Rent Control Abolition Initiative to Appear on June 3 Ballot

Posted on February 15th, 2008 — in Ballot Measures :: Economy and Business :: Elections and Voting :: Growth, Development & Infrastructure

The California Property Owners and Farmland Protection Act, which has qualified as Proposition 98 on the June 3 ballot, defines rent control as a form of eminent domain and if enacted would provide that any rent control ordinance in effect prior to January 2007 become essentially invalid. Most of the cash thus far for the initiative has come from landlord and property owners’ groups and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. Two groups that have signed on to oppose Proposition 98 are the AARP and the League of Women Voters.

There are currently 12 California cities with rent control ordinances, including several of the state’s largest urban centers: San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, San Jose, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, West Hollywood, Palm Springs, Los Gatos, Hayward, East Palo Alto, and Berkeley. (Thousand Oaks also had a rent control ordinance in effect but has gradually phased it out.)

Because California enacted vacancy decontrol measures in 1995, in communities with rent control, rental units have shown a huge discrepancy in price between vacated units, which landlords have been able to re-price beyond the standard allowable annual rent increase, and units with tenants who have remained put. Expect the number of vacated units (whether they are vacated voluntarily or involuntarily) in those communities to drastically rise if Proposition 98 becomes law.

Summing up California Early Primary Results

Posted on February 6th, 2008 — in Ballot Measures :: Elections and Voting :: National Affairs

Summing up last night’s statewide election results …


California’s Sluggish Economy Reflected in Employment Figures

Posted on February 5th, 2008 — in Economy and Business :: State of the State

A recently-released Public Policy Institute of California fact sheet highlights California’s sluggish employment growth rate, noting that the state’s total non-farm employment grew by only 0.5% in 2007. (The same figure was 1.7% in 2006.) Employment actually grew faster nationally than in California in 2007 — by 1%. Inn addition, national unemployment in 2007 rose by 0.6% (from 4.4% to 5%) — but the comparable rise in California was 1.3% (from 4.8% to 6.1%).

New Polls Show Obama Pulling Even with Clinton in California, McCain Beating Romney

Posted on February 4th, 2008 — in National Affairs :: Politics :: Polls and Surveys

The latest Field Poll shows Senator Barack Obama pulling close to even with Senator Hillary Clinton in the race for the Democratic nomination in California. Obama now trails Clinton by just two percentage points among likely voters (36-34%). This is a dramatic change since the last Field Poll was released on January 22. That poll showed Obama trailing Clinton by 12 percentage points.

Other recent polls released this weekend or late last week, including the CNN/Opinion Research national survey, and the American Research Group and Reuters/C-Span/Zogby tracking polls for California, show similar trends. Obama’s candidacy seems to be gaining momentum.