Shotsie Gorman Rocks (Cover, March 16)! The Bohemian has great covers—always—but this one really grabbed me. I met Shotsie and his wife, Kristine, when Aubergine had its artist/model/musician nights. The Gormans are genuinely inspiring, to say the least, and the cafe/bistro/art scene had a good energy. We could use a similar venue.
Thank you for your continuing coverage of Sonoma County's IHSS workers (Debriefer, March 23). For years now your articles have been thorough and accurate, making sense of a very complicated program.
Housing should be a right for all citizens, not a privilege based on one's income level (Letters, March 23). Landlords and real estate speculators, aka "investors," have treated renters in outrageously unfair ways, slapping down rent increases of $500 to $700 and throwing good tenants, who adhere to rules and pay their rent on time, out into the street so they can make a fast buck. The so-called market seems motivated by greed and lust for profit at all costs.
As for the alleged travails of poor landlords, cry me a river. Those who have enough disposable income to invest in real estate and property "flipping" to make a tidy profit are undeserving of any sympathy whatsoever, especially when many own multiple properties worth millions of dollars. Landowners have powerful organizations and lobbies working for their interests and bending the ear of politicians to keep regulations lax and renters at a disadvantage.
Some sort of control on rent increases along with a just-cause eviction law is the least the politicians who have looked the other way and done nothing the past 20 years in Santa Rosa and Sonoma County can do for the elderly, disabled and working poor, along with the struggling working middle classes, who make up a sizable percentage of the population in this area, and, at times, spend 40 to 60 percent of their income to keep a roof over their heads. Perhaps renters need their own lobby or union to press for their interests, as the landlords have their property owners associations and chambers of commerce.
What a useful idea ("Show Me the Money," March 23): a city/county/state/federal ballot initiative, which would force all elected legislators to wear patches of their top 10 donors any time they speak or take an official action. (My edit from John Cox's idea printed in the article).
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