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Letters

Vigilance Can Stop Open-House Thefts

April 28, 2002

Regarding "Don't Open a House to Theft" by Ilyce Glink (April 14): The story left out an important item that sellers should also put in a safe place: prescription drugs. During an open house for brokers, my client's prescription drugs were taken from a medicine cabinet in a bathroom by a scam artist who said her broker had sent her to look at the house. She did it in seconds flat.

PAIGE ZITO

Valley Village

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Before an open house or any house showing, all the valuable items should be tacked down with a little museum wax, available in most hardware stores, and marked with a little bit of red crepe paper. The wax will hold the item firmly on the shelf, but with enough of a tug, the item can still be removed. A little application of red crepe paper in the right place (on top of part of the wax, leaving some of the wax exposed to adhere to the bottom of the item) could deter a thief since it would take too much time to remove the paper. And if the paper is not removed, it would be obvious that an item was taken.

BEN MYERS

Riverside

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Degreasing Driveways

Regarding "Degrease Driveway With Cola, Cat Litter" (April 21) by Morris and James Carey: They suggest whitening the gray stain on a concrete driveway with powdered laundry detergent and liquid chlorine bleach, then washing it away with hot water.

Do they not realize that the detergent and bleach and some grease residue would end up in the sewer, which in most cases drains into the ocean?

To help keep pollution under control, perhaps they could have suggested a heat steam cleaner or a more environmentally safe method.

PATRICIA A. SOHN

Burbank

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Affordable Housing

Regarding "Solutions for Seniors" (April 7) by Diane Wedner: Our nonprofit organization, Retirement Housing Foundation, or RHF, has been a solution for thousands of Angelenos over the years. One of our largest communities, Angelus Plaza, is in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, providing affordable food and shelter for more than 1,000 residents since 1981.

We also provide affordable housing and services in at least 20 more senior housing communities, not quite as big as Angelus, in the L.A. area. We have long waiting lists at times, but for most it's worth the wait. We are also expanding to meet the demand with the recent completion of Colonia Jess Lopez, an 88-unit affordable housing complex in the Boyle Heights area.

For more information on RHF, a national organization based in Long Beach, visit www.rhf.org.

FRANCINE MARLENEE

Long Beach

The writer is public relations manager with RHF.

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Gas Shut-Off Valves

Recent rulings by the L.A. City Council and the California Public Utilities Commission regarding apartment units prohibit installation of emergency earthquake gas shut-off valves on the gas company side of the gas meters; protection can be provided only by installing separate earthquake gas shut-off valves for each apartment.

The result is to discourage owners wishing to install earthquake shut-off values as a safety precaution for their buildings, because the associated cost escalates from a few hundred dollars for one valve and installation to a few thousand dollars for even a small building. Related laws and regulations need to be amended, so they promote rather than inhibit their objective.

I was going to put gas quake valves into my building which is not already so equipped. After speaking with the gas company and realizing that the cost had escalated from about $400 to more than $2,000 for my smallest (seven-unit) building, I decided to postpone the improvements indefinitely.

MICHAEL ERNSTOFF

Los Angeles

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Letters must include the writer's name, address and daytime telephone number and should be sent to the Real Estate Editor, Los Angeles Times, 202 W. 1st St., Los Angeles, CA 90012 or faxed to Real Estate Editor at (213) 237-4712 or e-mailed to real.estate@latimes.com.

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