Donald Trump announced a news conference on Friday that his campaign said would include an important statement about the “birther” issue. Both electronic and print media slavishly assembled with breathless anticipation, seemingly clueless of once again being played as the fools, or is it “tools”? He began this “important” message by promoting his new hotel in Washington for eight minutes. Surprise! He then had a group hug with some veterans before announcing that President Obama was indeed a natural-born American citizen (something rational people have known all along). After which he replaced one lie for a new one that claimed the 2008 Clinton campaign “started it” and that he had gotten to the truth for the American people. I’m wondering: How many demonstrable lies warrant the brand of liar? Who wants to bet that headlines won’t trumpet his retraction of a previous falsehood more than his newest one?

David S. Day, Anoka

JOHNSON ON TRUMP

What an unusual definition of ‘character’ he has

The irony is beyond delicious. Maybe even finger-lickin’ good. On the very day that Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson vouches for Donald Trump’s character (“On character and policy, it’s Trump,” Sept. 16), Trump cops to creating and perpetuating the five-year “birther” hoax on the American people. That Mr. Johnson believes a race-baiting fraudster has the character to be president suggests the commissioner’s capacity for self-delusion can be measured in buckets.

Gene Janicke, Forest Lake

• • •

Did I just read that right? In Johnson’s defense of Donald Trump, he wrote that Hillary Clinton “is a corrupt, compulsive liar who believes she is above the law.” While that might be a little bit true for Clinton, how is it not true in flashing neon and all capital letters for Donald Trump? Can we just admit up front that all politicians lie? Every. Single. One. It’s part of the job description. Even (gasp!) Bernie Sanders (“I’ll work my heart out for Hillary Clinton,” right before he disappeared from the campaign). According to all the fact-checking organizations, Clinton is among the most honest current politicians, and Trump is among the most deceitful. And unlike Trump, she hasn’t been fined multiple times by the FEC, the IRS and New York state. Above the law indeed.

Jon Sutton, Minneapolis

MINNEAPOLIS PARK BOARD

Trailhead project does not harm diversity, nor jobs

In response to the Sept. 6 commentary (“Downhill skiing is a race to the bottom; caring for ski trails in Minneapolis isn’t”) by Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Member Brad Bourn, Nekima Levy-Pounds (president of Minneapolis NAACP), Cathy Jones (second vice president of the Minneapolis NAACP) and Corey Webster (Local 363 president):

Bourn unfortunately stirred last-minute controversy between the public, the Park Board and the Loppet Foundation last week. He has told his constituents, including me, that he “supported” the Trailhead project. His concern about union labor was addressed openly at the Park Board meeting on Aug. 3, as well as in many negotiations between the board and the Loppet Foundation in the past three years. Here are the facts. Six part-time winter employees will move elsewhere in the Park Board system with the same benefits and hours. The grooming and snowmaking will be done by trained professionals. Skiers at Wirth Park already know that the trails are “up to par” only on event days when the Loppet-trained teams are allowed to be in charge. Also, the Trailhead project will create up to 35 new jobs.

No one loses their job. In what form of math does that take away opportunity from communities of color, as the commentary argues, or take away middle-class jobs?

Bourn gave the wrong information to the NAACP, the union and the public at the last minute. Instead of celebration, the partnership starts with protests. Fortunately, the Trailhead will bring employment and vitality to Wirth Park and its immediate neighborhoods anyway, despite Bourn’s “support.”

Mary Kate McKelvey, Minneapolis

The writer coaches in the Loppet Foundation’s Trail Kids program.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Less restrictive screening, more management: It’s worth it

It was good to read that four nonprofit housing providers would like to screen more tenants (front page, Sept. 13). Perhaps they can learn from our experience at Alliance Housing Inc., a nonprofit developer and manager of affordable housing. Our mission is to change lives and build stronger communities by providing housing stability for very-low-income individuals and families.

We have discovered that many homeless and poor-people applicants are able to become good tenants and neighbors. Conversely, some of our least-desirable tenants have looked good on paper. Human behavior can be difficult to predict, so we focus on setting clear expectations and removal of tenants who aren’t able to be good neighbors.

Alliance Housing prefers aggressive tenant management to aggressive screening. It takes extra time to manage property this way, but it is cheaper for our community than having people go to shelters or live in programs with services they no longer need. As a nonprofit, we believe our role is to work with people who most need to access affordable housing, because they will be denied elsewhere.

Artiste Mayfield, a subject of the story, was pictured standing in front of Alliance Apartments, which is sober housing that we developed in partnership with Aeon for people who need to develop positive rental history so that they can get into the mainstream rental market. By screening tenants and managing them effectively, we can provide affordable housing options to the people most in need. Alliance Housing’s 222 units are fully occupied. We need more.

 

The preceding letter was signed by the following members of the Alliance Housing Inc. staff: Bob Bono, Barb Jeanetta, Sarah Matala, Sue Roedl and Tessa Williams.

TODAY’S FOOD

You gonna eat that?

OK, that’s it — I’m closing the bunker door! The Taste section on Sept. 15 was the last straw. First, you take away a man’s beer like Budweiser and replace it with Moose Drool or something equally stupid. Then you make him wear lycra shorts and a helmet to go for a bike ride. Isn’t that enough? No, now you take away the last remnants of our youth, the delicious bologna sandwich (“delicately spiced pork shoulder defies its bologna shape; it’s thinly sliced, warmed and slightly scorched on the stove, cloaked with Gruyere and sharp cheddar and tucked into a toasted and buttered roll”) Oh, yeah, and all for only $11. What the heck is that?! You think that’s bad? You should see what passes for S’Mores. I’m glad my mom is long gone — or this would kill her!

I guess now I know how the Incans felt when their entire way of life was cast aside and disappeared. Oh, well, at least we still have hot dogs. Wait, we do, don’t we?

D. Roger Pederson, Minneapolis