File photo

File photo

Editor:

Was reminded this day of that P.F Slone song Barry McGuire sang in 1965.

It came to mind when wondering about what became of those many Village Trailer Park home-owning residents who left the scene as development contention concerning the park played out over these recent seven or so years.

Recall those entrepreneurs who wanted to end the trailer park business, change the zoning on that cozy, plant-blessed, historic post-WWII unique few acres in Santa Monica’s east end, so that they could then put up more too-large, neighborhood-inappropriate buildings on it? And that the stresses over those years of struggle impelled many, when pressured, to abandon their homes and become renters elsewhere?

Recall too, that for those owning their homes at the VTP who instead stayed to endure living through those years of uncertainty, it became recently shocking to learn that our local government gave up on them and their ownership rights, to actually then facilitate actions so the entrepreneur could proceed with the development? So much for home-ownership rights, actually affordable housing, and zoning/rent-control protection, right? Not to but mention honorable and ethical governance?

But — saving the day — early this March, as yet the next chapter of this development thievery assault on these residents’ lives was about to occur, a respite came when one among the home owners in the VTP settled a legal dispute over the injustice all had been so long suffering. The terms of that settlement graciously offered those remaining residents some seemingly significant money in recompense for what had been done to them. That action, it seemed, giving at least some solace for these seniors, many being elderly and of very limited means. For having their home-ownership agreement so rudely threatened and their lives so insensitively compromised, it looked like they might yet be OK after all that abuse.

Sadly though, that recent settlement gain proved not enough and the residents’ plight too seemed yet to be well enough addressed. With housing costs rising again (Remember that economic bubble back in ‘08 and ‘09, which served to put us in this modern depression we’re still having a hard time with?) the settlement monies granted these home-owning residents turns out to cover only about what they might have net if they had sold their homes. Not enough to make it possible for them to survive very long as renters in Santa Monica, and certainly very far from enough for them to buy a home anywhere near where they have built their lives for these decades. But for this unbidden, greed driven effort to force them from their homes, likely none of these residents would, given these again-hardening economic times, even be thinking now of selling their homes; these times, they have indeed changed, and not for the better if one is not already employment secure, debt free, and quite flush.

No, after years of building their lives in this now problematic little town — just as its government seems needing to soon face dealing with the consequences of its over-developing aims and, with that, the finding of a remedy for the adversarial way it seems now treating its constituency in managing community matters — these remaining trailer park home owners also still face burdens. For one: the still-persisting need for them to soon move from their homes so this development can proceed, and, with that, the need to endure yet more of this poor treatment, as they head now (so to speak) toward their own very personal eve of destruction.

 

David Latham

Santa Monica

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