Protesters pressure lawmakers to pass rent regulation bill

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SAN DIEGO -- Protesters and local political hopefuls are increasing pressure on state lawmakers to pass a bill that would mandate a form of rent regulation statewide.

Assembly Bill 1482 would limit rent increases to once per year and a maximum of about 10%, plus prevent property owners from evicting tenants without cause, supporters say.

Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, introduced the bill in February. The state's Assembly approved the bill and sent it to the state Senate, where it was moving through the committee process in late August.

Nora Vargas and Sophia Rodriguez, candidates for Board of Supervisors District 1, are expected to attend a news conference Thursday at the Olivewood Gardens Apartments, where some tenants have alleged their rent has increased by up to 50%. Representatives of the San Diego Organizing Project and Service Employees International Union Local 221 will also attend.

"I have served the San Diego community all my life, as a head start teacher and foster mother," said Dinah Pipkins, an Olivewood resident. "I moved into Olivewood Garden Apartments with the impression that it was affordable housing for seniors."

When the bill was moving through Assembly, some critics argued the measure was not the answer to the housing crisis. “This is rent control,” said Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore. “I don’t care how you say it. I don’t care how you spin it.”

Opponents often argue that making it easier to build more housing, not putting greater restrictions on landlords, will ease the shortage of housing in California.

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