Today’s episode is about housing with Sean Betouliere and Ian Smith. Sean and Ian will discuss the case of Smith v. City of Oakland, a class action lawsuit brought by Disability Rights Advocates and the Public Interest Law Project (PILP) in August 2019. The case alleges Oakland renters who need to live in accessible units are either shut out of the City’s rent control protections entirely or forced to live in inaccessible units. Sean is a Staff Attorney at DRA and Ian is one of the main plaintiffs in addition to Sunday Parker and Mitch Jeserich.
*Please note our conversation took place on October of 2019 so some things may have changed since then. The case is ongoing and you can find out the latest on DRA’s website: https://dralegal.org/
Smith v. City of Oakland, Disability Rights Advocates
“People with Disabilities Charge That Oakland’s Rent Stabilization Program Excludes Them and Must Be Fixed Notwithstanding Costa-Hawkins.” August 28, 2019, Disability Rights Advocates.
“Renters with disabilities sue Oakland for housing discrimination.” Emily Deruy, August 28, 2019, The Mercury News.
“LIC Luxury Tower Leaves Behind People with Disabilities, Lawsuit Suit Alleges.” November 18, 2019, Christine Chung, TheCity.Nyc
“Mission landlord demands prospective tenants disclose “emotional or psychological issues.” November 20, 2019, Sasha Perigo, Mission Local.
“The long wait: For years, she’s been hoping to move into a house that will meet her son’s disability needs.” December 7, 2019, Theresa Vargas, The Washington Post.
Ian Smith is a Deaf software engineer, currently working on devtooling for distributed systems at http://darklang.com. He also co-founded Project Alloy (https://projectalloy.org), which seeks to address issues of equity and representation at tech conferences. Other interests include transit accessibility, linguistics, and the noble pun. Find him on twitter at @metaforgotten.
Sean Betouliere joined Disability Rights Advocates in 2015 as its second Wolinsky Fellowship Attorney and became a staff attorney in 2017. Mr. Betouliere received his law degree from Berkeley Law in 2015 and his Bachelor of Arts in English (with highest honors) from U.C. Berkeley in 2005. During law school, he served as an extern to Magistrate Judge Donna M. Ryu in the Northern District of California, and interned with Disability Rights California and the Disability Rights Program of the Legal Aid Society Employment Law Center. Mr. Betouliere also worked as a clinic student with the East Bay Community Law Center’s Immigration and Community Economic Development clinics, and volunteered in the Legal Aid Society’s Workers’ Rights Disability Law clinic. As a former special education teacher and someone born with cerebral palsy, Mr. Betouliere has a personal understanding of the barriers that people with disabilities still face, and he’s excited to work with DRA to continue bringing those barriers down.
Support Disability Media and Culture
DONATE to the Disability Visibility Project®
Geraldine Ah-Sue, Audio Producer
Alice Wong, Writer, Audio Producer, Host
Cheryl Green, Text Transcript
Lateef McLeod, Introduction
Mike Mort, Artwork
Theme Music (used with permission of artist)
Song: “Dance Off”
Artist: Wheelchair Sports Camp
“Steps” by Podington Bear (Steps by Podington Bear is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License.)