Anybody who's been involved in College Park for a few years knows what the landlord organization wants to do with this initiative petition. The City Council has called that petition deceptive. Is that just politics, or do they have a point?
To be fair, I have decided to write down, as neutrally as I can, the language of an honest referendum petition that would do what the landlords want to do. Read it, and then decide for yourself whether you understood the petition would do that. A plain English statement of what they are trying to do would read as follows:
"It shall be unlawful for the City to require annual inspections of residential rental property for violations of health and safety codes.
It shall be unlawful for the City to charge property owners for such inspections.
It shall be unlawful for the City to make the collection of rents conditional on compliance with health and safety codes.
It shall be unlawful for the City to regulate residential rents."
The City's health and safety inspection regime applies to rental units, not to owner-occupied, and this qualifies as "discrimination by economic status," which the landlord organization wants to prohibit. The City is not about to start inspecting owner-occupied units. If you signed the petition, did you understand that you were supporting an end to inspection of rentals?