In the conclusion to this series on statewide propositions, we’ll look at two measures that aren’t what they seem to be and one that is what it seems to be, even though opponents claim otherwise.
Prop 10 asks voters to repeal the law prohibiting communities from regulating what landlords can charge residential tenants. Prop 11 asks voters to legalize a questionable labor policy. And Prop 12 ups the ante on the treatment of animals raised for human consumption.
On Monday, I looked at Propositions 1 through 4, and yesterday it was 5 through 8. If you’re wondering about Prop 9–aka the billionaire scheme to split California into three parts–you won’t find it.
The “Three States Initiative” was removed from the ballot by California Supreme Court” because significant questions have been raised regarding the proposition’s validity and because we conclude that the potential harm in permitting the measure to remain on the ballot outweighs the potential harm in delaying the proposition to a future election.”
Alas, venture capitalist and cryptocurrency investor Tim Draper has declared he’ll no longer be interested in this form of political tinkering by 2020.
One quick note: some of the details/wording in this article is borrowed from a ’first look’ column I posted in late August; I’ve had the opportunity to do some more study and am sharing my findings.
Prop 10: Repeal Costa-Hawkings Rental Housing Act
What do outnumbered reactionaries do when localized grassroots movements push for things they don’t want?
They get the next higher step of government to squash those aspirations.
This has happened with proposals to increase the minimum wage. Twenty-five states have passed laws preempting cities from passing their own local minimum wage laws.
Thanks to the politician-buying power of the National Rifle Association, more than 40 states have passed broad firearm preemption laws specifically prohibiting local governments from adopting reasonable gun laws tailored to local conditions.
Ordinances limiting the use of pesticides, taxing sugary drinks, and mandating paid sick leave have all been overridden by state legislatures. ALEC, the billionaire-funded corporate bill mill, likely has a collection of fill-in-the-blank preemptive laws available for donation-challenged legislators in a hurry to overrule local control.
After the rent reductions/supposedly trickling down after 1978’s Proposition 13 failed to appear in California, tenant groups across the state intensified organizing for municipal rent control ordinances. The real estate industry fought back.
Following several years of failed attempts, the Costa-Hawkings Rental Housing Act was enacted in 1995. It prevented local governments from imposing rent control on new buildings and separate buildings like condominiums and townhouses. It also allowed for rent increases when tenants change.
Proposition 10 does not enact rent control; it simply returns the matter for localities to decide.
Obviously, the subject of rent control has become a popular concern. The typical example trotted out by opponents involves a hard-working immigrant who’s invested money in an apartment complex and now stands to lose everything.
This line of thought deflects attention from the underlying problem behind increases in rental prices far outstripping inflation.
The type of investors who dove into the unregulated derivatives market prior to last decades real estate crash found similar returns in buying up foreclosed single home properties and turning them into rentals.
Using economies of scale to control costs, national corporate groups have gone into the rental apartment business in a big way.