Readers Speak

Rental rebuttal

Dear Editor,

This letter is in response to the recent article regarding short-term rental regulations and ordinances in the Times Observer. Extensive coverage was given to Arthur Stewart and his emphatic, unfortunately ill-informed understanding of the impacts of short-term rentals.

I’m under the impression he has not done any home purchasing or rental searching in recent years. If he did, he’d find perhaps a dozen apartment rentals monthly on Zillow for a population of 15,000 people.

Poor people don’t own multiple homes, they don’t own Airbnbs. Airbnbs steal jobs from hotels and regulated entities, they destroy actual BnBs, and they contribute to the corrosion of neighborhoods and communities. They bludgeon the poor and working class. They cause rents to rise and the people who rent them would otherwise rent a hotel or BnB anyways, one of those increasingly folkloric places that employs the citizens of the community.

As someone who has (and never will again) rented six Airbnbs in 30- to 120-day rentals, only two of them were worth the price. Two were what could be described as ‘frauds’ in the sense they were junk.

While consumer debt hits records monthly, we get to watch hotels empty out and turn vacant so that the rich can pad their pockets. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the top 20% of homeowners by net housing wealth own 90% (!) of non-primary residences. That’s not me. It’s bad enough California-types are buying up all the rental property around here (I encountered two such rentals out of six applications back in November), but now we can have California and NYC-owned Airbnbs everywhere, for absentee Airbnb owners are just splendid.

And come the next recession, the fake tourism economy will line up against the wall, and it will be the first casualty, as it always is. I cannot tell a lie to the working class.

Michael Hultin,


Get to know Grange

Dear Editor,

For the Pennsylvania State Grange, April holds special significance as it marks “Grange Month,” a time to celebrate our storied history, notable achievements, and continued commitment to rural advocacy and community service. We invite you to join in the statewide recognition of the importance of agriculture and rural advocacy, and the positive impact of local Granges in Pennsylvania and across the country.

The Grange is our nation’s oldest fraternal farm and family organization, dedicated to the betterment of rural life through community service, education, legislation, and fellowship. The roots of the Grange movement run deep in Pennsylvania since its inception in 1873. Today, more than 170 local and county Granges serve as a gathering place, where ideas can be shared, and challenges addressed in an open and respectful forum.

Over the years, these discussions have sought and led to improvements in agriculture and rural life. From bringing electrification and mail delivery to small towns, to expanded broadband access and telemedicine availability, the Grange has worked to connect friends and families to an ever-growing world. Through our collective efforts, we honor the legacy of those who came before us while striving to create a brighter future for generations to come.

I encourage all Pennsylvanians to join us in celebrating Grange Month and to learn more about the vital role that the Pennsylvania State Grange plays in our communities. Together, let us sow the seeds of cooperation through non-partisan rural advocacy, ensuring that the spirit of the Grange continues to flourish across our great state.

Matt Espenshade,


Pennsylvania State Grange


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