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November 8, 2016 — California General Election
Ballot and voting information for San Mateo County.
This is an archive of a past election.

San Mateo Community Preservation and Fair Rent Charter Amendment

Local
November 8, 2016California General Election

City of San Mateo
Measure Q - Majority Approval Required

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Election Results

Failed

16,053 votes yes (40%)

24,073 votes no (60%)

  • 100% of precincts reporting (53/53).
  • 323,303 ballots counted.

Shall the charter amendment adding Chapter XI to the San Mateo City Charter to enact rent regulations applicable to apartment housing with an initial certificate of occupancy dated before February 1,1995; and just cause for eviction requirements applicable to apartment housing with an initial certificate of occupancy dated before the date the measure becomes effective; and establishing a Rental Housing Commission To administer and implement these regulations and requirements be adopted?

Impartial analysis / Proposal

Under existing law, owners of residential property in San Mateo may charge any rent they wish for their property. Under existing law, a landlord may, upon proper notice, remove a tenant without giving any reason. This measure would amend the city's charter to enact new laws to limit the amount of rent a landlord may charge and to prohibit removal of a tenant without just cause, as defined by the measure.

The proposed measure would set base rents for each rental unit and would limit subsequent rent increases. For tenancies beginning on or before September 21, 2015, the base rent would be the rent charged on that date. The base rent for tenancies commenced after that date would be the rent charged upon initial occupancy. The measure would authorize the landlord to increase rents once annually by an amount equal to the increase in the Consumer Price Index, except that rents may be increased at least 1% and no more than 4% regardless of the change in the Index. The measure would authorize the landlord to bank annual increases that are not imposed and to impose them in subsequent years, provided no annual increase may exceed 8%.

The measure would allow landlords to petition for increases larger than the authorized annual increase when necessary to ensure the landlord receives a fair and resaonable rate of return. The measure would also authorize tenants to petition for rent decreases when the landlord fails to maintain the premises in a habitable condition, decreases the housing services provided, or charges rent in excess of that permitted under the measure.

The measure would estalbish a Rental Housing Commission to be appointed by the City Council. The commission would appoint hearing officers to conduct rent adjustment hearings, conduct hearings on rent adjustments, and adopt regulations to implement the measure's rent regulation provisions. The commission would be authorized to establish and impose a fee on landlords to cover the costs of administering the rent regulation program.

The proposed measure would require a landlord to have just cause to remove a tenant. Just cause would be limited to: failure to pay rent, breach of lease, nuisance, criminal activity, failure to grant reasonable access, necessary repairs, owner move-in, withdrawal of the unit from the rental market, and demolition. Landlords would be required to pay relocation assistance under certain circumstances.

The rent regulations would apply to multi-family rental units with an initial certificate of occupancy issued before February 1, 1995. They would not apply to single family homes, condominiums, owner-occupied duplexes or secondary dwelling units, hotels, hospitals, certain nonprofits, dormitories, or governmental facilities. The just cause for removal provisions would apply to the same type of units subject to the rent regulations with initial certificates of occupancy based on any date up to the effective date of the measure. 

This measure is placed on the ballot by a petition signed by more than 7,119 or 15% of San Mateo voters as required by law. 

— San Mateo City Attorney

Arguments FOR

Skyrocketing rent increases threaten to destroy our community.

Hardworking families are losing their homes. Valued teachers, nurses, and public safety workers ar leaving San Mateo as rents become unaffordable.

Unfortunately, our City Council and other community leaders have not found a meaningful solution to address the rental crisis.

Measure Q is that solution and it will protect San Mateo's future.

Vote to protect San Mateo.

Vote YES on Measure Q.

Measure Q makes housing costs predictable and stable, freeing San Mateo residents from constant fear of losing their homes. Rents have skyrocketed in recent years. Wages have not kept pace, putting profound stress on our community. As we lose our family and community members, we lose San Mateo's quality of life. 

Measure Q is a fair and common sense solution:

* Allows rent to be raised 1 to 4% annually, depending on the rate of inflation (typically 2 to 3%)

 * Allows larger rent increases for increased maintenance costs or property taxes;

 * Limits evictions to specific situations (unpaid rent, illegal activity, etc.), preventing evictions just to raise rents

 * Protects families too frightened to report unsafe conditions for fear of retaliatory evictions;

 * Protects "mom and pop" landlords by completely exempting owner-occupied duplexes and in-law units;

 * Protects homeowners by completely exempting single family homes;

 * Exempts new housing (doesn't discourage new construction):

 * Rolls rents back to September 2015 levels;

 * Creates an independent Commission to administer and enforce the law, providing flexibility, accountablity, and transparency at no significant expense to the city.

San Mateo's high rents affect everyone. We're losing teachers, nurses, and other important members of our city. Restaurants can't find workers.  Property values are directly related to the quality of our schools and availability of essential service personnel.

Together, we can sustain a vibrant and liveable San Mateo.

Vote YES to protect San Mateo's future. Vote YES on Measure Q. 

/s/ Ben K. Toy, President, San Mateo United Homeowners Association

/s/ Rev. Dr. Penny Nixon, Religious Leader, San Mateo homeowner

/s/ John Ebjeter, San Mateo Planning Commission

/s/ Dr. Jennifer Martinez, Executive Director, Faith in Action

/s/ Richard W. Hedges, Community Activist 

Arguments AGAINST

We're concenred about the housing problem but Measure Q is NOT the solution. Measure Q is a flawed law that creates a self-regulating commission with no accountability to voters and gives unlimited access to our taxpayers' money. Measure Q is bad for all San Mateo residents.

