“Proponents of Proposition 10 are trying to convince voters that the effort to repeal the Costa Hawkins Housing Act would simply give local officials in Los Angeles County and other communities another tool to deal with California’s housing crisis.
The reality is, Prop. 10 is not about empowering local officials. It’s about empowering outside activists at considerable public cost. Instead of empowering cities and county leaders, it could actually make it more difficult for local elected officials to address the housing crisis in their own communities. Proposition 10 clears the way for tenants’ groups to circumvent local leaders to pass radical price caps through the initiative process that hurt local communities. As we’ve already seen in a number of cities, many of these plans aim to strip local elected officials of their power and hand it to new, unelected and unaccountable bureaucracies.
The state’s nonpartisan Legislative Analyst says such proposals could cost state and local governments hundreds of millions of dollars. That would create the need to fill new budget holes, either through harmful cuts to local services or through new local taxes. Proposition 10 authors also snuck language into the measure that gives them the right to participate in certain lawsuits against the initiative and requires the state to pay their attorney’s fees—whether they win or lose. These lawsuits could cost taxpayers millions, wasting public money on attorneys’ fees instead of investing in important local services like public safety, education and health care.
Voters should not be fooled. Prop. 10 proponents are using a “local control” sales pitch as a Trojan horse in hopes of passing radical forms of rent control across California.”