Taking exception to rent control

The numerous articles documenting what is wrong with the new rent control ordinance in Saint Paul confirms why I voted “no.” The slogan “Keep Saint Paul Home” on postcards and signs sure sounded good, and I’m sure it was well-intentioned. But the policy made no exceptions for new construction, which would have included affordable units; no exception for new tenants, which would have given landlords a way to maintain income for maintenance costs; and no room for adjustments based on property tax increases.

The 3 percent cap on rent increases each year in an economy with 6 percent annual inflation only gives landlords incentive to sell buildings that may have once actually been affordable. It is supply and demand. The rent control ordinance cannot buck the reality that the outcome will be less housing as investors back out and developers stop building.

City leaders have a responsibility to amend the policy so that it works for everyone. As a renter in a non-luxury unit, I can only hope that my rent does not increase exponentially before May 1 or that the place I call home is sold because my landlord cannot break even in 2022.

Patty Krech
Macalester-Groveland

A threat to Medicare

Are you enrolled in traditional single-payer Medicare, otherwise known as Parts A and B? Be afraid, and call your U.S. senators and U.S. representative. Wall Street is coming for you.

Medicare open enrollment just closed. Anyone watching cable or broadcast TV may feel he or she can breathe easier now that the constant barrage of health insurance ads is ebbing. The most deceptive and obnoxious ads were for the so-called Medicare Advantage plans, a form of already-privatized Medicare, also called Part C. But under the radar, traditional Medicare single-payer Parts A and B are cued up for privatization as well.

Back in 2010, Congress wanted to rein in costs as part of the Affordable Care Act. To that end, the ACA authorized what are now called Accountable Care Organizations and Direct Contracting Entities—investor-owned, for-profit, intermediate adjudicators for Medicare Parts A or B insurance claims submitted by hospitals, clinics and other health care providers. President Trump green-lit these under the aegis of a Medicare department deceptively named the Innovation Center, and its Democratic Senate staff author Elizabeth Fowler is now in charge of installing them inside the Medicare administration.

 

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Physicians for a National Health Program and Health Care for All Minnesota are fighting to repeal privatization in defense of traditional, single-payer Medicare Parts A and B. We have a duty to protect what’s left of single-payer Medicare Parts A and B from Wall Street vultures. Expanding to Medicare for All won’t be much good if Wall Street gets its hands on traditional Medicare.

Mathews Hollinshead
Highland Park

An insult to long-term landlords

My son-in-law is not a predator. He knelt at his grandpa’s knee to listen and learn that businesses come and go but land stays. Twenty-five years ago he invested in land within the neighborhood. The mayor giving new construction an exemption from the rent control ordinance is an insult. So new saplings have it over mature oaks with deep roots? It is a slap in the face to long-term landlords, and that includes my son-in-law, a respectable and responsible land owner.

Elizabeth Ellis
Summit-University

Inflation is squeezing the elderly

Once again, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has used the CPI-W (Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers) formula to calculate and determine our annual Social Security benefits income cost of living adjustment (COLA) for 2022. The more correct CPI-E (Consumer Price Index for the Elderly) formula would have given seniors citizens and retirees more than the 5.9 percent COLA we are receiving in 2022 towards our annual Social Security benefits income.

Inflation is already above 8 percent and continues rising. Grocery costs have increased about 12 percent, and the cost to heat our homes this winter is forecast to be much higher than last winter.

Please contact U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (612-727-5220) and Tina Smith (651-221-1016) and your U.S. representative to request that they correct this injustice and ensure that the CPI-E formula is used to calculate our Social Security benefits income COLA for 2023 and beyond. Thank you.

Sue Shetka
Macalester-Groveland

Maskless in Minnesota?!!

I found it very disrespectful of our Mayor Carter, Minneapolis Mayor Frey and even Governor Walz, who is always preaching about wearing masks, to meet with President Biden a couple of weeks ago and not be wearing masks. President Biden had one on. Their hypocrisy was apparent: Do as I say and not as I do.

Patty Guerrero
West End

Thank you, Saint Kate’s

As the winter solstice has just passed and long dark nights are upon us, a note of thanks to the good people at Saint Catherine University for brightening the nights with the festive lights they put up annually. I know the purple lights are the school colors, but I also appreciate the color they add to our neighborhood. Thanks.

Joe Bagnoli
Macalester-Groveland

The cartoon returns

It was wonderful to see in the recent issue the return of the editorial cartoon, long missed (Viewpoint, MyVillager, December 22). A picture is indeed worth 1,000 words.

Happy new year to all! May love, peace, joy, health and sanity prevail.

Kathleen Deming
Macalester-Groveland

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