By Steven Tavares.

The Richmond Progressive Alliance say a petition purporting to support the City Council’s recent rent control ordinance is actually a ruse aiming to undercut the position.

“This petition will not support rent control, and the groups working to stabilize rents in Richmond do not endorse it,” said members of the Richmond Progressive Alliance, including Councilmembers Gayle McLaughlin, Jovanka Beckles and Eduardo Martinez.

In a statement Thursday, the group said it believes some paid canvassers are offering residents misleading statements about the petition, such as asserting it supports Richmond’s rent control ordinance approved in July.

At least half of the petition’s signatures may have been procured under misleading circumstances, said the PRA.

The decision to enact rent control in Richmond was first such case in the Bay Area in over a generation and also bolstered Richmond’s claim as the new epicenter of progressive governance in the East Bay.

The vote in late July also sparked harsh words by opponents of the ordinance, including Richmond Mayor Tom Butt.

But the PRA says the petition’s true intention is to suspend the City Council’s decision until at least November 2016, “during which landlords will be free to unfairly raise rents and evict tenants without just cause.”

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Originally posted at East Bay Citizen.