Deflating the Increase Decrease
Thursday, January 18, 2001
Thank you for "Take a Hike" (Newsbriefs, 1/11-17), the article on the massive $200 (23 percent) Buena Vista Land Co. (BVLC) rent increases. As four tenants living in each of the Olympia apartment complexes, it should be noted that Melvin Fortes, the representative for the absentee landlords, has awoken a "sleeping giant" with his rent increase letter: 64 percent of Monterey and 25 percent of Pacific Grove residents are renters (and voters!), and they and their sympathizers have now been mobilized to lobby local and county government officials--as well as giving serious consideration to a ballot initiative--for rational rent-increase guidelines, tied in some manner to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), and to the long-overdue establishment of a landlord/tenant office (as exists in thousands of jurisdictions) to mediate disputes.
As Mr. Fortes has stated on several occasions, his $25 rent-increase reduction at Olympia Pines (a crumb, given the original $200 increase) and $75 Olympia Grove reduction until July 1, when the full $200 kicks in (there were no reductions at Olympia Oaks and West), were proffered ''in order to give people more time to seek alternative accommodations.'' How magnanimous! Although the movement for tenant rights on the Monterey Peninsula is only in its infancy, politicians and local business owners (who cannot retain employees) now just realize that there is a true crisis in affordable rental housing. Buena Vista Land Co. has ensured that 2001 will be the year that rent gouging will no longer be tolerated and the landlord-tenant-business community playing field will be leveled.
Sam Lipsky, Olympia Grove, Pacific Grove; Sharon Borba, Olympia West, Pacific Grove; Marilouise Feusi, Olympia Oaks, Monterey; Alan Rider, Olympia Pines, Monterey
Pedicures by Elvis
Your karaoke article was slightly interesting ("Empty Mic, Open Mouth," 1/4-10). To further inform your reading audience, it would be nice for them to have a little insight on one of the performers, namely John Soto, our very own Elvis impersonator of Monterey. He does, in fact, house the Spirit of Elvis as you inferred.
Isn''t it wonderful that music has found another way to entertain us all? Hats off to those who love to perform. John also performs at The Body Suite, giving his clients the best pedicure on the Peninsula. If you treat him right, he may even throw in a song or two.
Dee Cotton, Carmel