In election returns updated early Wednesday morning, Oceanside voters
rejected an ordinance that would phase out rent control in the city's 17
mobile-home parks, as well as a plan to change the way the city elects
With 100 percent of precincts counted, Proposition E
---- the measure that would gradually eliminate rent control ---- was
failing with 65 percent of the voters saying no and 35 percent voting
Proposition F, which would require city officials to be
elected by a majority of votes cast, also was failing with 57 percent
saying no and 43 percent yes.
The election results are unofficial,
with 135,000 absentee and provisional ballots still to be tallied
countywide. But those votes are unlikely to change the outcome in
Mobile-home resident Chris Gow said she Tuesday night was "just ecstatic" over the vote on Proposition E.
really not sure why people are voting the way they are except that
they're tired of the way the three councilmen run this city," said Gow,
president of the Oceanside Manufactured Homeowners Alliance.
Proposition E was backed by councilmen Jerry Kern, Gary Felien and Jack Feller.
sure that some other issue about mobile-home residency will come up
again so we can't let our guard down," Gow said Tuesday. "From what I
understand, (the council majority) have a check list and they're just
going down the list. We don't know what's next on that list, but we will
be ready for them."
Kern, who championed the so-called decontrol
measure that became Proposition E, said he's convinced that most people
oppose rent control but "we just couldn't get people to the polls."
is hard," Kern said. "When you let people vote themselves a subsidy,
they're going to vote themselves a subsidy. They have a financial
Kern predicted that as long as rent control remains, there's no incentive for park owners to stay in the mobile-home business.
the next 10 or 15 years, those mobile-home parks will either close or
become condos because the system is unsustainable," Kern said.
owners aren't giving up despite the failure of Proposition E, said Amy
Epsten, whose family owns two Oceanside mobile-home parks.
will regroup. One thing you definitely can count on is we will always
continue fighting for our property rights," Epsten said. "I promise, we
will get our property rights back."
Kern and Epsten blamed the no vote on Proposition E on low voter turnout.
The issue "resonates with a lot of property owners and Republicans but you can't make people vote," Epsten said.
F, also put on the ballot by the three-member council majority, was
likely failing as fallout from the no vote on Proposition E, Kern said.
didn't read it," Kern said. Many of those who voted no on Proposition E
just went down the ballot and voted no for F, Kern said.
Prop. E, rent control would stay in place for people already living in
rent-controlled spaces but would be removed when they move or sell their
Proposition F requires that the mayor, City Council
members, city clerk and city treasurer be elected by a majority vote
rather than a plurality.
If no one running for a specific seat gets more than 50 percent of the vote, there would be a runoff election.
Candidates for mayor and City Council will continue to run at-large citywide but they would run for numbered seats.
the election, some of those campaigning against Proposition E predicted
that it would have repercussions in the November election, when Kern is
running for mayor against incumbent Jim Wood and council members Esther
Sanchez and Jack Feller are running for re-election.
rent control issue has gotten a lot of attention," said Dana Corso,
president of the Alliance of Citizens to Improve Oceanside
Corso said the issue has united voters with
disparate interests who are upset by some council actions, such as a
push to resurrect a proposed Highway 78 interchange at Rancho Del Oro
Road and completion of a segment of Melrose Drive to provide a new link
between Highway 78 and Highway 76.
Kern, who led the drive on the
City Council to eliminate rent control, said that by November, most
voters will have forgotten about the rent control fight.
think it's going to be an indicator because the turnout is so low," Kern
said. "In November, the issues are going to be a lot different."
mobile-home parks have been covered by rent control since 1984 but in
May 2011, Kern led the council majority in voting 3-2 for the decontrol
ordinance to phase it out.
Voting with Kern for a gradual end to
rent control were Councilmen Jack Feller and Gary Felien. Wood and
Sanchez voted against the decontrol ordinance and have campaigned
against Proposition E.
Mobile-home residents and their allies
stopped the ordinance from taking effect by collecting petitions signed
by more than 15,000 people demanding that the council repeal the
ordinance or put it on the ballot.
By another 3-2 vote, the council voted in August to put it on the ballot.
and mobile-home park owners contended that rent control unfairly
limited the return property owners could earn on their investments.
residents, most of whom own their coaches but rent the land on which
they're located, argued that park owners are guaranteed a reasonable
profit under rent control.
Many mobile-home residents are senior
citizens or veterans, and they fear that they would lose the investment
they have in their homes because no one would pay much for them if park
owners could raise rents without limit, as they could with decontrol.
the 1984 ordinance, mobile-home rents could be raised annually by an
amount equal to 75 percent of any increase in the regional consumer
price index, which measures the costs of goods and services.
Park owners who wanted a greater increase can appeal to a city rent control board.
F was put on the ballot by the council majority at the urging of
Felien, who contended that requiring candidates to win by a majority
vote would result in a government more representative of the community
Felien said voters may have been confused by the
numbered seat provision in Proposition F, thinking it meant a switch
from at-large to district elections.
With council members and the
mayor now elected by a plurality, Felien said that a determined bloc of
special interest voters could elect someone aligned with them.
No matter how many candidates run, the person with the most votes wins now.
those fighting against Proposition F, Sanchez said it would it would be
a costly change for the city because Oceanside would have to pay for
two elections instead of one ---- a primary and a runoff.
and Wood also argued that Proposition F would disenfranchise many
potential candidates because only those backed by special interests with
deep pockets could afford to finance a primary and runoff campaign.
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