Outlaw Sacramento Rent Mandates

By Montecito Journal   |   July 19, 2018

At a recent California State Senate hearing on how to help those adversely impacted by post-disaster emergencies and in need of temporary housing, representative Monique Limon called AB1919 to the attention of the Montecito audience. The #1 listed pending bill on the handout was this: “This bill prohibits price gouging of rental housing that was not on the market at the time of proclamation or declaration of emergency.”

Life cannot be regulated in the land of the free, in a republic operated under constitutional authority. After reading the proposed bill in its entirety, fire alarms went off. 

As an affordable- and specialized-housing specialist, and a Montecito fire evacuee-claimant three times in nine years, if concerted efforts to kill this pending mandate fail, then our State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson and Ms Limon should vote NO.

Please, appropriately represent the needs of your constituents by ensuring access to any and all available short-term housing our neighbors may choose to make available to us post-disaster. 

If AB1919 must proceed, as per demands of the Democrat machine leadership, gut it by removing the 160% HUD max rent parameters as the guideline basis for this mandate. 

Particularly in times of emergency, private property owners willing to inconvenience themselves by creating highly needed emergency housing to help their neighbors and community are godsends, and should not be regulated beyond existing rental standards. The market will determine pricing. 

Every disaster, geographic area, and victim-reality are different, such as Montecito and Santa Barbara experienced after Highway 101 was closed following the January 9 debris flow. 

The proposed law reads in part: “For housing not rented, or not offered for rent, rented and not offered for rent within one year prior to the proclamation or declaration of emergency, 160 percent of the fair market rent established by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. This amount may be increased by five percent if the housing is offered for rent fully furnished. This amount shall not be adjusted for any other good or service, including, but not limited to, gardening or utilities currently or formerly provided in connection with the lease.”

What pending AB1919 means in Montecito post-disaster rent: $2,464 maximum rent for unfurnished 2-bedroom; $2,075 for a 1-bedroom; and $1,766 for a studio. 

These max rents likely will limit victim access to desired local emergency temporary housing covered by their homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy. Tell their Sacramento colleagues that many of us can’t pay water, utility, and trash bills for these amounts. Forget the added costs of the dwelling structure, maintenance, and gardening. 

Imagine you’re the disaster victim paying $10,000 a month for a hotel room, plus tax and parking fees. Would you prefer a less commercial environment for $6,000 to 8,000 a month? What if you’re the physician or responder flying between Camarillo and Santa Barbara round-trip daily for $260 or $7,800 a month for transportation only? 

Yes, circumstances vary. People’s needs differ. In a disaster, victims have already lost control of their lives and normalcy. Please do not regulate their access to whatever housing their neighbors and community may choose to make available to them. And please, please, please remember: There is no definition of “affordable,” and one size never fits all. 

An investor earning a million dollars a year, a fire responder paid $300,000 to $400,000 a year, can afford more than a teacher making $80,000 to $125,000 a year or some retiree living on $15,000 to $30,000 a year. 

The only way to offer and sustain a stable supply of “affordable housing” is for nonprofits with a volunteer board of directors to develop and hold for 30 to 40 years or longer, with required reserves for replacement. Government-imposed mandates whereby one struggling resident is required to pay 20% more to cross-subside their neighbor is un-American and simply wrong, despite the fact our local politicians too often make this an approval prerequisite. 

Simply put: Outlaw all Sacramento mandates. Let each California community decide what’s best locally. Take the lead. Spare us. No more mandates. 

Denice S. Adams

Safer in America

When deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein and FBI agent Peter Strzok recently displayed arrogant and “haughty” behavior toward their boss – the U.S. Congress – it was a glaring example of people who have been sheltered for many years and are now on public display.

Robert de Niro and Peter Fonda – who both have showed disgusting behavior in regards to the Trump family – take away any credibility of today’s radical left.

In November – an October surprise coming with certainty – the Democrat party will lose to Trump’s Republicans in a landslide. No one can win being negative.

Let us allow that Trump has indeed wiped out ISIS, stopped North Korea’s missile launches and created more jobs for women, African-Americans, and Latinos than any other president. He has added great value to the U.S. stock market.

He has done so without help from Paul Ryan & Co. As Ryan now leaves for a high-paying job on Wall Street, let us hope the GOP does not launch another “beauty” (Kevin McCarthy), but gets a leader who will actually work with Trump.

