Editor:

Please do not waste $27,800 to study whether homeowners want to pay more tax (”City Hall considers tax hike for low-income housing,” Feb. 21, page 1). I am sure that 99.99 percent of us do not want to. A study and more consultant fees are not necessary. We continue to talk about affordability, but for some reason the city increasingly seems to want to make this an unaffordable place to live.

I’m sure city tax revenues are at an all-time high and yet you want more and more from us. Start living within your means. Why did you spend $45 million on a new park where nobody lives if now you are concerned about housing? There seems to be no prioritization in City Hall or the concept of saving for something. Do you want a park, fire station or housing? You picked park. Do not pick my pocket now as a result of your remorse for your decision.

Personally, I also do not want any more affordable housing. We have enough housing of any kind. This housing does not even go to people from Santa Monica but from out of the area. Why do we want to grow our population base? I assume the unions want to so the city can justify hiring more employees. We have a water crisis, a city of people who don’t want our city to grow and realistically no land to build affordable housing. I can only imagine that at some point any money raised would just go for pensions. How about police and fire staff taking at 10 percent pay cut and contributing 100 percent to their pensions.

Also if we truly care about providing affordable housing, Santa Monica is an inappropriate place to do so. We have some of the highest land values in the U.S. (partially as a result of city policy on development and rent control which reduce market rate housing). So for the cost of housing 100 people in Santa Monica, housing could be built somewhere else in the region where land is a fraction of the cost and you could provide housing for say 200 people. We are a small city and have already done way more than our fair share on affordable housing.

Please work to make this an affordable city for people who have invested their life savings to buy a home. We are some of the largest contributors already. For many of us, our homes are our retirements so I am against you taking more of my assets when I choose to sell. The city refuses to use eminent domain. I see this as a form of eminent domain, but you aren’t even paying me for it — you are just taking part of home value and my home value will decline as a result of increased transfer or property taxes.

Have you also even considered the impact on the housing market? You might actually earn less revenue (just look at our brilliant school board’s latest fiasco) as I would imagine housing sales would decline. More people would choose to rent their homes which have several negative impacts; (i) less homes would be valued upwards due to Prop. 13 and the city would collect less property tax revenue, (ii) you would have a more transient population of 6-18 month renters who are not tied to our community, and (iii) you would harm the overall real estate market and make this even a less business and resident friendly city.

I thought Santa Monica was a creative place. However the city manager’s only ideas seem to be based on raising taxes. This is not creative or sustainable. We’ve got a city which is a world class destination. Can’t we find a way to harness our resources and make a profit on them and perhaps make it affordable for us who live here and maybe even lowering the cost of living?

 

Linda Fineman

Santa Monica

Print Friendly