Tacoma 'Tenant Bill of Rights' supporters say opposition group fueling disinformation texts, mailers

As campaigns make their final push ahead of November 7, supporters of a measure proposing sweeping changes to tenant rights in Tacoma say an opposition group has sent text messages and mailers spreading disinformation.

Tacoma for All is the group in support of Measure 1, nicknamed the "Tenant Bill of Rights."

If this measure passes, it would require landlords to comply with health and safety laws before raising rent or evicting a tenant.

Last week, Tacoma for All's Campaign Manager, Ty Moore says opposition group No on Tacoma Measure 1 sent disinformation to voters via text messages like this.

Text message

Moore says city protections will still stand after Initiative 1 passes and that while section 6 of the measure prohibits landlords from evicting students during the school year and tenants from cold-weather evictions, subsection 4 makes exemptions, including if tenants pose an imminent threat.

"I think on both counts, these are outright lies to try and confuse voters and instill fear about passing Initiative 1," said Moore.

Landlords against the measure say the measure's language is too vague.

"What is imminent danger? If it's combined with them not paying rent, we can not evict them," said Debby Herbert.

Herbert says she is in charge of three rental properties and she feels Measure 1 places the burden on small landlords like herself.

"It's not specific enough, so it's just wide open to abuse and no protections for us whatsoever," said Herbert.

While the debate over who this measure impacts the most continues to heat up, there are also concerns over who is funding these groups.

Moore says most of the money supporting Tacoma for All and Measure 1 comes from local donors.

"Over 85% of donations are from people here in Tacoma and Pierce County," said Moore.

Moore points out that No on Tacoma Measure 1 recently received a big boost in funding from outside groups.

Public Disclosure Commission filings for No on Tacoma Measure 1 show Chicago-based National Association of Realtors donated $200,000 to the opposition group on Oct.17.

With only a few weeks until ballots are due, Moore believes voters in the third-largest city in Washington will pass Measure 1 on November 7.

"I think Tacoma voters are smart," said Moore. "I think Tacoma voters will see through this outside dark money campaign."