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Letter To The Editor: Why I Support Measures H & HH:

Dear Editor:

Why I support H & HH.

Unlike some of my NE neighbors I support H and HH. Why, when this will mean I, a 33 year resident in Santa Monica, will have to pay considerably more transfer tax when I sell my home?

Firstly, I believe that diversity is an important ingredient in any great City and that diversity includes people of many different socio/economic levels and it’s an important as part of the City’s overall sustainability policy. Having affordable housing means that a greater range of folks working in the City can actually live in the City reducing, or even better, eliminating drive time to work and thereby not contribute to the traffic that so many in the City complain of.

We should also understand that at some point all rent controlled apartments will, due to State mandated vacancy decontrol, return to market rate rents which will render these as unaffordable to many. We are losing more affordable  and workforce housing than is being produced. Currently, affordable housing is created as part of new development projects either through construction of affordable units as part of the project or through fees paid to the City. This means that only new housing and commercial projects contribute to affordable housing production. This severely limits the amount of new affordable housing that can be produced. One solution to this limited production is to increase the percentage of affordable housing required in a new development. This will then require a developer to increase the rent levels of the market rate units (to offset the added cost of providing the increased number of affordable units) which will further increase the rent level difference between market rate and affordable units.  So if our adult kids want to return to live in Santa Monica it will be that much more expensive to rent a place of their own.

I believe that all Santa Monicans benefit from having a diverse City. A look at how well real estate values did over the past decade indicates that the City remains and has become an even more attractive City in which to live. Therefore shouldn’t all Santa Monicans contribute to this diversity and the production of affordable housing? I believe so, but realities dictate that this would put significant financial burdens on many. H & HH solves this by only requiring a contribution at the time of selling your home. So a small portion of the windfall received from Santa Monica’s appeal will be paid towards affordable housing production. Folks who have lived here many years benefit most from rising real estate prices and have benefitted most from Prop 13 property tax savings. That being the case paying the added transfer tax should not be a significant burden. The folks suffering the most  from this are the speculative house flippers/mansion builders. The ones tearing down the smaller charming homes and building – most often ugly and nearly always huge – mansions. Yes it will mean they have to seek a higher sales price, but hey, the folks buying these homes can truly afford it. And the higher the price of these homes the higher the value of the existing housing stock offsetting the increased transfer tax.

So I say Vote H and HH.

Hank Koning

Santa Monica

in Opinion
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