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Affordable Housing

December 09, 1988

The Los Angeles Times is to be commended for articles calling attention to a major city problem--the need for affordable housing (Part I, Nov. 27-29).

Times staff writer Jill Stewart has done an excellent job of detailing the problem. Being a senior renter and caught up in this problem, I can attest to that sinking "where do I go from here" feeling as my rent, up to this point, has more than doubled.

It seems that in order to get a rent-control law passed, lobbyists for the landlords prevailed upon the council to adopt an ordinance that gets around the law by assessing tenants for "capital improvements." It is unbelievably unfair to the tenant.

Having protested a recent "improvement rent increase" and representing the tenants of this building, I asked the hearing officer presiding for the Rent Stabilization Board, "If we are to be assessed for the above replacements, what does rent cover?" I was surprised that this simple and logical question stumped her, and she could only reply: "All I can do is follow the law."

The law, of course, is on the side of the landlords. As your article points out, they fill the campaign coffers. What the mayor and council overlook, is that we, the people, have the last word--the vote. That is, if we are aware of the problems in our city and go to the polls.

I want to ask another simple question; if we have the brains to explore the far reaches of the universe, why can't we find the wherewithal and will to make a better life on earth?

GERTRUDE KERN

Los Angeles

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