What a curious choice for the top letter on Oct. 4 ("Jennifer Carnahan: Former GOP chairwoman on the American dream"). Reading Carnahan's gratuitous thank-you note might lead the credulous reader to the conclusion that she actually has some principles that guide her behavior. Or as Groucho Marx once famously quipped, "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them ... well, I have others."
Apparently Ms. Carnahan has a blind spot, roughly the size of the state, that concealed the criminal mendacity of the former occupant of the White House, as well as her close associate now under indictment for sex trafficking, not to mention the destructive political behavior of local Republican representatives.
It's quite an accomplishment to arrive as an immigrant then later to use the opportunity of American citizenship to actively destroy the institutions that made her journey possible. Of course this may be just another performance intended to manipulate the myths of the modern age to advance her political ambitions. Former President Richard Nixon perfected this technique with his infamous "Checkers" speech. Will we have Carnahan to kick around anymore? Stay tuned.
George Hutchinson, Minneapolis
In her parting comments over her tenure as chairwoman of the Republican Party of Minnesota, Carnahan underscores the opportunities still available for all of us. She recalls her abandonment in Korea and the opportunities that resulted.
But her story recounts something else that we see all too often for public figures. This is the reality of a "rush to judgment" mentality. In Carnahan's example, the federal investigation and indictment of Tony Lazzaro started a cascade of allegations, innuendos and conjecture.
First, there has been no link to Lazzaro's alleged criminality to Carnahan. This case, however, began a firestorm of allegations by a small group of Republican insiders over improprieties of behavior and money handling. This same group failed in their attempt to unseat Carnahan as chair last spring. Even though Carnahan won with 67% of the vote, they used the Lazzaro affair to renew their efforts.
I worked with the former chairwoman and her staff on many issues and always received the professional attention that I expected. Everyone has their management style, and we can disagree there. But at issue is not so much Carnahan, but the process that she, like so many others, was subjected to. Forcing her out before an investigation was concluded was wrong. This is similar to police officers being labeled "guilty" before an investigation over a "use of force" incident can be concluded. This is akin to someone being sentenced to prison before a trial. This reality must stop, because it is a deterrent for keeping good people from serving in public office.
Newly elected Chairman David Hann indicates an audit and investigation is forthcoming. The problem is, once exonerated from culpability, where does Carnahan go to get her reputation restored? We must make a serious effort to end the habit of judging people on unsubstantiated facts. Truth must be returned as our standard for judgment. This will restore the trust we need for public servants of all parties, positions and responsibilities.
Joe Polunc, Waconia
What other solutions do opponents suggest?
We would like to thank Will Rolf for his Oct. 5 commentary "Let's not relive the rent control nightmare others endured." We thank him because it clarified for us a major concern we have about opposition to rent stabilization, and strengthened our intention to vote "yes."
Such opposition never addresses a root human issue: If the current system of housing is so good in St. Paul, why do we see so many homeless people here? We doubt they prefer living this way, rather than in stable homes.
We think economists call the lack of affordable housing for all these people a "market failure." Houses and apartments are being built, but they are not affordable for those who find themselves homeless. Why is that? Why isn't the housing market building housing the homeless can afford? Perhaps the reason is that Realtors and developers do not believe that such construction is profitable. So what do they believe is the answer to homelessness? We do not know, because they never address the issue. We could guess: Some might say that it is the fault of the poor, but that's an ad hominem evasion. The homeless population is overwhelmingly female, BIPOC, and children with caregivers who love and go to work for them.
If a rent stabilization measure is not part of a solution to this housing crisis, what is, Mr. Rolf? Perhaps you believe the solution is to create more jobs and raise the minimum wage, so that more apartments become affordable for the poor. Perhaps you believe that taxes should be raised so that more subsidies are available, so that the poor can afford the many market-rate apartments at a reduced cost. We don't know, because you don't address the core human issue. But we insist you address the problem you apparently prefer to leave unsolved — homelessness and housing insecurity.
Homelessness exists at great cost to our entire community. There is the cost of increased fear of crime, because of the presence of people sleeping on the streets. The physical and mental health of the homeless is endangered, creating greater costs to our hospitals and communities. And how do we put a price on the impact of homelessness on children's education — children who are the future of the community?
So we ask Mr. Rolf and his associates: How do you propose to solve the housing crisis, if you think a rent stabilization measure is not one step toward the answer?
Elaine Tarone and Grant Abbott, St. Paul
Go ahead, implement rent control. The negative outcomes would be exactly as the author says. As usual, those whining about rents don't invest in or own rental property, and don't operate or maintain any. I own rental property, and rent control would make ownership of rental property a waste of time.
Jim B. Bendtsen, Ramsey
TWIN CITIES MARATHON
When support goes over the top
I would like to comment on the cheer squads identified in an Oct. 4 article on the Twin Cities Marathon ("Race 'was like a big party the whole 26.2 miles' ") I live a few yards past the 23-mile marker on Summit Avenue where two of the people mentioned in the article set up their activities. My neighbors and I endured hours of blasting boombox music, ringing of bells, and a mind-numbing striking of a gong. It was hardly possible to have a conversation with others out to cheer on the runners. And runners couldn't hear our shout-outs to encourage them.
I don't know if the race organizers can do anything to curb this lack of courtesy, but I hope the perpetrators will realize that the residents whose streets are host to the event deserve more consideration that they were given.
Stephanie Martineau, St. Paul
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