Supporters of extreme rent control have released “misleading” TV commercials promoting Proposition 21, according to fact checks by news media organizations throughout California.
Proponents of Prop 21 are attempting to bring back the radical forms of rent control that proliferated in California in the 1970s and ’80s. Their advertising, however, fails to accurately describe the measure or the chilling effect it would have on affordable housing production.
KCRA-TV, Northern California’s largest station, called two ads supporting Prop 21 on TV ads “misleading.” Among its criticism: ads say that homelessness would be reduced yet there is no provision in Proposition 21 regarding homelessness.
In comparison, several of the No on 21’s campaign ads are rated by KCRA’s experts as “true.” A review of the No on 21 campaign’s claims were rated as “true” by the Sacramento Bee.
San Diego’s News10 also examined another Yes on 21 ad. Its “Truth Be Told” fact check includes Pt. Loma Nazarene University’s Chief Economist Lynn Reaser criticizing the ad because it “doesn’t even tell us what Proposition 21 even does.”
Last month, KNBC-TV’s investigative unit uncovered that Prop 21 proponents used an actor to portray a veteran — a violation of state law. The San Diego Union-Tribune also reported on the fake veteran ad; a complaint about this ad was filed with the state’s campaign watchdog, the Fair Political Practices Commission.
The proponents of Proposition 21 also used actors to portray firefighters and a postal worker in other ads. Complaints also have been filed with the FPPC on these advertisements.
“It is no surprise that 20 of the state’s 21 daily newspapers are urging their readers to vote No on Proposition 21 and fact checks by TV stations find the proponents ads are ‘misleading,’” said Californians for Responsible Housing spokesman Steven Maviglio. “This measure, defeated overwhelmingly two years ago by voters, will worsen the housing crisis and allow rent increases of up to 15 percent. Voters should not be fooled by actors and misleading claims being put forward by the backers of Prop 21.”
Proposition 21 is modeled after 2018’s Prop 10, which voters rejected soundly at the polls.
Like Prop 10, Prop 21 comes from anti-housing activist Michael Weinstein and takes aim at Costa-Hawkins. It would authorize local governments to bring back vacancy controls, capping rents between tenancies, and allow cities and counties to apply local rent control ordinances to newer apartments — as soon as they turn 15 years old — and to a greater number of condos and single-family homes.