In regards to the proposal to severely restrict permits for vacation rentals and the town council vote on June 16, I would like to raise a few points to 3 distinct local groups. Homeowners- This proposal will stomp the value of homes in this town as out-of-towners will immediately cease purchasing homes here and a selloff will immediately ensue in the local housing market as homeowners try to sell before the inevitable crash. A 30-40% plunge in value, at minimum, should be expected. Most local residents who have bought a home here in the past fifteen years will be left in a mountain of debt with no recourse. Neighbors of Noisy Vacation Rentals- Yes, it's a nuisance when renters throw late-night parties and disturb the sleep of their neighbors. However, there are other ways to combat this than simply eliminating the entire industry from our local economy. Why not establish a "3 strikes" policy? If a particular homeowner's rental property receives complaints from three separate neighbors within a specified time frame, they will lose their permit to rent. The homeowners will become responsible for weeding out bachelor parties and other obnoxious renters. They will do this by obtaining references on airbnb, vrbo etc. and by actually interviewing the people who wish to rent their homes. It's not fair to punish the responsible vacation rental homeowners who already do business this way and thus have never received noise complaints from neighbors. Better Business Bureau and anyone who cares about the economy of this town- Blindly refusing to issue new permits and clogging the market with red tape, as has been suggested, reeks of corruption and communism. Why should we allow some local governing elite the power to reward what amounts to tens of thousands of dollars in contracts? Bribery in exchange for permits will inevitably corrupt the behind-closed-door deals for permits. Also consider all the other local businesses which will need to eliminate jobs or close down for good. Cleaning services, construction workers, restaurants, bike rental shops etc will all be adversely affected by a lack of tourist families who wish to vacation in homes. People need to recognize that struggling motel owners with dwindling occupancy rates have heavily lobbied for this vote, in hopes of eliminating their competition. They feel understandably threatened by the emergence of the vacation rental industry. Many families simply prefer a house with a yard for their kids to play while they barbeque over a dark, dirty motel room. Additionally, the severe drought has put a serious squeeze on the market for anyone offering lodging. The question is how do we determine who must go out of business, the worst motels or nearly everyone who rents out their homes? History and economics have proven that brute capitalism and survival of the fittest are the best ways to solve these difficult problems. Is anyone really that sad that Blockbuster Video is gone? No, because we have Netflix. Unfortunately, the demand for lodging has decreased and so the supply of lodging needs to scale down to a new equilibrium. Tax short-term rentals more if you must but if we just quit interfering and allow this process to run its course, it will bring South Lake Tahoe its most optimal future economy. Please keep these issues in mind while forming your opinions.

Nick Gorman Local Resident

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Bill Cereske over 2 years ago

If passed, this VHR ordinance will be catastrophic for South Lake Tahoe and it’s vital tourism industry.

Vacation home rentals are popular with many visitors to the region, because they provide lodging that a certain segment of visitors want. They fill a need that Hotels and Motels cannot. If you make it more difficult and expensive for guests to come and enjoy Lake Tahoe in the way they prefer, they will find a different place to go, damaging our recently recovering local economy.

The draconian license fees will force many of the smaller vacation rental homes to leave the market. The annual Fee will go from $140 a year, to $800, which is a more than substantial increase – it’s punitive!

Now, before you think I’m crying in my soup because it will cost me some money, consider this: Guests who are going to stay at my vacation home this Labor Day weekend, ALREADY will generate almost $500.00 in occupancy tax, benefiting the community. Multiply that by all the guests I’m expecting this year, and all the occupancy taxes they will generate, and you have tens of thousands of dollars flowing into the community coffers. Plus all the business they do and taxes they will pay for on the things they buy, adds up. We’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxes and community benefits from my one property ALONE!

Now, multiply my single property by the hundreds of other properties in local VHR service, and you are talking MANY MILLIONS of dollars in taxes and community benefits. If the VHR business is curtailed or destroyed here in South Lake Tahoe, how will the loss of revenue be handled? What vital services shall be cut off? What businesses will cease to exist? How will YOU respond to the destruction of our fragile recovering local economy?

