The LookOut Letters to the Editor
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"Boss" Mayors, Socialist Housing and SMRR-backed Rent Hikes

June 20, 2001

Dear Editor,

(Re: "Election Reform Supporters Gather Signatures for Ballot Initiative," June 20.)

So Mr. De Santis wants to pit us Santa Monica residents against each other, as if our City is so big that seven overall residents can not represent the City together for the good of us all. A Boss Mayor to boot!

Great idea De Santis. Bring us apart and lets have a Boss Mayor too!

Randy Walburger
Santa Monica


June 20, 2001

Dear Editor,

(Re: "PNA Wants Tenant Ownership, More Senior Housing," June 20.)

Thank you for Teresa Rochester's excellent article on the Pico Neighborhood Association's "quiet campaign" to boost tenant ownership of their apartments.

In the article, Joan Ling of the Community Corporation argues that home ownership is "not acceptable in Santa Monica for low-income tenants." She also contends that "community" ownership of housing is somehow comparable to the traditional American Dream of owning one's own house. She states: "It's just different from the traditional American Dream... the units are owned by the community. That to me is ownership."

"Community ownership" of housing has nothing to do with the American Dream. It was, however, the dream of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Ho Chi Minh, and Deng Xiaoping.

While I admire Ms. Ling's honesty, what she is advocating is hardcore socialism. And just like the Marxists of days gone by, she knows what's best for you. She knows how to spend your money better than you do. Who in the hell is she? Why doesn't she donate her private home to the "community?"

The American Dream is not just some fuzzy feel good idea. Home ownership is what has driven this country's economy for the last 200 years. Tenants who had the foresight and took the initiative to purchase their apartments under the TORCA initiative have experienced huge gains in equity. This is the type of wealth building that gets people out of the "low income" or moderate income" categories. No one builds wealth by paying rent to a landlord, or paying rent to the "community".

The residents of the Pico Neighborhood would do well by themselves to:

  • Support any ballot initiative that allows renters to buy their units.
  • Support the direction of city resources (budget money) to lending programs that assist tenants in their effort to finance the purchase their apartments.
  • Abandon SMRR. These people do not want you to have private property. It threatens their existence.
  • Ignore the socialist propoganda put forward by Ms. Ling and SMRR. Plug your ears if they ever show up to one of your meetings.
  • Call several home lenders to inquire about special loan programs (there are a lot of them out there, but you need to have a knowledgeable and aggressive mortgage broker).
  • Be creative. If a loan does not exist for you, find a partner, get help from family.
  • Keep the senior housing issue separate from the home ownership issue. Senior housing in urban areas has always been a serious problem. Neither the PNA nor SMRR will solve it.

I wish good luck to the future homeowners of the Pico Neighborhood.

Sincerely,

Raymond Marks
Santa Monica.


June 19, 2001

Dear Editor,

So the Santa Monicans for RENTERS' Rights (SMRRs) on Santa Monica's Rent Control Board (minus Bruria Finkle) just approved a 4.5 percent rent increase -- the highest in ten years.

"This is to cover increased utility and other costs," the board said. Most renters pay their own utilities so who is giving us a break? It is surely not Santa Monicans for RENTERS' Rights who has been granting ever larger increases to landlords over the last couple of years.

Between this and our SMRR-dominated City Council who doesn't want to (fully) rebate the windfall utility tax revenues from increased energy rates, Santa Monica renters are taking it in the shorts from both sides from the organization that claims to represent them.

Santa Monicans for RENTERS Rights is sounding more like "Santa Monica's for Screwing the Renters" lately. It seems that it's the Living Wage, which will cost us a lot more money when we go down town, that is taking top priority with them these days.

I hope the "renters" of the community remember all the good things our elected SMRR officials have done for us come election time next year. I intend to.

Bill Bauer
Santa Monica


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