A recent commentary authored by five Minneapolis City Council members (four of them newly elected) makes a blistering argument that Minneapolis must enact a very progressive — aka strict — rent control policy ("City must stand up to interests, enact robust rent control," Opinion Exchange, Jan. 7). The authors take on the question of new construction, insisting it must be included, and then unload on us this whopper: "The persistent myth that rent control stops new development is not supported by evidence. In fact, studies have found rent control fosters new housing investments."
The rent control studies they cite are from cities with policies that do not cover new construction, and most have much higher limits than 3%, often including inflation. The authors are either being deliberately dishonest in misrepresenting how this information is different from what they propose, or they don't understand the distinctions and are simply repeating the talking points provided to them by activists. Meanwhile they praise St. Paul, home to the strictest rent control in the county, where project after project is going on hold and Mayor Melvin Carter can't wait to enact a new-construction exemption for the policy he himself was backing a few months ago.
If these four new council members and re-elected Jeremiah Ellison expect to be taken seriously, they need to start taking their jobs seriously, and that means thoroughly researching issues independent of what they are fed by activists, looking at policy impacts for everyone in the city. Minneapolis is in desperate need of strong, thoughtful leadership. Let's hope these council members can put this behind them, do the hard work and rise to the occasion.
Mike Hess, Minneapolis
I hope the five City Council members who wrote an opinion piece about the need for robust rent control in Minneapolis appreciate the need for math proficiency. While offering general prescriptions for rent control, I fear they will come up short of success without a more robust and practical educational campaign to convince Minneapolis voters (should rent control go to a vote) or their City Council colleagues (if an ordinance). If the proposal comes to city voters, passage will require a positive voter turnout like that in 2021, which gave the City Council its ability to even consider a rent control measure. If the City Council moves to pass its own rent control ordinance, the five need the support of their new and more conservative colleagues to pass it and potentially override a mayor's veto.
The five council members lay out a progressive recipe for rent control. I look forward to a more robust and pragmatic educational campaign to win voters' and City Council members' support for some kind of rent control. Without it, the more ideological prescriptions offered in the article will leave the five proponents of perfect rent control in the minority.
Tom Beer, Minneapolis
Peaceful? I don't think so
A Friday letter writer, apparently in all seriousness, referred to the Jan. 6 insurrection as a "peaceful protest." The only problem: People aren't killed at peaceful protests. Property isn't destroyed at peaceful protests. The occupants of a government building aren't forced to barricade doors at a peaceful protest.
The same writer goes on to say that the source of any animus toward Donald Trump is a simple matter of personal dislike. One could fill this entire page with a record of Trump's crimes, cons, cruelty, depravity, incompetence and vulgarity. His personality, repulsive as it is, takes a far back seat on the list of reasons why people don't like him.
Dan Heilman, St. Paul
If rioters had caught Vice President Mike Pence before he escaped down the back stairs of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, we wouldn't be calling them tourists.
If they had caught Pence, all those selfies from the rotunda would've vanished from social media in a hurry.
If they had caught Pence, the right-wing commentators, advisers and politicians would've thrown their followers and the former president under the bus immediately.
If they had caught Pence, the former president would've thrown everyone under the bus.
If they had caught Pence, 100% of congresspeople not in jail would've shown up to commemorate the most shameful day in American history.
By the grace of God, the Secret Service, the Capitol Police and sheer dumb luck, they did not catch Pence that day, and Americans are being given another chance to pull our heads out of our phones, computers and cable echo chambers and think for ourselves.
Meg Luhrs, St. Croix Falls, Wis.
Jan. 6, 2001: That's an important date to remember especially in light of the recent anniversary of the assault on Congress. On that day, then Vice President Al Gore presided over the certification of George W. Bush as president of the United States. There was no mob assaulting the building. No members of Congress were hiding in offices and tunnels. No one was calling for the National Guard. It was the peaceful transfer of power that has been the cornerstone of American democracy and a beacon to the world that our form of democracy actually works.
At this point, I could rail against the mob of last year or what may have incited the mob. I prefer, however, to reflect on the aberration that was that event and how for over 200 years — even when emotions were at their highest — we transferred the presidency from one party to another peacefully, with little rancor and no other calls for insurrection.
Consider another date: Aug. 9, 1974. A disgraced president resigned. Few people paraded in the streets either in joy or anger. Richard Nixon left because he recognized that his presidency was so badly tainted that it had to change. His successor, Gerald Ford, granted him a pardon and the United States moved on. Again, power was peacefully transferred.
It is my hope for our nation that we will return to a peaceful transfer to whoever the next president may be and that Jan. 6, 2021, will be a footnote in a future history book.
Daniel Beckfield, New Brighton
I am not sure about the point a recent letter writer was making, but I appreciate his legal definition of the crime of insurrection: "anyone who 'incites, sets on foot, assists, or engages in any rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States or the laws thereof, or gives aid or comfort thereto ... .'" If that is correct, what I want to know is, why hasn't anyone from last Jan. 6 been charged with the crime of insurrection yet? Clearly, the actions of many members of the mob who broke into the Capitol fit that description. Even more so, the incessant perpetration of lies about the election that Trump uses to rally and provoke his followers to rebellion surely fit that description. If they aren't guilty of insurrection I can't imagine who would be.
Elaine Sloan, Golden Valley
Another way to step up
If you've had trouble donating whole blood, you might want to try donating platelets ("Even if you've tried before, try again," Readers Write, Jan. 4). Apheresis platelet donation lets donors keep their red blood cells and plasma, which can help with post-donation fatigue. Platelets are also constantly in short supply, more so than other blood products. This is partially due to their short shelf life: They expire five days after donation. But they're also needed by many patients with a wide variety of conditions, including chemotherapy, major surgery and traumatic injuries. If platelet donation interests you, there are many blood banks around the Twin Cities that take apheresis donations, such as Memorial Blood Centers, the Red Cross and Trusting Heart Blood Center. All blood types are needed, and yes, you do get free cookies and juice!
Helen Risser, Edina
The writer is a medical laboratory scientist.
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