Montclair Residents Bombarded With Text Messages, MPOA Sends Open Letter

Montclair residents have flooded social media with images and complaints about receiving multiple text messages from Montclair Property Owners Association (MPOA), after a judge ruled that the Township had to hand over its contact list to the MPOA. Now the MPOA has released an “open letter to Montclair voters,” stating their position regarding the rent control ordinance and the “division this has caused in Montclair.”

The letter is published in full below:

The Montclair Property Owners Association [MPOA] filed its petition with the Town Clerk to put the Council’s Rent Control Ordinance up for a referendum vote.

There has been much misinformation and misrepresentation of the facts spread by the Council surrounding this effort regarding the circumstances and motivation behind it.

MPOA would like to address your concerns and firmly state our position on the issue:

  • The MPOA was formed because elected officials in Montclair did not engage the public or property owners in passage of this ordinance. Pointing to private meetings among tenants and expressions at Council meetings of a need for rent control by a small group of tenants is not a replacement for substantive dialogue and belies the lack of process or policy development that has defined this situation;
  • The ordinance was developed in a “back-room” discussion and was never announced in compliance with regulations, which is before the Superior Court;
  • The Council ignored Governor Murphy’s order to not pursue substantial policy directives during the COVID-19 State of Emergency;
  • We asked each member of the Council, including the Mayor, to engage in a dialogue with us about rent control. They refused, saying it was too late, when in actuality it was before the second reading when amendments are heard under Montclair’s form of government;
  • At every step in the process we have attempted to obtain amendments to the Ordinance that might have been sufficient to avoid litigation and Referendum;
  • It was not our goal to obtain your contact information. The Superior Court ordered the Town to do so after the Council stonewalled our efforts to communicate the issue to you in a more reasonable way;
  • We were forced to litigate as a last resort because it was either that or accept the devastating fiscal impact that this ordinance would have on Montclair;
  • Montclair has voted on rent control before and every time it has failed to pass.
  • That the Council has failed to address inadequacies in the law itself that will render it unenforceable is inexcusable and leaves the tenants in the precarious position of losing rent control even if the Ballot Question fails;
  • We acknowledge that there were unconscionable rent increases for some tenants and expressed our commitment to work to prevent that in the future. We don’t think rent control is the best solution, but most property owners live with rent control in other towns and it could work in Montclair, as well. But this Ordinance is an inexcusably poorly conceived and crafted document that the tenants themselves should object to.
  • We also regret the division this has caused in Montclair. But the community would be 100% behind this referendum if they realized the ramifications of this ordinance – and the dangerous precedent it sets where your elected officials can pass any law they wish without the input of the public.

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  1. Let’s be absolutely crystal clear MPOA — you don’t represent most property owners. Got it? Let us know you really get it because you are not exactly the group that has demonstrated you get it. You don’t get to negotiate squat. Zilch. Nada. I take offense that you think you have earned this privilege. Really offends me.

    You do not get to have your own back-room negiotatiations. You guys have done that for years. A little sunlight please. A little respect. You are skating on very thin Clary Anderson ice. Be careful it doesn’t break under the combined weight of your many properties.

  2. If MPOA is so convinced of the rightness of its position, then why is it sending misleading texts to get people to sign its petition.

    They haven’t acted in good faith once here. I will take great pleasure in voting against them if this is put on the ballot.

    They are wasting my time and hurting this town.

  3. It’s a poorly conceived ordinance but the last council had two years before to better work out details when tenant pressures really began. To do something. Instead, they were too late to the table again and then rushed, just to get it done for the election vote. During a pandemic to boot. Unfortunately, our local electors here continue to largely act only under pressure, or for self-gain….rather than proactively think through and work out smart public policy.

    Is some reasonable rent control needed to address turmoil in the marketplace today here? Both from the many new rental unit building price escalation impacts and now, Covid? Yes. For a few years maybe, until prices smooth out from supply and demand. Nonetheless, it is high demand here largely, not racial-class war conspiracies, that’s causing changes to the township’s character and demographics.

    Is it the job of local government to socially engineer and protect economic classes and racial diversity to manage a town’s make-up? Should single family home owners and other renters and landlords have to fiscally compensate to accommodate that engineering, rather than just let market forces prevail? Determine equitable tax ratables? Hopefully all this will get fully debated, if the issue gets put on the ballot. And it should.

