I’m more than a little perplexed about the new rental ordinances being proposed in Minneapolis (“Tenants, landlords debate new rule,” Aug. 29). The stated goal is to increase the supply of affordable housing to lower-income residents. The net result of these proposals can’t help but to achieve the exact opposite. Being forced by the city to take on people with evictions, criminal records and practically nonexistent credit scores will inevitably increase costs for those landlords, who will be forced to write off the losses. Which, of course, means they will have to raise rents to cover those losses.
There is also the small matter of soaring insurance costs, as companies providing insurance coverage could pull out of this particular market if landlords are not allowed to screen tenants. Those, if any, who remain will raise premiums substantially making Minneapolis a less desirable place to build or invest. Along with raising rents on the existing inventory, exactly how does this increase the supply? I must have missed something here. And, please don’t suggest it is rent control. I’m still perplexed.
Mark Wendt, Stillwater
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“A new challenge to Mpls. density push” (editorial, Sept. 3) was based on opinion and very little else. The Star Tribune Editorial Board chided homeowners for seeking to protect their neighborhoods with “conservation districts,” selfishly protecting architecture and ambience while depriving those seeking affordable housing and rent relief from badly needed shelter. Was this opinion at all evidence-based?
We have become so familiar with the Metropolitan Council’s warnings of a huge influx of people to the Twin Cities that we accept it without question. If 6% growth in Hennepin County by 2030 seems like a population explosion, there’s little anyone can say to dissuade you.
But the big lies that follow that slight one are the ones which really cry out for proof. These decree that building higher-density housing is going to create more affordable shelter and lower rents! One could respond to this by seeking data about the availability of affordable housing and lower rents in any of our higher-density cities that tried to build their way out of disaster: Seattle, New York City, San Francisco, Portland — any city on the map which has experienced growth. There’s your refutation.
There is not enough room in a Sunday paper to list all of the misfortunes these cities have suffered: Rent control, tolls for entering certain parts of the city, tent cities with questionable outdoor plumbing. Are there any examples in any of these places of rents declining? Is housing becoming more affordable in any of them? Without exception, the answer is “no.”
Perhaps the Editorial Board staff at the Star Tribune should contact the Met Council and ask them for acceptable, honest-to-God evidence — or just use Google.
Howard J. Miller, St. Paul
Businesses that profit from pollution will do it. Unless we stop them.
State Rep. Dave Lislegard asserts that “those of us who live on the Iron Range … will be here to hold companies accountable for their environmental performance” (“We know mining. Our laws, processes work,” Sept. 3). Would that it were so. Does he recall the many years the taconite industry dumped tons of its toxic, asbestos-laden tailings into Lake Superior, endangering one of the most pristine bodies of water on the planet as well as the drinking water and health of fellow Minnesotans? Where was this holding accountable then?
The sad reality is that corporations (and their workers) that can make a financial gain from polluting the environment will find excuses and justification for doing so, unless others prevent them from doing it. That is what is at stake here.
George Muellner, Plymouth
Don’t cut food aid — it’s working
There are recent reports that food insecurity numbers have dropped. This news is being used to propose cuts in government aid — and that is a problem. We are reminded every single day that despite economic relief for some — and even very low unemployment rates — poverty is ever-present, homelessness is pervasive, the working poor and underemployed need assistance, too many aging Minnesotans are food-insecure, and there is still so much unmet need for our hungry children. Organizations like ours are filling the gap because hunger is real.
Our work is to alleviate that hunger, and every day I think of it as a three-legged stool made up of meal programs, food shelves and government subsidies. A decrease in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program funding or any of our programs that help feed people? No one will be able to sit on that stool.
Cathy Maes, Minneapolis
The writer is executive director at Loaves and Fishes.
Rather than disparaging volunteers, just give schools enough resources
While I am in complete support of sufficient funding for our schools, I was very surprised to read the comments made by the letter writer regarding the AmeriCorps program and its volunteers.
As a former teacher in the Peace Corps and the parent of a former AmeriCorps volunteer who served for two years with College Possible, I can attest to the commitment and quality of these volunteers as well as the training they receive — perhaps even superior to the eight weeks of pre-service teacher training that my husband and I had in southern Africa 30 years ago. I would recommend keeping the focus of this argument on the real issues, such as overcrowding and underfunding within our education system, rather than disparaging these dedicated volunteers. As another writer suggests (“Those billboards don’t help,” Sept. 4), addressing this problem requires the work of “volunteers, community partners, teachers and administrators who are committed to exploring best practices in service to our students’ success.”
Jennifer Wilson, St. Paul
CRITICISM VS. RACISM
‘The Squad’ really is anti-Israel
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently made a statement cautioning not to conflate criticism of the current Israeli government with anti-Israel sentiment.
First, this is a red herring. Very few people are making such a conflation. The problem many have with statements she and her like-minded congressional colleagues have made is not rooted in any particular loyalty to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government but in the recognition that Israel being a sovereign nation, we have no say over who they choose to lead them, unless we happen to be Israeli citizens.
Second, if their criticism is restricted to Israeli settlement policy or Netanyahu’s possible corruption problems, then it’s fair to say their issue is with him specifically, and not demonstrative of animosity toward Israel as an entity. But given statements she and “the Squad” (of Reps. Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib) have made, they object to blatantly defensive measures taken to protect Israeli citizens from terror-minded incursions by an openly genocidal neighboring government — and these are actions that any government the Israeli population would ever elect would (and must) take. If they have a problem with this, then yes, their problem is with Israel.
And one more thing. Let’s pretend we actually are conflating criticism of Netanyahu with anti-Israel sentiment. Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez, a proposal for you: We’ll stop making that conflation when you stop conflating criticism of those who broke our laws to enter this country with anti-Latino or anti-Mexican racism. Do we have a deal?
Alexander Adams-Leytes, Minneapolis
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