California ballot measure to reintroduce rent control met with millions in opposition from Wall Street landlords


I feel that I still don’t understand what you mean by conservative. Don’t worry, I’m not going to ask you to give a long essay on what your beliefs are.

Still, the example that you give of talking to a local conservative isn’t incompatible with communalism, the left wing beliefs that I have. It’s the opposite in fact, you need to be able to have a friendly relationship with them for it to work. I am not talking about artificially formed communes here, I am talking about bottom-up politics based around the local area you are currently living in.


I actually feel like you do understand where I’m coming from, but that we might have a different semantic understanding of the word–which is totes cool, too.



Rent control doesn’t force owners to offer their properties “to let” at the allowed rent. Rent control doesn’t force land owners to build more housing. On the contrary, it discourages both, reducing the supply of housing and RAISING other rents. Exempting NEW buildings from rent control may avoid deterring construction, but it still doesn’t open up EXISTING buildings for tenants. Worse, it means that the stock of rent-controlled housing becomes a shrinking fraction of the whole housing stock — unless the exemption is only for a limited time, in which case you’re discouraging construction again!

Will removing regulatory barriers to construction solve the problem? Not by itself, although it’s obviously a necessary condition. Cheaper housing requires developers, builders, and owners to increase supply to a point where it reduces their return on investment. They obviously won’t do that voluntarily. They will do it only if they are penalized for NOT doing it.

SOLUTION: Put a punitive tax on vacant lots and unoccupied housing, so that the owners can’t afford NOT to build housing and seek tenants. By reducing the owners’ ability to tolerate vacancies, a vacancy tax strengthens the bargaining position of tenants and therefore reduces rents. It yields both an immediate benefit, by pushing existing dwellings onto the rental market, and a long-term benefit, by encouraging construction.

Such a tax, by reducing the cost of housing, would make it easier for employers to pay workers enough to live on. A similar tax on commercial property would reduce rents for job-creating enterprises. That’s GOOD FOR BUSINESS and GOOD FOR WORKERS.

A vacancy tax is also GOOD FOR REALTORS because they get more rental-management fees for properties coming onto the rental market, plus commissions from any owners who decided to sell vacant properties to owner-occupants (who of course don’t pay the tax).

Best of all, the need to avoid the vacancy tax would initiate economic activity, which would expand the bases of other taxes, allowing their rates to be reduced, so that the rest of the city/state/country gets a tax cut!

Gavin R. Putland, .


There’s a good interview with Carne here, btw:




Seems like some extra-sleazy attacks on propositions this year.

Yes, I’ve seen a few outright lies already in the ballot arguments.


Having thought about it and discussed it a bit more, I’m leaning toward voting no on Prop 10, based mainly on the principle of vote no on all propositions that you’re at all unsure about.

This proposition overturns a legislative act (!), affects all of California (not just the Bay Area), and would be nearly impossible to overturn, even if there are serious unintended consequences, or conditions in the state change. And the potential for unintended consequences is huge. If you want to repeal the original Costa-Hawkins, get the legislature to do it. We need to figure out and fix housing, but this isn’t going to do it.


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