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Rent Control Law Created a Crisis

February 11, 1990

There is an irony in your side-by-side placement of the two front-page stories (Westside, Feb. 1) on the Santa Monica apartment owner thinking of "Ellising" his 178-unit building, and the reunion of Jewish children who escaped Hitler's Germany in the 1930s. The two stories have parallels.

When a government (national or local) targets a minority group for official persecution and strips its members of their rights; and when the population is encouraged to despise and mistrust all members of that group; and when that group is targeted primarily because the propaganda machine portrays them as wealthy property owners grinding down the poor "volk" or "tenants," as the case may be, then it follows that the members of that group will eventually think about ways to escape, if they can afford it. (There's always a price.)

If this particular landlord's escape bid is successful, "it will be the death knell for Santa Monica," says the Rent Board's chairwoman in a typical outburst of hysteria at the prospect of losing more tenant-voters. This was topped by another ludicrous statement: "This Ellis Act is a monstrosity. It has created a horrible crisis."

The Rent Board knows only too well that it is Santa Monica's monstrosity of a Rent Control Law that has created the "horrible crisis." They'll never admit it, of course. Do government leaders ever admit to the failure of an unscrupulous and oppressive regime? Perhaps it doesn't matter. In the end, admission or non-admission of guilt becomes irrelevant.

JILL RENTON

Santa Monica

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