Denny Zane's Open Letter to Councilmember Lana Negrete

Councilmember Lana Negrete,

The real problem with your approach to the annual adjustment for rent controlled Santa Monica renters is not that you are wrong to want to help low income renters by rolling back this year's initial but unavoidable 6 percent rent increases to 0 percent. That is a good idea and we support it.

Our concern is, first, that you do not actually target the help to low income renters and, most importantly, you want middle income renters to pay for this by increasing their rents very unfairly.

The real beneficiaries of that approach are not mom and pop landlords, but mostly corporate landlords with the highest rents.

If you actually want to help low income renters, in a targeted way, without burdening all other mostly middle income renters, you should be supporting Mayor Sue Himmelrich's and her husband Mike Soloff's ballot measure this November.

Their measure helps potentially all low or fixed income renters in a targeted way, but does not do so by unfairly taxing middle income renters. Instead, it does so by taxing a share of the value of luxury real estate when very wealthy, mostly corporate owners are cashing their land in.

Please appreciate that these properties have gained such great value principally because they are here -- in Santa Monica.

They have gained such great value because they are located in a community where, yes, we have beaches, but more, we have clean beaches without urban runoff pollution because of the efforts of our city; where our streets are lined with trees and our parks -- especially Palisades Park -- are beautiful because of the efforts of our neighbors as well as the efforts of our city; where we have excellent public schools, including a wonderful community college, made excellent by the efforts of our community's members and the support our city.

We have a city where we can find the way and then show the way to actually close the achievement gap experienced by children from disadvantaged communities; where we strive to provide for, rather than punish, those so poor that they are without a home; where we have had -- and will have again -- a special pedestrian-oriented urban environment that mingles the arts and outdoor dining in a way found no where else in California.

This is what gives the properties of the very wealthy here such extraordinary value when it comes time to sell. It is fair that the voters of this city seek a share of the value we have conferred to meet our community's needs.

We know it takes courage to tax the rich and powerful, to demand a small share of what this community has given them. Have that courage. Join us.

Denny Zane
Co-Chair, Santa Monicans for Renters' Rights (SMRR)

Editor's note: On Sunday, July 31 at 2:42 p.m. Denny Zane sent an email requesting that an Open Letter to Councilmember Lana Negrete he had emailed on July 30 at 9:23 p.m. not be published. The Lookout did not see the request until after the letter had been published.

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