Vote ‘yes’ for a richer Saint Paul

A comfortable, safe, stable and affordable home is a prerequisite to becoming part of a community and is deserved by all. Unfortunately, some renters are treated as undeserving of this basic right, a right superseded by landlords’ and investors’ presumed right to profit. This has contributed to a housing crisis where many renters, who make up over half of our city’s residents, can’t find an apartment they can afford and others are regularly forced to move because they cannot afford rent increases.

People of color experience this challenge disproportionately more often, and my daughter is one such renter. She has lived in five apartments since her 7-year-old daughter was born. This is why I am voting “yes” for rent stabilization in this fall’s city election. I am asking other Saint Paul voters to do the same. Passage of this ballot initiative will give my daughter and people like her the chance to establish roots in this community. Saint Paul will be richer for it.

Ed Stuart
Macalester-Groveland

An overreaction to COVID-19

Last week my daughter, who is on the junior high volleyball team at Saint Agnes, had a game at Saint Paul Academy. Her team won. However, I missed it, as well as all the other parents and grandparents who wanted to watch their daughters compete. Because of Saint Paul Academy’s overreaction to COVID, because of the faculty and administration’s paranoia, I was denied the chance to support my daughter and cheer her on during the game. Even though I am fully vaccinated and recently had the booster shot.

   

Maybe SPA was successful in preventing the spread of a few cases of COVID, but that is not likely, since secondary transmission of the virus between healthy children is very infrequent. How sad that the faculty and staff at this school are so fearful that they refuse to let parents support their children during an athletic competition. The case fatality rate of COVID is less than 1 percent. I was more likely to die of a car accident that day than the delta variant, as were all the other parents who had to sit and wait outside the building while their children played.

For Saint Paul Academy, the real disease is fear. Everything in life is a case of risk management. I was forced to miss Jane’s game because someone insists on absolute safety. If all we’re doing is spending our time avoiding death and disease, then it is not a life well lived.

Alexa Kuwata
Macalester-Groveland

 

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The homeless need more help

According to the website, mentalillnesspolicy.org, 25 percent of homeless people have severe mental illness and 45 percent have some sort of mental illness. The Saint Paul City Council will be holding a public hearing on October 6 on proposed new rules for homeless shelters. The goal is to place these day shelters all over the city, with no corresponding night shelter near by.

The Saint Paul Planning Commission website has a long letter from Parlour bar and restaurant listing the many problems Freedom House, the homeless day shelter at Grand Avenue and West Seventh, has caused. I am wondering when sick people roaming around causing property damage and fear of going to the park became OK in Saint Paul. Would we allow sick animals to roam our streets? How is this humane treatment of the mentally ill?

Somehow it has become acceptable to allow people who need help to just fend for themselves because that’s their “choice.” We should urge our City Council to come up with a better plan to really help these poor individuals.

Georgia Dietz
Highland Park

The madness of masks

When I am breathing through a mask on the bus, I think of my poor grandchildren suffering through wearing a mask all day at school (except lunch and recess.) When will this mask madness end? When will children see their schoolmates smile? When will they receive a smile from their teachers?

Many studies have shown that the effectiveness of non-medical masks hovers around zero as far as halting transmission of the virus. The emotional costs are clear. We are turning our children into masked robots. Emotions are hidden, speech is muffled. And being children, they are powerless to fight against being masked. You can see the sorrow in their eyes, mutely submitting to their muzzle.

One of my grandchildren told me last week, “I saw my teacher’s face!” It made me want to cry. Masks are dirty, useless and harmful.

Ann Redding
Fuller, Minneapolis

A step toward housing justice

I’m voting “yes” for rent stabilization this fall because housing is a racial justice issue. I think of how important the stability of our home, neighborhood and school community is to my children’s development. My three daughters have lived in one home their entire lives. They know their neighbors, have deep friendships in the neighborhood and feel safe in the community. They benefit from attending an excellent public school where we’ve built long-term relationships with classmates, parents, teachers and staff.

Many families in our city don’t have the chance to put down roots because of housing instability. No parents should face pulling their children from their home and school because of unfair rent spikes and predatory practices. In Saint Paul, just 39 percent of white households are renters, compared to 82 percent of Black, 64 percent of Native American, 62 percent of Latino and 58 percent of Asian households. Households of color are also far more likely to pay more than they can afford on housing, with many spending more than half their monthly income to simply keep a roof over their heads.

The rent stabilization measure will keep tenants from getting priced out of their homes. This policy limits rent increases to 3 percent within a 12-month period. It has been deeply researched and carefully crafted by local leaders who understand our housing market. When our neighbors get priced out, we lose out on longstanding relationships and the community ties that make our city great. Rent stabilization isn’t a panacea for our housing crisis, but it’s an important step toward housing justice and affordability.

Sally Bauer
Highland Park

Return council to citywide vote

In the last issue, four members of the Steering Committee of Saint Paul Strong invited us to share our ideas for improving how government works in the capital city (MyVillager Viewpoint, September 15). If I attend one more “citizen input” meeting where the mayor’s administration tells us what they’re going to do rather than the other way around, I’m going to spit. As in the federal government, the city’s executive branch has too much power.

We need to reevaluate our voting system in Saint Paul. For balance, we need to strengthen our City Council. In order to do that, we need citywide elections for all City Council members. We citizens should all have a say in anyone who serves on the City Council. No matter what ward these council people represent, every vote they take impacts us all. For accountability, the citizens of Saint Paul need our hands on all levers of government.

Greg Nayman
Highland Park

Thank heaven for the unvaccinated

Just what were nurses and doctors expecting when they entered into the medial profession and signed up to work in hospitals? No sick people? Do nurses and doctors struggle with burnout when working with the thousands of Americans who are sick because all they consume are Mountain Dew, doughnuts, Doritos, bacon and cigarette smoke? Or is it only the irresponsible unvaccinated for whom they cannot muster any sympathy?

Almost all illness is preventable. And we actually need a lot of sick people to keep the economy afloat and capitalism rolling along. The medical profession is a whopping $900 billion a year industry and accounts for 23 percent of the U.S. economy.

We’d be in a lot of trouble without a lot of sick people. Thank heaven for unvaccinated people.

Frank Erickson
Standish, Minneapolis

A vote for rent stabilization

The rent stabilization measure on the general election ballot in Saint Paul makes a lot of sense. I’m amazed at how few renters have leases that protect them against sudden rent increases; their rent can jump without any notice. When you have a mortgage on a home, you get a notice each year telling you what to pay. Even though it can be an unpleasant surprise when it comes, homeowners still know what they’re dealing with for the next year. The rent stabilization measure would give renters the same ability to plan ahead. Renters could be fairly certain that their rent will not go up overnight, forcing them to move.

Let’s pass the rent stabilization ballot initiative on November 2.

Betsy Raasch-Gilman
Summit-University

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