California voters hand rent control advocates a decisive defeat; they’ll be back.

Earlier we mentioned that California’s Prop. 10 might have signaled new life for bad policy. We quoted from a Governing magazine column describing the California measure and others:

Californians will be voting Tuesday on a ballot measure that would repeal a state law prohibiting cities from expanding rent control. In Illinois, the state legislature is contemplating eliminating a ban on rent control and creating six boards to manage rents statewide. Meanwhile, the New York city council is considering a potentially unconstitutional commercial rent-control proposal that would limit property owners’ ability to increase rents for office, industrial and retail space.

While we con’t know what NYC and Illinois will do, we applaud California’s decisive rejection of the measure. The San Francisco Chronicle reports,

Despite the landslide defeat of a rent-control measure on the statewide ballot, the fight between tenants and housing interest groups is far from over.

Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, says he and other lawmakers are discussing bills to help tenants for the legislative session that begins Jan. 7, including proposals to prevent steep rent increases during housing crises and to strengthen just-cause eviction laws.

Chiu said lawmakers need to find a way to help renters in the aftermath of Proposition 10’s defeat. The measure, which would have allowed cities to expand rent control, was thumped in last week’s election, 61 to 39 percent.

While ongoing political battles are often simply signs of partisans balancing and recalibrating old arguments, sometimes to positive effect, the downsides of rent control are about as established as economics gets

We sometimes look to California and shake our heads at the state’s policy adventures. Now, we congratulate California voters on a sensible rent control call.