Letters for May 9, 2013

Banks win (again)

Re “Housing Bubble 2” by Raheem F. Hosseini (SN&R Feature Story, May 2):

The problem with investor purchases of single-family homes isn't another bubble, but the concentration of ownership of rental housing (a far more important determinant of rent levels than supply and demand), and what might happen if the return on investment isn't what the investors expect. It's possible that the early entrants will make a very large return (the California State Teachers' Retirement System expects 15 percent on its investment), but later entrants are paying too much for the properties to come close to that. And a side-note irritation is that many of the banks that caused the crisis in the first place—Citi, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank—are now expecting to make money on these investments as well.

Alison Brennan

via email

Wall Street plays Monopoly

Re “Housing Bubble 2” by Raheem F. Hosseini (SN&R Feature Story, May 2):

Suggested alternate headline: “How to steal houses and win at Monopoly.”

Between 2003-2008: Wall Street banks pump housing market full of subprime loans and second mortgages. The housing bubble forms. Wall Street makes billions.

In 2008: The housing bubble bursts, and Americans lose homes and jobs. Pension funds take a big hit from investments in toxic mortgage derivatives. Credit market freezes up.

Between 2008-2012: Taxpayers bail out banks. Banks recover and pay record bonuses.

Recently, in 2012-2013: Wall Street uses its billions to buy up homes at bargain prices. Wall Street cash buyers push local buyers out of the market, … rent the same houses back to former homeowners. Wall Street walks off with billions more and most of the Monopoly board. …

Owning a home was the American Dream. The Dream was killed to feed the greed. Wall Street owns the nest eggs and the houses. Pretty slick transfer of wealth, eh?

Yeah—and Sacramento residents can't buy local houses.

Jim Forbes

Rancho Cordova

Homelessness revolving door?

Re “Stake down and out” by Dave Kempa (SN&R News, April 25):

I am in permanent supportive housing and have been since the beginning of the 10-year plan to end homelessness. The problem I have is that after being moved to new complexes three times, I am now being required to move a fourth time, only this time, I must move into a two-bedroom with a roommate because the director overspent our leasing money.

When will I get to stay in my permanent supportive housing? Is this a 10-year plan or a 10-year plot—a plot to receive millions from the government to fix up the neighborhoods of our city. I believe that I'm about to go through the revolving door [and on] to the end of the homeless line.

Laura Ashley


Ace of Spades still king

Re “If you build it, they will come” by Deena Drewis (SN&R Sound Advice, April 25):

Totally agree with you, Deena. Although Assembly is a very “hip” venue, unfortunately, it's still not large enough, and I don't know any rock 'n' rollers who want to be associated with anything “hip.” Ace of Spades is still the best venue in town for rock shows.

Lisa Walters