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But unlike Sun City, it is nonprofit and consists entirely of apartments. Furthermore, medical consultation is provided as part of the package (but no hospitalization or drugs), and its pastel-colored, concrete-block buildings are designed for a lower-income-level oldster (apartments start at $70.50). Senior Citizens began moving into the Fresno village last December, and today more than three-quarters of the 557 units are occupied. The second of what is planned as a chain of such villages is under constructionthe Portals Senior Citizens Village, some 100 miles north of Los Angeles.
Father of the Senior Citizens Villages is tall, silver-haired George Henry McLain, 60, fiercely mustachioed and fiercely dedicated to the old people's cause. The Depression of the '30s gave him his lifework. "My father applied for an old-age pension, and what with all the humiliating things they made him do to get his piddling $15 a month, I channeled my anger into the area of aiding the elderly." For the past 23 years he has been at it, and to the 60,000 members of his California League, McLain is "Mister Senior Citizen," who has judiciously wielded the voting power of his elders and their children to win concession after concession from the California legislature. His latest effort was a proposal for a $100 million bond-financed revolving fund aimed to provide low-interest loans for old-age housing, which was resoundingly defeated by the voters in last June's primary. McLain. will try something else.
McLain does not think his "villages" are in competition with Webb's "cities," which, he says, "are for the more affluent elderly who can more than afford to pay for them. Our aim is to create low-cost, quality rentals, and at the same time, like Sun City, give the old folks a good, busy life. It's got to be like a long vacation on a cruise shipnever a dull moment."
The final solution is not yet in sight. But at least planners have begun to fumble at solutions. The issue has becomeand it shouldan immediate concern for every U.S. citizen. After all, statistically speaking, any voter in the U.S., if he is not already, can look forward to being 65.
* Other cities with a high proportion of oldsters: Miami Beach (pop. 63,145), with 28.2% Clearwater, Fla. (pop. 34,653), with 20.7% Santa Cruz, Calif. (pop. 25,596), with 25.1% Lake Worth, Fla. (pop. 20,758), with 28.8%