Editor. I can't stand it! In her letter to the Editor today (Letters, April 2) Jane M. Pitts makes the typical landlord statement that the housing shortage in Berkeley is the fault of the students and rental activists. The reasoning is that if everyone would just get out of its way the free market would magically fix everything. Exactly where the extra units would come from is never examined.
The problem here is that the area of land available to build houses on is limited and we who live here do not want to build as many apartments as would be needed to house all who would come here to live. In a deregulated market the only thing that would happen is that the rents would go up astronomically which would price out the student population entirely. This would of course please only the landlords in the short term but what about the long term? What happens when the only students who can afford to come to UCB are the wealthy ones? What happens when the large capacity apartment units are constructed to house all who would come live here? What happens when the state decides it needs to house students in spite of landlord greed and exercises its right to buy your property to build dorms?
I see somebody else who is taking aim at their own nose in spite of their face.
Letter from Jane M. Pitts reprinted below.
Editor -- Bill Levinson (Letters, March 28) is correct about the UC Berkeley student rental shortage, but he omitted a critical link in the chain of events. When blaming the "community" that created rent-control policies he must include the voting student population and student members of the Rent Stabilization Board.
Congratulations are due them for successfully cutting off their noses to spite their faces. They have made the market so restrictive they have finally excluded themselves.
As a longtime payer of Berkeley property tax (from which UC is exempt), I believe it is appropriate for these students to work off their bad pro-rent- control karma by sleeping in their cars while waiting for the last graduate student to die and free up one more rental unit.