Last night, October 13, 2011, in a victory for property rights and good government, the City of Capitola City Council voted 3-2 to repeal its rent control ordinance. Park residents simply could not accept the loss of what they apparently believed was an entitlement to space rents of under $300 a month for a space perched on the beautiful Santa Cruz coastline. In the end, the City recognized that repeal was the only way to serve the interests of the community as a whole. Councilman Sam Story explained “I’d like to point out that the council and staff have an obligation to the entire city and have to look¬out for the well-being of the entire city.”
Most importantly, the repeal is a victory for the Reed family that owns the park. After learning of the decision to repeal, Ron Reed said, “This has been extremely hard on the Reed family for the past 30 years. When we bought the property, we didn’t ask for rent control. I feel like the Reed family finally got their good name back. We were made to look like villains in the media, even though we treated our tenants very well. We were not the worst people. I can’t say enough about Rob Coldren, Mark Alpert, Bill Dahlin and John Pentecost and the whole team at Hart, King & Coldren. Their skills were instrumental in obtaining this victory for us and I hope it paves the way for other park owners in the same dilemma.”
The real credit belongs to Ron and Randy Reed and family, who have persevered through years of battles with the City of Capitola. Ron Reed helped build Surf and Sand Mobilehome Park decades before rent control was adopted, only to have his property confiscated in the name of affordable housing. We don’t believe for a minute that the politicians who have politically exploited rent control for votes will simply go away, but the example of Capitola demonstrates how those decisions can backfire politically and economically.
Surf and Sand Mobilehome Park is represented by Rob Coldren and Mark Alpert of Hart, King & Coldren.