“Here’s the latest on dismantling rent control in Oceanside…sadly it seems that many cities and towns along the coast are being targeted by developers to dismantle mobile home parks and replace them with high rise hotels, etc.”
By RAY HUARD rhuard@nctimes.com | Posted: Wednesday, January 4, 2012 10:00 pm
A divided Oceanside City Council agreed Wednesday to spend $93,000 for a special June election to decide whether to retain an ordinance that would phase out rent control in mobile-home parks.
The vote was 3-2, with Mayor Jim Wood and Councilwoman Esther Sanchez voting no and Councilmen Jerry Kern, Gary Felien and Jack Feller voting to move ahead with the June ballot measure.
The June vote on mobile-home rent control stemmed from a petition drive by mobile-home park residents to reinstate rent control in the city’s 18 mobile home parks.
“It’s going to go to a vote of the people and it will settle the issue once and for all,” Kern said.
Wood said phasing out rent control was “very mean spirited” and poorly timed because of the faltering economy.
Sanchez said she preferred to repeal the decontrol ordinance rather than put it to a public vote.
“Our rent control is fair. It provides a level field between two property owners,” Sanchez said. She said the two owners were those who own their mobile homes but rent the spaces on which they park and those who own the mobile-home parks.
Failing repeal, Sanchez said, the issue should be put on the November election to save money.
Assistant city clerk Holly Trobaugh said it would cost $45,000 to $56,000 to put it on the November election ballot instead of June as part of regular city elections.
Putting it on the June ballot is pricier because there are now no city issues in the June election, making June a special election for the city.
Oceanside has had rent control for mobile-home parks since 1984, but the council in a 3-2 May vote adopted a rent decontrol ordinance championed by Kern.
The ordinance retains rent control for people who already live in rent-controlled spaces, but removes it once they move or sell their homes.
Kern said that of 481 cities in the state, 81 have rent-control ordinances and 67 of those have some form of decontrol.
With petitions signed by 15,484 people, mobile-home residents forced the council to choose in August between repealing the decontrol ordinance or placing it on the ballot for a public vote.
The council in a 3-2 vote chose to put the matter on the June ballot. The vote Wednesday reaffirmed that decision and appropriated money to pay for it.
Trobaugh cautioned that $93,000 was an estimate from the county registrar of voters on the cost of putting the measure on the ballot.
“It could be more, it could be less,” Trobaugh said.
Several people urged the council to repeal the ordinance rather than put it on the ballot.
“You guys have written a law that is going to cause people to become homeless,” said Polly Fukuhara. “You are throwing seniors and veterans and the working poor under the bus.”
Without rent control, Fukuhara said mobile-home owners will be unable to sell their homes because no one will buy them if space rents can be raised without limit.
Amy Epsten Magness, whose family owns Mission View Estates and other mobile-home parks, said the decontrol ordinance protects people now living in the mobile home parks.
“All existing residents would continue to receive rent-control benefits for as long as they live in the parks,” Epsten said. She said voters should be allowed to decide whether to keep the decontrol ordinance.
Editor’s Note: Are you confused? Do you even know what’s going on in Oceanside? Well it is about decontrol, i.e. if you lived in Oceanside and sold your home, there would be NO CAP on the rent the park could charge your buyer. And since the value of your home is linked to the amount of rent, that means that your home could essentially be worthless! Park owner Epsten really doesn’t care, as you can read!