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PGPOA Referendum Petitions – How the Council Should Vote?

A sample of PGPOA petition paper - Source: College Park Board of Election Supervisors

In tomorrow night’s regular Council meeting, the City Council will vote on two referendum petitions that Prince George’s Property Owners’ Association (PGPOA) submitted to the City recently.

According to City Charter, the Council last month referred the petitions to the Board of Election supervisors (BOES) to get them verified. The BOES looked into all of these petition signatures and found that they did not conform to the standard set in the Charter. The City’s attorney also chimed in with her own opinions saying the petitions were “legally insufficient”.

You can read the background of this petition saga in my previous post here.

At stake in tomorrow night’s vote is the fate of several thousand signatures that ordinary citizens put on the petition paper. It appears that whoever designed the petition paper did not carefully look into the City charter about the required format of such petitions.

That said, can we hold the ordinary residents responsible for the omission of their district numbers, when there was no space or column on the petition paper they could write on? Also, how things would have been different if these residents did not willfully write their district numbers, even when the petition papers had a space for a district number? I wish our City code was a bit more clear to distinguish between these two scenarios.

Interestingly, I came across a similar case in New Mexico, where the Supreme Court judges debated the ambiguity of their own election law. Last month, the Court okayed the petitions despite the lack of district number on petition papers.

Please let me know how the Council should vote at tomorrow’s Council meeting.

Regardless, I do think the PGPOA petitions themselves are either unnecessary or they may potentially harm the City in long run. If enacted, the City may not be able to provide an expanded quality service through potential new revenues it may generate from new developments and new businesses. But this is  a subject that I’d like to keep separate from the issue of validating petition signatures.

PGPOA Petitions “Legally Insufficient” – City Attorney Says

Letter showing City Attorney’s opinion on PGPOA petitions

At last night’s City Council meeting, City Attorney Ms. Suellen Ferguson reported that the recently submitted petitions by the Prince George’s Property Owners’ Association are “Legally insufficient”.

The City received two charter referendum petitions on March 22, 2012 meeting, when the Council referred the petitions to the attorney for a legal opinion whether the subject matter of each petition is appropriate for a proposed charter amendment placed on the ballot.

Ms. Ferguson said her opinion was based on a number of reasons.

She said the form of a petition does not comply with the requirements of the City Charter, as they do not include each signer’s City district. Board of Election Supervisor Jack Robson also spoke later to the Council on this ballot format issue.

She also said, according to the City Charter, the amendment must embrace only one subject, whereas the PGPOA petitions were based on two subjects.

Finally, she said the amendment has the effect of transferring the Council’s ability to set the tax rate to voters and this is an unreasonable limit on the Council’s legislative power. The tax revenues would eventually hamper the City government that it would be unable to perform the duties required by state law, she added.

You can see the reports from Ms. Ferguson and the Board of Elections Supervisor here and here respectively.

City Attorney to Present Report on PGPOA Rent Control Petitions

PGPOA petition letter

The Prince George’s Property Owner Association (PGPOA) recently submitted a series of two proposed Charter amendments, which, if legally valid and if they include the appropriate number of valid signatures, will appear on the ballot for an upcoming City special election.

At the April 10 regular meeting, the Council approved these petitions so that they can be reviewed by the Board of Elections Supervisors and the City attorney.

Accordingly, the City Attorney Ms. Ferguson is currently reviewing these petitions to determine whether they meet the legal requirements under State law for a municipal Charter amendment, including both the requirements of Article 23A of the State Code and case law interpreting these provisions.

Ms. Ferguson will report on the results of her review at tomorrow night’s council meeting. The Council will not vote on Ms. Ferguson’s report.

Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.

City to Formally Acknowledge PGPOA Petitions

Prince George's Property Owners' Association

In tonight’s regular council meeting, the Council is set to pass a resolution to  formally acknowledge two petitions submitted by the Prince George’s Property Owners Association.

Since last year, PGPOA has been collecting petition signatures to amend the City Charter in two ways:

1) To limit the total amount of revenue collected through real property taxes to the amount collected in FY 2011, and

2) to prohibit any distinction in the way the City regulates housing based on a variety of factors, including type or size of housing.

The City needs to pass a resolution to acknowledge receipt of these petitions, which were submitted a couple weeks ago.

There have been a a number of concerns about these petitions and the impact that they would have on the City, by preventing the City from obtaining revenue from new developments that come into the City or from allowing its revenue from keep pace with inflation, and seriously hamstringing the City’s ability to regulate rental housing.

