Kind of discouraging to see hundreds of thousands of dollars donated to the opposition to Measure M, almost 20 times the amount raised by the YES campaign, from sources outside of Santa Cruz County, namely The California Association of Realtors and a state Landlords' Association. That's why we're seeing so many ads in the papers, so many multi-colored postcards delivered to our doorsteps. This literature, trying to scare us away from supporting a ballot measure that can do the most good, in the shortest time frame for the approximately 25% of renters in the City who live in housing built prior to 1995. There are no facts in this propaganda, merely words strung together to scare us about what might happen if Measure M were to pass.
I encourage voters not to believe everything they read from one side, but to take the time to at least scan some of the research that has been done in some of the 19 California cities that now have rent control and or just-cause eviction policies. The YES campaign has a website, https://santacruzrentcontrol.org/, that lists some of these resources and I'll just quote from a few of these:
Randy Shaw, a tenants' rights lawyer states that "rent control strengthens neighborhoods."
"Homeowners voting should understand that rent control and just cause eviction laws are in their own self-interest. That's because such laws strengthen and improve neighborhoods. Tenants protected by rent control have the same stake in neighborhood improvement as homeowners and landlords. Most are far more involved in local activities than absentee owners who rarely visit the community and contribute little to supporting neighborhood businesses nor attend local events.
Rent control makes for successful neighborhoods. If you are a homeowner deciding how to vote on rent control this November, a yes vote serves social and economic justice as well as your own self-interest."
From the U.C. Berkeley Urban Displacement Project: "?..is the economists' feared effects of rent control on stalling housing production true?.? Our data indicates it's not: When we looked at housing production numbers from 2007 to 2013, the six cities that had rent control in the Bay Area actually produced more housing units per capita than cities without rent control."
And, from "Strengthening Communities Through Rent Control and Just-Cause Evictions," published by the Urban Institute in January, 2018, a study of rent control outcomes in Richmond, Berkeley, and Santa Monica. Some of their conclusions:
"Rent control and just-cause evictions policies have protected social and economic diversity in Berkeley and Santa Monica"
"Rent control and just-cause evictions should be understood as anti-displacement measures with implications beyond housing policy. Displacement causes reverberations beyond individuals and families; local school districts, businesses, and governments are negatively affected when their students, employees, and constituents leave abruptly."
"Policymakers should not assume a positive relationship between landlord profits, and property maintenance and local tax payments. The Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board has shown that less than 10% of rent increases went back into the community through reinvestment and taxes."
"There is a perception that establishing a rent control board is so expensive it will affect a city's general fund, which could reduce funding for essential services, such as schools, police, and fire. However, the most robust rent boards, those in Santa Monica and Berkeley, are cost-neutral to their respective cities. Both rent boards collect fees from landlords of rent-controlled units that cover all operating costs."
We all can help those teachers, students, nurses, and retail, hotel, and restaurant workers who keep our city functioning and who want to live closer to their work. Think again before you vote and realize that voting YES on Measure M is not only the right thing to do, it's the vote that is best for our entire community.
The People's Democratic Club of Santa Cruz County (PDC) is proud to have endorsed Measure M.
Submitted by: Gail Jack, Vice President, PDC