Delano rent control measure fails to qualify for November ballot by 150 signatures

June 18, 2024 /

So close and yet so far.  After six months of tedious work gathering voter signatures on a petition, proponents of an ordinance calling for rent control in Delano are disappointed.  Their effort fell short by just 150 valid registered voter signatures.

“The Kern Elections Division did complete the signature verification for the Petition for Fair Rent Delano Initiative.  The petition required 1,714 valid voter signatures and there were only 1,564 valid signatures. Therefore, the petition has been found to be insufficient,” wrote Adam Clark, Public Information Officer for the Elections Division in an email.

This means the proposed ordinance will not be on the November ballot.  Calls placed to organizers of the rent control drive for comment were not immediately returned. 

“It’s great news!” wrote Delano Mayor Joe Alindajao. “State rent control is already the law of the state and passing a Delano version is both unnecessary and a waste of taxpayer dollars.  I do have compassion for our own citizens who struggle to pay rent and face food insecurity but passing a bad law is not the answer.  The lack of signatures I think sends a clear message from our constituents that this piece of legislation is not the will of Delano voters,” added Alindajao. 

Proponents of the ordinance staged a grassroots campaign that kicked off in December with a coalition of community groups. Had the ordinance qualified for the November ballot and ultimately approved by the voters, Delano would have become the first city in Kern County with a rent control ordinance as well as additional tenant protections. 

The proposed measure 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.

In May, proponents of the ordinance turned in around 3,000 voter signatures to the Delano City Clerk’s office which reviewed the petitions to make sure all information was accurately completed.  However, only 2,270 voter signatures were found to be complete. The petitions were then forwarded to the Kern County Elections Division for signature verification.  

Of those 2,270 signatures, 1,564 were deemed to be “sufficient” falling 150 signatures short of the number needed for the ordinance to qualify for the November ballot.  Among the reasons found for invalid signatures were that people were not registered to vote, were registered at a different address, lived out of the district, had signed the petition more than once, no residence address was given or the signature on the petition did not match voter registration records.


While the petition failed to qualify for the November ballot, it does not necessarily mean the issue is dead.  It’s unclear what steps rent control proponents may take next.  Delano residents can still lobby the Delano City Council to implement rent control, but that may be an uphill battle, as the Delano City Council had balked at implementing such a measure.

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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