To the Editor:
I was dismayed to see Gordon Wozniak recycle a horrible idea (Daily Planet, Oct. 14): changing rent control from a universal program protecting all tenants to a means-tested program covering only the needy.
Most beneficiaries of rent control are not yuppies; an overwhelming majority of tenant households have low incomes. However, if the only units subject to rent control were those occupied by people in poverty, then hardly any landlords would rent to poor tenants. Rent control allows landlords to make reasonable profits, as it must do in order to pass constitutional muster. It does not force landlords to subsidize tenants, only to keep rent increases within fair bounds.
Protection against unwarranted rent hikes should be provided to the greatest possible number of tenants. Although low-income renters need rent control the most, no tenant deserves to be gouged.
If Mr. Wozniak were truly concerned about the welfare of tenants in the district he seeks to represent, rather than attack rent control, he would urge that it be strengthened.
In particular, he would commit himself to encouraging the state Legislature to repeal Costa-Hawkins, the law that took away our local rent control program's power to stop rents from soaring when old tenants move out and new tenants move in.