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Need plain talk on rent issues

Theresa Traynor Berkeley
Thursday December 20, 2001



I read Robert Cabrera’s (Berkeley Property Owner’s Association) letter to see what kind of logical loop he was going to lead us on to convince us that the current market rents of $1,000 or more a month for a 1 bedroom apartment are actually beneficial for female headed households, the poor, the elderly, and students.  

I can see why he needed half of the opinion page to attempt this.  

At the heart of his appeal, he is concerned that Berkeley is going to continue to ask the state to repeal the rent decontrol law when the next General Plan is approved by the Berkeley City Council. Since the city is already in the tough situation of having the split the baby - affordable housing vs. free market - it would help if Mr. Cabrera actually presented his side more honestly. For example, if we want to attract good property owners to our area, those who will invest their time and capital in creating nice rental property, we may need to allow them the same freedom to participate in capitalism that other markets enjoy. In Berkeley, this has put property owners in the uncomfortable position of having to argue for this against female heads of households, poor people, the elderly, and students. You usually can’t have your cake and eat it too.  

I am pleased to see that we are willing to re-enter into this unpleasant and unpopular debate. But, if we are going to find more common ground between the different sides, it would help if we could keep the double speak to a minimum.  


Theresa Traynor