiative from the 2020 ballot.
Readers deserve the truth: The only agreement Michelle Pariset made was to support the adoption of the city ordinance, and she kept her word. She never committed to withdraw the much stronger ballot measure that would bring full rent control to renters in need of relief.
The Bee failed to report some critical facts in its editorial. First, during the same period when she was involved in discussions about the ordinance language, Michelle continued to explicitly press the city to place the initiative on the ballot, including in an op-ed she submitted to the Sacramento Bee barely a month before the ordinance was adopted.
Second, Michelle refused to withdraw the initiative when asked to do so by Councilmember Steve Hansen’s chief of staff five days before the vote. Hansen brought the ordinance forward for a Council vote on August 13 with full knowledge that Michelle had not agreed to withdraw the ballot measure. While he may have hoped she would withdraw it, she never agreed to do so. And none of the Bee’s cherry-picked text messages says otherwise.
The texts cited by the editorial board are irresponsibly presented out of context — a context that spans many months of intense discussions and debates between community groups, and dozens of conversations between advocates and city officials and their staff. What this context shows is that Michelle has been working consistently and tirelessly to bring full rent control to Sacramento for more than two years, and that she also supported a city council ordinance that provided some baseline protections in the interim.
The Bee’s misleading editorial is a weak attempt to hide the real story here: the City Council’s ongoing effort to skirt the law by refusing to place a measure certified for the ballot over a year ago and signed by 44,000 Sacramentans.
Isabel Alegria, email@example.com, 510-541-5428
Duc Luu, firstname.lastname@example.org, 857-373-9118