What San Diegans think about the rent crisis and why I’m voting YES on Prop 10

November 1, 2018

By Robert Marin


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It’s a beautiful afternoon, the gracious skies glaze across our ACLU tent in central Balboa Park, and yet, I see homelessness as the biggest problem in society as we speak. Veterans, the mentally ill, children, refugees and countless others struggle because the rent is too expensive.

For decades, Californians have posed a question; why don’t municipalities have the jurisdiction to pass rent control? Simple, The Costa-Hawkins Act of 1995 would restrict rent control in communities, only those buildings that were built before 1974 can rent control be applied. Since most buildings have been built after, rent control is almost non-existent.

If I could sum up the thoughts of voters in Balboa Park it would be this, confusion.

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Politicians and super PACs invested approximately $60 million dollars towards No on Prop10, along with constant ads, the wording incorporated into Prop ten 10 is very tricky as well. I had the chance to speak with at least ten voters, some of whom thought this would be a “state mandated law”, according to one female voter, another assumed it was, “rent control on houses, not apartments”.

There is a stark correlation among the voters I had encountered that day, all seemed misinformed about the issue at hand. Although, some people were properly informed thanks to our ACLU volunteers and leaders behind the scenes whom work extremely hard to get the proper facts out towards the public.

I think that’s what empowers people, honest information, a set of facts, that ultimately gives them the best judgment to vote. So as the day proceeded, I tried to relay the facts, and explain to voters what Proposition 10 actually is, and its intended purpose as well.

If I had to choose one conversation that struck me, would be the mother that I talked to for five minutes. She described how she works two jobs to afford rent, and along with struggling with rent, she doesn’t speak English well, while also not having a car too. She sometimes had to pick whether or not she would eat because rent was due. She lives in Barrio Logan, a one bedroom near Chicano Park, for $1300 per month, which is absolutely ridiculous.

This all plays into the optics of having affordable rent, giving the municipalities the option to have rent control. Without it, I believe that homelessness will only get worse, not better.

I share a room near S.D.S.U., which is unbelievably expensive, and I am paying $525 per month without utilities nor other forms of payments (car insurance, phone bill, schooling). I sometimes am forced to eat little to nothing since the majority of my income goes directly to rent.

We as Americans, should look into the mirror and take a stand against those who would rather care for profit than people.

Sadly, my story is fairly common, especially among the college students, and this November 6, I conclude that voting yes on Prop 10 is the best way towards bettering society, while insuring domestic tranquility for all.

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Robert Marin is an ACLU Volunteer a professional distance runner. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter at @runin_rob for the latest updates on election night.