Letters 6/30/22

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Mystified by ‘criminalization of homelessness’

I’m mystified by the “criminalization of homelessness” mantra we’ve all heard for years. WTF? It makes no sense to me, because I never received a ticket for anything during the decade I spent as a homeless camper in Boulder and its environs. I got along well with neighbors, business owners and workers, passersby, and law enforcement officers on the city, county, and state levels. (Their only contacts with me were of the friendly check welfare variety.)

Most other homeless people I knew were also able to coexist in peace with everyone.

Maybe the worst-behaved transients are bringing trouble of all kinds on themselves with bad behavior!

BTW, none of the self-styled advocates for the homeless have ever spoken for me.

Max R. Weller/Boulder

Skeletons of brick-and-mortar establishments litter Boulder

The Google complex is beginning to resemble an unmanned ghost ship moored on 30th and Pearl. The City Council deemed opening the doors of the city to this tech behemoth a coup for its foresight and leadership, yet what benefit to Boulder citizens has come from it. Brick-and-mortar establishments appear to be going the way of the buggy whip, aka Macy’s. Perhaps the University too, forging boldly ahead on its South Boulder Campus expansion (also fully approved by the Council) should pay heed to its declining enrollment and rising cost of administration. Mega-yachts can run aground.

Robert Porath/Boulder

Rent control is tomfoolery

Most economists agree that rent control is economic tomfoolery. A thermometer tells the truth about the temperature. Market price tells the truth about the scarcity of a product or service. Rent control is like breaking the thermometer because one doesn’t like the temperature. (Credit economist Dave Henderson for the analogy between temperature and price.)

One aspect of rent control that Boulder Weekly’s series of columns on rent control hasn’t mentioned is discrimination. Rent control promotes discrimination because it lowers the cost to landlords of discriminating against prospective tenants. Landlords can afford to be selective to whom they rent because there are many more potential tenants that can afford to pay the artificially low rent-controlled price. Turn away one prospective tenant, and another will soon come along. 

Landlords who wish to discriminate against tenants on the basis of their age, criminal history, rental history, credit history, weight, height, pet ownership, hair style, clothing style, hygiene, car condition, immigration status, accent, language, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, race, or any other characteristic can afford to be picky when rents are set below market because there are many more prospective tenants to choose from. 

But if instead rents were at market rates, prospective tenants that can afford the rent are fewer and further between, and landlords can’t be so choosy. Therefore, rent control subsidizes discrimination.

Laws can be enacted to outlaw rental discrimination, but anti-discrimination laws are a Band-Aid fix and difficult and expensive to prove in court.

Rent control is not a solution worthy of consideration to address the problem of high rents because (among many other problems) it results in increased discrimination against tenants.

Disclosure: I’m neither a landlord nor a tenant, and I have no financial interest in any rental property whatsoever. I own my home. Because rent control decreases the supply of rental units, it increases the demand for homes like mine. Therefore, I actually have a financial interest in favor of rent control as it would benefit me financially. Nevertheless, I steadfastly oppose rent control.

Chuck Wright/Westminster 

Email: letters@boulderweekly.com


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