Opponents of Rent Control Claim Victory in Special Election in Bay Area

Voters in Santa Rosa, California rejected a measure that would have retained the rent and eviction control ordinance that the city council had approved lasted August. The referendum was placed on the ballot by the California Apartment Association.
June 18, 2017, 11am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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Santa Rosa, the Bay Area's fifth largest city (pop: 174,000) and county seat of Sonoma County, held a special election on June 6 to determine whether to retain or reject the rent-and-eviction-control ordinance which the city council had approved on a 4-2 vote last August. 

Measure C, which would have retained the rent stabilization ordinance, was rejected by 52.5 percent of voters.

After the council passed the ordinance last August, the "California Apartment Association responded with a signature-gathering effort to place the ordinance before Santa Rosa voters," according to the association. "After the referendum qualified, the City Council in January called for the special election."

"What’s unusual about Santa Rosa is that it’s not considered a major tech hub, where high-paying jobs are often blamed for skyrocketing rents and evictions," observes Kathleen Pender for the San Francisco Chronicle. "About 48 percent of the city’s households are renters."

In November, voters approved rent control in Mountain View (home to Google and Intuit), but turned it down in San Mateo and Burlingame. [Rent and eviction controls were on the November 2016 ballot in six Bay Area cities.].

Pacifica [San Mateo County] voters will decide in November whether to make permanent a temporary rent-control ordinance that its council passed 3-2.

Rents have been rising in this county on the northern edge of the nine-county Bay Area. "Joshua Howard, a senior vice president with the apartment association, said Santa Rosa has fallen much shorter than other Bay Area cities 'in permitting and getting built the housing units needed to sustain' its growing population," adds Pender.

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Published on Wednesday, June 7, 2017 in San Francisco Chronicle
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