BRENDA BARNES/APROPOS

Decided to send another comment, since this one I wrote for the Santa Monica Patch (www.santamonicapatch.com) seemed so apropos. I want to give credit to Cris McLeod of the Mountain View Mobile home Inn tenants association for giving me the idea to look at value of a mobile home park to renters this way.

We who own houses at VTP all have affordable housing, averaging $416 a month UNDER RENT CONTROL for space for homes we own and housing services of water and natural gas, a large swimming pool, a large iconic mid-Century community room, a library, two common bathrooms with hot water showers, a deck and BBQ party area, and maintenance of those common areas and the Park’s sewers, electrical systems, and roads. If this DA actually happened, which it won’t, 109 units of affordable housing would be lost from the rental housing market.

Each of these 109 units lost to renters in Santa Monica would require payment by renters of at least $1,000 more per month in rent. The Planning Commission found $1,623 more, but just to be conservative and give credit in lost rent for the value of our houses, say $1,000. To use round numbers, say 100 units times $1,000, this property is worth $100,000 a MONTH future Santa Monica renters do not have to pay..

As long as rent control lasts (200 years and counting in London), assuming fixed difference in amounts, that means in 100 months, 2 less than 10 years, renters will pay $10 million more in rent because the City allowed a land speculator to steal our homes so he could make $10 million and pay the City $5 million. In not 20 years (16), renters lose $20 million on this deal. If rent control lasts 200 years, it would be $200 million renters lost. The present value to renters of this property is at least $20 million. The City owes that.

What’s another comment, when we will be litigating this for seven years at least, if we get finsihed as soon as the Lincoln Place tenants did (and they were only tenants, not homeowners and tenants as we are):

This too, is at www.santamonicapatch.com:

By the way, the City calls that $5 million cut they take for the general fund, in return for giving a land speculator a development agreement, “community benefits,” but nothing requires it to be spent in the Pico Neighborhood where this land is. History shows it took 16 years to break ground on a library in Pico Neighborhood, while millions were spent in richer, whiter parts of the City, the parts EVERY Councilmember has ALWAYS lived in.

Moreover, the homes at Village Trailer Park are the ONLY places in Santa Monica where low-cost home ownership is possible. The Housing Element requirement of state law requires every city to make provision for land for every type of housing and every level of income, and specifically mobile homes. The City owns the only other former mobile home park in Santa Monica,and has spent ten years replacing mobile homes with permanent housing, making new rules (violating the Rent Control Law, since renewal rules can be only renewals of old rules, not imposition of new ones) that require all new tenants to have homes classified as permanent and no older than five years, and in general harassing every remaining longterm tenant to try to turn the Park into a high-rent zone.

The tenants filed a $120 million claim recently against the City–truly a landlord from Hell. A judge stated in a reported case about harassment of one of those tenants, Santa Monica loses all its concern for tenants’ rights when it becomes a landlord.

One more before the Closed Session ends, likewise mine from www,santamonicapatch.com:

The upshot of this is, everything the City’s staff says about a development agreement for VTP land is what the Council directed staff to say, it is whatever is necessary to make the deal sound good, and it is a lie. Jing Yeo, the “Special Projects” planner in charge of this so-called planning, told us once when SIX City employees including Deputy City Attorney Alan Seltzer came and tried to coerce us into taking one of the land speculator’s offers to move, that the Council directed them to negotiate a development agreement, and that is what they were doing.

The saddest thing about this is we are homeowners. People do not think 109 homeowners can lose their homes so a land speculator and the City can make money. But worse than that, we have special protections other homeowners do not have, in the state Mobile home Residency Law, and in the Santa Monica Rent Control Law. If we homeowners can be moved on so the speculators of the world and the City can make money (and at the same time destroy an R-2 neighborhood, the Mid-City Neighborhood), then what will happen to homeowners who do NOT have special protections against eviction? This was a test. The City was seeing if it could get by with this because we would be in Pico Neighborhood, so have little support, we would be old, poor, sick, and weak, so we would not be able to defend ourselves from them, and then they would have their precedent. For Sunset Park when the Airport closes. For all of Ocean Park. For Wilmont.

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