Lots of people in Minneapolis and St. Paul sincerely want to know what they can do to end homelessness. They want to help alleviate the visible suffering we see every day in our city. Like many people, I think about this every day.
One thing that does not, and will not work, is giving someone housing, and expecting housing alone to solve the problem. Housing is the first step, the foundation, but it will never take the place of a community of people who care about you and value who you really are.
Daniel "Dan Dan" Robertson had housing, yet he was living, and he died, at the Wall of Forgotten Natives encampment in late August ("He sought belonging on the streets of Mpls.," Sept. 8). The Star Tribune article referenced Dan Dan's love for community and for taking care of others — things he didn't find in his apartment. The article spoke to the trauma Dan Dan lived with throughout his life, searching for a father who was killed on the streets of Minneapolis and struggling with drug addiction and loneliness. Housing alone doesn't repair trauma or meet other needs Dan Dan may have had.
We have tools that are proven to work to end homelessness, which include housing paired with support. We have some (not enough) successful programs within our community that demonstrate that this is possible. But providing services requires paying staff, not just paying the rent. Until we expand the use of tools that we know work, we will continue to tread water or sink further, losing treasured individuals far too soon.
Phoebe Trepp, Minneapolis
The writer is executive director at Clare Housing.
What else is it there for?
Because he lied and lied and lied about its integrity before, during and after Election Day, Jair Bolsonaro has been declared ineligible to run for office until 2030, based on the Brazilian judiciary's interpretation of the Constitution. He is also being investigated for inciting a traitorous mob to attack the Capitol. How is it possible that for virtually the same bad-faith, antidemocratic and potentially criminal behavior, a similar punishment has not been imposed on Donald Trump? The 14th Amendment to the Constitution disqualifies him from office on the basis of that behavior. Let's use it, put the execrable Trump behind us and get on with the serious business of the United States.
Bill Karns, Minneapolis
The lead article in Wednesday's Star Tribune was devoted to banning a certain candidate from the state ballot. The national group behind this questionable effort calls itself "Free Speech for the People."
If you don't mind my saying so, this sounds like a group in search of a meaningful name. "Free speech" should mean exercising one's right to vote for whatever name they deem worthy, and not only those subject to the whims of a bunch of activists who actually believe they are the only ones virtuous enough to decide who should or who should not be on the ballot.
That seems a little one-sided. If those people (who, by the way, represent a national organization dedicated to banning Trump from ballots across the country) are dead set on voting for virtually anybody else ... go for it. Vote for whomever!
But that doesn't give them the right to keep others from casting their ballot for whomever they wish, even if that means exercising their constitutional right to vote for the devil himself.
Decisions like this should never be left up to the whims of a bipartisan coalition filled with effete intellectuals, determined to stick their business into everyone else's business. If these guardians of the "Free Speech for the People" are determined to change statewide ballots, take my "Free" advice — try California.
Terry Bremer, Wayzata
In calling the effort to keep Trump off Minnesota's 2024 ballot a fringe legal theory, Minnesota Republican Party Chairman David Hann is quoted as saying, "The Republican Party of Minnesota believes that voters in Minnesota should ultimately decide through voting which candidates are qualified to represent them in public office" ("Suit: Trump ineligible for state ballot," Sept. 13). I wonder then how Hann justifies the Republican Party's decision not to allow any other Republican candidates for the 2020 presidential election to appear on the March 3, 2020, primary ballot and thereby denying responsible, lifelong Republicans the opportunity to save their party and the country?
Jerry Johnson, Eden Prairie
They lead; McCarthy follows
As speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy is second in line to assume the office of president. There should be a certain dignity and gravitas to the position. In yielding to the infantile rants of the worst elements in his caucus, McCarthy is displaying neither. Watching him being led around by the likes of Reps. Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene is demeaning to him personally and an embarrassment to the Congress as a whole. If acceding to their request for a specious impeachment inquiry is the price he willingly paid to retain the gavel, then he has demonstrated himself to be a man without a backbone or character. Say what you will about former Speaker Nancy Pelosi. This wouldn't have happened on her watch. By the end of the month, a continuing resolution must be passed to keep the government functioning. Given this stellar example of McCarthy's leadership, I am not optimistic.
Timothy Neil McLean, Blaine
Just retire already
I am writing in support of Kevin Frazier's commentary "Nation's capital shouldn't be a retirement community" (Opinion Exchange, Sept. 14.) As much as I admire Nancy Pelosi and her tremendous accomplishments as speaker of the House — possibly the most effective in history — I am extremely disappointed in her decision to run again at the age of 83. I had sincerely hoped that the women of Congress would show less ego and more common sense than their male counterparts ever have.
It is hard to give up power and prestige, but surely these wise elders could become respected advisers to their parties. Pelosi's leadership abilities could be taught and mentored within a schedule appropriate for an octogenarian.
I speak as a member of Pelosi's generation. None of us, no matter how smart, how fit or how youthful we are, can still work at an 80-hour-a-week pace. Nor should we have to. We have raised very smart, fit, capable children and grandchildren. They are ready and able to take over. Let's allow them their turn.
Janet Berry, Minneapolis
STORIES OF MINNEAPOLIS
A reminder of complexity within us
I love to read columns and articles describing people who have such individual and fascinating histories, as was discussed in the piece "In 92 voices, she captured heart of Minneapolis" (Sept. 14). Anne Winkler-Morey, an adjunct professor at Metropolitan State University, interviewed residents of Minnesota's largest city about their lived experiences and personal reasons for choosing to live where they do. From what I gathered, her curiosity was steadfast and deliberate giving her knowledge of how others dealt with life's decisions and hardships. I commend her!
This special project runs counter to so many pundits, politicians, researchers and data scientists. Quite frankly, I am tired of listening to elites, sociologists and educators who put people in a box based on race, ZIP code, educational attainment and income, for example. Of course, under certain circumstances those people with less resources, modest resources or otherwise will behave in a certain manner, value certain beliefs or promote different views in certain situations, but not always! It is too easy to find patterns that even the least of us will indulge in to the detriment of our society. It is high time the academics among us get a clue and stop this nonsense! We are individuals based on our genetics, personalities, motivations, likes and dislikes and so on.
During upcoming election seasons, if we continue to categorize our citizenry and haven't learned our lesson regarding who we are as individuals, then shame on us! We will all suffer the consequences!
Sharon E. Carlson, Andover