Some say that there are noise issues, and I’m sure there are legitimate concerns there. Rowdy behavior and excessive noise are already prohibited by current rules, and are enforced. In the decade plus that I have operated my vacation rental, there has been ONE visit by the Police. (Yes, if the Police ever have to visit a property, the owner is told all about it). That issue was resolved by an apology from the guest, and the noise problem went away.

BUT, to prohibit quiet outdoor conversation, and even quiet hot tub operation after a certain hour is OVER THE TOP, and may even invite a first Amendment violation challenge.

Even without such a challenge, the proposed rules are sure to make many people answer the question: “Should we vacation in South Lake Tahoe this year?” A resounding NO.

Do we want that?

Bill Cereske, Vacation Home Rental Proprietor

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BettyRae Hartwick over 2 years ago

As a property owner in South Lake Tahoe whose parents honeymooned at Lake Tahoe in 1930 and brought us here yearly as small children, to rent, sometimes to own, develop and build, various properties here, I wish to voice my opposition to any laws prohibiting or additionally adding restrictions to our local vacation rentals .. We have come here all our lives. Until our parents were able to purchase our own first cabin, we were privileged to rent from others who owned homes here. This should remain a place for others to come and visit, rent someone's cabin or home, and enjoy this beautiful natural Lake with all its splendors. Many wonderful people can not afford to purchase their own place, but can rent another's home for a time each year . I do not support any ordinance that would in any way restrict the rights of property owners or their representatives, to be able to rent privately owned homes /properties to visitors from time to time as they see fit, without additional city restrictions! Thank you for your courtesy in allowing me to have the opportunity to speak to this subject. Sincerely, (Mrs.) Betty Rae (Salas) Hartwick.

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Kathy Johnson over 2 years ago

I would like to agree with the comments made by Nick Gorman, Bill Cereske and Betty Rae Hardwick. I also vacationed in Tahoe as a youngster, later with my husband and even later with our children as a family. We started out at Camp Concord, tried the motel route, moved on the single family homes and then were fortunate to build, then also buy, our Tahoe home. We have seen the City of South Lake Tahoe grow and change in recent years and have been pleased with most of the changes. We struggled through TRPA, required license and permits fees for rentals, visible posting of a vacation rental sign (that displays unoccupied to any who drive by), installation of bear-proof garbage containers and the changes of the Occupancy Tax requirements. Our vacation home rentals started out as just to friends and family to help supplement the maintenance and upkeep of these homes. To this day we do not "rake in" money, but we do manage to stay ahead of the bills. To increase the cost of licensing over five times does seem punitive. To require owners to compete with the large resorts that have been built seems a bit over the top. If violations of noise and trash are the problem, I agree that fines should be issued to repeat violators and individual permits pulled if changes are not made in rental policies. Fortunately, our homes are free and clear. We do not have the added expense of a home payment and new property taxes to cover with rental fees. Please, seriously consider the long term effect your decision will mean to tourists (who will lose a reasonable way to treat their families to Tahoe), to the money these visiting tourists bring to local businesses (with their housing savings), and the home owners you will undoubtedly bankrupt with the excess fees. Thank you for listening. Sincerely, Kathy Johnson, Vacation Rental Property Owner

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Bill Cereske over 2 years ago

One thing I WOULD support would be the inspection - or self certification - of basic safety requirements. Smoke and CO detectors are required by law, but also by common sense, Last year, I noticed - on MY property - a fence that a child could fall through, which I promptly corrected. Some owner education on that subject could go a long way. Many people do not know the common sense things that keep people safe.

When I notice things like that on other properties featured by my management company, I always tell them about my observations, and they pass it along to the property owners.

The LAST thing the VHR industry needs is a Tribune headline reading, "Tot dies in Vacation Rental Home because of safety flaw".

Bill Cereske, Vacation Home Rental Proprietor

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Ashley Roof over 2 years ago

The proposed changes to the vacation rental process are outrageous and will devastate the economy, including everyone’s property value. I was so happy to invest in SLT, to help so many people flourish despite the struggles brought on by the ongoing drought, and now here we are, in a city that is looking to cripple itself as the climate crisis continues to deteriorate?

