IF 98 PASSES -KISS $50,000 GOODBY

This is very serious.  If you live in a rent control area, come June 4th your home could be worth $50,000 less.  That’s right, $50,000! Kiss it goodby!   Can you afford that?  I can’t!  In fact you probably will have a very hard time selling it.

The League of California Cities continues to spearhead the effort to defeat 98 and pass 99.  However, they recently lost a lawsuit that would have made it clear to all voters that this is about rent control.

Let’s make this very clear.  This about RENT CONTROL.  Eminent Domain is just a smoke screen.  In fact if you look at all the information on the YES ON 98 website, you will not see any mention of RENT CONTROL.

Why?  Because the park and apartment owners supporting this don’t want voters to know what they’re really up to.  We know who they are      because they are on a list of contributors. In fact 85% of the financing for Proposition 98 came from these park and apartment owners and their reps. In a LA Task Force meeting, a WMA representative admitted it is about RENT CONTROL, not eminent domain.  Don’t be fooled!

It’s your choice.  Support us NOW—join/make a donation/help us.

What are the facts?

When do we vote:  June 3, 2008 (60 days to go)

What will Prop 98 do:  It Eliminate Rent Control in California (It says this in its summary)

What is our strategy: GET OUT THE VOTE  

VOTE NO ON 98,  VOTE YES ON 99

CoMO-CAL’s strategy:

Communicate with as many mobilehome owners across California as possible. By mail, email, flier, word of mouth, window sign, meetings, etc.

Specifically:

  • Phone bank: CoMO-CAL members calling other mobilehome owners
  • Mail: Send out at least 10,000 letters between now and June 3rd
  • THE WHISPER: Ask CoMO-CAL members to distribute fliers in their parks
  • THE VOICE: The April and June issue will focus on  Proposition  98 and  99
  • E-mail: We are expanding our e-mail list now.   continued on Page 3 WORK

WORK continued from front cover

  • We should have at least 500 e-mail contacts statewide – we will ask them all to e-mail California voters in their address books.
  • Window Signs: Every mobilehome owner should put a No on 98 and Yes on 99 sign in their front window (Sample—see Page 14).
  • Meetings: CoMO-CAL members should schedule meetings in their parks.  CoMO-CAL leadership will help when and where we can.

How can we do this? 

YOU MUST HELP

You must help!  Just getting out THE VOICE to you is a full time job.  We have NO OFFICE STAFF ready to help with this huge task.

What can you do?

Volunteer your time. Call us at 1-800-828-6061.  We will coordinate efforts.

  • Phone Bank: If you have long distance,        volunteer for the “phone bank.”  We will   supply you phone numbers of mobilehome owners.  We can supply a script you can use to alert residents about Prop 98 and Prop 99.
  • Distribute Fliers in your park – we have members in over 400 parks – perhaps 80,000 spaces – everyone should volunteer to do this!!!
  • Put a window sign up in your mobilehome.
  • Talk with your neighbors. Talk with your friends who VOTE.  Ask them to help.
  • If you have email, take the time to email all your voter friends in California. We will be working on a letter you can email.
  • Schedule a meeting in your park. Pass out fliers telling ALL residents in your park about the meeting.  We can help.

Make a donation.

This is serious. On a personal note, if Prop 98 passes, my rent will not increase, but I may not be able to sell my home as rent control would be eliminated for any buyer.  I could lose $50,000 or more. (With 150,000 spaces currently under rent control in California, this amounts to $7.5       BILLION.  THIS IS HUGE!!)

I take this very, very seriously.  In fact my wife and I have decided to personally donate $500.00 to CoMO-CAL, earmarked for Prop 98.  It is the least we can do to help defeat it.  (We live in a single wide mobilehome, and have a 13 year old son.  My wife works part time, and I devote all my time to running CoMO-CAL, so I hope you understand we don’t have money to burn.)

 

How can you donate?

By check:  Send it to CoMO-CAL, P.O. Box 4821, Chatsworth, Ca. 91313.  Make it out to CoMO-CAL and put “Prop 98” on the memo line.  I guarantee 100% of your donation will go to   defeat Prop 98 and will not be used for any other purpose.  We will give an accounting in THE VOICE. (We need $5,000 to send filers)

Donate at meetings:  Pass around the hat.  If you have expenses, like printing costs, use that money.  Write a check to CoMO-CAL for the balance.

 

Bottom Line

The threat is real.  We only have a very short time and much to do.  We will only be successful if EACH OF US does our share.  Don’t just read this and assume others will volunteer or donate.  Pick up the phone.  Pick up your checkbook.  DO IT NOW.

