As the election approaches, I keep asking myself, how can California be both the fifth largest economy in the world, and also one of the poorest states in the nation? One factor: the cost of living is bleeding many Californians dry.
One of the biggest issues facing working families, young people, college students and the elderly is how to afford housing in our costly real estate market. Assemblyman Dante Acosta’s record on these issues has been rock solid. Since he served as mayor pro tem of Santa Clarita through his first term in the state Assembly, he has voted to keep our cost of living low and to encourage a needed growth of housing to meet local need. That’s why I’ll be voting for Acosta for state Assembly.
Voters have a chance to weigh in on cost-of-living issues. Recently the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) polled on Proposition 10, on the ballot this year, would allow for rent control ordinances to be placed on our community. The poll showed overwhelming statewide opposition to the measure. Despite widespread opposition among members of all political parties and independents, Christy Smith has recently doubled down on her support for the measure.
Make no mistake, top-down price controls will lead to widespread pain for all hopeful homebuyers and renters. Most economists agree that rent control will lead to higher prices for most because it discourages housing growth. Furthermore, legacy rent-controlled units in Los Angeles are already being sold at an alarming rate because owners would rather sell than rent. This hurts folks who can’t afford to buy, like millennials, low-income families, and the elderly.
Meanwhile, Proposition 5, another measure on the ballot, which allows seniors to maintain Proposition 13 property tax protections when downsizing homes, is opposed by Smith. In fact, in a recent debate she seemed to imply that the purpose of the ballot measure was to enrich Realtors. Well, as a Realtor I was horrified to hear this. The purpose is to protect seniors, disabled and victims of fire and floods to free up housing to meet the needs of growing families.
On top of all that, in a recent Signal article about a plan to drastically change Prop. 13 property tax limitations, Smith ignored it, calling it “not an issue in this campaign.” In the past Smith has pledged support for split roll taxes, which removes business properties from Prop. 13 tax limits. For local business owners this would be a catastrophic cost increase. In front of business owners, she has said she supports Prop. 13, but elsewhere she is clear that she only supports it for homeowners, and only in limited scenarios, as evidenced by her opposition to Proposition 5 on the ballot this year. If small business is truly the backbone of our community, shouldn’t we protect them as well?
The issues at play are way too important to gamble on: whether young people can afford to rent, whether seniors end up on the street homeless, whether families can afford to buy a home, and whether our local small businesses can survive and thrive. Unfortunately, Christy Smith has made it clear that on these issues she cannot be trusted. Assemblyman Dante Acosta, on the other hand, has been consistent in supporting local families and local businesses. In this election I choose Acosta to keep our cost of living affordable and to protect homeownership.
Nancy Lulejian Starczyk