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In Delano, residents will vote on rent control come November

A sign just off Highway 99 near Delano, Calif.
Cresencio Rodriguez-Delgado
A sign just off Highway 99 near Delano, Calif.

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DELANO, CA. — Rent hikes have become untenable for many in California.

In Delano, change could be on the horizon: a coalition of community groups turned in a petition this month to get rent control on the November ballot.

The groups collected more than 3,000 signatures to qualify the measure for the ballot.

If approved by voters, the city of Delano would be the first in the San Joaquin Valley to impose city-wide rent control.

Arturo Rodriguez with the Central Valley Empowerment Alliance helped collect signatures.

"Since the pandemic, Delano alone has seen an average of a 40% increase in rent," he said. "So just in a few years, people have had to pay nearly half more of their rent."

The ballot initiative seeks a rent registry, stricter rules on when landlords can evict tenants, and a 3% cap on annual rent hikes.

Lupe Martinez of the group Delano Guardians also supported the petition.

"The best way to get this done is democratically and have the people vote for it," Martinez said.

The groups will continue campaigning for the measure until November.

Esther Quintanilla reports on diverse communities for KVPR through the Central Valley News Collaborative, which includes The Fresno Bee, Vida en el Valle, KVPR and Radio Bilingüe.