THANK YOU!

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

Real People – Victims of Proposition 98

We bought this home so John and I could live the rest of our lives peacefully in a safe and secure environment, and remain close to our grandchildren and great grandchildren.  With rent control we can budget the yearly increase, but there is no way we could afford to pay rent in the amount these Park Owners demand as their due.”         John and Elizabeth Circa,  Alviso, CA

“It’s despicable that wealthy landlords are     trying to steal hard-earned home equity from vulnerable individuals like myself. I’m afraid if Prop. 98 passes, nobody will want to buy our home, and we’ll have nowhere to go. Voters should reject Prop. 98 to protect people like me.”  Larry Jackson, Riverside, CA

Larry Jackson is an ex-Peace Corp member who lives in a mobile home park in Riverside with his wife Jean.  After working his whole life, Larry is now out of retirement and working part time at Castle Park amusement park to make ends meet. If Larry’s mobile home park was not protected by rent control, the Jacksons would not be able to afford to live in their home.

Larry also worries that if Prop. 98 passes, mobile homeowners will face extreme difficulties selling their homes. Once buyers learn rent control will be lifted on the space as soon as the unit is sold, they will no longer be interested and the unit will be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars less. Prop. 98 will devastate home owners like Larry by eroding the equity he’s spent years building in his home.

Wealthy landlords and mobile home park owners are trying to pass Prop. 98 for their own financial gain. California Secretary of State records show that more than 85% of funding to put Prop. 98 on the ballot came from wealthy landlords and organizations representing them. These landlords are trying to trick voters into believing they wrote Prop. 98 to reform eminent domain. But these landlords don’t care about eminent domain – they only care about provisions in the initiative that would phase out rent control laws at the expense of seniors, veterans, single moms and working families.  Prop. 98 also guts important protections for all renters, like laws requiring the fair return of rental deposits and laws protecting tenants from unfair and unjust evictions. Prop. 98 is an attack on all existing and future renters in California.

Visit www.no98yes99.com to find out more.

———————————————————————————————————————————————————–

PROPOSITION 98

Eminent Donain.  Limits on Government Authority.  Initiative Constitutional Amendment

Proponents:  Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

BALLOT LABEL

 Bars state and local governments from   taking or damaging private property for private uses. Prohibits rent control and similar measures. Eliminate deference to government in property rights cases. Changes condemnation rules

Fiscal Impact:  Increased costs to many governments due to the measure’s           restrictions.  The net statewide fiscal effect, however, probably would not be             significant.

BALLOT TITLE AND SUMMARY

  • Bars state and local governments from taking or damaging private property for private uses.
  • Prohibits rent control and similar measures.
  • Eliminate deference to government in property
  • Defines “just compensation.”
  • Requires an award of attorneys fees and costs if a property owner obtains a judgment for more than the amount offered by the government.
  • Requires government to offer to original owner of condemned property the right to repurchase property at condemned price when property is put to substantially different use than was publicly stated.

Summary of Legislative Analyst’s Estimate of Net state and local government Fiscal Impact

Increased costs to many governments due to the measure’s restrictions. The fiscal effect on most governments probably would not be significant.

———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

PROP. 98 IS AN ATTACK ON RENTERS!

Wealthy landlords and mobile home park owners are trying to pass Prop. 98 for their own financial gain. California Secretary of State records show that more than 85% of funding to put Prop. 98 on the ballot came from wealthy landlords and      organizations representing them.

These landlords are trying to trick voters into   believing they wrote Prop. 98 to reform eminent domain. But these landlords don’t care about   eminent domain – they only care about provisions in the initiative that would phase out rent control laws at the expense of seniors, veterans, single moms and working families.  Prop. 98 also guts important protections for all renters, like laws  requiring the fair return of rental deposits and laws protecting tenants from unfair and unjust evictions. Prop. 98 is an attack on all existing and future renters in California.

Visit www.no98yes99.com to find out more.

———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

February 25th Lawsuit Re: Title of Proposition 98

 

Sacramento, CA – Today, members of the No on 98/Yes on 99 coalition filed a lawsuit in Sacramento County Superior Court, asking a judge to change the official title of Proposition 98 to include mention of the measure’s rent control provisions. Currently, the official title of the measure prepared by the California Attorney General’s  Office only informs voters of the measure’s     eminent domain provisions, and excludes any mention of eliminating rent control, which is one of Prop. 98’s main provisions. The summary itself includes mention of rent control as the second point, but not the title.

