It's Not Over Til It's Over

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Many experts on both sides of the political aisle know full well that our great State’s utmost economic threat right now is the crisis in our housing economy. We mentioned recently about how some laws are just cleverly named but end up doing the opposite of what they are titled, and although I believe that all Americans (all people worldwide, actually) should have a basic healthcare plan—as well as a basic investment, time management, career, education, and retirement plan, too—there is no doubt that the “Affordable Care Act” has indeed not achieved what it was titled. No matter how you feel about the ACA, there is no denying that prices skyrocketed following its inception. Although it made it more affordable for some people, it has not come close to achieving the level of care promised and it pushed prices out of reach of others. It’s much more of a burden for the public than a benefit, and certainly we can do better.

This is the same type of a play on words we are up against now for the “Affordable Housing Act” now being considered across the State, which is the repeal of the one thing keeping current rent controlled cities afloat—the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act. As many of you know, Costa-Hawkins allows vacancy decontrol. It keeps rent-controlled cities from directing pricing on vacant apartments, keeps cities from being able to include condos and single-family residences into the ordinances, and keeps from adding properties built after February 1995 from becoming part of a “rent stabilization ordinance.” The latter is one of the most important details of Costa-Hawkins because it keeps new development on the table. Our problem is not a price control problem; it’s a supply problem and a ton of red tape to jump through from city to city to keep development moving forward.

It is no wonder that the NAACP, California Community Builders, United Latinos Vote, California Senior Advocates League, American G.I. Forum, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, and CalTax (just to name a few) are all against this repeal and rent control initiatives themselves. It hurts who they want to protect, especially minority communities.

The State and cities really need to make up their minds on what they want to do if they plan to allow an increasing number of people to live/migrate here. If they don’t want to turn people away, then they need to unlock the bottleneck of new development to make a place for new settlement instead of punishing housing providers and current residents by making it impossible to find quality accommodations at an affordable price. I love our melting pot here in LA and I would love to see it expanded, but this isn’t the way.

The repeal of this law (and really the current allowance of rent control to be initiated in cities has been and) will continue to hurt families, workers, and businesses—most of which are the people who it aims to protect, along with the newcomers who are risking a lot moving here.

Look no further than what is already happening in rent-controlled communities to the union workers and specialized tradesmen/women due to those ordinances even with having the ability to increase market rents on a vacancy: Minimum work and purchases (spending by the housing providers) for the upkeep and remodeling of apartments. This affects maintenance supply stores to the workers themselves as well as their office teams—schedulers, billers, and the like. It limits the work of painters, plumbers, electricians, suppliers, builders, pest control companies, gardeners, tax in come for the city, and more—which is not the goal of rent control, but the repeatedly proven reality. This goes much deeper than it seems most of these pushers of the wrong kind of change care to look at. They are taking this at face value—the name only—and making very incorrect assumptions that have already and will continue to reinforce the unintended consequences raining down on our people and economies.

Don’t let this happen. Spread the word and prepare to get out the vote; this is going to be a fight that none of us can afford to lose because it affects every facet of our economy. Keep abreast of what’s going on as well as keep engaging with our Association and PAC. Donate today to help the fight—we all need to get ahead of this before we allow it to destroy our economy and the many pains that will surely follow.

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