Reading Mr. Brad Brenner’s letter last week commenting on affordable housing and the quality of life for Santa Monica home owners, I was struck not just by the writer’s self-centered sense of entitlement but also by his apparent disdain for others and lack of awareness of the world around us.

Recently this newspaper featured an article pointing out that so-called affordable housing in Santa Monica is not actually affordable for most people, and that the folks who do most of the jobs here to provide the services that Mr. Brenner depends on can’t afford to live here. Well thank goodness for the imminent arrival of the train, since at least some of those potential “new non-Santa Monica residents” won’t have to “move here at our expense.”

Homelessness is a problem in most developed countries that can be solved by providing homes for people who need them: societies don’t have the option of just doing nothing. Santa Monica takes bold positions on homelessness and affordable housing which I believe are admirable if not always completely achievable goals. If Mr. Brenner does not “know of anyone who supports any additional affordable housing” perhaps he should talk to some of his neighbors: there’s a lot of concern to do good things among most Santa Monicans. Just for instance, if Santa Monica happened to be not a beautiful SoCal city by the sea but a western European nation faced with thousands of helpless refugees arriving daily by boat, train and on foot, should we turn them back because the traffic’s a little busy right now? If drowned refugee children and their families were washing up on the beach by the Pier, would our city’s home owners think any of them worthy of an affordable sanctuary?

Compassion for others is an admirable quality we’d all do well to maintain.

Thankfully we are blessed to live in our beautiful city by the sea with, granted, a few issues of its own like the vaccine-denying intelligentsia and, of course, the traffic. But Santa Monica is not a country club and regular working people have the right to be able to afford to live somewhere near where they work. We pay taxes not just to benefit ourselves but to create some element of common good. I’d bet Mr. Brenner actually does know a few folks who wouldn’t disagree with that.

Gordon Clark

Santa Monica

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