“Prop 10 not passing just makes me have to hustle more so that my mom can keep living in the neighborhood we grew up in.”
These are the words from Senay Kenfe, a lifetime Long Beach resident whose mother is one of 9.5 million renters who are legally defined as being burdened by high rents, that is, spending 30 percent or more of their monthly income on rent. More than half of California’s renter population falls into that category.
Kenfe has been a vocal supporter of Proposition 10, joining everyone from the left-leaning Los Angeles Times editorial board to the Democratic, Green, and Democratic Socialist parties in supporting the now-defeated state measure that divided tenants and landlords over whether to expand local governments’ ability to implement rent control.
Why was Kenfe so vocal? In the months leading up to the election, his mother received notice from her landlord that her rent would increase by $400 should the proposition pass. A notice like this was similarly handed out by Rampart Properties to its renters in August. (Mind you: we lack rent control, so the effect of Prop. 10, should it have passed, would have helped shape future ordinances more than have a direct impact immediately—but was still powerful enough to make landlords take actions like this.)
While the effect of this type of voter intimidation and extortion can’t be examined through data, it can be connected anecdotally to Prop. 10’s defeat and certainly connected to the No on 10 campaign, which raised and spent some $80 million to create a flurry of television, social media, and radio advertisements that created a David-versus-Goliath campaign.
It also created a campaign that was, admittedly, muddled and confusing, those unethical and absurd rent increase threats aside.
The No on 10 folks insisted that the proposition would hinder affordable housing, increase rents, and cause an overall upheaval of the housing market—without recognizing that the laws as they exist have, well, hindered affordable housing, increased rents, and caused an overall upheaval of the housing market. Not convinced of that? Here are 10 data-driven charts that break down our crisis.
In other words, at-risk renters need an answer—and they need one now, especially given that what we have in place isn’t working.
Property owners and realtors, developers and chambers of commerce are quick to come to the defense of their stance.