I have been out on the campaign trail knocking on your doors this week, along with a group of other Vineyard Valley residents who support Measure F. Thank you for opening your doors and taking the time to ask questions about this complex issue. I am hopeful because you are showing such interest. I have, however, heard some rather disturbing "facts" that you have relayed to me from the No camp, like “there are only 10 of you that want this” or "the city is going to put rent control on all the city properties if this passes,” “it’s mandatory for all residents,” “we should fix the sidewalks instead of this.” None of this is true, neighbors. The WMA is propagating these negative ideas and they have some of our neighbors believing it. It’s no wonder that there is confusion and mistrust.
Let’s start with the petition that gathered most of its signatures at a party, where 90 percent of the residents had not yet even read the ordinance. That petition has been discredited and there was never a yes vote petition passed around, so we were never counted. That’s where the false claim comes. When verified signatures were collected for the referendum, throughout the city, only 82 residents from Vineyard Valley signed it. That’s a small minority of the people at Vineyard Valley.
No on F emphasizes “rent control” because they want you to believe it is related to Prop 10 and that it will impact all rentals in St. Helena. Measure F has nothing to do with Prop 10 and it only applies to mobile home parks. It cannot be extended elsewhere in the city. If it were rent control would it be optional? This RSO is an option for all current Vineyard Valley residents when their current lease expires. Rent control is applied to buildings (apartments, rental houses etc.), the RSO only applies to the land under the mobile homes. The residents in VV own their homes and we are responsible for the complete maintenance, repair and upkeep of our homes inside, outside and on our small yard. There is no concern about the landlord having to use his cash flow to fix the roof or paint, as you might see in an apartment.
In fact, overall upkeep and maintenance on the land and common use buildings are very low in a MH park. That is why big investor groups, like Warren Buffet’s Clayton Homes, or billionaire investor and real estate mogul Sam Zell have been investing in MH parks for years. But maximizing profits means raising rents by taking advantage of the lack of supply and the near impossibility to move a home out. An industry with a healthy demand but a fixed supply attracts the country’s capitalists. There is one MH park in St. Helena, and we are sitting pretty for a predatory investor.
The St. Helena rent stabilization ordinance is an optional lease. It applies only to tenants who choose to sign a lease of 12 months or less. So why don’t our neighbors simply let us sign the 1 year stabilized lease and they can continue with the 7-15 year lease? We don’t know. They have confused the issue and manipulated the intent of the ordinance so that it is nearly unrecognizable. Don’t fall for the lies and the glossy postcards. Give us the vote so that we can choose. Vote Yes on F.