Thursday’s column criticizing landlords and property managers who are raising rental rates just as flood-displaced people are looking for housing drew a lot of response. Nobody took the side of greedy landlords.
Bob Elliot of Iowa City summed up the views of many writers:
“It’s pathetic that with all the heart-warming character and just plain humanity displayed bv the thousands of volunteers throughout our communities, there remain a few money-hungry jerks.
“Those jerks see someone else’s misfortunate, and perhaps tragedy, as simply an opportunity to fill their greedy pockets.
“At least you’ve made sure they don’t escape unnoticed.”
Elizabeth Hajek of Mount Vernon thinks Cedar Rapids city leaders should take action:
“After reading your column this morning, I was horrified that such price gauging was going on. I think the City Council should put a temporary moratorium on raising rents for both houses and apartments, so desperately needed by storm victims.”
Several readers took aim at at Bob Miell, who owns Equity Realtors. The firm has raised rental charges since the flood by 30 percent or more on some units that I used as examples in my column.
“Have you ever looked at the delinquent property tax list? You will see Robert Miell’s name pop up repeatedly. Maybe with his increased rents, he will be able to afford to pay his property taxes on-time, like the rest of us,” Dan LeGrand said in an e-mail.
Michele Moore, an Eastern Iowan who now lives in Des Moines sent this:
“I just received an email from my mom, who, while not flooded, did not work for 4 days because the flood affected her employment. Because of this she is short on her rent due the 1st of July. She called Mr. Miell and he said he will not wait for July 4th to be paid the balance and he will evict anyone that is late. He says he can immediately rent his apartments to displaced people.
“I think it is sad that there are people like Mr. Miell doing what they call business in Cedar Rapids.”
On a much lighter note, I received my first flood-related joke this week:
“A curious fellow died one day and found himself waiting in the long line of judgment. As he stood there he noticed that some souls were allowed to march right through the pearly gates into Heaven. Others, though, were led over to Satan, who threw them into the burning fire. But every so often, instead of hurling a poor soul into the fire, Satan would toss a soul off to one side into a small pile.
“After watching Satan do this several times, the fellow’s curiosity got the best of him. So he strolled over and asked Satan what he was doing.
‘Excuse me,’ he said. ‘I’m waiting in line for Judgment, but I couldn’t help wondering. Why are you tossing those people aside instead of flinging them into the Fires of Hell with the others?’
‘Oh,those,’ Satan groaned. ‘They’re all from IOWA. They’re still too wet to burn.’
Keep ’em coming. We could use a laugh.