By law, the official title of an initiative is         supposed to summarize the principle provisions of a measure. The lawsuit also contends that principle provisions in Prop. 98 would interfere with local land-use and environmental laws and regulations, and should also be included in the Title and Summary. Plaintiffs in the lawsuit include the California Alliance for Retired Americans and Tenants Together.

“By far, Proposition 98’s greatest impact will be the provisions abolishing rent control and renter protections,” said Nan Brasmer, President of the California Alliance for Retired Americans.

“Currently, more than 1 million renters are       protected by rent control, and this initiative will negatively impact millions of renters in the state.”

“When voters read the title – which is all that many voters read – they should be informed up front that Prop. 98 abolishes rent control. It’s a principle point of the initiative. Voters have a right to know,” continued Brasmer.

In their lawsuit, plaintiffs point out that more than 85% of funding for the measure has come from apartment and mobile home park owners and     organizations that represent landlords.

Internal mailings from landlord groups obtained by the No on 98 coalition, which were submitted as evidence in the lawsuit, clearly demonstrate that these landlords are funding Proposition 98 solely because of the anti- rent control provisions.

“The overwhelming majority of funding behind Prop. 98 comes from landlords. The only reason they’re funding this measure is to abolish rent  control and other renter protections,” said Dean Preston, Executive Director of Tenants Together. “Even the proponents’ own ballot arguments list rent control as a principle provision of the         Initiative. We’re simply asking that the title reflect the primary provisions so voters can make an    informed decision.”

All of California’s leading environmental organizations are also strongly opposed to Proposition 98, warning that the measure would have a       devastating impact on land-use regulations and environmental protections.

Susan Smartt, Executive Director of the California League of Conservation Voters said:

“Prop. 98 would gut environmental protections and future laws we need to protect our land, air, water and other natural resources, as well as laws we need to combat climate change and global warming. These provisions are significant, and should be reflected in the title and summary that the voters see.”

——————————————————————————————————————————————————————

No on Prop. 98 Coalition Disappointed in Judge’s Ruling  to Keep “Rent Control” Out of Prop. 98 Title

In Legal Filings, Both Judge and Attorney General Acknowledge that Rent Control is Major Component of Prop. 98.

Sacramento, CA – No on 98/Yes on 99 coalition members today expressed disappointment in Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Timothy Frawley’s decision to leave the Proposition 98 title & summary unchanged. Plaintiffs argued that Prop. 98’s rent control provisions were a principle point of the initiative and, as such, should be referenced in the title.

In his ruling, Judge Frawley acknowledged rent control was a key component of Prop. 98,    writing: “If the proposition is approved, the proposition would prohibit any new rent control measure…” However, the judge ruled that there is no distinction between the title and the      summary and since the prohibition on rent   control was already the second bullet in the summary, the Attorney General had substantially complied with the law. However, in oral remarks today during the hearing, Judge    Frawley also acknowledged that if he had been tasked with writing the title and summary he might have written it differently.

In pleadings filed in connection with this lawsuit, the Attorney General also acknowledged that rent control is a primary provision in Prop. 98, writing: “The Attorney General agrees with petitioners that the prohibition on rent control is one of the chief points and purposes of Proposition 98”. But the Attorney General    refused to mention rent control in the title.

Plaintiffs in the case respond to the ruling:

Dean Preston, Executive Director of Tenants Together in San Francisco and a co-plaintiff in the lawsuit said: “Today’s ruling is a disappointment. The only reason Prop. 98 was put on the ballot is to end rent control, pure and simple. We strongly believe that some reference to rent control should be reflected in the title. Eighty-five percent of funding for the Yes on 98 campaign – more than $2 million – comes from landlords and the organizations that represent them. Millions of people in rent controlled communities will be negatively impacted, as will more than 14 million California renters who will lose renter protections if Prop. 98 passes.”

Nan Brasmer, President of the California Alliance for Retired Americans and co-plaintiff said: “Regardless of the ruling, we’re moving full steam ahead to educate voters about the  hidden provisions and dangers of Prop. 98. We know voters strongly oppose Prop. 98’s provisions that would abolish rent control and renter protections. Voters are smart, and we’re       confident they’ll see through the landlords’ smokescreen and vote No on 98 on Election Day.”

Background: The No on 98/Yes on 99        coalition filed a lawsuit February 25 in Sacramento County Superior Court asking the court to change the official title of Proposition 98 to include mention of the measure’s rent control provisions. The official title of the measure prepared by the California Attorney General’s   Office only informs voters of the measure’s  eminent domain provisions, and excludes any mention of eliminating rent control, which is one of Prop. 98’s main provisions. The        summary itself includes mention of rent control as the second point, but not the title.

