The Sacramento Bee this weekend urged voters to reject Measure C, the local rent control measure on the city of Sacramento’s Nov. 3 ballot.

The newspaper notes that Measure C should not even be appearing before city voters.

Last year, rent control proponents promised to withdraw their measure from the ballot if the city Council were to adopt is own rent control ordinance.  But when the city did just that in summer 2019, only two of the three proponents kept their commitment and submitted withdrawal letters; a third, Michelle Pariset of Public Advocates, did not, leaving the rent control initiative in limbo.

The city sued, asserting that the measure’s creation of a rent board would introduce an independent branch of city government that strips significant power from the City Council. Such a move, the city argued, would revise the city charter, something that direct initiatives cannot do under the California Constitution. Although the county superior court agreed, an appellate court overturned the decision a couple weeks later, saying the charter issue could be taken up after the election.

“This means that Measure C could eventually be invalidated even if voters approve it — potentially making it a colossal waste of time, money and effort,” the Sacramento Bee’s editorial says. “The broken deal is one big reason why Sacramento voters should reject Measure C, but it’s not the only reason. Measure C is a smorgasbord of bad, bloated and bureaucratic ideas that could make Sacramento a more expensive place for renters.”

Among other things, Measure C would force Sacramento rental property owners to:

  • Cap allowable increases to CPI
  • Roll rents back to 2018 levels
  • Provide written warnings to tenants before initiating eviction, even after criminal activity
  • Testify against their tenants accused of criminal activity
  • Give tenants thousands of dollars to terminate a tenancy

Pay huge fees to the city to fund the creation of an elected Rent Board empowered to write its own rules and regulations without any oversight by the City Council.

“Measure C is a poorly conceived idea that was placed on the ballot through crooked and corrupt means,” the Sacramento Bee editorial board writes. “This is a bad time to experiment with new bureaucracies or extreme policies that could prove disastrous over the long term.”