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On the 'Hypocrisy' of Rent Control

September 07, 1989

Donna Alvarez' excellent letter (Times, Aug. 27) only begins to address the monumental injustices meted out by the power-mad rent control pols in Santa Monica over the past 10 years. No single letter could possibly cover this bloated bureaucracy's history of hypocrisy, disinformation and venom, or their execrable, vote-getting methods which are basically twofold: (1) appeal to voters' greed (rents in one of the world's prime locations should be a fraction of what they are anyplace else, it's a renter's right!) and (2) spread fear (for example, any move by anyone to try and make the rent law a fair one is met with screams: "Rent control will be gutted!").

There is absolutely no reason why there should not be vacancy decontrol in Santa Monica. Period. The "reason" for resisting it, according to the propaganda the pols grind out, is that decontrol would cause wholesale evictions. This is garbage. There are very specific laws here concerning evictions, and if the Rent Control Board is incapable of enforcing these laws, then they should resign. Come to think of it, this is what they seem to be doing.

One final thought. The author of Santa Monica's rent control law, City Atty. Robert Myers, received a 37% salary increase earlier this year, bringing his income to $95,508. The raise was retroactive to 1988 and followed a 22% raise in 1985. Myers called this latest, 37%, raise "fair and reasonable" and cited "increased personal expenses". During the same four-year period (1985-'88) the increases allowed to apartment owners were 3%, 2.5%, 4% and 3%.

JILL RENTON

Santa Monica

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