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Another Viewpoint on Altadena Housing Project

August 25, 1988

This letter is in response to the viewpoints put forth by Christina Heath regarding a proposed housing project in Altadena (Times, Aug. 11). As a city planner, I too lament the loss of our unspoiled scenic lands. However, as one knowledgeable on the subject, I would like to point out the following to Ms. Heath:

* Why is the sanitarium no longer functioning? Is it because the development and population living to the east (where I assume Ms. Heath lives), have made the area noisy instead of quiet, or the air polluted instead of clean? Or is it because the development to the east caused the taxes on the surrounding lands to escalate to the point the sanitarium could no longer survive economically?

* This is not her land. It is evidently owned by Mr. (Tim) Cantwell. If she had purchased the land, as he did, and paid taxes on it as he certainly does, then she would have the right to leave it in its pristine, natural setting.

* These are not necessarily her foothills and mountains. They, to a great extent, belong to private owners. If she wants them to remain for hiking, picnics and the like, she and her fellow citizens should buy them. How did she vote on the latest park bond issue? For or against? This is how lands are saved for our own and future generations--by buying them.

* The land she lives on was once an undeveloped natural piece of property before someone developed it, perhaps to the dismay of her neighbors who arrived before her. I find the drawbridge philosophy so popular today to be not only disquieting but also in many cases, disgusting. "I've got mine; to hell with everyone else" seems to be the current trend.

* There is an ever increasing, soon to be alarming, shortage of housing in the Los Angeles area. People, good people with wonderful children, pets, furniture and cars and all the other trappings of family life, need places to live. The idiocy of rent control and the aforementioned drawbridge mentality have caused the price of housing to recently rise to ridiculous levels. Lord knows what the future holds.

I don't know Mr. Cantwell. I've never heard of him and don't know whether he plans a wonderful community or an urban nightmare. His plans are not the source of this discourse. It is instead the audacity of people like Ms. Heath who for some reason believe they have the right to use and enjoy property they do not own or upon which they do not pay taxes.

Because of the wonderful laws of free speech which we enjoy in this land, Ms. Heath is free to say whatever she pleases. However, I personally believe that this right has with it the inherent responsibility to have studied your subject and therefore to know what you are talking about.

Ms. Heath, we would all love to live next to an unspoiled beautiful mountain environment, but we all know that is impossible unless one is wealthy. Please be willing to recognize the rights of all property owners, including developers. After all, at one time it was a developer who created your home. You are not the only one who needs housing.



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