As a property owner in SLT, I am dismayed that the city could be so flippant in proposing changes that will tank property values and cripple the economy. The aggressive tactics that are being taken against the very small business owner on behalf of a small number of residents who have personal issues with individual rental homes and/or h/motel owners who believe that my property is too much competition for them, are based on impractical, unthoughtful ideology and will produce objectively negative consequences for everyone in SLT, regardless of their property ownership status or political affiliation.

My husband and I invested in a vacation home in Tahoe last year ONLY because the rental climate was positive for owners. If these regulations had existed then, there is NO WAY we would have even considered buying property in SLT. Our purchase enabled the long time residents who sold us their home to retire after their home sat on the market for over 3 years. Again, there is NO WAY we would have bought this property if we had known that the vacation rental regulations that are now proposed were even a remote possibility.

Use this as a testimonial: when potential homebuyers ask about whether they should buy property in SLT, right now we say, “yes, absolutely. It is a good investment.” With these changes, the answer will be “absolutely not, run away as fast as you can and invest elsewhere.” Houses on our street have sat on the market now for YEARS not selling. The dynamic that would result from these changes, would take that even further and make it virtually impossible for any SLT homeowner to extricate themselves from a collapsing housing market that was propped up during the last few years despite the national housing crisis, due primarily to vacation rental investment, which is already tottering on collapse due to the many terrible snow years in a row.

Some more important, practical points for consideration:

1) We screen all our renters by phone before confirming bookings and have NEVER had any complaints from neighbors. On behalf of vacation rental owners, it is in our best interest to do this, because we do not want bad renters any more than our neighbors do - they will destroy our beloved home! We have heard of cases where vacation rental owners do not follow the current rules, as some don’t, but there is currently not strong enforcement.

Why not try enforcing the current rules before proposing new ones?

2) We have been absolutely by-the-book in following all laws, regulations and taxations. Our large house poses absolutely no competition to motels or hotels in the area - our renters want to rent a house with a kitchen and a yard where they can stay together as a family, not random rooms in a hotel. If they were not given this choice, they would certainly choose a location other than SLT, somewhere where there are copious other vacation home rental options.

Most renters I interview are considering SLT against a wide range of options, not limited even to Tahoe or Northern California (Colorado, Santa Fe, Napa, Shasta, Yosemite, Big Bear, Mt Hood, Crater Lake, Sedona, etc) and in many cases, not even limited to the US (Banff, Lake Louise, Whistler, New Zealand, Chile, Swiss Alps, Norway). While SLT is gorgeous and we love it, if we take a step back and remove our egos from the discussion, we have to recognize that vacation homes in a mountain or lake setting are copious throughout Northern California, the US and the world, and are typically easier to fly to than SLT with larger, more convenient local airports. We have heard from MANY potential renters that they will go somewhere else if they do not find the exact housing option that they desire, and many of them are only considering SLT because of the many luxurious vacation rental options that the CURRENT regulations allow. Reducing these options will cripple all businesses who have seen growth due to the currently positive vacation rental climate in SLT.

3) The economy has already been struggling enough with the many years of bad snow and drought and these proposed changes will be the nail in the coffin for everyone, even people who desire to have no affiliation with the vacation rental industry.

Here’s a real world example: We have personally invested large sums of money in the area: hiring local contractors, cleaners, handymen, snow plowing services, shopping at local stores, eating at local restaurants and more. All of the recipients of the money that we and our renters dump into the economy due ONLY to our vacation rental including, but not limited to: waiters/waitresses, restaurant owners, cleaners, plumbers, landscapers, hardware store employees, contractors, “Dog, Dog, Cat,” “Cork & More,” “Getaway Cafe,” “Blue Dog Pizza,” “Lake Tahoe Brewery,” “Himmel Haus,” and so many others, will be cut off from this important revenue stream. It will clearly not make sense for us or any other vacation rental owner to invest further in the area, in fact, we will probably all run away screaming, collapsing the housing market even faster with an influx of inventory, and there will be a severe drop in cashflow from vacation renters as they choose to go to one of their many fantastic options other than SLT.

