EMERYVILLE -- If the story of rising rents and the exodus of artists from Bay Area communities could be told in verse, Emeryville's poet laureate has one for you.
Appointed to the poetry post in 2013, Sarah Kobrinsky was forced to pack up her family and leave town recently when her landlord, who also happens to be a city planning commissioner, suddenly raised her rent 38 percent.
But her housing trauma -- she, her artist husband and their 4-year-old son are now residents of cheaper digs in Point Richmond -- inspired a new poem Kobrinsky calls "Aftershock."
In another time and place,
we are better people.
No one lies. The Earth
never shakes.
Somewhere else,
we are stronger still --
When we say we are sorry,
we honestly mean it.
As an artist, Kobrinsky said she understands the Bay Area rental market benefits some at the expense of others. But she expected more from her landlord Kairee Tann, a city official who votes on development proposals that directly affect the housing market including single family homes and apartment buildings.
Tann also is on the city's Housing Advisory and Appeals Board, which hears complaints about potential violations of the housing code.
Kobrinsky's rent in Emeryville went from $1,300 to $1,800 a month for a 1 ½-bedroom unit. Even through she lived on the same lot as her landlord in a separate unit, she said when she was notified of the increase there was no conversation, just a certified letter.

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