Opinion » Letters

Mayor Marx, fix the problem

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Our Constitution protects the rights of Americans to freely acquire, use, and dispose of property. If our government restricts our use of our property, that can be considered a “taking” for which the government has a responsibility to compensate us.

Accordingly, we have the right to rent a room in our home to anyone we so desire so long as that person or persons abides by the laws and norms of our community. For the government to say that it’s fine to rent to someone for an extended period of time (because the government is interested in this type of activity), but prevent renting to someone for a shorter period of time (because the government is not interested in that type of activity) is arbitrary, capricious, and unlawful.

Many travelers are not interested in staying in boring, redundantly designed hotel rooms. Many—especially foreign visitors—prefer interaction with locals. Locals are better able to direct travelers to areas of interest than front desk workers. Locals can engage travelers in ways they wouldn’t likely find in a hotel cocktail lounge. And we all know that a positive travel experience gets shared multiple times with the likely result of more visitors.

Mr. Shanbrom’s argument that short-term “rentals incrementally degrade the quality of life in residential neighborhoods” is pure opinion and not supported by any facts. Additionally, his statement that “their intention is to make some money, and my intention is to preserve the quality of life in SLO” is offensive and demeaning. How does he know the renters’ intentions? Why would he assume these renters aren’t interested in quality of life in SLO? What exactly is wrong with making some money?

To use the power of government (code enforcement) to punish law-abiding citizens exercising their constitutional rights is a crime in itself and must be stopped immediately. Dumb laws lead to a loss of respect for law in general and encourage all kinds of unintended consequences.

Mayor Marx and the City Council need to fix this law by establishing the same rules for all residential rental activities irrespective of the rental period. By doing so they’ll avoid confusion and the possibility of litigation while at the same time demonstrating that they stand firmly for property rights, the rule of law, and our Constitution.

-- Gary Wechter - Arroyo Grande

-- Gary Wechter - Arroyo Grande

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