The recent controversies about the city of SLO’s rental inspection ordinance seemed to me, frankly, to be somewhat of a proverbial “tempest in a teapot.” I don’t mean to belittle anyone’s opinions and passions on the issue, but it would seem a reasonable arrangement could have been arrived at. I fail to see why a moderately designed and applied ordinance of this kind could not have been written. Perhaps the ordinance as written was indeed too stringent and overbearing and intrusive. If so, why could that have not come out in discussions and the ordinance re-written accordingly?
I don’t see why reasonable and well-thought-out rental space regulations are not a good thing, for everyone’s protection—tenants/renters and landlords alike. And it seemed strange to me that a non-discrimination ordinance would be put forward as a counterpoint alternative to the inspection program. Non-discriminatory rules should be a given anyway, and should be part of our laws, along with a non-threatening and non-police-state type of inspection approach to making sure decent conditions are assured.
The fact is that we need both kinds of ordinances, along with, in my opinion, some kind of rent control rules/ordinances that could prevent, in a reasonable non-rigid way, extreme rent gouging in a town and area without enough affordable housing where people pay sometimes $1,500 to $2,000 a month for a room and a shared bathroom. The trick is to make sure all of the above are designed with adequate participation and feedback from all stakeholders/interested parties and to create a better housing situation in our city.
-- Jim Griffin - SLO