MEASURE Q CREATES UNACCOUNTABLE GOVERNMENT

It gives blank check authority to an unelected bureaucracy to demand AND receive money from the City. With no obligation to repay the funds, the commission could take money from public safety, parks, libraries, street maintenance, and other essential city services. This commission will have unlimited power to levy fees and penalities, hire staff, and establish regulations - with zero accountability to taxpayers.

MEASURE Q PUTS THE CITY AND ALL RESIDENTS AT FINANCIAL RISK

Implementing Measure Q requires 10 new full-time employees and is estimated to cost $2.5 million annually. Taxpayers could be liable for other expenses the commission deems necessary. The City could be forced to defend legal challenges at taxpayers' expense, increasing costs of living for everyone and preventing the City from working on true affordable housing solutions.

MEASURE Q IS NOT AIMED AT THOSE IN NEED OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Measure Q left out critical language to limit subsidies to only those who actually need assistance. Measure Q would mandate privately funded subsidies to residents with high paying jobs who could afford market-rate rents while making housing even more scarce and expensive for struggling families in need of affordable housing.

Don't be fooled into believing that Measure Q will solve the housing crisis or that there will be no cost to the City and taxpayers. Measure Q will drive up rents and make housing unaffordable. The unlimited power given to this unaccountable commission is dangerous and will have untended consequences, damaging to our City and all residents.

Vote NO on Measure Q.  It's bad for San Mateo.

/s/ Maurren Freschet, San Mateo City Council member

/s/ Diane Papan, San Mateo Council member

/s/ Cheryl Angeles, President & CEO, San Mateo Chamber of Commerce

/s/ Anna Kuhre, President Emeritus, San Mateo United Homeowners' Association

/s/ Claire Mack, Former Mayor 

Replies to Arguments FOR

We all want to fix our affordable housing issue but Measure Q will NOT solve the problem. Measure Q is a bad law that will cost millions and put the financial health of our city at risk.

Measure Q will create a multimillion dollar bureaucracy run by an unelected rent commission with unlimited spending and regulatory power that is not accountable to us or our City Council.

MEASURE Q INVITES FINANCIAL ABUSE

It gives blank check authority to a commission to spend funds without any system of checks and balances. The commission's excessive spending can come from the City's General Fund and be passed on to residents, potentially reducing or eliminating opportunites to fund the construction of affordable housing and important city services.

MEASURE Q DID NOT COME FROM THE SAN MATEO AFFORDABLE HOUSING TASK FORCE OR THE CITY COUNCIL

Last year, our City Council created the San Mateo Affordable Housing Task Force. It convened diverse stakeholders to recommend solutions addressing San Mateo's housing needs and looked at a range of policies from building more housing, funding affordable housing, and partnering with school districts to construct teacher housing. Measure Q is contrary to these recommendations and does not advance these goals.

MEASURE Q IS FLAWED

A recent report from the nonpartisan California Legislative Analyst's Office criticizes the policies Measure Q would implement.

Our community works better when we work together. We are building true affordable housing, addressing wage issues, and creating more housing opportunities for all income levels. These collaborative, well-crafted solutions need a chance to work.

Measure Q is NOT the solution for San Mateo.

Vote NO on Measure Q

/s/ Maureen Freschet, San Mateo Council member

/s/ Diane Papan, San Mateo Council member

/s/ Robert Anderson, San Mateo Police Officer (ret)

/s/ Claire W. Mack, Former San Mateo Mayor

/s/ Steve Parker, 30-year San Mateo resident 

Replies to Arguments AGAINST

Imagine a city where there are no nurses to care for seniors; no teachers to teach our kids; no police or firefighters to keep us safe.

If the out of control rental crisis to left unchecked, this is the city we will have.

Homeowners are aware that fixed-rate mortgages and property taxes that cannot exceed 2% annually provide them with predictable costs that translate into housing security.

With Measure Q, San Mateo's renters will be afforded a measure of housing security as well. Annual increases (which are currently sometimes 50% and more) will be tied to the Consumer Price Index, roughly 2% to 3%. This is similar to the cap on property tax increases that homeowners currently enjoy.

With Measure Q, San Mateo children can stay in their schools and families in their homes. The community will retain the workers that are needed to fill essential roles and assure the health and future vibrancy of the city we all care deeply about.

Measure Q was crafted very carefully to create a minimum of bureaucracy.  It will be overseen by a body of residents appointed by the San Mateo City Council for limited terms, utilizing a model of governance that has been successfully used by the City of San Mateo for 30 years. The program will be self-funded by a modest fee on landlords, not the taxpayers, and its overall cost will be a mere fraction of the amount the opponents suggest.

Measure Q is responsible, sensible, and fair.

Vote YES to protect the future of San Mateo.

Vote YES on Measure Q.

/s/ David Lim, San Mateo City Council member

/s/ Chelsea Bonini, Vice-President, San Mateo-Foster City School Board

/s/ Pamela O'Leary, San Mateo Planning Commission

/s/ Naveed Safipour, President, Peninsula Young Democrats

/s/ Barbara O'Neil, Teacher/Renter 

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