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Disputing the housing shortage claims

lan Wofsy Berkeley
Friday September 13, 2002

To the Editor: 

As one who has developed housing in Berkeley since 1972, I dispute the self-serving arguments attributed to the developers in the Daily Planet’s article “More trouble over housing” (Aug. 31). 

The taxpayers of Berkeley have been the victims of numerous spending scams since the Rads took over the city in 1984. Much of the problem is based on the fallacious notion that a nonprofit entity is inherently good. The mafia and al-Qaida are nonprofit entities. Neither has ever declared a profit or paid taxes on income. Nonprofits are often tax dodges that prey on gullible liberals. Instead of paying taxes on income, the nonprofit disguises the income as fees, salaries and expense accounts. 

For a number of years the taxpayers of Berkeley have been subsidizing nonprofits and related developers who claim they are building “affordable housing” due to Berkeley’s supposed “critical housing shortage” (quotes from the article). 

There is no housing shortage in Berkeley, critical or otherwise. With the demise of the dot-coms and the freeing of rents in vacated units, there is a serious surplus of housing in Berkeley. This surplus will only grow because of overconstruction of housing in surrounding areas and vacancy decontrol within Berkeley. There is no ideological justification any longer for Berkeley taxpayers to subsidize developers. 


Alan Wofsy