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Home sweet home

November 18, 2009

Re "Breaking free of America's cult of homeownership," Opinion, Nov. 12

In addition to omitting the tax benefits that owning a home provides, Eric S. Belsky also ignored the other obvious, tangible piece of homeownership: emotion. There is a great deal of pride, stability, comfort and peace in knowing that the walls you paint or the garden you plant is yours. Yes, homeownership is a financial commitment and needs to be entered into responsibly. But Belsky's analysis is based only on numbers, and owning a home is a lot more than just making mortgage payments.

Deborah Lopez

Agoura Hills

Thanks to Belsky for at least mentioning apartment living.

Ever since the downturn, this apartment-dweller -- a journalist whose newspaper has imploded, a novelist whose publishing options have narrowed, an adjunct professor whose communications classes have been canceled -- keeps reading about the plight of the homeowner: what the government is doing, not doing, should be doing.

But the number of renters has swelled in recent years. We face similar economic hardships. California is the second most expensive state for renters; according to one estimate, apartment rents in Southern California have risen more than 30% from 2001 to today. About one in four Angelenos pays more than half of his or her income for rent.

Although the outlook seems slim to none for a governmental rental policy or even some administrative lip service, we off-the-radar apartment-dwellers at least deserve some attention. Hello -- we exist.

Doretta Zemp

El Segundo

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