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No on Measure F

Government intervention in private business is socialism, and that is exactly what the St. Helena City Council is attempting to accomplish with Measure F. It is their intention to dictate to a private company how it should operate; specifically, they feel they have the right to order the owners of Vineyard Valley Mobile Home Park (Vineyard Valley) to implement Rent Control in their business plan for the operation of Vineyard Valley. This is wrong, un-American and should not be happening in our little town of St. Helena.

Implementation of this Rent Control takeover will negatively affect the investment of over 200 senior citizens in their homes in Vineyard Valley. Is this a fair thing to do to individuals in the later years of their lives; i.e., completely overturn their personal financial plans because some people want to come in and dictate that their homes are to be controlled by the government?

The proponents of Measure F brag that they have many politicians – from a former St. Helena city manager, to Calistoga’s mayor, to county supervisors, to Sacramento legislators, to Washington, D.C., representatives – supporting this Rent Control measure. I wonder why they think anyone would care what these politicians think about the matter since the politicians are the ones who have caused the lack of affordable housing problem in St. Helena in the first place.

What have they done to prevent this current housing problem? They allowed wealthy individuals to come in and mow down affordable housing to build many, many wineries (Hall Winery was allowed to eliminate a whole mobile home park, displacing individuals who had lived there many years), a fancy hotel (Las Alcobas was allowed to tear down many affordable apartments to build a swanky hotel); and the city never did anything to replace the lost affordable housing in these situations.

Politicians have allowed hundreds of wineries, hotels, and restaurants to be built in the Napa Valley without any regard for housing or traffic congestion. Now the City Council is talking about building a hotel on city-owned property – more workers and no housing! If there is no housing for the workers now, where do they expect the new workers to live?

Vineyard Valley already is affordable housing for seniors in St. Helena. It is the most beautiful mobile home park in California, but the City Council’s actions to implement Rent Control in this neighborhood will drastically change it. Thomas Sowell advises that the only winners from Rent Control are the politicians who establish it because they get to appear compassionate.

In this situation there are many losers – the owners of Vineyard Valley lose because limitations are put on how they run their business to realize a profit. This results in the deterioration of the upkeep of the park as well as in the benefits and services currently provided to the homeowners. All of the homeowners in Vineyard Valley lose because their property values will decrease as a result of the poor upkeep of the Park. Utimately, the citizens of St. Helena will have a slum on their hands.

If people want to live in a rent-controlled mobile home park, they can move to parks in Calistoga that already have Rent Control. Why must they force the rest of us to change our lifestyle just because they want something different than what is already offered in Vineyard Valley?

With this Rent Control ordinance, the City Council is discriminating against one neighborhood in St. Helena that is made up entirely of senior citizens. The park owners have been exceptionally good landlords and business owners in St. Helena for over 44 years, and now they need to be told how to run their business?

Contrary to what proponents of Measure F would have you believe, the owners are not selling the park! They work hard to keep the enjoyable nature of the Park intact, making residents feel at home and keeping the cost of living there affordable.

Please vote no on Measure F and really save senior housing in St. Helena.

Nora O’Neill

Vineyard Valley

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