Letters: The City needs rent control 

➤ “Is rent control hurting San Francisco’s middle class,” The City, Sunday

The City needs rent control

In his Sunday column, Joel Engardio omits certain historical facts concerning residential rent control in San Francisco. Residential rents became a big issue when, after achieving significant tax savings as a result of Proposition 13 in 1979, landlords not only did not pass on any part of their savings to tenants, they raised rents. This ticked off renters and certain politicians. As a result, residential rent control was passed.

So if landlords are upset about residential rent control, they only have their greed to blame. I do agree that the solution is the construction of new apartment buildings, which are exempt from rent control under the law.

Unfortunately, landlords have been so intent on building luxury units, such as at 8 Washington St. (as supported by Mr. Engardio), that they have ignored lower-class units. These circumstances require more government involvement.

John M. Kelly

San Francisco

Blame housing crisis on S.F.

Every elected official in City Hall needs to read Joel Engardio’s essay. Kudos to The San Francisco Examiner for publishing his clear explanation of how the San Francisco Rent Ordinance is the primary cause behind skyrocketing rents and housing scarcity.

For 35 years, The City’s failed housing policy tightened the screws on rental housing providers and developers at each “housing crisis,” without resulting improvements. The lesson we need to take away is that rent control is the cause of our lack of affordable housing, and it is time to repeal it. When you find yourself in a hole, first of all, stop digging. Second, try something different.

Ted Loewenberg

San Francisco

Creating a city for the rich

I disagree with Joel Engardio’s article. First of all, the vast majority of renters are not making $200,000 per year. What about all of the renters on fixed incomes?

And if not for rent control, how could anyone but the very rich rent in San Francisco?

No one is forcing property owners to rent their property. If they do not like the rent control rules and regulations then they should not rent their property and complain about the laws.

Brian Baum

San Francisco

➤ “Displacement fears loom,” The City, Sunday

Tenants deserve protection

Past faulty management practices at Midtown Park Apartments should not be used as an excuse to evict tenants or to substantially raise rents. The City and Mercy Housing should be required to follow the present procedure for demolishing 20 units or more in any complex.

Those rules require that no tenant displacement can occur until similar replacement housing is built. Mercy Housing and The City should be required to follow those rules as occurred at Trinity Plaza at Ninth and Market, the Sangiacomo development.

If these rules are adhered to, the tenants’ fears will be greatly allayed. Considering the experience of the black population in the Western Addition from the Redevelopment Agency’s policies over many decades, their present fears are well-grounded.

Joe O’Donoghue

San Francisco

Landlords need more rights

The Mayor’s Office of Housing plans to increase rents at Midtown Park Apartments based on tenants’ income — up to market value, move tenants into “size–appropriate units” based on current needs and ensure tenants are not subletting. Private property owners cannot do any of this under rent control, so why doesn’t The City have to follow its own laws?

People have been talking about means testing — allowing rent control only for those who need it based on income — but no one wants to consider it. Here The City is doing it with their rental units, even though private property owners cannot.

The City should have the flexibility to change lease terms under new circumstances. So should private property owners. If that means testing is good enough for city-owned property, it should apply to private property.

David Fix

San Francisco

➤ ”Behind the scenes of fight over girl’s life,” Features, Thursday

Dolan misusing his column

Attorney Christopher Dolan, who represents the McMath family in their fight with Children’s Hospital Oakland, has used his weekly column, “Know Your Rights” as an opinion piece. In his breathless purple prose, “Time grinds by slowly, and I research and write as the night becomes the day.”

Any shred of credibility that The San Francisco Examiner has had to pretend that Dolan’s column is for consumer help in legal matters just got thrown out the window.

To be fair, why not ask Children’s Hospital spokesman Sam Singer to write a guest column about this matter for your Opinion page?

Nancy Wong

San Francisco

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