Rent Control Measure Coming To Anaheim?

At the December 6 city council meeting, District 3 Councilman Jose F. Moreno tasked city staff with a research project: survey rents in Anaheim and schedule a council workshop on the results of that study, along with what other cities have done in terms of rent “stabilization” – which is a euphemism for rent control.

What this looks like is Moreno using city staff to tee up a political issue he and his political allies can use in the 2020 council elections, possibly in the form of a ballot initiative.

It’s a classic page out of the progressive playbook: generate a study that you can claim as an empirical basis for your political agenda.  The Coalition of Resort Labor Unions (CRLU) did that last year when it commissioned a report on Resort wages by an economist and a political science professor who specialize in producing studies to justify labor’s political aims. That study was then lapped up by the media and cited by the CRLU as “evidence” of the necessity of their “living wage” initiative – Measure L.

Affordable housing is an issue, and rising rents present a real problem for lower-income people. Building housing is an expensive and time-consuming enterprise in California – not least thanks to burdensome laws and regulations enacted under by the progressive Democrats who have been running the state for the last quarter century.

The real solution is repealing and reducing regulatory barriers to home building, but even that won’t immediately reverse the effects of decades of over-regulation of the housing market. Moreno and other progressive activists don’t want to wait, and believe the solution is even greater government control of the housing market via rent control.

Moreno’s re-election campaign manager, Joese Hernandez, co-wrote a pro-rent control op-ed in the Voice of OC earlier this year:

“Tenant protection policies, such as rent stabilization (also referred to as rent control), are a crucial step in solving our housing crisis.” writes Hernandez, who was then a long-time community organizer for left-wing pressure group OCCORD.

Hernandez writes that rent control “allows for incremental rent increases that are more just and fair to residents, while ensuring landlords a fair rate of return on their investment.”

The crucial question is who decided what is fair and just. Rent control takes that question out of the hands of the market and by placing it under the purview of government makes is a political matter subject to the lobbying of pressure groups. It then becomes an organizing tool that progressive political groups like OCCORD use to organize voters and build their political influence.

Given their stunted economic literacy and proclivity for demonizing “profit,” one shouldn’t expect Moreno, Hernandez and their allied progressive to be fair and just to property owners when deciding what fair and just rent is.

When directing staff to undertake the rent study, Moreno opined: “How do we stabilize our rents so that people don’t keep getting pushed out of their apartments but also respect the property owners themselves.” 

Moreno’s implicit premise is the dubious assumption that rent control can be imposed while “respecting” the rights of property owner. Regardless of how “fair” rent control advocates think they are being to property owners, it comes down to government dictating rents.

This November, California voters rejected an initiative this November that would have repealed the Costa-Hawkins Act, which prohibits local governments from imposing rent control on properties built after 1995, and places limits on the controls that can be placed on rental units built pre-1995.

However, a significant percentage of Anaheim’s apartment stock was built before 1995, and therefore vulnerable to municipal rent control laws. It’s hard to escape the conclusion Moreno is using city resources to create a study he and his allies can then cite as a neutral source when pushing a rent control ordinance or initiative.

District 1, 4 and 5 will be on the ballot in November 2020, and control of the council once again on the line. District 4 will be open, while Republican Councilmembers Denise Barnes and Steve Faessel will be seeking re-election in Districts 1 and 5, respectively. With its “living wage” initiative, UNITE-HERE showed that is can quickly gather signatures to qualify a ballot initiative. Democratic voter turnout will be higher in a presidential election year – especially as the political Left perfects the tools such as ballot harvesting to turn out the low-information (i.e. Democratic) voters more inclined to support progressive policies like rent control.  “Non-profits” like OCCORD, with its $1.5 million annual budget, would register and turn out voters, working in conjunction with the Moreno political operation embedded in Anaheim’s school districts. Control of the Democratic Party of Orange County will be in the hands no allies like UNITE-HERE chief Ada Briceno and the pugnacious Jeff LeTourneau. A pro-rent control initiative would work hand-in-glove with a Moreno-endorsed council candidate slate – which could exploit the initiative to side-step campaign fundraising limits a la Larry Agran in Irvine.

The point is Moreno’s request is more than a policy exercise in examining Anaheim rents and affordable housing policies. He has a council aid budget to do such research. More likely, this is the opening move in a play to qualify a rent control initiative for the November 2020 ballot.