Russia collusion? As a country boy, it is amusing that Hillary Clinton meanwhile goes scot-free, whereas President Trump is the victim of a true witch hunt. Watch Trump hold both houses and continue to prosper in November. 

Econ professor Walter Williams of Mason University recently stated that America’s economy will collapse sometime between 2030 and 2040. In 2032, Social Security will go broke. Some bought property in New Zealand to have a place to go, but with China being ever more ambitious, I think one would be far better off in America.

Consider that America is always only one election away from no longer having borders, whenever the Democrats win again. Pray for America and for our leaders, be it Obama or now Trump; they are all are God’s anointed.

Morten Wengler

(Editor’s note: Thank you for your letter. I believe you are being too kind, in that you lump former president Obama in with the current president Trump as both being “God’s anointed,” especially since your previous sentence declares that “America is always only one election away from no longer having borders, whenever the Democrats win again.” It was, after all, Mr. Obama who really opened the gates of America to anyone and everyone, border be damned, with his “Catch and Release” program. – J.B.)

Betrayal of Madame X

My friend, “Madame X” (“Warehousing Not ‘Care’,” MJ #24/12, and “Returning Home,” MJ #24/18) will likely never return home after her sudden and mandatory evacuation in early December. Her life has been completely taken from her. Her home, her income property – and I assume other assets – are in the control of unseen actors. She doesn’t even get an allowance.

As the weeks go by, without mental stimulation her cognitive abilities can only diminish. Without physical exercise, the musculature of an aged person deteriorates rapidly. Will she ever get out of her wheelchair?

The first person I contacted about her circumstances said, “No one will step up for her.” That person will no longer talk to me. Everyone who hears about Madame X’s fate cannot believe that this can happen or that there is no recourse to help her. The DA’s office said this sounds like elder abuse, but then said they don’t investigate. The ombudsman said she could be at home, then backed down and said he was not qualified to make that assessment and added that the system is broken. One of the staff at the facility took me aside and said she should be somewhere else. There is an attorney who appears to have legitimate control of all aspects of Madame X’s life, and yet she remains stripped of everything.

I take her to lunch as often as I can. These outings are pleasant. She is engaged and talks about life. I have brought wine to the facility to supplement her dinners.

Madame X had not seen a doctor for months when recently an infection seemed to be getting out of control. The staff asked if I could arrange for her to see a doctor. I had an appointment set up for the next day. This is not reasonable care.

Everyone should be alarmed by the fate of Madame X. She has not been consulted about any of this. Madame X no longer has civil rights. She is being fed and housed. The cost is her fortune and her liberty. This confiscation of a life can occur without due process and there is no forum for these proceedings. What has happened to Madame X reeks of self-interest and betrayal.

Gerald Rounds
Santa Barbara

(Editor’s note: We’ll continue to follow the unsettling voyage of this former Montecito resident. Thank you for keeping us abreast of the situation. Perhaps at one point, we can step forward to help. – J.B.)

Hillside Hello

It was so nice to see Lynda Millner at the Hillside House 15th Annual Sunset Soirée “Opening Doors to Tomorrow” at El Mirador Estate on June 9. We are so grateful to her for her wonderful “Seen Around Town” piece in the Montecito Journal (#24/27). Lynda’s coverage does a lot to raise awareness of our residential facility and our residents. We are so appreciative of her efforts that help tell our story to the community. She also did a great job with the photos. Thank you very much for Lynda’s continued support of Hillside House residents and all your paper does for area nonprofits.

Wishing Lynda, her husband, Don Seth, and everyone at Montecito Journal a great summer!

Michael Padden-Rubin
Santa Barbara

(Mr. Padden-Rubin is director of Development at Hillside House on Veronica Springs Road.)

In Brief

Hey, what happened to brevity in the Letters to the Editor? 

Jean Von Wittenburg

(Editor’s note: Well, we like brevity too, but letter writers are often long-winded and their missives can be difficult to cut. We do edit for clarity and sometimes even for length, but most often, we just edit as best we can and then print what we receive. – J.B.)

A Village Reborn

This year’s Village Fourth Parade was especially meaningful, with first responders, search and rescue dogs, Montecito and Santa Barbara fire departments, Bucket Brigade, and other numerous emergency personnel and volunteers. It was touching to see them all, with the crowd cheering and applauding. It truly felt, as you stated, like a rebirth.

