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Stephen Elliott Headshot

Shame On Barbara Boxer

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U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) has failed to come out against Proposition 98, the landlord scheme to end rent control in California. The proposition, which would take away municipalities' ability to make their own housing policies based on their own specific needs, is hidden behind the fake title of eminent domain reform. But you only have to look at the list of people who initiated the bill to know that eminent domain reform has nothing to do with it. These are big landlords who could care less about eminent domain. They're very rich people like Sam Zell looking for an easy way to get richer. They have enough money to get anything they want on the ballot.

As the Los Angeles Times points out, the fact that the proposition seeks to hide its actual intent is reason enough to vote against it. Many people won't even realize that, whatever their politics, this is a vote for or against rent control. The sponsors of the proposition are too cowardly to point this out and take a stand for what they really believe.

The list of people opposing the landlord scheme is a long one and cuts across party lines. It includes not just the SEIU, Diane Feinstein, and the State Democratic Party, but also Arnold Schwarzenegger and former governor Pete Wilson.

Proposition 98 would have a devastating impact on San Francisco and parts of Los Angeles. 350,000 people in San Francisco, more than half the population, rely on rent control. Without rent control the city would change so drastically most of us wouldn't even recognize it. When Proposition 98 is defeated June 3 (and it will be because we've made a lot of mistakes in this state but we're not that stupid) a lot of us will remember Barbara Boxer failing the people on this issue. We'll know that when called for a position she let us down and we'll vote against her when her time comes due.

- Stephen Elliott

Update: The No On 98 Campaign has a signed statement from Barbara Boxer stating she is against Proposition 98. For the record, I called Barbara Boxer's California office and they confirmed to me that she had NOT taken a position on Proposition 98. The original genesis of this editorial is from that phone call. I just called them again, Wednesday, May 14, at 2:20pm, and was told, again, that it falls out of her jurisdiction and she has not taken a position on Proposition 98. I called her office as a constituent, which I am. I then called her press office in Washington to find out her official position on Proposition 98. The press office was unable to tell me and I have not received a call from the communications officer in charge. There's no mention of Proposition 98 on Barbara Boxer's website. I'm glad that there is evidence she is against Proposition 98, but her silence is still very troublesome. The fact that constituents aren't being told she is against the Proposition when they contact her California offices is also extremely troubling. That her position is not posted on her website is problematic. This is a major issue affecting a massive number of Californians, and I still can't get someone in the Barbara Boxer offices to confirm the Senator's position. This is not something for our Senator to be silent about. She's supposed to be leading on this issue but her own staff don't know her position on it. Why the confusion?