Saturday, June 18, 2016

My Intended Remarks Against Proposed Torrance Airbnb Ban--June 14th, 2016

At the June 14th, 2016 Torrance City Council meeting, residents throughout the city, and activists throughout Southern California, attended to voice their support or opposition to an aggressive response to the rising coyote problems in the city.

Later in the meeting, the city council would discuss a ban on short-term rentals and like programs, i.e. Airbnb.

The presentation and then the discussions on the coyote problem required a great deal of time. Before final remarks ended, it was 10:30pm! 

I had to go home at that point, as did many in the audience.

Janet West, a friend of mine and fellow member of We the People Rising, offered to stay and read my comments to the city council regarding this proposed ban.

Here are the remarks:

Good Evening Once Again, Torrance City Council.

The city council has engaged in further encroachment into individual’s  private property.

I understand the concerns which members of the community face, and which the city council is responding to. But a broad approach to the problems associated with short-term rentals is unjust, unfair, and  I would submit unconstitutional.

This country is based on the life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, which John Locke had originally referred to as property.

A man’s home is his castle, get off my lawn, etc are some trite phrases which capture this essential reality. The complaints of one or two residents should not preclude the rights of the tens of thousands of homeowners in this city.

Residents now have to obtain a permit just to host a garage sale on their property.

Certain homes must endured a more lengthy process before the planning commission to engage in further contracting work on their homes.

And now, this council wants to tell everyone: you cannot let out your rooms for short or long terms.
I must admit that I am not a home-owner in the city, but that does not preclude my concerns about the potential impositions on private property and individual liberty.

I have spoken with other residents in the city, and residents in other cities.

When Airbnb or other short-term rentals lead to abuse in the streets, noise, or debris from the neighborhoods, the proper remedy should be to hold those irresponsible homeowners accountable.
To take away from everyone the right to short-term rentals in their home is an unjust taking. To penalize advertisements for room rentals of any sort is very disturbing to me, as well.

One councilmember remarked to me that short-term rentals should be banned in residential areas because they are not business districts. Should we prevent small business owners from  running businesses out of their homes, too? Where does these gross interventions cease?

Do the right thing. Seek to implement  a proper scope of regulations to ensure a quality neighborhood for all along with the full use of ownership for each homeowner. One homeowner informed me that he would have no problem with home inspections or even paying a tax as part of the opportunity to offer short-term rentals.

The city council spent two years discussing an urban farming ordinance. The birds and the bees can live in people’s homes, but not other people?

Homeownership is a precious right, and an expensive one here in the city of Torrance. Many residents rely on short-term rentals to supplement their income. Cutting off this source of revenue because of a few malefactors is the wrong approach.

Thank you.

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