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If the current owners of the land at Vineyard Valley decide to sell, rents will almost certainly rise. (The new owners will have a higher tax basis, and probably more debt).

Although the current owners have indicated they are not looking to sell the property, if Measure F passes, the “Sacramento money” may arrange for them to receive a very attractive offer to sell.

This could be intended to serve as an example to other communities. When similar rent stabilization measures are put on the ballots of other California cities, the rallying cry of the “antis” may be “Don’t let us become the next St. Helena.”

In this scenario, the best way to ensure long-term stability is to keep the current land ownership in place.

It is simplistic (and insulting) to characterize the opposition to Measure F as being not supporting senior housing, or being insensitive to the problems and needs of St. Helena’s more vulnerable citizens. Both sides recognize the need, and challenges, related to affordable housing in the City. An honest difference in opinion in the ways to achieve this is not a reason to demonize the opposition.

By passing Measure F, St. Helena may win a battle and lose the war.

Dale Grossman

St. Helena

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