  4. FYI for those getting a flood of texts, just simply reply STOP. Most legitimate organizations will take you off their mailings.

  5. Well I can tell you they are not a legitimate organization and they have proved this time and time again. They have misrepresented themselves as an organization FOR RENT CONTROL 1st collecting signatures on Church Street, then through the calls and texts eluding to the fact that they are for rent control when in actuality it is the opposite. No morals, no values just greed and clearly bigotry is at the helm of this group. It makes me sad to watch my town become a refuge for such despicable behavior. I ask you, how does this uplift the community?

  6. If we are using your same standards and your same brush Radianalchemy, then the tenants organization (TOOM) and the Township Councils have consistently lied, shown an absence of values and exhibited unadulterated, unmitigated greed.

    This is why we are here now. Do you honestly think the Council and TOOM was doing God’s work and some heathen judge is trying to to undo a pure altruistic act? Do you think this greed will uplift this community? I don’t see how.

    This is what I love about making a moral high-ground argument in this town. In reality, it alludes any of us who attempt it. But God, there is something very Trumpian about our bombastic attempts. While your case made in-person would have scored higher, your remote effort is a C+.

  7. Radiantalchemy — here’s the question for you. Should, or must some residents now pay more to compensate ….with inequitable collected taxes or higher rents resulting for those outside of rent control, so that others can pay less to stay, who now just can’t afford the housing market pricing….so we can maintain an essentially distorted, and socially engineered Montclair diversity?

    Most would agree that diversity is a community goal. But at what and who’s cost? As painful as it is to see our demographics shift and the township character change resulting….where is it written that you have a guarantee to remain here regardless of history and connection, that change must not come, and that subsidization is required to stop it, even when there is no area housing shortage –- because some are no longer able to afford to stay in this specific and more desired location?

    Gentrification here is not caused by racism. It’s being caused by supply and demand. And the Township’s successes and amenities…help drive that.

  8. Radiantalchemy — I’d hope you say a bit more than that to convey why you believe this is really about “morals, greed and bigotry.” Did want to hear your views.

    Isn’t entitlement a factor too? Doesn’t, as Frank Rubacky alludes to — the tenants group have greed too if you think about it. Montclair is hot. Prices rise. More housing built to accommodate, given regional demand. So if you can’t afford the higher rents, shouldn’t you have to move to a place you can?

    In reality, there are less expensive towns and housing options nearby. So it’s not a housing “crisis” as the tenants group asserts. It’s only a crisis if you want to stay in more expensive Montclair. Well really….

    Many immigrant, then lower class ethnic families had lived in NYC since the early 1900’s. Today, many of those grandkids and their families can’t afford to remain. Even with rent control, given the confines of the city’s borders, they can’t afford the rents. Maybe didn’t buy a home last century. So they have to leave. Chased out. Pushed to the the suburbs. And their demand here is now pushing out others in Montclair.

    That’s not bigotry or racism by Italians, Jews or Irish. It’s cost. Fueled by demand from others who have more $ than they do to remain in NYC. Isn’t that the real issue.

    Isn’t life really that if you can’t afford to buy or get something, you do what you can and find what you can afford? How does that basic reality and philosophy change here?

    That’s why I ask again. Should, or must some residents now pay more to compensate ….with inequitable collected taxes or higher rents resulting for those outside of rent control, so that others can pay less to stay, who now just can’t afford the housing market pricing….to maintain an essentially distorted, and socially engineered Montclair diversity?

  9. How is a public meeting “secret”? Badly kept secret as I read about the proposed rent control ordinance from many different sources. And seeing that all who voted for it on the council were re-elected in the May election, does that not indicate voter approval of what their duly elected representatives had passed? It seems to me that MPOA is doing a great job through their devious methods and subterfuge of getting the citizens of Montclair to get behind rent control. If that is their goal, they are very effective.

  10. So who’s running the social media campaign for this group? Bet it’s Publitics. One big happy money machine we have going here.

  11. Justbob — it wouldn’t make any sense that Publitics ran the anti-rent control PR effort.

    Publitics was the campaign consulting company for Mayor Spiller and company’s campaign….4 councilors from the last team up for re-election who supported rent control legislation — prior to the May Council election.

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