Stephen Ellison

Dueling Rallies on Peninsula Rent Control Initiatives

It was National Renter Day of Action on Thursday, and there were dueling rallies on the Peninsula, where the housing crisis has become politcial, with looming rent control initiatives on the November ballot.

Measures Q and R would limit rent increases and no-cause evictions in San Mateo and Burlingame, respectively.

On Thursday, Ruby Blake said she's not sleeping at night because of an eviction notice she received. Instead, she's up three or four times a night praying.

"It can happen like that," Blake said. "If we don't find anything, we will be homeless."

Blake supports San Mateo's Measure Q and Burlingame's Measure R.

Photos of Renter's Day of Action Rally in San Mateo

Across the street, opponents of the measures agree there is a crisis.

"I think we can agree there is a serious rental housng problem," said Laurie Teutschel of the Coalition for Housing Equity. "Q and R are not the way to solve it."

Teutschel says it's unfair to restrict landlord rights. The rent control initiatives add a level of bureacracy by establishing a commission that's not accountable to tax payers, she says.

Opponents say the solution is to build more affordable housing. But one landlord standing in support of the measures says compassion is also part of the solution.

"Right now, I'm renting to a wonderful family, and I won't raise the rent on them," landlord Pat Nicholson said.

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