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Guest opinion: Restore power of municipalities to pass robust rent control

Original post made on Oct 31, 2018

Voters should restore the ability of municipalities to implement robust rent control by voting yes on Proposition 10 this November.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, October 31, 2018, 8:45 AM

Comments (13)

Posted by new guy
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 31, 2018 at 9:33 am

Insidiously? Perversely? Not sure if these words are needed, but I can tell you feel "immensely" about this.

So, what I think you are attempting to convey here is that the marketplace(economics) for rentals and property taxes, is not to your liking.


That government, if prop 10 passes, will pick new winners, which I assume in your argument, will be the renters. Seems so easy.

So who will be the new losers? You should have taken a class on economics to understand supply/demand curves and how government regulations effect those, in ways not originally imagined. Maybe a bit of history of housing prices, property taxation, taxation, labor rates, etc. Oh, and where do I sign up for cheap rent in Woodside, and I mean for the rest of my life, and then hand that down to my children, they grew up here and deserve it. Vote yes on 10! I deserve cheap rent in Woodside!!!

Posted by Libertarians: Yes on Prop 10 = Liberty
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Oct 31, 2018 at 10:11 am

"if prop 10 passes, will pick new winners" No. Sacramento now picks the winners - time to put control back to the local level.

Passing Prop 10 puts LOCAL CONTROL back in our towns. Not big government - in this case the state government that tries to tell 40 million Californians how to live.

So yes, local towns are the new WINNERS with prop 10.

Local decisions, local control. It's the American way.

Posted by Libertarians?
a resident of another community
on Oct 31, 2018 at 10:16 am

We should take our cue on public policy from libertarians? The group whose intellectual growth stopped at the age of 14, and who figuratively (if not literally) live in Mom's basement?


Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Oct 31, 2018 at 10:23 am

Rent control is, always and everywhere, a terrible idea.

Posted by Libertarians: Yes on Prop 10 = Liberty
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Oct 31, 2018 at 10:38 am

"control is, always and everywhere, a terrible idea"


BIG GOVERNMENT control, especially from Sacramento, is, always and everywhere, a terrible idea.

Bring local control back to the local level - Yes on Prop 10. Take control away from those Sacramento democrats.

Posted by Mrs. B
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 31, 2018 at 12:28 pm

Thank you, New Guy! Yes, all proponents of any form of rent control just need to open an elementary economics textbook. Rent control is the surest and fastest way to DEGRADE the housing stock in any community. It is absolutely all about economics. Why build or maintain a rental property if you are not able to obtain a market rent for it? If you want to live in squalor, vote for rent control. Why maintain the property if you can't get a return on the repairs and upgrades? If you want property owners to keep potential rentals off the market because they cannot earn a viable return on them, vote for rent control. Why put a property under rent regulation and never be able to raise the rents to a market level? (That's what vacancy control does, folks.) Try this: in Venezuela, not a single rental apartment building has been built since a draconian form of rent control was enacted in 1960. Is this how you think "affordable housing" will be provided anywhere in CA? A vote for Prop 10 is a VOTE FOR PROPERTY DESTRUCTION.

Posted by That's Not Libertarianism
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 31, 2018 at 12:37 pm

Note to "Libertarians: Yes on Prop 10 = Liberty": libertarianism isn't about local control. It's about minimal government intervention at every level.

In any case, economists have well-studied rent control. It only help existing renters at the great expense of everyone else. Its overall effects are negative economically.

Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Oct 31, 2018 at 1:45 pm

Jack Hickey is a registered user.

Contracts between tenants and landlords should not be dictated by government. If the contract, usually written by the landlord, calls for 90 day notice for termination of the contract, and a renter wants 6 months notice, that's negotiable between the parties. Such a change may increase the rent. That's as it should be. If you can't reach an agreement, go somewhere else. Renters could negotiate a contract clause limiting rent increases to a fixed percentage for a longer term.

