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Shift Construction Funds

March 23, 1986

Those in favor of continued construction of office buildings in the face of an apparent glut of space cannot see the forest for the trees ("Revising Real Estate Tax Breaks Could Remodel Entire Industry," Viewpoints, Feb. 23). It makes no sense to spend money, consume material and build on valuable land when there is no pressing need for office space while completely neglecting the area of reasonable rental housing. Most new apartment buildings are in the luxury class; some people cannot afford to live anywhere. It would be far better to create a "favorable climate" for residential renters than for office renters.

The office building construction that has taken place along Ventura Boulevard in Encino has imposed heavy burdens on everyone using that thoroughfare. Builders can build and run, leaving others to cope with the problems left behind: the syrup-like traffic, the parking problems. Homeowners on adjoining streets encounter heavy street parking and traffic congestion daily; multistoried office buildings tower over their patio areas. This seems to me to be too high a price to pay for supposed benefits to office renters.

The answer, of course, is that there is money in office construction and not in reasonable rental housing. Making money for investors or stockholders becomes more important than housing people with low incomes. If this is the capitalist system, it is an inhumane one.

JANICE K. MASLOW

North Hollywood

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