I must say, the interview with St. Paul City Council Member Mitra Jalali certainly clarified a number of perpetual problems the city faces.
The notion that all wealth and prosperity for lower-income city residents must flow out to them from the city has to be one of the reasons there is not and never will be enough money to adequately fund city operations without large annual property tax increases.
Also very troubling is the conviction that private ownership of rental housing is bad in and of itself, and the ownership rights of owners should be rewritten so the city can force private owners to run their properties for the city’s benefit, not the owners’. It’s really ideal for the proponents of such ordinances because they gain ownership rights without having to buy or maintain the properties. It also allows them to take credit for giving away something they have usurped from others.
Also noteworthy is the notion that the only way to provide affordable housing is through public efforts. It might interest Ms Jalali to know that there is far more naturally occurring affordable housing (NOAH) than what government creates. It’s also worth noting that the single biggest cost driver of privately owned NOAH is the fact that city taxes and fees are half or more of the annual operating cost for the owners. Given that these costs have risen well above 50 percent in just five years, it’s pretty easy to understand why there is less of it and rents go up. With the new tenant laws Ms. Jalali has championed there is very little incentive to continue to provide NOAH.
Lastly I would like to remind the current city leadership that all these revenues must come from a shrinking number of people. The residents who pay of all this feel more and more that their interests are not being represented. My wife and I happen to be of that opinion, having left St. Paul after a combined 70 years of residency.
Mark Wendt, Stillwater
As you drive north on 35W, north of Highway 36, you will notice beautiful new sound barriers being constructed along the freeway. I can only imagine how residents and businesses alike are elated with this development.
If only MnDOT could construct something as safe, aesthetically pleasing and effective to keep pedestrians off urban freeways, for those of us who use the freeways for business and pleasure.
Jerry Wynn, St. Paul
Spend it at home
It is interesting how different attitudes are: no mention of the Hagedorn scandal in the paper (“Rep. Hagedorn fires chief of staff after allowance spending spree,” Aug. 15). Back in the day when I was active in local politics it an unspoken but well understood rule that campaign and operational funds were spent in the home district whenever possible. Minnesota is home to several fine printing firms so it isn’t necessary to buy printing in Texas or Delaware.
Carl Brookins, Roseville
Caught up in politics
In 1970, Congress passed the Postal Reorganization Act. The act removed the Postmaster General from a presidential cabinet position to an independent position filled by the newly created Postal Board of Governors.
Contrary to some media reports, the Postmaster General is accountable to the Board of Governors as well as to the House Subcommittee on Postal Affairs, not the president of the United States, regardless of political party.
During our recent economic shutdown, the Postal Service continued to function as an essential service, processing and delivering mail daily even though the mail streams were in a sense drying up. Months ago, the Postmaster General notified Congress of major budget shortfalls, and requested congressional action. Congress as it has done for the last few years ignored the requests and kick the can down the road.
It is unfortunate that this organization is being caught up in the very politics Congress eliminated with its Reorganization Act.
Michael J Sanchelli, Maplewood
The writer is former postmaster of Circle Pines and Cottage Grove
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