The following is a response posted to the article appearing in the Stranger last week.
It’s disappointing that one aspect not covered in this discussion is the deeply political issue surrounding land use in this city. As a member of a profession that has virtually no access to legislative and civic leaders, nor benefits in the tax code, I want laws surrounding rental agreements to better reflect the needs of the arts community. The damages sustained by artists at 1723 should have been covered by the landowner, and rents not raised; in fact they should have been lowered. Why are leases not written to the advantage of responsible renters, instead of the owners? In fact, why is there private ownership of artist space at all? Artists have jobs, our work, and many work additional jobs because we don’t receive the tax breaks and subsidies of other industries and landowners. Other cities such at San Jose CA and Portland OR provide artists with space, often adjacent to living space. With the inauguration of our new mayor, it’s time to consider a more just land use system to encourage creativity and imaginative environments which will improve the quality of life for all of us in the city.