How will Proposition 21 rent control measure impact Fresno-area residents? It’s complicated

Prop 21

Will the passage of Proposition 21 lead to lower rents for Fresno and central San Joaquin Valley residents? It depends on whom you ask.

The “Local Rent Control Initiative” is fracturing old alliances and pitting friends against each other.

It is supported by California’s Democratic party but opposed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat.

It is supported by Miguel Arias, the Fresno City Council president and District 3 representative, but opposed by Lee Brand, the mayor.

It is supported by civil rights icon Dolores Huerta but opposed by the Fresno, Tulare, Kings and Kern counties branches of Si Se Puede, an organization that is closely associated with civil rights causes for Latinos.

About Proposition 21

“The housing crisis is big, and it hasn’t been talked about,” said Mari Perez-Ruiz, chair of the California Democratic Renters Council. “We have found that Prop 21 offers solutions to address the housing crisis.”

Brand, mayor of Fresno and former president and co-founder of Westco Equities, Inc., a property management/construction firm he operated for over 30 years, disagrees, arguing that the proposition will achieve the opposite of what the proponents promise. Additionally, he said the initiative will “disincentivize people wanting to build,” exacerbating the already existing housing shortage.

The mayor said that supply and demand market forces should determine what the rents are. “If you put this arbitrary limitation on the value, these parameters out there will disincentivize people wanting to buy or to build,” he said.

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