4) Add to all of this, that we pay property taxes that cover services such as public schools that we don’t use. The City of SLT and the full-time residents who enjoy the disproportionate fruits of our taxes, have a great deal! If you start filling the vacation rental properties with full-time residents, which will be difficult to do after the economy collapses with these regulations, you will also lose tons of money because you will have to support these new residents with civic services at a much higher rate than you do now.

The destruction will resonate throughout the entire economy, crippling an already delicate situation caused by the bad snow, low lake levels, and unpredictable climate.

Don’t let petty disagreements, corrupt lobbying by special interests and random, unrepresentitive anecdotes lead you down a rabbit hole that will create such destruction for the local economy that it might never recover.

Ashley Roof, South Lake Tahoe property owner and strong contributor to all levels of the local economy

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Man Tang over 2 years ago

The proposed ordinance about VHR is a bad idea, which would reduce the price of my house if it is passed. I enjoy skiing so I bought the single-family house in South Lake Tahoe. I stay in the house while I ski in Heavenly. I will occasionally rent out the house to reduce the expense. If I had known the proposed ordinance about VHR in advance, I would not buy the house in South Lake Tahoe at all. Instead I will ski in Squaw Valley and stay in Reno hotels with promotion. The proposed ordinance would reduce number of real estate buyers significantly, which results in lower housing price. Consequently, the real estate industry is hurt significantly. If the ordinance passes, owners may sell the house, then ski and stay in other vacation resorts. The tax revenue collected by city will be reduced significantly. Please remember that Heavenly snow condition is worse than other ski resorts last drought year. If I do not own the house in South Lake Tahoe, I would not buy the season ticket of Heavenly. Instead I will go to other ski resorts with better snow condition.

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Mary Love over 2 years ago

So many great points have been brought up in the many posts already but as a property owner and current vacation rental permit holder, I would like to make my voice heard as well. Our family has lifelong roots in the city and we bought our home to be able to enjoy it as our home away from home. It is important to point out that in order for us to do that, renting it out as a vacation rental was an essential component in our purchase. Regarding the current and proposed changes… What has surprised me the most is that the primary reason for this ordinance to be put into place is due to noise complaints in neighborhoods. I thought there was already a ordinance in place to pull the permits for those that violate the rules. It seems to me that if this is in fact the case, the city needs to do their part to enforce the current ordinance by revoking the violating permit holder from the ability to rent their home. What shouldn't happen is those that work diligently to be responsible vacation rental permit holders be the ones that are punished as well. If the city was run like a company, then those that didn't do their jobs were fired and those that did what they were supposed to do were rewarded. Along the same lines, a good company also evaluates the economic picture before making any major changes as well. I can personally attest to the fact that being a large vacation rental our guests simply wouldn't be coming to Tahoe unless they had the ability to rent a home. Our guests are primarily families with lots of kids. In these economic times they simply couldn't afford to rent multiple hotel rooms. To assume that without a vacation rental home as an option that they would choose a hotel room is not a good assumption. We as many other people who are vacation rental homeowners would not be financially able to afford our home here if in fact we were not able to rent it. The truth is we would have to sell our home for a loss due to the fact that we bought our home at the height of the market, or we would be renting it as a long-term rental but most likely not to one family but multiple single individuals. I personally don't think that that would be a better environment for our neighborhood then what we currently are offering. I not only screen people greatly before I rent to them, I also make sure that they are 30 years and over to be able to rent. I do my part to be a responsible neighbor and have given my personal phone number to the neighbors closest to our home in hopes that they would contact us if for whatever reason they were unhappy with one of our guests. In nine years of renting I have yet to get a call from a neighbor. To the best of my knowledge I am not considered a problem vacation rental owner. I also do not agree that a neighbor has a right to choose what you do with your own home. What I do agree with is that they have the right to voice their opinion if you were not being responsible as a vacation rental owner and you would be the one that would ultimately lose your permit. Personally the amount of money that vacation rentals bring into the community by employing the many great workers in this city, but also the money that is spent by the vacation renters cannot be understated. It is our hope that the city does it's due diligence before making any drastic changes. Primarily, simply enforcing the existing ordinance by revoking the permits of those that have been repeat violators would be the first major step. It is my hope that you take a serious look at the consequences of any future actions before you make your vote. Thank you for listening to our voice.

