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Letter Seeks to Quash Residents’ Rent Control Effort

In a notice to disgruntled tenants who have been lobbying the City Council for a rent control ordinance, lawyers for the owner of Katella Mobile Home Estates accuse them of trying to destroy her business and demand that they stop.

The letter was sent last week by attorneys for Marsha Carter to about 20 residents of the city’s largest mobile home park. The notice, which refers to the residents as “conspirators,” demands that they stop distributing newsletters critical of conditions in the park.

The letter describes the residents’ effort as a “clumsy and inept” attempt to “blackmail” Carter into making rent concessions.

Neither Carter nor her lawyers, Swanson & Gieser of Santa Ana, returned calls Thursday seeking comment.

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Russ Bartlett, a Katella Mobile Home Estates resident, said that he considers the notice to be “pure harassment” and that he will continue to lobby the council.

“I fought in Korea to protect the right of free speech and protest in this country,” he said. “We’re making noise and drawing attention, but we are not telling lies.”

For years, residents of Katella Mobile Home Estates have been asking the City Council to implement some kind of rent control, arguing that Carter has raised fees while letting the park fall into disrepair.

Until recently, council members have maintained that landlord-tenant disputes are private affairs. Last month, however, they ordered the city staff to begin researching rent control so that the council can consider drafting an ordinance.


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