Marin IJ Readers Forum November 1, 2022 – Marin Independent Journal

Rent control in SF had unintended consequences

As Fairfax, San Anselmo and Larkspur consider additional rent control (“Fairfax advances eviction orders for rent stabilization”, October 17), council members and voters should consider the negative implications that a overzealous renters had in San Francisco.

According to a Stanford University study, San Francisco’s 1994 rent control initiative led to a series of unintended consequences, including a 15% reduction in rental stock and a 5.1% increase in relative rents. Rent control has largely benefited current tenants, hurting the affordability of future tenants. They call it a “wealth transfer” that only benefits a few. The study found that many apartments have been turned into more expensive condominiums, “tenants in common” or private residences to avoid the “chain and chain” caused by rent control. It had the exact opposite effect of what was intended.

State Law Assembly Bill 1482 already limits rent increases and limits evictions to just cause. Further rent control does not solve the real problem of why housing is so expensive in Marin County: the lack of supply. As experience in San Francisco has shown, increased rent control will result in the exact opposite of what was intended.

— Those Cecchins, Fairfax

Laundry products require further consideration

Thumbs up for Hilda Simon’s recently published letter defending her neighbor’s cow flavor. But still more cheers for the zinger she pulled on “the poisonous stench of dryer sheets and chemical perfumes wafting over our quarters.” I would like more people to speak.

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emanating from dryers are indeed toxic. A University of Washington study found more than 25 VOCs in dryer vent air. The Environmental Protection Agency lists seven of them as hazardous and says there is no safe level of exposure to benzene and acetaldehyde, two common compounds. They are found in fragrances added to laundry detergents and dryer sheets. None of these are listed in the ingredients.

People with chemical sensitivities may be sickened by laundry smells. Even if you don’t mind these scents, they can enter your bloodstream and be harmful when you breathe them in. They can cause cancer and damage the liver and kidneys, as well as the nervous, respiratory and immune systems. They are especially dangerous for children. A PubMed review of epidemiological research found that fetal and childhood exposure to phthalates, another class of chemicals in fragrances, is associated with an increased risk of allergic diseases and abnormal development.

Chemically sensitive people are “the canaries in the coal mine”. Their reactions should warn others to avoid scented laundry products, especially dryer sheets. Clothes washed in these toxins continue to emit VOCs around the people wearing them. Widely available fragrance-free laundry products make clothes just as clean. I hope people will consider changing. I’ll take a stinky, neighbor cow every day instead of the laundry toxins.

— Roberta Anthes, Fairfax

The Marin Housing Authority’s plan just won’t work

I’m writing about a recently published article on public housing (“Marin City Residents, Authorities Duel Golden Gate Village Plans,” October 20).

Under the Marin Housing Authority’s plan, a limited partnership would be formed to purchase the buildings and land from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Housing Authority would be the general partner of the partnership.

“What that means,” Mike Andrews, a housing expert hired by HUD to advise the housing authority, told commissioners, “is that you, as the board of directors of the housing authority, will always have oversight and control of what happens with real estate.”

The same people who oversaw years of neglect and decay in Golden Gate Village, once a shining example of how public housing, would be in charge. It was only through the tireless activism of the Residents’ Council, aided by the support of various individuals and organizations, that MHA was prevented from tearing down existing, structurally sound buildings and replacing them with higher-grade housing. density to line the county’s tax coffers and line the pockets of developers while completely changing the character and essence of this historic community.

Is it any wonder that residents want to be masters of their own destiny? A good start would be for the county to make the same $2 million endowment offer for the Residents’ Council plan that they apparently made to HUD and perhaps also make an investment with some “moral equity.”

—Tom McAfee, Fairfax

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