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Steve Gibbs over 2 years ago

Sass wrote to me and said We are not abolishing VHR I replied with this: Indirectly by significant fee increases and restrictions like 2 per bedroom --we have 2 huge bedrooms with double queens that easily conveniently sleep four each -- will greatly harm the VHR business and the home sales business. Restrictions would cut our occupancy in half! More people will get out of sharing their cabins and far fewer will buy homes knowing they can't supplement costs.

Camp Rich is closing about 95 campsites. Where do large lower-income families stay for a week and be able to cook for their children? Hotels? Timeshares? Tahoe will become an elite retreat.

You are punishing everyone for the misdeeds of a few. It is a lazy approach to your problem. Go out and catch the violators. Damping the industry just makes enforcement jobs easier on the backs of law abiding citizens. And we don't live 100s of miles away. We're in Sac. We come here with our large family a couple times a month and have since 1974. We are extremely attentive of our property and are on excellent terms with all our neighbors. Yet our fees are going up because of others abuse. As a school teacher I would never punish my whole class because 4 people cheated. Nor would I put restrictions on student liberties just to make my job easier. I'd just work harder to catch cheaters. That's what SLT needs to do.

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John Doe over 2 years ago

Hey, we live in a democracy: if the city council is not serving its constituents by voting for this then the solution is simple: recall them. It only takes 65 registered voters to initial a recall petition, and then only 12% of votes cast in the last election to make it official. It should be extremely easy to get 65 signatures.

Someone said Sass has a conflict of interest: can you prove it? If so, that's grounds for disqualification from participation.

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Pradyot Kar over 2 years ago

We have been vacationing in South Lake Tahoe for the last 15 years. In all those years we rented Vacation rentals from homeowners at least twice a year. After dreaming of owning our own slice of Tahoe for many years finally this year we purchased our own vacation home in South Lake Tahoe.

Over the years we have been thankful to all the vacation homeowners in SLT who shared their homes with us. Finally when we were able to afford one we did factor in the scenario that we could occasionally rent out our home to vacationers and generate a small income, especially after retirement. In fact over the years we have come to know several vacation homeowners who derive a significant part of their retirement income by renting out their homes this was one of the driving factors in our decision to purchase a vacation home in SLT.

I understand that part of the reason why this ordinance is being planned is to act upon the complaints of noise and nuisance caused by some vacation home renters. While its true that the problem exists, it is not as big as it is being drummed up. In fact this problem is equally true for long-term renters, not just vacation renters. I believe statistics prove that long term renters cause double the number of police complaints compared to vacation home renters. So there is little statistical justification for this ordinance. If the city is indeed serious about addressing the noise/nuisance problem it should focus its attention on long term renters rather than singling out vacation home rentals.

Enacting this ordinance would punish responsible vacation rental homeowners who never received noise complaints from neighbors. This will cause great harm to the local economy. Instead of this ordinance I would suggest a stronger enforcement of existing laws and better monitoring. We can establish a 3 strikes policy where if a particular homeowner's rental property receives complaints from three separate neighbors within a specified time frame (say a year), they lose their permit to rent.

I strongly urge SLT lawmakers to revoke this ordinance. Arbitrarily formulating laws that serve the purpose of a particular section of the society is not how a democracy functions. I am sure that if the city proceeds with the enactment of this ordinance, a length legal battle would ensue which is only going to burn up additional tax-payer money that could be better spent on other programs.