Sitting in lower Manning Park after the parade, I was reminded of my first impressions of Montecito many years ago: the naturally beautiful surroundings in every direction and the genuine sweetness of the people.

Thank you to the Montecito Association for an exceptional event, and continual thanks to everyone who made this year’s celebration possible. Here’s to Montecito’s enduring beauty and goodness!

Kathleen Anderson Ross

(Editor’s note: Yikes, I believe I may have left out the Bucket Brigade from my list of marchers. Abe Powell and his brigades were and are an important part of what you and I have concluded is indeed a “rebirth” of the spirit of Montecito. Thank you for the reminder. – J.B.)

Kardboard Kayak Races

Participants and observers all had a wonderful time at Santa Barbara Maritime Museum’s (SBMM) 16th annual West Beach Kardboard Kayak Race Team Challenge on July 7, despite temperatures in the 80s and heat warnings!

The event was sponsored by Condor Express and supported bySambo’s Restaurant and Nothing Bundt Cakes. Special thanks also to the Santa Barbara Sailing Center for supplying paddles and life vests, the U.S. Coast Guard for helping with setups, and Santa Barbara City Lifeguards for ensuring all the paddlers made it safely back to shore.

SBMM’s Kardboard Kayak Raceschallenged 24 teams to participate in a battle of wits, creativity, design, and courage! Teams of up to four people each received two sheets of cardboard, one roll of duct tape, a permanent marker, a utility knife, a yardstick, and just one hour to construct a functioning kayak out of onlythose materials.

Some teams came with miniature models and detailed plans for their kayaks, but the actual building was a group effort for most: parents and children or groups of friends, all determined to win. Divided into three separate heats of eight teams to ensure fair competition – two Family Fun races (paddlers 14 years old or younger) and one Paddling Pros race (paddlers who were “skilled” competitors) – participants aimed to find out whose design was fastest and could hold up to the water and the pressure of being paddled out to a buoy and back.

Some were quite fancy and others simple boxes, some finished the race barely wet, and others were soaked and disintegrated in pieces, but everyone enjoyed a special afternoon of building, paddling, and spectating.

This event began as a Semana Nautica event, then the Maritime Museum took it over, but it is still held in conjunction with Semana Nautica. This is a great family-fun activity, allowing parents and children to work together in a fun contest of engineering and athletic ability.

And the winning teams and paddlers were:

Heat 1: Family Fun teams, paddlers aged 7-9

1st: Hammer Heads, Sage Tappeiner

2nd: Team M, Lucia Mognis

3rd: Team M, Marcus McConnell

Heat 2: Family Fun teams, paddlers aged 7-12

1st: The Baldwinders, Tyler Baldwin

2nd: Release the Quackins!, Liam Hickey

3rd: Ocean Express, Jasmin Tappeiner

Heat 3: Paddling Pros, paddlers aged 14 and up

1st: Corrugators, Anna Ogden

2nd Old Disposibal, Christopher Spinelli

3rd: Land Lubbers, Brian Spinelli

Greg Gorga
Santa Barbara

(Editor’s note: I attended with Condor Express owner Hiroko Benko, who has now decided to field her own team in next year’s competition. She and I studied the “boats” that won, or at least made it around the buoy without sinking, and determined that winning entries featured: a simple and shallow design, good duct taping of critical joints, and perhaps most importantly, a lightweight rower. So, we hope to enlist either Deacon or Kessler Buckley (my two grandsons) as boat captain in next year’s derby, along with the construction of a sleek and shallow craft.

It was great fun, and though I snapped the following pix via iPhone, my ability to take notes was seriously compromised, hence no names were recorded. Many apologies to those in the photos. – J.B.)

Rowers, start your paddles!
Dad greets Hammer Heads’sSage Tappeiner, an early Family Fun team winner
On your marks, get set, go… down to the water!
Tyler Baldwin brings in the Baldwinders’s entry in the Family Fun kategory
Setting what seemed like a speed record, Anna Ogden of the C(k)orrugators was declared winner among the Paddling Pros
The Kardboard Kayak races were sponsored by Condor Express’s Hiroko Benko and organized by Santa Barbara Maritime Museum’s Greg Gorga

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