OPINION by HEIDI HARMON
Please vote NO on this misleading ballot measure. It is unnecessary, ill advised, harmful to every affordable housing program in our city, and could trap the community in costly lawsuits.
The first section of this ordinance attempts to repeal the Rental Housing Inspection Program (RHIP). It has already been repealed by the council on a 5-0 vote. The city’s residents were very clear in communicating their overwhelming lack of support for this program, and it is not coming back.
The second section sounds harmless. The label of “non-discrimination” is compelling, and sounds easy to support. But it is a trap, because it includes legally unrecognized and legally unclear categories like “income,” “owner or renter,” and “ability to own a home.” These create legal loopholes.
There are lawyers who would take advantage of these loopholes and sue the city over its housing programs. Countless taxpayer dollars would be lost on litigation defending our affordable housing regulations.
These laws help provide housing for workers, seniors, students, low-income residents, veterans, and those struggling to afford housing in San Luis Obispo. For example, under this ordinance even laws that stabilize rent for mobile home parks could be argued as “discrimination” in favor of renters.
This ordinance would dismantle any hope of affordable housing programs in SLO. This may not have been the intent, but it will most certainly be the result.
The writers of this ordinance will argue that it “locks’ into place the end of the RHIP. But the RHIP is already dead and gone, we already have anti-discrimination protections, and this ordinance could instead kill off all the city’s housing programs.
If you think San Luis Obispo is expensive now, wait until these programs are taken away. Don’t risk letting this happen. Please vote NO on Measure B-17.