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Either by chance or, perhaps, good planning by the editor, last week's letter entitled "We're upsetting Napa Valley's delicate balance" was immediately followed by "Help us protect the affordable, senior living that we love." It seems to me that these are two sides of the same coin.

We all love St. Helena as it is but a community that doesn't change -- and by change I suppose I mean allow development to respond to demand -- inevitably will find itself beset by precisely the problems the writer of the second letter addressed, which is high and rising rental prices. Either build in response to demand or accept that rents are going to grow very quickly.

To those who believe rent control is actually the path to achieving both, logic suggests that, if true, that can only be true in the very short run. Not one of us would invest in rental real estate in an environment in which potential losses are unlimited and gains capped, so demand for rental housing will grow but supply will not.

So we've got to pick one -- either a community that doesn't grow and, so, has ever escalating rents or one that, yes, sacrifices a bit of what we have today, but allows for people of more modest means to enjoy our lovely town.

Robert Edwards

St. Helena

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