The below letter was sent to Steve Lopez at the Los Angeles Times.
I appreciate that you attempt to be “fair-minded” when you talk about the housing crisis. I remember, as you suggest, that my son, Jeffrey, reminded me that after viewing the feature film, La La Land, Los Angeles would probably enjoy another 30,000,000 or more new relocated citizens.
Major high-tech businesses want to be in Santa Monica, El Segundo, Marina del Rey, and of course, Playa Vista. They pay their young executives out of college several hundred thousand dollars per year or more. These young executives have driven rents up and have made it difficult for others. This is the pattern in Alameda, Redwood, San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley and other Bay Area cities.
There is insufficient housing. Yes, rent control is a failure. Los Angeles had approximately 1,200,000 rental units about 38 years ago when rent control was adopted. Today, there are less than 600,000!
As you suggest, my neighbors, Loretta and Henry Selinger are providing “affordable” housing and they are suffering a financial hardship. They’ll spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in seismic earthquake retrofit and receive little or no reimbursement from the tenants. Remember, this was a program created by Mayor Eric Garcetti designed to “shelter in place” tenants and provide safety and protection for the tenants. No benefit for the owner.
Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are installed at approximately $100 per appliance and yet cannot be passed through to the tenants.
New laws for batteries, screens, windows and locks are passed in Sacramento and cannot be passed through to the tenants.
Three years ago, the Governor indicated that each city must adopt a program to reduce water consumption by 25%. City Councils refused to allow tenants to pay for water, sewage or trash.
Four years ago, your friend, Maria Helena Durazo, was able to capture 14 votes to pass a massive trash-hauling “deal” where 161 trash haulers were eliminated and the new program reduces trash haulers to only seven super-large trash haulers that have union affiliation. Fees will be dramatically increased and yet … tenants will not.
The annual rental adjustments, based upon the Consumer Price Index are illegitimate. CPI looks at a basket of 211 consumer products and items, none of which addresses or captures any of the “operating expenses” associated with apartment management. It’s illegitimate.
So, you should publish a REAL STORY that talks about how rent control has proven to be a failure and is restrictive and oppressive. Owners may, at their discretion, terminate their business, pay the tenant a modest relocation fee and simply go out of business. RENT CONTROL DESTROYS good housing and jobs.
Density bonus programs are excellent as long as they are voluntary and not mandatory. Do the research. Write a terrific article, but make it fair-minded, even and balanced.
A Loyal Fan, Michael Millman
[AOA: Please make copies of this letter and mail it the members of the City Council wherever you live. Thank you!]