Kern County Elections Office reviewing proposed Delano rent control ordinance

May 28, 2024 /

Advocates of a proposed rent control ordinance carry boxes containing petitions with voter signatures to the Delano City Clerk’s office.

Proponents of an ordinance to implement rent control in Delano are hoping their work in gathering more than 3,000 voter signatures will not have been in vain. Earlier this month, volunteers with the “Fair Rents Delano campaign” dropped off petitions containing voter signatures endorsing the ordinance at the Delano City Clerk’s office. Their goal is to have a proposed rent control ordinance on the November ballot in which Delano residents will decide whether to be the first city in Kern County to implement rent control. 

But a significant number of those signatures were deemed to be incomplete after a review by Delano City Clerk Nancy Garcia. “Out of the roughly 3,000 signatures, 2,177 were found to be completed signatures,” said Garcia. For example, some had a name but no address listed or some had an address from outside the city of Delano. Only registered voters living in Delano are qualified to sign the petition. 

Garcia forwarded the petitions to the Kern County Elections which will verify to match voter signatures. Jennifer Lozano, Administrative Coordinator with the Kern County Auditor-Controller Elections Division confirmed the rent control petitions were received on May 23rd. Under the elections code, the county has around 30 days to complete the verification process. According to state elections law, the elections official must compare the signature in the voter’s registration record. Exact matches are not required for an elections official to confirm a valid signature. The fact that signatures share similar characteristics is sufficient to determine that a signature is valid. 

In order for the petition to be approved to be placed on the November ballot, it needs to have 1,700 valid voter signatures. That means no more than 477 signatures can be found to be invalid in order for the petition to qualify. If the ordinance is approved, it would limit rent increases that are 60% of the annual change in the federal consumer price index, or a maximum of 3% per year, whichever is less, with some exceptions over a 12-month period. Only housing units built before 1995 that are not exempt would be subject to rent control protections. 

Further, the ordinance adds many new eviction controls and tenant protections. But unlike rent control, these will be applicable to all residential units being rented, regardless of when the units were built.

Yolanda Chacon Serna, ex-resident from Delano speaking at a recent press conference. She said she could no longer afford to live in her hometown because of high rents and moved out.

Jose Gaspar

José Gaspar is a veteran journalist and former news anchor/reporter with Telemundo, Bakersfield. Prior, he worked 28 years at KBAK-TV as a reporter. Email him at