Santa Rosa Press Democrat joins growing number of papers opposed to Prop 21

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Newspapers across California continue to urge their readers to vote no on Proposition 21, the extreme rent control measure on the Nov. 3’s statewide ballot.

The Santa Rosa Press Democrat, California’s largest newspaper between San Francisco and the Oregon border, has become the latest newspaper to editorialize against the measure.

In an editorial headlined “No on 21: Rent control law won’t end housing crisis,” the newspaper notes the initiative will hurt both renters and homeowners while failing to address the root causes of affordable housing in California.

“There is one surefire way to make rentals more affordable: build more housing. Increase supply, ease demand, curb prices. That’s Economics 101,” the editorial says. “Apparently the sponsors of Proposition 21 never took that class. The net result of their approach almost certainly would be fewer rental units, making for an even tighter market for prospective tenants.

Financed by Michael Weinstein and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the proposition threatens to bring back the extreme forms of rent control that proliferated in the 1970s.

At the heart of Proposition 21, like its predecessor Prop 10, is a crusade to dismantle the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act — the single most vital California law for rental housing providers.

If Proposition 21 passes, local governments will bring back vacancy controls, capping rents between tenancies and preventing rents from ever returning to market rates; they’ll also 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.

“There’s no need to pile on yet another disincentive for building badly needed rental housing,” the Press Democrat’s editorial reads.

Other newspapers to come out against Proposition 21 include California’s McClatchy Newspapers, including the Sacramento Bee, Fresno Bee, Modesto Bee, San Luis Obispo Tribune, and Merced Sun-Star; the Bakersfield Californian; the Bay Area News Group (San Jose Mercury News, East Bay Times, Marin Independent Journal); and the Southern California Newspaper Group (publishers of multiple newspapers including the Los Angeles Daily News, Riverside Press Enterprise, and Orange County Register).

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