The City attorney will be reviewing the proposed Charter amendments and the petitions to see if they meet the legal requirements to require a referendum under State laws and the City Charter.

We will keep you posted.

PGPOA Objects Rent Control Enforcement, City Responds

Prince George's Property Owners' Association

Recently, the City of College Park started to enforce the rent control ordinances on the rental housing units in the City. This came after a long legal battle between the City and the PGPOA – the Prince George’s Property Owners’ Association. The City finally won the case.

Once the enforcement started, the PGPOA started to complain, alleging that the City failed to establish a process for challenging the rent stabilization violation notices. Here is a letter they sent to the City with those complaints.

In response to that letter, the City also sent  a letter, which the Council approved in last Tuesday’s Council meeting. Please see that letter here.

PGPOA Petition is Dead, For Now

Prince George's Property Owners' Association

The petition drive by PGPOA (Prince George’s Property Owner’s Association) that wanted to impose two amendments to the City Charter has failed to submit the required signature by last Monday’s deadline.

This means that the charter amendment questions will not appear in the upcoming November Mayor and council election.

The PGPOA had to obtain the signatures of 20% of the qualified voters of the City to make these amendments on the ballot.

Commenting on the petition, District 1 council member Patrick Wojahn said :

“(the) proposed (amendments were brought) to essentially disable the City’s ability to provide necessary services to residents and regulate rental housing”

Reacting to Mr. Wojahn’s statement, PGPOA board member William Chicca said

“I would vehemently dispute Councilman’s Wojahn’s assessment of the intent of the petitions as typical politician’s hyperbole and posturing. In addition, if the deadline for submission for inclusion on the November 2011 ballot has passed, that does not prevent the petition from being submitted for inclusion on the 2013 ballot. “

Resident Group Seeks to Oppose PGPOA Petition

Prince George's Property Owners' Association

A group of concerned College Park residents is asking their fellow neighbors not to sign the petition which is currently being collected by Prince George’s Property Owners’ Association (PGPOA).

Please see the text of that “alert letter” below, at the end of the post (titled ‘Alert About Harmful and Deceptive Referendum Petitions). I’m also including the language of the petition that seeks to modify two articles of the City Charter:

    TWO PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO THE CITY CHARTER

    1.    Article XI, Sect. C12-6.  Non-Discrimination in Housing and Rental Laws
    “Any ordinance or other restriction governing housing and rentals shall be applied equally and uniformly throughout the City.  No law governing housing or rentals shall be valid which discriminates on the basis of race, sex, creed, national; origin, sexual orientation, occupation, familial status, economic status or geographical location.  Any law governing housing and rentals shall make no distinction on the basis of race, sex, creed, national; origin, sexual orientation, occupation, familial status, economic status or geographical location of the housing unit, or the size or type of the housing unit.  The City may create appropriate exceptions to this amendment for housing maintained by the State and local governments, hotels, motels, university dormitories, nursing homes and assisted living units, provided such housing does not violate Federal or state fair housing and fair accommodation laws.”

    2.    Article X, Sect. C10-12 Property Tax Limitation
    Notwithstanding any of provision of law, the City Council shall not levee a real property tax which would result in a total collection of real property taxes greater than the amount collected in fiscal year 2011.  In the event that any annual collection of real property taxes exceeds the limits set forth in this section as estimated in the annual budget projections, said excess shall be placed in a contingency fund, and, if not used during the current fiscal year, said excess will be included in the budget estimate for real property taxes in the following fiscal year.”

    Alert About Harmful and Deceptive Referendum Petitions

    Dear Neighbors,

    We are writing to alert you about the efforts of an absentee landlords group to place two City Charter amendments on the College Park municipal elections in 2011. Either one of these two Charter amendments, if it were to pass, would be extremely harmful to the residents of College Park.

    The Prince George’s Property Owners Association (PGPOA), which represents mostly absentee landlords who own rental houses in College Park, initiated the two petitions. The PGPOA hired an Arizona petition gathering firm to run this campaign and misinform residents that the purpose of these two petitions is to prevent housing discrimination in College Park and to “keep a lid on taxes.” In fact, the two referendums, if they pass, would force the city to abandon reasonable and lawful programs to regulate rental properties, increase taxes for homeowners while reducing taxes for absentee landlords, and require damaging cuts to essential city services.

