* Re "The Bottom Line on Those Big DWP Bills," by Scott Harris, March 2:
I'm glad to see someone on your staff is giving some ink to a problem that is doing more than just eliciting complaints from Los Angeles citizens about the outrageous water and sewer charges. As a provider of low-income housing in Los Angeles, I would like to sound the alarm that the DWP and the Los Angeles City Council are destabilizing an important industry that was already in a serious state of despair. The increases in water and especially the sewer charges have been nothing short of catastrophic for apartment owners who rent units in the $300-$450 range.
The crux of the problem lies in the fact that the low-income housing stock is sinking into serious despair and even abandonment. The water and sewer charges are proving to be a major catalyst behind this problem. Basically the problem works like this: Tenants don't pay for water and sewer charges directly. They do not generally care how much is used or how much it costs. The bills have doubled over the past three years. Owners of these buildings are losing money and are unable to keep up with other vital expenses such as repairs and maintenance. The end result is that the low-income housing stock keeps sinking further and further with whole neighborhoods being effected. The city wonders why low-income landlords don't do a better job of keeping up their properties.