  1. And once again this Socialist individual wants to destroy free trade and capitalism by using other peoples hard earned money to place illegal future voters into housing that they cannot afford without the assistance of govt. (taxpayer) subsidies. Stop punishing successful people and those who are taking the risk. Renters make up just under half of Anaheim’s residents. There is about a 5% vacancy of rentals in Anaheim so there are rentals out there and the cost rise and fall with the market but said cost are apparently out of reach of Moreno’s target group which he needs to become dependent on govt. and on him. For being an “educated” person he does appear to lack the knowledge of history and the failure of socialism and communism over the last 110 years. Ironically the only people who have become successful and wealthy under those fascist forms of governments are the politicians so, perhaps he does know history after all.

    • That is the target population and agenda keeping him in office and lining his pockets. Gotta vote him out next election.

  2. The new majority has Jose’s number. Another study to waste time and funds. He studied the homeless issue allowing it to grow. Harry Sidhu comes in and makes something happen that will benefit all within two weeks. We all should be very aware of who Jose Moreno is. A narcissist does not like to be controlled. Anaheim needs to keep its eyes open and be ready in 2020.

  3. Jose Moreno needs to go. He is no friend to District 3 and one has to wonder how many illegals they were able to get and go out and “vote” for him. No one I know voted for that narcissistic socialist. He is also trying to turn District 3 into a slum. I hope the new Mayor shuts him down every chance he gets.

    No one is twisting anyones arm to live in Anaheim- it’s an affordable city compared to any town in OC. All people want to bitch and moan. I never lived anywhere I could not afford. It’s a cultural thing to cram 10 families into an apartment or house.. I think Jose should work on overcrowding laws not encourage it with an excuse that rents are high. rents have always been high in California. Move to a more affordable state. Moreno needs to be recalled.

  4. Anaheim area resident

    Moreno is such a clown. And a puppet for the illegal community. Never once does he advocate for the rest of us.

    How could anyone agree with anything he has to say?
    Please go away jose.

  5. Please step down as Council Member for District 3. You are not serving all of your constituents. The clown show that you and Mayor Tait ran for 2 years is over. District 3 gets worse not better under your thumb.

  6. How about having them work on something important Like overpriced health care. Oh , not in their power to do so. Would love to see an initiative to control health care costs similar to what happened with car insurance rates. Rent control has shown not to be effective and spending our dollars on this is silly. Let him walk around the neighborhoods and ask about rent prices. He could meet his constituents. Although most don’t live in his neighborhood.

  7. We have to make a stand and support this new council majority led by Mayor Sidhu. We need to stand against Jose Moreno and all that he brings to our city, none of it being good. He needs to be exposed at every turn, and we cannot give him a platform.

    We need to hold our Anaheim School District accountable in all areas from hiring practices, spending and most importantly RESULTS. What is the money being spent on because our schools scores are at the bottom levels. Jose Moreno and his followers use the schools leadership roles as a platform for their politics. We must really face the fact that we are allowing it to happen if we do not hold each and everyone of this group accountable for their actions and the results of those actions. We need to examine our recent election and stop voting for any of them.

    We may not like all of what this council does but they need our support to stop Jose Moreno and his comrades. We need to make a stand here and now well before 2020. If we don’t we are part of the problem.

  8. Recall Jose Moreno

  9. Joe Sanchez: I second. How did he get elected?

  10. I wish folks would get off the fraudulent elections. I am an election inspector and know how hard the clerks work to make sure the ballots are legit. We can’t control vote by mail ballots or what happens at home with them. However they are checked and rechecked If you don’t like the results of an election, A) make sure you vote and B) there is always another election. You may not like the results but impeachment and\recall campaigns are divisive. Not liking someone is no reason for either.

    • Jose Moreno’s politics and what he stands for is enough of a reason to recall him. If you can’t control a sizable aspect of voting that is a problem and taints an election. Jose Moreno and his group can’t be much more divisive.

      I did my part: A. I voted and did not vote for Jose Moreno and B. I am fine with our council majority.

      What needs to happen is we need to approach the next election with our eyes wide open on who and what we are voting for. This needs to happen in every area including our school leadership roles.

      We need to pay attention NOW not just as we approach the next election. We have work to do in Anaheim. Why don’t we do a study or “working group” on the success or lack there of in our schools?

      Take away Jose Moreno’s soapbox before he sells more of our Anaheim residents his brand of snake oil.

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