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Opinion December 20, 2017

Plus Letters to the Editor

Editor's Note

Steve Palopoli Profile Photo

For 51 weeks out of the year, we take the news very seriously around here. I know some people might think we occasionally get a little too snarky or wacky—so it goes for an alt-weekly in a mainstream media world—but in general what I hear from readers is that they like the humor and personality we try to deliver, as long as it’s balanced with careful reporting and thoughtful analysis. That is so fair and reasonable, and to all of those wonderfully discerning and real-news-loving members of the Santa Cruz community who we make this paper for every week, let me just say: I’m so, so sorry. Because things are about to get ridiculous.

Our Year in Review issue is the week we look back on everything that happened this year and laugh, cringe, feel all the feels, and in general shake our heads in disbelief. And actually, I’m not really sorry, in fact, I hope it’s as absurdly fun for you to read as it was for us to write.

Another thing you will notice this week is that film times are back in our movie section. To be honest, those things drive us crazy, because so often theaters can’t get us the correct information about what they’re showing every week in time to meet our press deadline—that’s why you’ll often see “Call theater for showtimes” instead of listings. It got to the point where we figured printing them every week wasn’t worth it for readers. But in the last few weeks, we’ve heard from many of you saying you want us to keep running them, so run them we shall. Thanks for the feedback, and enjoy the year in review!

STEVE PALOPOLI | EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Letters to the Editor

Even ‘Affordable’ is Expensive

I agree with Nada Misunas (Letters, 12/6): Not everyone who wants to live in Santa Cruz will be able to do so. However, neither Ms. Misunas nor anyone else can stop people from coming here. Those who can afford to buy or rent will find homes, but prices will remain high because supply will never keep up with demand. Even “affordable” housing will remain expensive relative to other places. If established, rent control will have only minimal effect. Any politician who promises otherwise is naive, uninformed, or disingenuous.

Gigo deSilvas | Santa Cruz

Why I Host Short-Term Rentals

The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors is considering regulations that would put extremely strict limits on the number of nights a homeowner can rent out a room in their home. To be clear, the regulations target homeowners like me, who live in the home full-time, even when travelers stay.

I’ve lived in Santa Cruz since the 1980s, and take great pride in my neighborhood. We live in one of the most beautiful places in the world, and I never want to leave.

After a 25-year teaching career here in the county and managing the lifeguards along our coast, I recently retired and am now subbing and renting out a room in my home to help make ends meet, something that became more of a challenge when property taxes recently increased.

I would not be able to afford my mortgage without the extra income I earn through renting out a room on Airbnb, which I primarily do in the summer when more tourists are looking for an affordable way to experience Santa Cruz.

I know this community as well as anyone, and fully understand the concerns many people have about short-term rentals. From the worries about loud guests and parking to concerns about less long-term housing and losing the neighborhood feel. I live here and I get it. I want to protect our neighborhoods, too.

Airbnb is a community, and I have a good sense of the hosts in this area. The vast majority of homeowners like me who rent out a room for a portion of the year are responsible hosts looking to supplement their income in an increasingly expensive city. What’s more, sharing space in our homes isn’t impacting long-term housing in Santa Cruz. In fact, for me, it’s helping to ensure I’m able to stay in the house where I’ve lived for all these years.

Rather than restrictive policies that negatively impact the community, I hope that the Board takes our recommendations into consideration and works with us to draft smart, fair regulations that address any existing concerns. The host community in Santa Cruz County is happy to sit down and have meaningful conversations about good policy that will strengthen our neighborhoods, local economy and ensure that the hosts who rely on short-term rental income to make ends will be able to continue doing so.

I have confidence in my neighbors and if we have smart policies, together we can all benefit.

Lisa Cohen | Boulder Creek

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