This coming November, Watsonville residents will have the responsibility of deciding on a number of important issues. Not to be lost in the shuffle, Measure R is deserving of our close attention. Measure R seeks to modify the city’s Mobile Home Rent Stabilization Ordinance, passed in 1996, which enforced limitations on the amount of rent that mobile home owners would have to pay a park for their spaces. Measure R will require a monthly charge of $5 upon all mobile home owners that will be strictly devoted towards covering the City of Watsonville’s legal expenses accrued in defense of mobile home owners’ rights to rent stability.
Moreover, Measure R is the product of local mobile home owners themselves. Existing California law makes it difficult for individual owners in mobile home parks to recover excessive rent charged to them for the spaces they occupy on account of legal expenses that often outweigh the expected recovery of losses. In my conversations with mobile home owners, nearly all are supportive of the self-imposed fee as it will allow for their legal protection and won’t infringe on the pockets of non-mobile home owners.
It is my opinion that mobile home owners have been frequently treated unfairly in their dealings. In working with the good people of Portola Heights and elsewhere, housing issues such as these have become a great concern for me. Many cities that have similar ordinances have had to bear exceedingly high legal fees of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Is Measure R to pass, we can better avoid these expenses and focus our dollars elsewhere. Please join me in voting Yes on Measure R in support of mobile home owners.
Greg Caput is a Santa Cruz County Supervisor, fourth district.
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