Whoa. Where do I begin? John Donegan's "Harsh realities" column (Nov. 21) has set my mind whirling. And not in a good way. His assessment of the Grand View Apartments situation is that rich owners of a lower-income property should be entitled to make a profit ... and if the poor tenants can't keep ... well, too bad. Okay. There are a couple of problems here. First: $1,500 is not peon rent. In our area of low, low, low wages, it is substantial. Second, and most importantly: In order for a multi-family property to be in need of $2 million-plus in repairs and deferred maintenance, there must have been tons and tons of delayed problems and neglect by the landlords. These problems did not occur overnight. They took time to fester through years of turning a blind eye.
I can't help but wonder, in your opinion, Mr. Donegan, what did these tenants do wrong? All I see is that they notified the landlords and the government agencies and the media about the horrific conditions in a timely manner. They continued to pay their rents and tried to live within the parameters of their terrible living conditions. They whispered softly and also hollered from the rooftops. They hoped and prayed.
What did the landlords do? They ignored them and their pleas and took in money they didn't deserve. They threw up their hands and proclaimed that these lower-income residents should be grateful to live in vermin-infested hovels. The landlords probably sat in the safety of their secure homes that are equipped with proper heat and ventilation and declared, "Let them eat cake!"
Mr. Donegan, that is not capitalism, that is rip-off-ism. Should humanity lose and "harsh realities" prevail? Do you like a society where people paying $1,500 a month in rent are forced to live in the most horrible conditions in order to survive? Or worse ... become homeless? I ask you, John Donegan, have you no heart?