Proposition 98 is a Deceptive Scheme

Proposition 98 is a DECEPTIVE SCHEME by wealthy landlords to abolish rent control and other renter protections. Their deeply flawed measure also contains hidden provisions that would harm the environment and our communities. VOTE NO.

Wealthy apartment and mobilehome park owners are spending millions on a deceptive campaign to pass Prop. 98. Ask yourself why? They don’t care about eminent domain. What these landlords really care about is eliminating rent control so they can raise rents and make millions.

Read the initiative yourself. You’ll see Prop. 98:

? Eliminates rent control

? Wipes out basic renter protections like requiring the fair return of rental deposits.

? Takes away protections requiring 60 day notice before forcing renters out of homes.

———————

Prop. 98 would DEVASTATE MILLIONS OF RENTERS including veterans, seniors and young families.

Prop. 98 is the worst kind of special interest proposition. It benefits a few wealthy landlords at the expense of millions protected by rent control and other laws that ensure renters are treated fairly.

? “I’m a retiree and a veteran and I’ve lived in my studio apartment for 30 years. Rent control is the only way I can afford a roof over my head. If 98 passes, hundreds of thousands of seniors could face skyrocketing rents.”

− Robert C. Potter, 80, U.S. Army Veteran, San Francisco

? “I’m a retired widow on a fixed income. Prop. 98 would financially devastate many seniors like me who depend on rent control and other laws that protect us against unfair landlords. Vote NO on Prop. 98.”

− Helen J. Furber, 85, retired, Calistoga

————————-

The problems with 98 go far beyond ending rent control. HIDDEN PROVISIONS ALSO JEOPARDIZE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTIONS.

In the fine print of 98 are provisions that could prohibit important laws that protect the environment and ensure responsible growth.

  • “Prop. 98 goes beyond canceling rent control. It would gut important laws that protect our air, land, water, coasts and wildlife, and laws we need to combat global warming.”

− Jim Lyon, vice president for conservation, National Wildlife Federation

———————-

Prop. 98’s hidden provisions THREATEN OUR SUPPLY OF SAFE, CLEAN DRINKING WATER and our ability to protect the public’s safety. The measure also cripples our ability to create communities that are “livable” for those who are aging – – with housing options, ways of getting around and access to services that promote independence.

  • “Prop. 98 would jeopardize our ability to protect the quality of our drinking water and to secure new sources of water to prevent water shortages.”

− Tim Quinn, executive director, Association of California Water Agencies

  • “In addition to abolishing rent control, Prop. 98 contains hidden provisions that prevent law enforcement officials from dealing with slum-like conditions that contribute to crime.”

− Richard Word, president, California Police Chiefs Association

——————-

Don’t let the wealthy landlords get away with their scheme to abolish rent control and eliminate protections for our environment and our communities. Join senior, homeowner, conservation, public safety and renters’ rights organizations in voting NO ON PROP. 98.

Jeannine English, California state president, AARP,  Janis R. Hirohama, president, League of Women Voters of California & Richard Word, president, California Police Chiefs Association

Prop. 98 – the Landlords’ Hidden Agendas Scheme  An Attack on Mobile Home Owners In California!

Save Mobile Home Rent Control! Vote No on Prop. 98

Unless defeated, Proposition 98 would:

  • Eliminate mobile home rent control. Proposition 98 would phase out rent control in California. This would specifically phase out mobile home rent control. As soon as a mobile home is sold, the rent control protection on the spot the home sits upon would not be passed on to the next renter.
  • Destroy value of mobile homes. Because Proposition 98 would eliminate rent control as soon as the current tenant vacates the property, mobile home owners will face extreme difficulty trying to sell their units. Potential buyers will be discouraged from purchasing the mobile home because rent control protections on space will be lost when units are sold – destroying the equity and life-long investment of many seniors.
  • Attack protections against forced condominium subdivision. Under Proposition 98, mobile home park owners could not be prevented by state or local governments from pursuing what are called “condo conversions”. Mobile home owners typically own their mobile home, but rent the space on which it sits. Under condo conversions, park owners can force mobile home owners to buy the space on which their homes sit at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars per unit. Many mobile home owners could be stuck in a lose/lose situation – forced to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for the land underneath their units, or tens of thousands to relocate. Unable to pay either of these costs, many seniors and low-income mobile home owners could be forced out of their homes altogether.
  • ———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Prop 98’s passage could land $15 million for Sam Zell’s firm

Capitol Weekly By John Howard and Anthony York (published Thursday, February 28, 2008)

A company run by Sam Zell, the new chairman of the Los Angeles Times’ corporate parent, stands to gain up to $15 million if an eminent domain initiative on the June ballot is approved by California voters. The initiative, Proposition 98, would repeal rent control ordinances across California, which could lead to a boon for Zell.