    One of the two Charter amendments would require that “Any [city] law governing housing or rentals shall make no distinction on the basis of… the size or type of the housing unit.” The effect of this would be to prohibit the city from differential treatment of rentals vs. owner-occupied properties or rental houses vs. apartment buildings. This would destroy the City’s ability to enact necessary safety regulations relating to rental properties, or to enforce fire codes, rules against overcrowding, and basic requirements regarding upkeep of rental houses, unless they were applied equally to non-rental properties. It would also prevent the City from applying tax breaks for owner-occupied properties, such as the homestead property tax credit and the homeowners’ property tax credit, which save homeowners in College Park thousands of dollars every year.

    The second would permanently freeze the city’s total property tax revenues (not just the rate) at the fiscal year 2011 level. This means that city property tax revenues would not be allowed to increase to keep pace with inflation, annexations, new construction, or for any other reason. This would strangle the City’s progress and soon force cuts to core services like trash collection, recycling, snow removal, and policing. The absentee landlords group has cleverly worded its ballot measure to sound like tax relief, when in fact it would prevent the city from reaping the benefit of revenues from an expanding commercial tax base. With redevelopment occurring, we are seeing more taxes from developments such as student housing, IKEA, and other projects. The City has wisely used that money to keep homeowners’ tax rates low and to fund additional policing and other areas that increase quality of life. The combination of freezing total property tax revenues while removing the homestead tax credit would result in a significant decline in tax bills for rental properties and a significant increase for tax bills for homeowners.

    We urge you to join with us in opposing this dangerous attack on the city. If you signed one of the petitions and would like to withdraw your signature, you can complete and submit the withdrawal form available online.

    PGPOA Sends referendum Letter To College Park Homes

    PGPOA Letter

    In a new twist to the politics surrounding the referendum petition, College Park residents have started to receive a letter from the Prince George’s Property Association (PGPOA) yesterday. The letter asks residents to support the petition, which will force the City to put the referendum questions to the upcoming November election if it receives support of 20% of total registered voters.

    Here is the full text of the letter.

    The initiatives are sponsored by concerned voters in the City of College Park and the Prince George’s Property Owners Association. The Association has secured the services of a professional organization to collect the required signatures to place the initiatives on the next ballot.

    The initiatives simply provide the voters the opportunity to vote on the issues.

    ONE INITIATIVE FREEZES TAXES AT THE FISCAL YEAR 2011 LEVEL.
    It would NOT preclude future tax increases. It merely requires that the City Council obtains voter approval to increase taxes. If the Council cannot justify a tax increase, it would need to live within its current revenues.

    THE SECOND INITIATIVE ADDRESSES RENT CONTROL.
    Currently, Rent Control only applies to single family homes and small apartment units. This initiative would apply the law to ALL rental units in the City, including the high-rise apartment units. It is a question of fairness and equity, and levels the playing field for all property owners.

    RENT CONTROL ON SINGLE FAMILY HOMES, AND NOT ON HIGH-RISE-APARTMENTS, LOWERS PROPERTY VALUES OF SINGLE FAMILY HOMES. Protect the value of your home!

    The initiative will not affect the Homestead Tax provisions of county law, and will not impact current rental licensing and inspections and fees on rental properties.

    WANT FURTHER INFORMATION? GO TO: www.collegeparkhousing.org CALL: (443) 458-5312
    Please remember, signing these initiatives is your democratic right.

    BOTTOM LINE: It provides the opportunity for YOU, the voter, to have the final say on these vital issues.

    PGPOA Claims Responsibility of Referendum Petition


    Prince George's Property Owners' Association

    For the past several days, the City officials and residents were wondering who was behind a controversial referendum petition. Now, it has finally found its source.

    Yes, PGPOA (Prince George’s Property Owner’s Association) is responsible for initiating the petition drive to get the two proposals on the City ballot” – said PGPOA member William Chicca in an email to me.

    Many of the members of PGPOA are residents of the city and are very concerned about the direction the city government is going in trying to impede and even suppress rental of single family homes” – Mr. Chicca said in explaining the reason why PGPOA initiated the petition drive.

    It appears that PGPOA has hired Petition Partners, an Arizona company, to circulate two charter amendment petitions in the City. The City has denied any affiliations with Petition Partners in any way.

    These petitions seek to impose two amendments to the City Charter. If Petition Partners obtains the signatures of 20% of the qualified voters of the City on the petitions, and the amendments are otherwise lawful, then the City will be required to place both questions on a ballot for a vote in the council election.

