rent control has smashed records for public rhetoric. Always looking
at the bright side, I'm happy the issue capturing so much attention
this time around is at least one of substance.
We don't have local opinion polls. Everyone I've spoken to about
rent control in Glendale bases their predictions on a combination of
perceptions, educated guesses and myths. They're all reading tea
leaves, a pastime I can enjoy. What's surprising to me is that my
read of the leaves, my speculation on the outcome of the current
battles, is completely the opposite of everyone else's. Either I'm a
visionary, or I'm wrong, big time. I can live with either.
I don't see the citywide support for enacting rent control that I
suspect is necessary to get the proposal on a ballot in the next
several months, and approved by voters. That's not a comment on
whether imposing rules on what landlords can charge tenants is a good
idea or a bad one. I simply remain unconvinced that a sufficient
number of activists and voters are clamoring to accomplish the
sweeping change in the next year.
Anyone watching a council meeting or reading letters to the editor
can see there are passionate, effective and committed proponents. But
if that's all it took to make or change laws, we'd have had real
campaign finance reforms decades ago, better health care, more
accountable elected officials, and a pony in every garage.
I am not being deluged by readers expressing opinions in support
of rent control. I've heard from supporters, but by and large they're
from the same circle that lobbies council members and writes letters
to the editor.
Having just watched a successful ballot measure drive in Burbank,
that one related to airport expansion fears, I believe it takes a
great many more hard-working activists than there are today lining up
in support of rent control. With 86,827 registered voters in
Glendale, ballot-initiative proponents need to collect 13,025 valid
signatures from voters to get their proposal on a ballot. (The same
applies to the effort to combat rent control recently announced by a