Letters to the Editor: XXXXXXXXX
One of my great frustrations with the News-Press is that I am one of the majority of residents of the City who are not “A-listers” who know the details of everything that is going on in the City. Therefore, I cannot take for granted many of the aspects of your articles that you simply throw out in one-liners. When I read many of your articles, I find that missing information leaves me feeling that there is something important happening, but I’m not getting enough detail on significant and sometimes critical issues.
For example, in your front-page story on the possible destruction of the Merrill House Apartments you wrote that the current seven story, 159 apartment building “…has a net negative fiscal impact on the City estimated at $600,000 per year.” My immediate questions were: Who estimated that and how did they arrive at the figure? Net negative of what? Compared to what? The owners pay taxes don’t they? If the City does not itself spend money on the property, then how can it be anything other than a positive cash flow?
Then you wrote that the owners offered four possible replacement options to the City. However, the City Manager did not like any of them, and the City’s “position” is to sell it to someone who would keep it like it is. So why, if it costs the City $600,000 a year would the City want to keep it unchanged?
You also inferred that the four options would not increase the City’s affordable housing stock. Later in the paper, you picked up on the “pressing need” for affordable housing in your editorial.
What causes the City to need low cost houses? Where does our pressing need originate?
How could anyone in the City government be so hypocritical as to say the City needs affordable housing while at the same time allowing developers to tear down every house they can acquire for $750,000 or less to replace them with $1,500,000+ mini-mansions?
Maybe you and the insiders know the answers to all these questions, so you don’t have to include them in an article like this. But we aren’t, so a little detail on important issues would be welcome, here and in the future.
Robert A. Speir
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