Letters to the Editor
November 27th, 2008

To the Editor:
This letter was sent to Kevin McSweeney the day after the November 18 Housing Element Workshop. This Workshop stressed affordable housing requirements from the State.

I talked about El Dorado’s plight a little last night. El Dorado’s owner and management is determined to raise rents out of the affordable housing market. They want a more affluent tenancy throughout the park. They are driving low income residents into abandoning their retirement homes. By this method they are creating a greater burden on the city by removing affordable housing from your housing element. Many of the park’s residents tried to get the city to do something about this a year ago and it fell on deaf ears. So we have to pay again for the city’s ineptitude. Without a counter balance to this one sided equation, I too will loose my home and become homeless in a pretty short amount of time. I bring in about $30,000 and I can’t afford to live in a trailer?! I’m probably one of the higher earning residents of those living here 15 years or more (I’ve been here 21 years). When our old leases are up and we have to get on the current leases offered, we will lose everything. The owner’s costs are minimal and the rent increases are uncalled for. The space across the street from me is for sale and when it sells the rent will be $250 a month more than the present lease. How can this increase be justified? They only own the land. How much maintenance is that? There are very small common areas they have to take care of and the streets, the clubhouse and utilities, that’s about it. Bottom line, our seniors are being forced out of their retirement into squalor by a greedy corporation while the government does not do it’s job and protect affordable housing and it’s citizens. Then you bureaucrats have the nerve to throw all these numbers about “fairness” at us? And how you are trying to protect us?

To me the government pushing forced housing on a supply/demand market is ludicrous. It will never work.
First of all the numbers are meaningless. They do not take into account that some cities are in a better location for transportation. Those farther from major highways and rail service are less desirable for businesses and residents. Property costs are higher near major highways and rail, but once you purchase them it becomes a fixed cost. Transportation costs will never be fixed, but always rise. So, smart people will locate where they can save on transportation costs. In the long run, transportation savings will out weigh the higher property expense. The property value will also rise faster for them in a more desirable location.
Secondly, the numbers don’t make any concession to the fact that many landlords are bent on increasing rents out of the affordable housing market. The whole notion of providing housing to people who clearly can not afford to live there is ridiculous. There are just too many factors for governments to try to solve a problem that really doesn’t exist. The market is reality and trying to change that is like trying to change human nature. It just is what it is. It is not a solvable problem, it is not even a problem. The whole existence of this government structure is a waste of resources.
David Roegner