Most of the nation was fixated on primary races for the House and Senate Tuesday but in Palm Springs, a seemingly innocuous measure to regulate short-term home rentals was the center of attention. Proposition C, which appeared to be failing in early returns, would have restricted rentals of many single-family homes through Airbnb, VRBO, and similar peer-to-peer rental sites.
The proposition found its way onto the ballot through the efforts of Neighbors for Neighborhoods, a group of homeowners who charged that short-term rentals were driving down property values and turning many neighborhoods into party centrals frequently invaded by hordes of noisy, undisciplined visitors.
Opponents, backed by funding from the travel and tourism industry, countered with the argument that Palm Springs has always been a haven for visitors seeking brief periods of relaxation in the sunshine. Shutting down home rentals would damage the local economy and deprive many homeowners of a major source of revenue, they said.
Early returns showed the measure failing by a wide margin.
The debate about the measure pitted neighbor against neighbor. Retirees complained of noisy strangers disrupting neighborhood life while others said the complaints were exaggerated. Local message boards boiled over frequently as the same arguments were repeated endless at ever-increasing volume.