Rent control laws amount to a "taking" of property in violation of the Constitution of the United States. We can only hope that the new supreme court sees it that way.

Vote NO on 10! I did.

Posted by Less government .. Yes on 10
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Oct 31, 2018 at 2:53 pm

Get Sacramento politicians out of the business of picking winners.

Yes on 10, local decisions are always better than state wide edicts.

Posted by OMG
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Oct 31, 2018 at 3:12 pm

It’s quite obvious that Ms Fitzpatrick has zero training in Economics and little real world experience. Rent control has never worked anywhere; there is real world proof of this everywhere.

The arguments put forth about local control vs control at the state level are spurious. Government at all levels should just get out of the way. Any legislators who profess to be smarter than market forces are just deluding themselves. The only solution for the affordable housing crisis is MORE HOUSING. Rent control always does just the opposite.

Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Oct 31, 2018 at 6:54 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Economists don't agree on much of anything, but one thing they ALL agree on is that rent control DOES NOT WORK. The economics of rent control are all negative. You want to increase your housing stock of rentals? Don't eliminate the profit for those that build or own them. No one in their right mind will build something or own something they can't make a profit from.

Posted by Karen Grove
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Oct 31, 2018 at 7:46 pm

Karen Grove is a registered user.

Thank you for writing your opinion on Prop 10. Rent regulation is an important tool for stabilizing communities and cities should be free to apply it. This recent review of the research on rent regulations from USC (Web Link ) concluded,

"While more research remains to be done, the evidence does suggest that the strident debate about rent regulations may be driven more by ideology and self-interest—on all sides—and that public policy would benefit from a more measured discussion. What this review of literature suggests to us is that rent regulations are one tool to deal with sharp upticks in rent. They have less deleterious effects than is often imagined—particularly if we are talking about more moderate rent stabilization measures—and they do seem to promote resident stability and can therefore help to slow the displacement dimension of gentrification.

At the same time, proponents of rent stabilization must be clear that limiting rent increases cannot fully solve the housing crisis confronting much of urban California. That will require that rent regulations be combined with robust efforts to promote housing supply, particularly of affordable units, and job training and economic development programs that can lift incomes and promote mobility. Such a multipronged approach can help to deal with the housing stresses and strains that are currently worrying renters, owners, and employers alike."

Posted by mper
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Nov 1, 2018 at 7:59 am

The author gives 'institutional investors' such as Blackstone Properties as the primary proof that prop 10 is needed:

"Insidiously, since the 2008 foreclosure crisis, institutional investors have gobbled up tens of thousands of single-family homes in California. Across the country, one-fourth of single-family rentals today are owned by institutional investors. Blackstone's Invitation Homes, a publicly traded company (with a corresponding fiduciary duty to its shareholders), owns more than 12,700 single-family homes in California alone, and has dedicated almost $7 million to defeating Proposition 10."

The fact is, as written, Prop 10 threatens individual, small-time, property owners who use their property to help support themselves, and in some cases, protect themselves from inability to afford to stay in their homes.

If you are going to list institutional investors as your argument in favor of prop 10, then beyond Blacksotone, why not also take aim at institutional investors like Stanford, Google, FaceBook, Apple, Amazon and others who buy and develop land in our cities and towns to expand their operations without fully taking into consideration the impact on all of us -- our local schools, access for emergency vehicles, local owners AND renters.

Why the lack of focus on the institutions that have added hugely to the lack of housing and the uptick in traffic brought by their huge developments that brings in thousands of additional employees?
Prop 10 takes aim at the average citizen -- the individual owners (without and *with* mortgages) who can least afford this kind of council-driven impact.

According to the authors own argument, Prop 10 as written, makes no sense at all because it doesn't address the root cause -- institutional expansion/development without proportionate institutional development of housing and contribution to local services to offset their expansion. This expansion, BTW, has been enabled by our city government and particulalrly our city councils -- the very people who Prop 10 proposes to put in charge of local rent control.
Irony upon irony.

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