Zell, the Tribune Co. chairman, is also chairman of Equity Lifestyle Properties Inc., a Chicago-based company that owns more than 112,000 residential units across the United States and Canada. The company’s 28 properties in California include a dozen rent-controlled mobile home parks.

But Proposition 98 would phase out those rent-control laws. And that could lead to a windfall over time for Zell and his company, according to     documents that Equity Lifestyle has filed with the Security and Exchange Commission.

“Certain of our properties located in California are subject to rent control ordinances, some of which not only severely restrict ongoing rent increases, but also prohibit us from increasing rents upon turnover,” Zell’s company told SEC regulators in its 2006 annual financial report.

“The company estimates that the annual rent     subsidy to tenants in these jurisdictions may be in excess of $15 million,” Equity Lifestyles stated in the report. “In a more well-balanced regulatory  environment, the company would receive market rents that would eliminate the subsidy and homes would trade at or near their intrinsic value.”

Equity Lifestyles has contributed $50,000 to the Yes on 98 campaign, according to documents at the secretary of state’s office.

Zell made his bid for Tribune Co. last spring, and the bid received final approval from the company’s shareholders in December. The Times has written about Proposition 98 and disclosed Zell’s contribution in a Jan. 29 story. The account did not mention the potential windfall for Zell.

The Times will take an editorial position on the initiative closer to Election Day and will not     consult Zell or take his role in the campaign into account, said Jim Newton, the Times’ editorial page editor.

“We do intend to make an endorsement in the Proposition 98 race, and we will come to our position as we do with other ballot propositions. The decision will be made by the editorial board,” he said, “but we will not include Zell in that conversation. We will not consider his role in the campaign or any of his financial interests.”

Zell, who was traveling, was unavailable to     comment, said his spokeswoman, Terry Holt.

The rent-control fight is not a new one for Zell. Zell’s company has filed several lawsuits against cities across California in efforts to repeal local rent-control ordinances. The company settled a suit with the city of Santa Cruz; the settlement allows the company to increase rents after existing tenants move out.

The company has also been engaged in an ongoing battle with the city of San Rafael in federal court and has been sued by tenants’ rights groups in Marin in response to the company’s efforts to raise rents.

Zell has made a name for himself purchasing what are considered to be undervalued or        distressed properties, and seeking changes in laws and regulations to increase their value. A 1995 New York Times article on Zell, who once tried to acquire Rockefeller Center, described him and his late partner as “classic ‘vulture’    investors – they bought faltering properties or businesses at cents on the dollar, betting that with a little prudent management and upturns in the business cycle, the value of their bargain-basement purchases would rise.”

Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, which is sponsoring Proposition 98, says the rent control provisions are a  minor piece of the Proposition 98 campaign. He says opponents of the initiative, including the League of Cities, is focusing on the rent control provisions of the initiative for political reasons.

“I can tell you that the two top contributors to the initiative are the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers      Association and the California Farm Bureau,  neither of which are that focused on the rent-control element,” Coupal said.  “All this crap from the other side that the whole thing is about rent control is just not true. The core of our     initiative is the eminent domain reform.”

According to documents at the secretary of state’s office, the Yes on 98 campaign has raised more than $2.4 million. The Jarvis group has given more than $323,000 to the effort. The farm     bureau has donated $290,000. But other major funding has come from mobile home parks and other property groups.

The Apartment Owners Association PAC has given $291,000. Apartment owners stand to benefit from both the elimination of rent control and the eminent domain measures in the initiative.

A fundraising flyer for the AOA talks about the measure and “how to end rent control.” “When passed by the voters, the (initiative) will have a dramatic impact on rent control laws in the state of California,” the flyer states. It calls rent control “the most egregious example of private property taking for the purpose of conferring an economic benefit on another private individual.”

Various mobile home park owners and interests, including Equity and the Manufactured Housing Educational Trust, have donated tens of thousands more.

“This measure was created for landlords, paid for by landlords, for the financial benefit of landlords,” said No on 98 spokeswoman Kathy Fairbanks. “Rent control provisions were specifically included to attract funding – otherwise it wouldn’t have even made it on the ballot. Landlords and the groups that represent them have contributed 85 percent of the funding so far. Clearly their motivation is rent control, not eminent domain.”