“Politically, housing has been a hot-button issue in California for years now, with candidates vying for various seats promising to somehow ameliorate the situation. Proposition 10 is at the center of the heated debate around affordable housing in the state of California.

The two front runners in this year’s race for governor, Gavin Newsom and John Cox, have publicly commented on the housing crisis, and neither of them supports a full repeal of the Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which is what Proposition 10 would do if passed.

Though Newsom said he is open to fewer restrictions on rent control, “[Prop 10] could have unintended consequences on housing production that could be problematic.”

Cox was more straightforward in his assessment simply stating, “I don’t believe rent control works.”

Opponents of Prop 10 say that it will do more harm than good and are encouraging voters to say no to the measure in November. Proposition 10, a strict repeal of the Costa- Hawkins Rental Housing Act would give local governments the power to impose rent control on single family home owners. This would hurt, not help the most vulnerable, say members of the No on 10 Coalition, like the NAACP and the Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce. African American communities, where property ownership is a pathway to wealth building would be disproportionately and negatively impacted say opponents.

“We really took a close look at what [Prop 10] is meant to do,’ said Alice Huffman, president of the California Hawaii NAACP. If you look at the language, they say its rent control but local governments already have the power to impose rent control. The only thing local governments cannot do – the reason they want to repeal Costa Hawkins, is so that they can impose rent control on single family homes. So, people are thinking they are voting for rent control but they are not. They are actually voting to give governments in 400 cities and 56 counties (in California) carte blanche authority over single family homes.”

Specifically, the measure would repeal rent control exemptions on single family homes thereby allowing local governments to dictate what a home owner would be allowed to charge to rent out a room in their own home. Additionally, Prop 10 would allow proponents to take legal action against any city they feel is not imposing stringent enough rent control measures at tax payer expense. The impartial, non-partisan Legislative Analyst Office has predicted millions in losses to local general fund revenues, which means less funding for vital city services for those who need it most.

Huffman and other Prop 10 opposers, could sound the financial death knell for homeowners who need the freedom to charge adequate rental rates in order to survive. Moreover, landlords could face property damage costs with little or no recourse. Passage of Prop 10 would also likely mean a severe decline in the construction of more housing in the Golden State, which is sorely needed. Instead, she explained, governments should focus on more appropriate legislation, like giving incentives to builders of affordable housing, which is what the Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act was originally intended to do.”

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