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Letters: A raise for cops, against St. Paul’s rent control proposal and a march for abortion rights in Minneapolis

Our weekly roundup of letters from MinnPost readers.

Minneapolis Police Department, 1st Precinct, downtown Minneapolis
Minneapolis Police Department, 1st Precinct, downtown Minneapolis
MinnPost file photo by Peter Callaghan

A pay raise for police

Minneapolis continues to ignore the reality of the police situation: “You get what you pay for.” We don’t need more police, no police, or the City Council running the police department. We need better police. We need peace officers who will stop crime from happening. According to Salary.com, Minneapolis pays a top rate of $72,000 for a police officer, $130,000 for a registered nurse, $80,000 for both electricians and plumbers. These are all positions that can deliver life or death decisions, but only the police have to make that decision in a matter of seconds.

It used to be that the beat officer was the one that convinced us that police are real folks. He not only knew all the shop owners, he knew who all the ‘troublemakers’ were in the area. He was trusted enough to tell him all you knew about a situation. The beat cop went away when the air conditioned squad cars came in.

The police union seems to spend a lot of its’ time working to keep their ability to moonlight and making sure that officers aren’t held to a higher standard of behavior than anyone else. We need the force to forgo their arbitration demands and allow the chief to fire anyone who violates a standard of conduct that includes no public drunkenness, no domestic abuse, or other misdemeanors. We could only make this possible by a substantial increase in pay. We should make the role of Peace Officer a profession and demand no moonlighting. We should also offer a substantial housing bonus for Officers who chose to live inside City limits since State law prohibits us from requiring it.

—Carl Berdie, Minneapolis

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Consider the history of rent control

Bill Lindeke’s thoughtful analysis of the dangerous rent control proposal being considered for St. Paul was very helpful in understanding the ways in which this law will do much more harm than good.

Margaret Kaplan’s response to Lindeke was extremely misleading. “A theoretical thought exercise”!? Has Ms. Kaplan cracked a history book? Every unintended consequence he predicts was experienced by New York City until they finally eliminated as much of the rent control law as was politically possible. 20,000-50,000 housing units were abandoned every year for at least a decade. Property tax receipts plummeted. Construction halted. The city went bankrupt. New York had a 7.5% cap on rent; St. Paul is proposing 3%. New York excluded new construction and vacancies; St. Paul’s ordinance does not. Mortgage lenders withdrew completely from the New York market; the same will happen in St Paul.

We learned back in the 20th century that rent control exacerbates the housing shortages that drive housing cost higher. Let me get this straight, there is a shortage of housing that drives up costs so we will enact a law that ensures no new rental housing will be built and that much of the existing rental housing is sold off to owner-occupants. Maybe next we can address hunger by capping how much money farmers get for food.

—Will Rolf, St. Paul

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Gratitude for #BansOffOurBodies march

Women’s March Minnesota is grateful to our partners UnRestrict Minnesota, Planned Parenthood Action Fund and 11 others, the 200 volunteers and an estimated 10,000 people who marched with us in Minneapolis this past Saturday for #BansOffOurBodies: March for Reproductive Freedom. We joined more than 650 marches across the country to demand an end to the dangerous, escalating attacks on reproductive health care in this country. The magnitude of the response demonstrates what surveys have already indicated: that 74 percent of Minnesotans support to access abortion without restrictions.

The right to access and information on abortion is protected in the Minnesota Constitution but recent actions in Texas have spurred a national response. We stand with Women’s March groups across the country to send a clear message to the Supreme Court and all those who seek to strip citizens of their rights, that reproductive rights are human rights. We know that the Supreme Court’s decision to let Texas legislation SB8 stand denies 85 percent of women seeking reproductive care the help they need. It cannot stand.

The Texas legislation bans abortion after six weeks. The worst part of SB8 is “Aid and Abet” which activates and rewards vigilante justice — empowering private citizens to sue anyone who helps a patient get an abortion and gives a reward of at least $10,000 if they successfully sue. This provision essentially deputizes anti-abortion extremists to enforce the state’s six-week abortion ban. Any individual in the state of Texas can sue anyone for exercising their constitutional right to access abortion care, even by counseling them or providing a ride to a clinic. If the plaintiff wins, the person they sue will be forced to pay them $10,000, at minimum. There is no penalty if the plaintiff loses.

Whether we live in Texas, Minnesota or somewhere in between, we all need access to reproductive health care. Laws like SB8 in Texas and bans in states like Mississippi, Ohio and Georgia target communities that survive systemic oppression. All people deserve access to health care, when they need it, in the community they live in and trust. Let’s remember this as we watch the Supreme Court begin oral arguments this week in a case that will determine the future of abortion rights for all Americans.

—Ann Treacy, St. Paul

MinnPost welcomes original letters from readers on current topics of general interest. Interested in joining the conversation? Submit your letter to the editor. The choice of letters for publication is at the discretion of MinnPost editors; they will not be able to respond to individual inquiries about letters.