    The petition drive has left City officials understandably concerned – so  much so that it has recently warned residents on City’s website with the consequences of the petition if it gathers enough signatures.

    According to the notice, the City warns its residents by saying that the passage of the petitioners’ demand will eradicate rent control ordinances and requirement that the landlords pay a trash collection fee. It also says the petition would prevent residents from claiming the Homestead Property Tax for owner occupants with a principal residence in the City and prohibit the City from licensing and making annual safety inspections for rental properties.

    But Mr. Chicca disagrees with these allegations.

    The petition is to uniformly apply the rent control program to ALL rental units in the City, other than those actually owned by the State of Maryland at the University. ” – said Mr. Chicca.

    The basic issue is equity and fairness.  If rent control is good for the single family homes and the small apartments – why isn’t it equally good for the high rise rentals?  Why should the high rise rental buildings receive an unfair advantage in setting rents when compared to single family homes?” Mr. Chicca added.

    Pointing to the City’s position on the petition, Mr. Chicca said: “As usual, the City is blowing smoke to distort and confuse the issue and saying the sky will fall if the initiative passes.  They certainly do not want political backlash and opposition from the owners of the high rise units, and don’t want to appear unfriendly to new high rise development, which rent control will do.”

    The second amendment in the petition would cap the amount of money that can be raised by City taxes to the amount collected as taxes in fiscal year 2011, forever.

    This is about the tax cap – similar to the County tax cap.  Government has an insatiable appetites for money and experience dictates that it will raise taxes as high and as often as they can.  The initiative is intended to put city government on a monetary diet – controlling how high they can raise taxes. ” – said Mr. Chicca.

    Earlier, some City Council members expressed their frustrations with the group or person initiating the petition.

    This (petition) is basically being run by a group of cowards who don’t want to reveal who they are,” said District 4 Council Member Marcus Afzali in an interview with the College Park Patch.

    We know those behind the petitions will not come out in public and have the courage to claim responsibility for their actions and explain their intent in supporting these petitions.” – Afzali added further with a prediction.

    Council to Form Complete Census Count Committee

    The next decennial census will occur in the spring of 2020. Obtaining an accurate count is critical to informed decision-making and securing sufficient funding to meet residents’ needs. Census data collected in 2020 will be used to reapportion congressional representation, redistrict legislative boundaries, and determine the annual distribution of federal funds for the next ten years.

    To improve census participation and help ensure an accurate count, the Census Bureau has asked tribal, state, and local governments to organize Complete Count Committees (CCCs). At tomorrow’s meeting, the Council will consider the formation of a Complete Count Committee by early next year. The CCC will consist of elected and community leaders of various groups working in the city.

    According to the the proposal, the Committee shall be composed of up to ten (10) members who shall be appointed by the Mayor and Council. The Mayor and Council may consider representation from target groups in making their appointments, including:
     Council members, to serve as liaisons to the full Council (2);
     University of Maryland staff, possibly represented by the Department of Resident
    Life and the Office of Community Engagement (2);
     University of Maryland students, possibly represented by the Student Government
    Association and Interfraternity Council (2);
     The senior community, possibly represented by a Seniors Committee or Neighbors
    Helping Neighbors member (1);
     The Hispanic Parent Support Group (1);
     A community association, possibly represented by the College Park Arts Exchange
    (1); and
     The Prince George’s County Property Owners’ Association (PGPOA) (1).

    City Resources to Address Quality of Life Issues

    City’s Neighborhood Quality of Life has compiled a list of resources to help address the quality of life issues in College Park. Please see them here:

    The link above will direct users to the city’s online reporting system. Hosts of reporting categories are available here and “tickets” can be reported anonymously.
    –       Noise Hotline
    Unless it is for the purpose of necessary property maintenance during the day, it is unlawful for any owner or occupant of real property located within the City to make or generate loud or raucous sound on said property, or to permit any loud or raucous sound to be made or generated on said property, so as to cause unreasonable annoyance or disturbance to others living or located nearby.  Allowable noise is limited to 65 decibels during the day and 55 decibels at night.  A code enforcement officer is on duty late spring and early fall on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 6:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m.  If you have a noise complaint at any time, you may call the Code/Noise Enforcement Hotline at 240-487-3588.
    Provides $5,000 grants to households/individuals to purchase properties within the corporate limits of College Park. Applies to rental homes (2+ years) converting to owner occupied by way of sale. Applicants must agree to live in the property as their primary residence for a minimum of 5 years.
    –       College Park Day and Good Neighbor Day
    These events, sponsored by the city and university, bring together community members to share city services, highlight local businesses, provide opportunities to laugh and dance together, and bring citizens together in the spirit of community service.
    –       Code of Student Conduct
    Accountability is key. Students behaving in an inappropriate or illegal manner throughout our city and state can be reported to the Code of Student Conduct office for disciplinary action. The primary purpose for the imposition of discipline in the University setting is to protect the campus community. Consistent with that purpose, reasonable efforts will also be made to foster the personal and social development of those students who are held accountable for violations of University regulations. Sanctions can vary from a reprimand to expulsion.
    Initiated this Fall, this certification program sets a baseline for educating city landlords on best practices and compliance with city, county, and state regulations.

