No place like home

Mary Ann Martorana is a Sacramento senior who lives in Midtown

My main exercise, now that I’m no longer working, comes from gardening and walking my dog. Unfortunately, it seems both pet ownership and garden space are becoming privileges of the well-to-do senior, something I certainly am not. Only the rich seem to get to be members of “active” senior communities. It’s warehousing wherever a place opens up for the rest of us.

Homeownership of any sort in a real neighborhood—which would allow me to have my small dog and my beloved garden with fixed housing costs—is out of the question. Though my credit is good, as a first time homebuyer, the most I can qualify for is $100,000. That won’t even get me a recycled, un-renovated apartment turned condo in an “iffy” part of town—or anywhere else in California!

Mobile homes are out also, because of spiraling park rents and inflated resale prices. Owning a used mobile home in a safe, decent park averages about $1,000 per month when park rent and payments are added together.

So-called affordable senior housing is grim for the most part and often costs more than $600 per month, which is too high rent for me to qualify. Units with rent based on income have long waiting lists. Many do not allow dogs; gardens are out of the question, unless you count a few pots on a teeny patio.

The average income of a senior in the Central Valley is $900 per month, so many are far worse off than I. Does the government expect us all to move to South Dakota, where the rents and homes are cheap? Maybe the state can spring for free one-way bus tickets to get rid of us. It wouldn’t be California’s worry any longer, and after we break our bones slipping on the ice and snow and die, there wouldn’t be a problem for the feds, either.

Shame on you, California, and shame on you, Arnold, for the cheap and cheesy way you treat your elders. Lots of us still have all our marbles, believe it or not, and we know who not to vote for.