The June 9 editorial, "Attack on landlords is bound to backfire," is spot on. The proposed ordinance isn't just wrongheaded, it is reckless.
I am the managing partner of a law firm in Minneapolis. We have represented residential property owners and managers in the city, and throughout the state of Minnesota and other states, for decades. The legal environment for Minneapolis landlords has never been worse.
The city's stated policy to "put renters first" appears to put getting votes from renters first. It often puts sensible housing policy and genuine efforts to promote development, creation and retention of affordable housing last.
As the Editorial Board rightly noted, the problem is lack of supply. Mandating that owners take on greater risks and advancing laws in which elected officials with no expertise or skin in the game can dictate business decisions for property owners and managers is both arrogant and reckless.
Other efforts by the city to "help" tenants have attempted to mandate that all Minneapolis owners participate in Section 8 and any other subsidy "program" (regardless of costs or additional administrative burdens). The city has made the cost of evictions in Minneapolis high. All tenants are now eligible for city-funded and city-promoted free legal advice. Owners and managers may not be able to go to housing court without paying for an attorney.
Now the city wants to further dictate the economics of housing policy.
Thank you for listening to the voices and owners and managers that work full-time to provide safe, affordable housing.
Until our government officials stop demonizing owners and managers and suggesting that landlords are to blame for a lack of supply, we will not have a business or regulatory environment that is welcoming to developers and investors — including nonprofits and private investment.
Some of these council members may be able to brag to constituents at coffee shops and gatherings that they are "pro-renter." But as the editorial correctly calls it, proposed regulations like this will raise the rents for existing renters in the city and reduce supply, giving owners and investors a reason to avoid Minneapolis and look elsewhere for a more business-friendly location for building and development.
Donna E. Hanbery, Edina
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The June 9 editorial made a huge leap in assuming that people who have felonies will cause a significant increase in eviction filings for landlords. Where is the basis for this assumption? The whole piece is based on flawed subjective assumptions about people who have criminal backgrounds. Renting to a person with an older felony does not mean taking on more risk of eviction for a landlord.
Come on, Editorial Board! Pushing these uninformed assumptions only furthers the stigma for a group that is already heavily marginalized and disenfranchised. The reality is that the majority of people with felony convictions are just like the majority of the landlords the editorial mentioned — good people with good intentions.
Jessica Kearns, Falcon Heights
We don't need to prove sins of some before honoring saintliness of others
In the article "E-mails reveal U's cramming on names" (front page, June 9), we learn that the faculty committee charged with considering renaming of some university buildings did its best in trying to ascertain whether each person (Coffman, Coffey, Middlebrook and Nicholson) were racists, and if so, if there was any "exculpatory evidence."
To this retired 80-year-old, who has lived here all his life, the entire effort was wrong-headed. Of course all four were racists. That's what the world was in those years. But the push to dishonor them by proving so is unnecessary. Buildings can be renamed without proving the previous named person was "bad." Instead, buildings can be renamed simply because there is another person deserving of the honor. I grew up in south Minneapolis, played at Nicollet Field and went to Alexander Ramsey Junior High. But now instead of Nicollet Field, we have Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park; and my junior high is now Justice Page Middle School. No one had to prove that Joseph Nicollet, geographer, or Alexander Ramsey, territorial governor, were evil people! We just had two individuals we wanted to name something for.
The University of Minnesota has many eminent former faculty members deserving of a named building. We have 30 Nobel laureates affiliated with the school. Here are just a few: Saul Bellow, Milton Friedman and George Stigler. Pulitzer Prize winners: John Berryman, Dominick Argento, and many more. As students in the late '50s, we loved Mulford Q. Sibley for his well-reasoned pacifist advocacy. Let's rename some buildings in honor of these geniuses and let old administrators rest in peace!
David Sommer, Minneapolis
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The article concerning the confused manner and process in which faculty and administrators connived to rename several University of Minnesota buildings raises, I believe, a larger question.
These buildings (and other university buildings) have been used by literally tens of thousands of Minnesota citizens over a century or more. For most of these folks, the buildings have been an important and memorable part of their university life. The buildings have also been largely paid for by these students and other Minnesota taxpayers.
These buildings are, in fact, financial assets of the state of Minnesota and emotional assets of the thousands and thousands of folks who have spent important years of their lives at the university.
As is too often the case, some members of the university faculty are acting in a presumptuous manner. In this case, they seem to believe that they should have "control" over university property. This small number of self-proclaimed authorities — compared to the far larger set of stakeholders who more rightly "own" this issue — should be reined in.
As a proud recipient of University of Minnesota degrees, I am pleased that the University of Minnesota Board of Regents has put at least a temporary hold on this grievous action. Let's hope that their action holds and/or the renaming question is turned over to the Legislature.
Richard S. Johnson, Sioux Falls, S.D.
A way around the citizenship query
Mike Meyers stated in his commentary ("Raise your hand if you belong," June 9) that the U.S. Census is likely to be inaccurate because the Trump administration is placing a question in the census regarding U.S. citizenship. Recently unearthed computer files show that a Republican strategist, Thomas Hofeller, advised the president that the insertion of the U.S. citizenship question would likely result in undercounting people in predominantly Democratic areas and reduce the number of legislative seats they would get.
Americans can derail the negative effect of this question and its likely approval by the Republican majority on the Supreme Court: They should just not answer the question regarding U.S. citizenship.
If no one answers the question, then noncitizens will not be afraid to fill out the census, and the administration will fail to reduce the number of persons counted in the country.
Roger Clarke, Minneapolis