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Vacancy Decontrol Action Is Urged

April 22, 1990

These are dramatic and changing times in which we live. Certainly with Gorbachev in the U.S.S.R. talking glasnost and SMRR in the People's Republic of Santa Monica talking in conciliatory tones of vacancy decontrol, times have changed, and there is a new wind blowing.

In U.S.S.R., Gorbachev has, for years, been a good party Communist. In Soviet Monica, we now have Jay Johnson, who has worked as a very staunch liberal for years. Jay Johnson is the newly appointed Rent Control Board Commissioner. He has fought actively for the anti-Vietnam movement, the anti-RAND movement (Is RAND really a warmonger?) and is on the steering committee of Santa Monicans for Renter's Rights.

In the U.S.S.R., Gorbachev came to power, began easing the tensions, and shortly the walls came down. In Santa Monica and other places where there is drastic rent control, along came the Ellis law, which allowed landlords to flee by going out of the rent controlled apartment business. Just as Gorbachev found himself in dire straits, Santa Monicans for Renters' Rights and Jay Johnson find themselves in dire straits. They must do something conciliatory and provide some real freedoms, or they will lose everything they have worked for in their Socialist environments.

When it comes right down to it, will Gorbachev and the U.S.S.R. give real freedom to the peoples of Lithuania who are tired of being abused? When it comes right down to it, will SMRR and the Rent Control Board have the courage to give vacancy decontrol to the oppressed apartment owners in Santa Monica? In all reality, can Jay Johnson, who claims to be in both camps, really do something to help solve the desperate problems of the apartment building owners?

The time has come for choices in Santa Monica. Between now and the November election, will Santa Monica government allow tenants and apartment owners the freedom to choose the rent on vacant apartments? This will jeopardize no one.

I challenge those people in power to ponder these questions, and to act on vacancy decontrol. I challenge those people oppressed in Soviet Monica to ponder the ramifications of their actions or inactions. Will there be glasnost for apartment building owners in Santa Monica? In the next 60 to 90 days, we will see the results.

KEITH LAMBERT

Santa Monica

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