     

    Best Practices Sought to Improve City’s Rental Property Stock

    In an attempt to improve the quality of life related to city’s rental properties, the Neighborhood Stabilization and Quality of Life group came up with a few recommendations. They include establishing an accrediation program for the rental property owners (landlords), start an annual orientation program, and require them to live close to College Park. Please see below for details.

    (1) Create an accreditation program for rental house property owners/managers. Accreditation would indicate that property meets specific standards and that the property owner commits to certain actions that will address core quality of life issues in the neighborhood.

    City could inform property owners about Accreditation program during the rental license renewal process.

    Some suggested incentivizing participation by reducing frequency of inspections to every other year for accredited rental property owners and stated that other municipalities do inspections at 2-3 year intervals. A reduction in hours needed for inspections may free up time for other duties (i.e. more hours on Noise Enforcement). Public Services staff responded that an annual compliance inspection seems minimal to insure renter safety, health, and welfare and that inspections can help compliant property owners prove due diligence if sued by tenants for alleged deficiencies. One member commented that such a program should avoid providing City benefits that are not directly administered by the City, and should not require rental property owners to join, support, participate in, or seek approval from any private association as a condition for their entitlement to full benefits under the program.

    Public Services staff suggested a tiered approach (Gold, Silver, Bronze) to reflect life safety standards. PGPOA representatives thought that a tiered system would be too complicated for them to administer in the initial implementation phase but would be good to consider for the future.

    (2) Require property owners (or their agents) to participate in annual orientation, in order to receive rental license/permit, that has the follow elements:
    • Enrollment in electronic notification system with name of person with relevant contact information.
    • Explanation by code enforcement with a focus on new and enhanced expectations.
    • Mandated viewing of a video to highlight the challenges the community faces renting to the student population and outline best practices.

    (3) Require property owners or agent/manager to be within 75-mile radius of College Park.
    Streamline the rental licensing process, including the following:
    • Automate rental license renewal process.
    • Provide one rental registration deadline for ALL rental properties (early in the year) when the permit fee is paid and all paperwork is completed. Inspection occurs throughout the year (as it is done now).
    • Offer orientation program on three different dates around the registration deadline. All stakeholders (University, Policy, Fire, Resident, IFC, SGA, PGPOA, etc.) could be invited to participate.
    Create a clearinghouse for complaints against rental property owners and attempt to solve problems that are reported.

    Please note, current permitting process only requires a local agent, not manager, to receive notices; the local agent does not have to address any problems that may arise at the property. PGPOA will provide a sample statute for the City to consider.

    (4) Streamline the rental licensing process, including the following:
    • Automate rental license renewal process.
    • Provide one rental registration deadline for ALL rental properties (early in the year) when the permit fee is paid and all paperwork is completed. Inspection occurs throughout the year (as it is done now).
    • Offer orientation program on three different dates around the registration deadline. All stakeholders (University, Policy, Fire, Resident, IFC, SGA, PGPOA, etc.) could be invited to participate.

    Streamlining the licensing process could free up City staff to focus more time on issue reduction. Public Services staff commented that City Finance and IT staff would need to develop new protocols and software. Such a program should include enhancements to property owner contact information (e.g., adding email addresses, identifying type of phone (cell or landline), and indicating if phone number can receive text messages. Penalties could be imposed if the information provided is not accurate.

    (5) Create a clearinghouse for complaints against rental property owners and attempt to solve problems that are reported.

    Walk and Talk with Police, This Thursday

    Walk and Talk May 2011

    Take a walk with your police officers and your neighbors this Thursday and talk with folks living at at the houses YOU identified as “problem houses”.

    Please join the Walk and if you can or let the Police know of any house you would like added to the list.

