As we wrote two months ago: Proposition 98 would prohibit the use of eminent domain for private development and phase out rent control, while the competing Proposition 99 would simply prohibit the use of eminent domain on single-family homes and condominiums.
As a reader writes today (or rather yesterday):
i’m a little mystified that prop 98 is not getting more play in SF. prop 98 is the state-wide initiative on the june 3 [ballot] that limits eminent domain, and importantly for SF, phases out rent control.
given the huge significance of this, i am amazed that the realtor community is not heavily pushing this. but more peculiar, i am only seeing limited involvement from SF apartment advocates, and the larger apartment holders in the city (i.e. citiapartments, etc.) it’s clear that prop 98 will not pass within SF proper, but that does not matter as it’s the massive outlying suburbia that will have the voting power to push it through. still, i’d think that cities like SF would want to make a lot of noise about it, so the rest of the state can see how significant it is.
so now i am of two thoughts about it: 1) the collective SF real estate community is basically acting like wimps, in case 98 fails. this would hedge the ‘antagonist’ quotient with the myriad socialist renter advocacy groups and a largely insane board of supervisors. but why does this matter? if it fails, it fails. if it passes, it is certain that the aforementioned groups will literally go ape shit challenging it in court.
2) in a perverse sense, i think many SF apartment owners are ambivalent or silently against prop 98. on the surface, it seems obvious that phasing our rent control would benefit them. but that would make the SF apartment market like any other city. with RC, SF apartment owners get to play in an exclusive fiefdom, which many out of area investors are just too scared to touch. RC also causes a large dynamic in rents between long term tenants and recently vacated ones. savvy apartment owners quietly go about effecting tenant turnover, and add huge rental gains in one fell swoop.
An interesting perspective (especially with regard to the second point). And while we’re anti-rent control (as it currently exists) we’re not necessarily anti-eminent domain (think the Hugo Hotel).
∙ A Few June Ballot Measures Guaranteed To Raise Some Ire [SocketSite]
∙ And Now Back To The Hugo Hotel (And Eminent Domain On Sixth) [SocketSite]