Thanks, Pradyot (Owner of a vacation home in South Lake Tahoe)

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Lynette Sheppard over 2 years ago

Enforce Existing Regulations- Save Our City As both a resident and the owner of a vacation rental home, I feel uniquely qualified to comment since I occupy both sides of this issue. First and foremost, Beautiful South Lake Tahoe's economy depends on tourism. Speaking as a family oriented person, I personally will always rent a home rather than a hotel room. If that were not available, I would go elsewhere for vacation. Should we lose the ability to rent out homes, the consequences to our economy would be disastrous. Lost tax revenues, businesses closing, decreasing home values are just the tip of the iceberg. Services and infrastructure will decrease for all of us, adversely affecting our own experiences as residents. Let us not forget that a weekend rental uses less water and services, yet pays the same water and sewer rates as those of us who live here, in effect subsidizing our own lifestyles. The people who rent our vacation home have been respectful families who return year after year. Also in the neighborhood where I reside, (a different neighborhood) there are some vacation rentals- never had any problems with noise or traffic. The idea of having extra enforcement of existing regulations is fine, for those who have experienced disruption. Good for the council for this intervention. Now let's give it a chance to work. Let's not rush headlong into more stringent and onerous regulation. An analysis should be undertaken and made available to us residents of the actual particulars of previous problems and complaints. Specifically, what is the breakdown of each year's complaints as to type of complaint or disruption, what area or neighborhood or address ( to ascertain chronic offenders or outliers), who submitted the complaint ( rather than just numbers of complaints, are there repeat complaints, again targeting specific repeat offenders, making it easier for those in charge of enforcing to do their jobs. I am strongly opposed to any moratorium on rental permits or any further regulations beyond the increase

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Kevin Halteman over 2 years ago

Seems we're being a bit extreme with fees and numerous ordinances. Give the fees and related officers a chance to curb disrespectful groups and reevaluate.

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Bob Poet over 2 years ago

Forgive my bluntness, but this new ordinance looks like a power-money grab. Enforce the current nuisance laws and make those doing the harm pay the price. Not the vast majority of vacation home owners.

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John Doe over 2 years ago

The original poster mentioned corruption and lobbying from the motel industry: It's probably not a coincidence that there are two items on the agenda: part (a) streamlines the permitting process for VHR's zoned "commercial" and part (b) severely restricts permits in residential areas. This is nothing short of crony capitalism, something unambiguously un-American. I'll reiterate my previous point about recalling the city council members if this goes through.

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Seamus Fitzsimmons over 2 years ago

@#%^&*()

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Mike Tahoe 5 months ago

yea to hel with the motel owners like they said, they only spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to purchase their motels and follow the local business laws, they only purchased huge properties with huge mortgages, close the motels and rent the neighborhood houses, to hel with proper businesses such as hotels, and to hel with the residents that have to get up early to work, to hel with the neighborhood kids that VHR renters almost run over , to hel with the proper time to put out your trash, let the bears choke on your garbage, let the kids be run over and not be allowed out on the street because different strangers instead of other families stay in the house next door, lets all cheer for the drunks at 2 or 3 in the morning, hel their on vacation leave them alone, to hel with you locals , get your asses up a couple hours after VHR renters are done partying and get those restaurants and stores and other businesses open so they can be rude to you in there also, that is if you can get through the flow of traffic to get to work, to hel with your kids standing at the school bus stops listening to strangers argue and drive like maniacs down our residential streets, to hel with family neighborhoods where familys and neighbors watch out for each other, who needs that kind of security, not Tahoe locals, they only have one purpose on this planet and that is to serve tourists no matter how rude how annoying it is your duty to serve them,hel you should get out of bed at 2 am and go to the noisy VHR next to you and serve them too, you should not complain if you have to pick their trash up off the street every week, hel you locals should train your bears better than that, you should move out of their way when they are in line at the gas pumps or in the grocery store, hel their on vacation and have things to do, how dare you try to get to work on time or drive your child to school because you dont feel the corner bus stop to be safe because its by a VHR and you never know who or what kind of person is their, to hel with the locals residents and business owners , bow down to those on vacation to those buying up the houses to rent in your neighborhood to any one with the cash to rent it, to hel with the security of living in a town where the government and your neighbors got your back, to he*l with you.

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