Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Oceanside Residents Fight Economic Reality

The San Diego Union Tribune reports today on the interesting dealings going on in the north county: the town of Oceanside is trying to abolish its rent control policy in mobile home parks. While City Council has approved the measure, some residents are fighting to have the policy repealed or, at a minimum, put before voters.

According to the "vacancy decontrol" policy passed by the Council last Friday, the rent of a mobile property being sold or vacated cannot be set by government fiat. The renters, of course, respond that this lowers homes' resale value and makes their financial future less certain. A resident of one mobile-home community, Barry Mylar, says, "I’m going to need that income to go into assisted living, but the writing’s on the wall for me. We came here because we so desperately needed the rent control. It scares me to death. It’s not only me being out on the street, but my wife would be out there, and we can’t let that happen." Other residents are planning to contact people who live outside these communities, in order to target the three Councilmen who voted in favor of the new policy. Many accuse these particular members of pursuing the policy on behalf of developers who want to turn the mobile-home communities into condos and apartments. (To be fair, Jerome Kern, Gary Felien, and Jack Feller have all been supported politically by local developers.)

While we're certainly sympathetic to folks like Mr. Mylar, the fact is that abolishing rent control would only be a good thing in Oceanside. It would mean more space being rented, which would doubtless benefit the mass of people who can't afford to live in an otherwise delightful town because they're priced out of any place that's not controlled.


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