Letters to the Editor

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Editor: On Monday, Jan. 10, I tried to enter Alameda through the tube. It was impossible, dead stop. Luckily, I could get out of line and use the freeway to the 16th Street exit and then go to Webster Street.

A week before it took more than 25 minutes to exit Alameda via the Park Street Bridge. It seems every time I read an Alameda paper there is a story about 400 new units here and 620 new units there. I believe there are about five to seven of these projects.

I, as a citizen of Alameda, propose any city official/planning board member who votes for one of these projects must move within a half-mile of the tube or bridge. If you are for an Alameda of 100,000-plus people and gridlock, you should live in the most congested part of town.

And don’t even get me started on the new and dangerous “condensed” streets in town. They are horrible.

— Armen Phelps

To Whom It May Concern: My first complaint is the provision that landlords be allowed to “bank” rent increases during the pandemic (by the Alameda Housing Authority/ City of Alameda). This is unconscionable. Alameda tenants have been protected from rent increases by the Local State of Emergency but will then be slammed with rent increases that include the “banked” amounts 60 days after it ends.

Please help us to have this provision rescinded.

Next, I won a rent reduction plea against my landlords in 2020 due to five years of suffering lack of heat and mold (along with my fellow tenants). However, I haven’t been successful in requesting the landlords be audited by the City for discriminatory rent increases in this property. This was made apparent when I, an enrolled member of the Muscogee Nation, and an African American tenant were informed by a Caucasian neighbor that he hadn’t received a rent increase “in 20 years” after we, two people of color, had multiple increases over a five-year period.

I am also seeking to sue the landlords for the retaliation I have been suffering since I won the rent reduction in 2020, as well as the theft of my Social Security number (which was used to submit a false 1099MISC to the IRS claiming that the rent reduction was wages; the IRS disallowed it since it was repayment of overpaid rent as above). The resident manager and other property employees have been illegally entering our apartments and our mailboxes for years; they likely have every tenant’s Social Security number.

Any assistance that you can provide will be deeply appreciated. I am in my 70s, recovering from brain surgery. If I didn’t receive food benefits, I would be forced to move as my rent already takes over 71% of my fixed income. I don’t think I am alone in my deep worry concerning what the landlords will be allowed to do in the city of Alameda even in so-called rent-controlled properties. There has been some discussion that landlords will be allowed to raise our rents to pay for the cost of capital improvements for their properties in the future (draft is attached).

Many, perhaps most, of my fellow tenants in this property do not have English as their first language, have modest educations and are very likely unaware of what their rights might be vis a vis housing.
Thank you,

— Cheryl Kettell

Editor’s Note: The Alameda Sun received a copy of this letter. Cheryl Kettell lives in Alameda.

There’s faith in everything you do
that what you do is right.
There’s love for friends and family
that lets you sleep at night.
But what I need, that helps me cope,
is unrelenting, endless hope.
Hope’s a sunrise you cannot see.
But it’s always there for you and me.

Arthur Lenhardt