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Citrus Heights Chamber votes to endorse Measure M, oppose rent control

Sentinel staff report–
The Citrus Heights Chamber of Commerce voted Monday to endorse the city’s Measure M sales tax proposal and previously took action to recommend “yes” or “no” votes on several state ballot propositions.

The Chamber of Commerce’s Government Issues Committee took positions on a total of four propositions voters will see on the November ballot, recommending a “yes” vote on Proposition 20’s “fixes” to criminal justice reforms and a “yes” on Prop 22, which would allow app-based companies like Uber and Lyft to continue operations as normal.

The Chamber also took positions against the Local Rent Control Initiative, Proposition 21, saying “rent control has not worked well to improve the availability of affordable housing.”

Proposition 15, known as the “split-roll” property tax initiative, was also opposed by the Chamber. Committee Chairman Ray Riehle told The Sentinel in an email that reassessed commercial property taxes “will be reflected in higher rents which will be passed on to customers.”

The Chamber’s endorsement of Measure M, a one-cent-per-dollar sales tax increase proposed in Citrus Heights, came following a controversial forum Monday night that was boycotted by one side due to disagreement over the forum’s rules. The chamber voted 7-0, with two abstentions.

Abstentions came from a representative of the Sunrise MarketPlace business district, whose board has not taken a position on Measure M, and a board member who represents the Citrus Heights Police Department.

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Riehle said Measure M “is necessary to maintain the services that are important to the people of Citrus Heights,” citing lack of current funding for street repairs, law enforcement needs, and plans for transforming Sunrise Mall.

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Bruce Lee, a key opponent of Measure M and the head of the Sacramento Taxpayers Association, was not allowed to speak at the forum due to the Chamber limiting participation to residents of Citrus Heights. In a last-minute addition the day before the forum, the Chamber allowed David Warren, who is not an official spokesman for the “No on Measure M” campaign, to represent the opposing side. A letter from the “No on M” campaign was also allowed to be read during the forum.

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The “No on M” campaign criticized the Chamber for what it called “unreasonable” guidelines for the forum. The campaign also later noted that the Chamber’s interim executive director, Diane Ebbitt-Riehle, also serves as treasurer for the “Yes on Measure M” political committee.

The Chamber’s Government Issues chairman said he is hopeful that a second forum can be held and be “well publicized and attended.” The first forum was intended for the Chamber’s board members to hear both sides prior to the Chamber taking a position. It was restricted to 10 people in person and was not live-streamed.

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