    The Walk and Talk will continue from 6 pm – 8 pm, this Thursday, September 20th.

    The group will meet outside City Hall.

    The event is sponsored Sponsored by: Prince George’s County Police Department. Please contact  Officer Black  of PGPD at JJBlack@co.pg.md.us; 202.669.7800 or Lisa Miller of Prince George’s Property Owners’ Association (PGPOA) at terprealestate@comcast.net; 301.704.1342

    Group Gets to Work on “One Community, One Vision” Project

    One Community, One Vision

    A few weeks ago, I took a class with a number of my colleagues on our Council and other council members in a few other cities and municipalities across the country. The class was organized by the International Town and Gown Association (ITGA), that mainly focuses its activities to improve relationship between the University and the long time residents in the city.

    College Park, being the home of the University of Maryland, is not quite different from any other university town in the country. It has the same kind of challenges, such as noise, public safety, trash / litters and other code enforcement related issues that other college towns are facing.

    At the end of the course, we were divided into groups and were assigned to work on real world project that they want to work on. Our group comprised of council members / officials from the City of College Park, Prince George’s County, the University of Maryland and the Prince George’s Property Owners’ Association (PGPOA). After several days of brainstorming and discussion we cam up a project that we named “One Community, One Vision”.

    First, we identified the stakeholders in this project. The list is long:

    • Long term residents
    • Community Associations: Berwyn, North, Wood, Lakeland
    • Businesses
    • Non profits: MNCPPC
    • Associations: PGPOA
    • Local, County and State Government
    • Public/Private Schools
    • Faith Based Organizations
    • Local Community Leaders
    • Faculty/Staff
    • Students on and Off Campus

    We also planned to to form small focus groups in order to see input from larger communities from these larger groups.

    We also identified programs and Activities to showcase this project. The include

    • College Park Day
    • Good Neighbor Day
    • College Park 101 – A course we proposed new UMd students to take in the Spring Semester. This includes a brief history of College Park, Cultural and Recreational Sites, Services for the community
    • Produce a few multimedia (videos) Here and here are two sample YouTube Videos:

    We also planned to produce a brochure / pamphlet for the new students, titled “Practical Guide for Living Away from home”. This will include How to find information:

    • Where to find the services:
    • How to behave and be a member of the community:
    • How to serve on the community

    We also planned to have an annual survey among the parents, students, and residents.

    The group intends to work on this project in the coming weeks and months. I will let you know as we make progress.

    Rent Control Public Hearing

    Some 55 residents packed up the Council chamber yesterday to talk about the rent stabilization ordinances at last night’s public hearing. I tried to compile their testimonies here. The Council will vote on the ordinance tonight.

    Ms. Lea Callahan. Owns a business for downtown town College Park business. Se often gets disturbed by the noise caused by the students. PGPOA and landlords should be responsible to upkeep the property

    Lisa Miller. She understand the basic premise of rent control – improve the quality of life. “There is a game changer, which is the University of Maryland”. She is asking to consider one year extension and one year enforcement. She is hopeful that new cooperation. She hasn’t talked to the PGPOA membership within her organization.

    Paul Carlson : He thinks landlords have shown cooperation. There is an opportunity to work together. He is asking for more help One year extension and one year enforcement.

    Bryan Mack: He is a landlord. He is pretty much tuned in all the concerns residents have. He suggests consequesnces for the students who make noises. “Build a good relationship . Instead of divide and conquer the landlord community, send an unified message.” – he said.

    John Havermale: He thanked the Mayor and Council for the ongoing negotiation. He thinks a working relationship exists between the City and the landlords instead of a fighting one. He is also excited to have the UMd part of this. PGPOA represents 140 members, 350 houses serving 2500 residents.

    Tim Miller Rent control is contrary to the free market. It’s comparable to socialism – like the system in a communist country. City’s code enforcement is not effective. rent stabilization is not the way to  address the issue.

    James Kane: Thinks there hasn’t been much cooperation between the City and the landlords. He charges the City pulled the plug from the feet of the landlords, when they attempted to work with the City collaboratively. Eliminate antagonism and knit-picking.

    Robert Davis: Property values have gone down due to  Council be in the top 3, not even within top 10. He cannot sell house, because the price has gone down. Rent Control is not going to give a better quality of life.

    Richard Williamson: He supports the continuation of rent stabilization. We don’t have enough houses to be converted to rental houses. We lose families, every time we convert a property into a rental one.

    Read more »

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