Thank you, Jon Tevlin, for keeping us up to date on the case of Jacobo Gabriel-Tomas (“A victim of political expediency is deported,” Oct. 11). Heartbreaking that a decent, hardworking, churchgoing, taxpaying, exemplary family man whose “crime” was to leave Guatemala to escape the violence there is deported from the United States.

This despite pleas from his priest, his fellow parishioners, fellow Worthingtonions, politicians of both major parties, his employers and many others.

How many times is this scenario repeated around the country? Is this what making America great again is all about?

David Hauschild, Blaine


Bleats like ‘calm before the storm’ news or not? Discuss.

Wednesday’s Nation & World section ran three major headlines: “Trump mocks Corker’s height,” “So, was the president joking?” and “Trump goes after NFL, ESPN host.” How is it possible that our respected news outlets actually believe that these stories are the most important of the day?

During the 2016 campaign, the media was constantly chided for allowing Trump to play them with his tweets and ridiculous comments on a daily basis. He needed to spend no money on marketing because the media did it for him by repeating every outrageous thing he said. Obama wiretapped him? Mexico would pay for a wall? He would repeal Obamacare? The Iran deal? NAFTA? The climate deal? Whatever he said went to the front page.

And now, here we are, 10 months into his presidency and you are still reporting on the petty idiocies of this man. Comparing IQs? Hurling insults? Telling the NFL players and owners what to do? He calls in the press unexpectedly during a photo session to say “this is the calm before the storm.” When asked what he means, he replies, “You’ll find out.” Instead of ignoring such foolishness, every paper and TV station runs it as a major news story. It is not. This is a bratty little kid, running the media in circles because he can, because you allow him to.

When are you going to start ignoring all the blather and start reporting news that actually matters?

Janet L. Berry, Golden Valley


Liberals predictably question conservative who dares to ask

It’s like clockwork. The opinion page, hypothesizing a world in which there is diversity of thought, publishes a piece by Katherine Kersten (“Racial identity policies are ruining Edina’s fabled schools,” Oct. 7). The liberal/progressive hive is awakened, sending out waves of killer social justice bees to repel the invader (Readers Write and Opinion Exchange, Oct. 10). What a tool of hegemonic white supremacist ultra-super-dooper right-wingers! How dare anyone question the progressive project for the Balkanization of America! We will fight your hateful conservative “think tank” with our righteous, virtue-signaling “feel tanks.”

One does well to remember Aesop’s fable in which Jupiter granted the bee her request for a sting, but the bee would die from the use of it.

Chip Allen, Woodbury


The real story on Silva’s contract

The Oct. 6 counterpoint regarding former St. Paul Superintendent Valeria Silva’s contract buyout deserves a prompt, informed response. As a St. Paul parent of school-aged children, I know firsthand what is happening in many of the city’s schools, and as an active community member, I know some of the workings of the school board.

The writer is ill-informed and off-base. First, her outrageous conclusion that “[o]bviously, the public schools are no longer working for the community and its students” needs to be refuted. St. Paul schools have significant challenges (as do all urban school districts), but the teachers, principals and staff are doing marvelous work for my children, and have done so for years. I would ask the writer (and anyone else) to spend even a few minutes with principals Mary Mackbee at Central High School, Stacy Theien-Collins at Murray Middle School or Karen Duke at St. Anthony Park Elementary to see what these remarkable, brilliant women and their staffs are doing for our kids.

Second, Silva’s contract was negotiated several years ago by a very different school board despite growing calls for her ouster. I was among those who campaigned for and elected four new board members. That board had little choice but to honor the contract as written, which involved a large buyout. It allowed the district to start fresh as soon as possible with a new superintendent.

Third, teachers are my heroes, and I support paying them well and negotiating competitive pay and benefits for them. Please get off the tired notion that teachers are overpaid.

Fourth, while I appreciate others’ interest in St. Paul schools, I note the writer lives in Bloomington. She might lend her energies there rather than spreading alarm and falsehoods in St. Paul.

Phil Carlson, St. Paul


What better tax reform would do

Homeownership and affordable rents are both necessary for the stability of families and communities, and for economic development, opportunity and growth. Rather than eliminating the mortgage interest deduction (as proposed in a Chicago Tribune editorial reprinted in the Star Tribune Oct. 10), Alliance Housing supports two tax reform measures that would support homeownership for lower- and middle-income households and provide a fund for the creation of affordable rental housing.

The report State of the State’s Housing 2017 by the Minnesota Housing Partnership details the link between affordable housing and economic growth:

• “Workers in four of the six most in-demand jobs can’t afford rent for a two-bedroom apartment, or the mortgage on a median-priced home.” (Page 3.)

• “Adequate housing is critical for local jobs and strong economies.” (Page 2.)

• “At every stage of life, where we live is the foundation of our health, education, safety, and economic wellbeing.” (Page 3).

Instead of the mortgage interest deduction, Alliance Housing supports two tax reform measures:

• Make the payment of home mortgage interest a tax credit, not a tax deduction. This would lower the cost of homeownership for 15 million low- and middle-income homeowners who currently do not benefit from the mortgage interest deduction.

• Create a pool of funds for affordable rental housing by limiting the deduction (or credit, as proposed) to mortgage interest paid on no more than $500,000 of mortgage indebtedness (or even a lower amount) and earmarking for affordable housing the additional tax revenue generated by this change. A cap of $500,000 would affect fewer than 6 percent of mortgage holders and generate $87 billion over 10 years, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

We encourage Congress to be creative if it considers changes to the home mortgage interest deduction, and to remember that homeownership is first and foremost shelter; it’s not just an investment.

Barbara Jeanetta, Minneapolis

The writer is executive director of Alliance Housing Inc.