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Yes on 21: Newsom Sides with Top Trump Donors; Turns Against Dems and 17M California Renters on Prop. 21

·4-min read

Newsom’s opposition to Prop. 21 puts him at odds with 17 million renters, his own California Democratic Party and many key Democratic office holders who have endorsed Prop. 21, the Rental Affordability Act

Newsom instead stands with key Trump donors Geoffrey Palmer ($6M to Trump) Stephen Schwarzman ($3M) and other big donors bankrolling ‘No on 21’

When Governor Gavin Newsom announced his opposition to California’s Proposition 21, the Rental Affordability Act, housing advocates, including many other prominent Democrats, believe he turned his back on 17 million California renters battered by the COVID economy and the state’s housing affordability crisis—desperate renters who need protections against corporate landlords.

Instead, advocates say Newsom is standing shoulder-to-shoulder with billionaire friends of Donald Trump, corporate landlords who are also bankrolling the deceptive $70+ million effort to defeat the November initiative that will limit unfair rent increases and preserve affordable housing. A deceptive campaign that Newsom is allowing himself to be used by in television ads to deceive and "…confuse voters as to the actual effects of Proposition 21." The governor has also been featured on the homepage of the No on Prop 21 website.

Newsom appears to be actively collaborating with Wall Street landlords Essex Property Trust, Equity Residential, and AvalonBay Communities, who are among the leading contributors to the No on Prop 21 campaign. He’s also standing with billionaire Geoffrey Palmer, ranked third on the list of Trump’s top ten donors with $6 million contributed; with Blackstone Group CEO and billionaire Stephen Schwarzman, (fifth on Trump’s list with $3 million contributed) and with multi-millionaire Michael Hayde, CEO of Western National Group—all major donors to Trump’s reelection campaign and political committees associated with Trump who have also contributed millions to defeat Prop. 21.

Surprisingly, Newsom is also at odds with his own California Democratic Party as well as many major Democratic office holders on a local, state and federal level who have endorsed Prop. 21. It’s a betrayal that may end up being a permanent stain on the governor’s political legacy.

Prop. 21 is endorsed by the California Democratic Party, California Congresswomen Karen Bass, Maxine Waters, and Barbara Lee, Ricardo Lara, Insurance Commissioner of California, California State Senators María Elena Durazo and Ben Allen, Kevin de León, Los Angeles City Council Member and President pro Tempore Emeritus of the California State Senate, California State Assembly Members Lorena Gonzalez (Chair of the California Latino Legislative Caucus), Rob Bonta, Miguel Santiago, Ash Kalra and, particularly noteworthy, Assembly Member David Chiu, author of 2019’s AB 1432, rent cap bill as well as a co-author of this year’s AB 3088, the ‘COVID-19 Tenant and Landlord Protection Act.’

The Los Angeles Times endorsed Prop. 21 on September 10th. The Sierra Club and a dozen or so unions and labor organizations are also backing Prop. 21 including the California Nurses Association, SEIU California, California Federation of Teachers, AFSCME California PEOPLE, United Auto Workers (UAW) Region 8, UAW Local 2865 and many others that have thrown their full support behind Prop. 21.

"Governor Newsom has chosen to give veto power over legislation that could help millions of Californians to an unscrupulous real estate industry – an industry which created four separate No on 21 committees that have so far raised nearly $70 million to defeat Prop 21, and which has enriched itself over the past decade by gouging the people of California," said René Christian Moya, campaign director, Yes On 21 campaign and director of Housing Is A Human Right. "Prop. 21 will rein in that corporate greed. It’s why over three-hundred organizations, elected officials, municipalities and individuals – as well as the state’s housing justice movement, which fights on the frontlines of the housing affordability crisis – have rallied behind Prop 21. Without the initiative, a host of real estate titans will continue to gouge California renters, charging whatever they want – no matter the human cost."

Housing Is A Human Right (HHR) is the housing advocacy division of AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), and the leading sponsor of Proposition 21.

Proposition 21 is sponsored by Homeowners & Tenants United, with significant funding by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. To learn more, visit and

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Ged Kenslea, AHF Communications Dir., (323) 791-5526 cell