Both sides in Jersey City’s Airbnb battle are amping up their aggression when it comes to getting their message out, with ads suddenly hitting social media and mailboxes at a blistering pace ahead of the November 5th referendum.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“Trying to make ends meet by renting out your place? Beware of Municipal Question One: a short-term rental ban. Once again, special interests got the politicians, turned around and wrote a ballot measure designed to fool you,” a September 21st ad from the “Keep Our Homes” group committed to defeating the ballot question.
Trying to level the playing field is the Share Better Coalition, an anti-Airbnb organization sponsored by the Hotel Association of New York City and the New York Trade Council.
By Wednesday, a TV commercial paid for by the “Share the Better Education Fund” had responded, exclaiming that Airbnb had turned thousands of housing into “pricey-tourist rentals.”
According to the ad, 2,651 Airbnb rentals are listed in Jersey City, causing quality of life concerns such as “more trash, strangers and wild parties in our neighborhoods.”
“The Jersey City ordinance is very similar to the Boston ordinance that Airbnb supported. The difference is that in Jersey City they see an opportunity to not find middle ground but force an agenda with no rules for them,” Mayor Steven Fulop tweeted.
“The mayor had a chance to promulgate sensible regulations but instead shut out Jersey City renters and homeowners in the favor of a special interest ban that will harm the economic security of working families. #VoteNO,” the Keep Our Homes Twitter account shot back.
Despite Fulop and Council members James Solomon and Mira Prinz-Arey, the two ordinance sponsors of the legislation approved in June, characterizing the changes as sensible regulations, Keep Our Homes and their supporters have continued to insist the new ordinance equates to a ban.
Both sides also dropped mailers last week to double down on their positions, a solid indicator that a blitzkrieg attack across the board should be expected in the next five weeks or so prior to Election Day.
The ordinance in question, which will be either kept in place or rescinded based on Jersey City voters, would allow a rental that the owner lives in to rent out up to two units in a three- or four-family residence, as well as limit out of state owners from renting out properties that they don’t actually live in.
“That’s what vested interests do. Spend millions of dollars to deny the obvious…all to protect their income stream without regard for the negative impacts they impose on the community in which they operate,” Solomon tweeted on Thursday.
A poll by Expedition Strategies released by Airbnb on Wednesday indicated that 68 percent of Jersey City voters supported allowing Airbnb rentals in the city, while 65 percent specifically said they were okay with Airbnb operating in their own neighborhoods.