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Referendum Not Equivalent to Rent Control

While I respect Thomas Leavitt, I think he is wrong if he equated the DeAnza Referendum with preserving their rent control. Here was why (a possible scenario):

1) Referendum passes (some say just getting the signatures is all that is required).
2) Settlement is then voided. This restores the original leases and rent control.
3) MHC goes back to court to challenge the rent control ordinance.
4) City of Santa Cruz, due to either lack of funds or being pissed off about the referendum, decides not to defend against MHC suit. Or, suit is lost (a low probability according to Norse's source.)
5) Now there is no settlement; no 34-year rent control for existing residents. MHC free to do whatever they want.
6) DeAnza residents now on their own to recover damages from City; legal costs must compete with new higher rents.

That is only one possible outcome, of course, but the point is that supporting the De Anza referendum WAS NOT identical to supporting their rent control, since passage of the referendum does not guarantee continued rent control and they in fact run a risk of losing everything.

We are on the same side here; it is just a matter of understanding the possible rationale for the nervousness around the referendum. Which doesn't mean agreeing with it. Many people spent days of their time getting the signatures and did a really great job; it is a shame to see their efforts go to waste. You need to wonder: why has the Council been so effective at blunting and derailing widespread popular opposition to its decisions? Neither the speeches by Councilmembers on the night of the initial capitulation in September nor Kennedy's open letter opposing the referendum seemed very convincing to me, especially given the huge liability for breach of contract that the City could be exposed to. Does the act of signing the new leases in any way inhibit the residents from suing the City?
 


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