From: Ted Loewenberg
Sent: April 12, 2008
Subject: Prop 98 is real reform
Ms. Murray is correct. The desperate urgings of a fear vote against Prop 98 are not only the biggest batch of lies I've seen in the 20 years I've lived in San Francisco, they also contain the disingenuous mantra of "greedy landlords." Why are renters who cling to monthly subsidies of several hundred dollars without any justification never branded as "greedy?" Prop 98 is about ending the Supreme Court ruling that made it perfectly legal for a government entity to take anyone's home and give it to another private party because it will thus generate more tax revenue. Under this scheme, no one's possessions are safe from seizure. Think that can't happen here? The SF Redevelopment Agency is cutting huge swaths through the City doing exactly that, south of Market and in Hunter's Point. These seizures effect single family homes, apartment buildings, businesses and even churches. That means tenants will be displaced. Successful local businesses will be put out of business (as happened in Oakland recently). Families will be uprooted for the sake of City tax revenue and congregations will be scattered to the winds. Prop 98, when it passes, will prevent such un-justified seizures of private property. Prop 99 will only protect single family homes. Renters, this means you remain in the bull's eye, and likely you'll get no huge relocation payments such as you are dreaming of should you be Ellised!
Prop 98 keeps intact all normal eminent domain definitions that allow a government entity to take and compensate private property for a civic purpose, such as building a firehouse, a freeway or other vital pubic structures. Prop 98 leaves intact a government's ability to zone land, develop and enforce planning codes, and protect the environmental regulations that benefit all of us. Misuses of such power recently in Half Moon Bay had to be corrected through court-ordered remedies, and such abuse will be harder to inflict on landowners when Prop 98 is passed.
Rent control laws in San Francisco will not be eliminated by Prop 98. Rent control's price protections will remain in place for the length of all existing tenancies until the renter moves or dies. We are talking about rent control continuing for another 20 or 30 years! The incentive to Ellis tenants (as alleged by Prop 98 opponents) is no greater after June 3 than it is now. No one receiving rental price increase limitations will lose that protection after June 3 in their current apartment. Only new tenancies after the passage of Prop 98 will no longer be bound by those price restrictions. So Supervisor McGoldrick's ultra low rent in the Richmond will be the same as always, while he and his wife pull in about $250,000 a year in income from their jobs and their Alameda rental property, along with the subsidy they are getting from the retired, elderly landlady struggling to make ends meet.
The Draconian tenant protection measures on the books in San Francisco will not be affected by the passage of Prop 98. The larger question about the rent control phase-out is why is it included in Prop 98? Because forcing one group of owners to subsidize their tenant's housing costs, rather than the City budget doing this (like a Section 8 voucher) is forcing one's property to be used to finance a government program without compensation. It is in fact parallel to the physical seizure of land. Only, no deed is taken. Owners of pre-1979 buildings with flats are commanded by local rent control laws to lose money every month by accepting less rent than market rate after the initial term of the contract between two private parties. As many property owners have written in the Examiner recently, it is a formula for bankruptcy.
This year's allowed rent increase is 2%, while Bay Area inflation is well over 5%. How does one provide housing services, building upkeep and absorb rising utility rates on a sub-inflation 2% this year? Prop 98, when it passes, will phase out this system of abuse of private property seizure without harming one existing tenancy in the State of California. Prop 99, on the other hand, leaves all the current abusive power in the hands of government agencies conferred in the Kelo v. New London
decision, bar the exception of single family homes. The League of California Cities is comprised of government agencies, like our own Redevelopment Agency. They are in fact using taxpayer monies to wage a campaign to continue their high-handed approach to take your condo, your TIC, your apartment, your church and the business where you work, without fair compensation.
Renters need to realize that they are far more under threat if Prop 99 passes than Prop 98. Prop 99 attempts to give the illusion of doing something about eminent domain reform while doing as little as absolutely necessary to sell "business as usual." I think California voters are smarter than that, and many good people, like Mr. Preston, are not taking the time to thoroughly comprehend what is in fact at stake in spreading fear in favor of Prop 99. Finally, those claims repeated by Mr. Preston are flagrant lies designed to promote fear, uncertainty and doubt. The first hallmark of the scoundrel is injecting fear and deception to distract the public from reality. Prop 99's campaign meets that test. It is a wolf in sheep's clothing if there ever was one. Voting for Prop 99 is not a vote for reform, but a perpetuation of the ruling of the conservatives on the US Supreme Court, who in 2005 declared that no property is safe from seizure. Vote for Prop 98 and NO on Prop 99.From: DOERTE G MURRAY
Sent: April 10, 2008
Subject: No on Prop. 98!
This is in response to Dean Preston's e-mail on Propositions 98 and 99. If you are unaware of those Propositions, but have some common sense, you would be totally confused. I am not sure what he is driving at. Maybe he should have offered the legal text of both Propositions, so that people can form their own opinion. Intimidating people with scare tactics in voting to someones liking may be common practice in San Francisco, but certainly is unworthy of an educated electorate. I heard of "greedy landlords" before, but "greedy mobile home park owners" is a new one. Proposition 99 is sponsored by the League of California Cities (comprised in large part of redevelopment agencies), and prohibits eminent domain for single-family homes only. In addition, it contains a "poison pill" that states if it gets more YES votes than Proposition 98, Prop 99 will prevail. Looks like the sponsors of Prop 99 are trying to retaliate Prop 98. If rent control was the savior of humankind, why didn't it spread like wildfire throughout the nation? Instead, it only flourishes in communities who adopted anti-business (large and small) policies and have no understanding of market economy. As far as I know New York City has phased out rent control, among others. At the end, in order to learn more about Prop 98 and Prop 99 the writer refers people to two websites which clearly are partial in their assessment. Again, the writer uses scare tactics to intimidate the voter. This is not the way to educate the people.
From: Dean Preston
Sent: April 07, 2008
Subject: No on Prop. 98!
I'm writing to urge all of you to vote against Prop. 98, a deceptive measure on the June 3, 2008 ballot. Prop. 98 is an attack on renters, neighborhoods and the environment. Prop. 98 abolishes rent control and other tenant protections, eliminates inclusionary housing laws, and jeopardizes a broad range of environmental and land use regulations that protect our communities. Prop. 98 is the worst kind of ballot measure---it says it's about one thing when it's really about another. Greedy landlords and mobilehome park owners are funding the measure, claiming it is about "eminent domain" reform. They are misusing voters' desire for eminent domain reform in order to trick voters into abolishing tenant, environmental and neighborhood protections. There is a lot of traffic on this list about neighborhood issues. Folks need to understand that regulations that protect neighborhood character and give neighbors a voice in planning decisions are in danger of being thrown out if Prop. 98 passes. Even basic zoning laws---like laws prohibiting your neighbor from building a factory next to your home---may be thrown out because of the overbroad way Prop. 98 was written. Prop. 98 is a deceptive law that would be a disaster for San Francisco and the rest of California.
Voters who want to responsibly reform eminent domain laws should support Prop. 99, and reject Prop. 98. To learn more about Props. 98 and 99, visit www.no98yes99.com (state campaign site) and www.saverentcontrol.net (SF campaign site). Please get involved in the campaign to defeat Prop. 98.