Why I’ll vote “NO” on the rent control ordinance

There will be a vote this fall on a rent control ordinance in St. Paul. I am not against rent control but am against the ordinance. It is an across-the-board 3% cap on rent increases in any 12 month period. Current rents will not be changed.

The 3% cap even applies if the property is vacant and waiting for new tenants. The 3% isn’t tied to inflation or to anything else.

There are exceptions where owners can get a variance if property taxes go up or if money is needed for repairs. There isn’t any system in place to handle those variances and the process will be expensive for the city which means more property tax increases. Property taxes make renting and owning more expensive and they keep rising.

Under the proposed ordinance all rental properties are treated the same. Properties large and small and luxury rentals too. New construction and existing construction. Properties owned by individuals, small businesses, and large corporations alike. There isn’t a rent control ordinance like it anywhere in the world.

I am in favor of affordable housing and rent control could help but the way the law is written I have to vote against it.  The main reason why we don’t have affordable housing is capitalism.

The rent stabilization question as it will appear on the ballot:
Should the City adopt the proposed Ordinance limiting rent increases? The Ordinance limits residential rent increases to no more than 3% in a 12-month period, regardless of whether there is a change of occupancy. The Ordinance also directs the City to create a process for landlords to request an exception to the 3% limit based on the right to a reasonable return on investment. A “yes” vote is a vote in favor of limiting rent increases. A “no” vote is a vote against limiting rent increases.

Just vote no. A yes vote isn’t going to lower rents or make housing more affordable.

On a related note:

Remember the St. paul tenant protection ordinance?  It was/is the strongest tenant protection law anywhere. “On April 19, 2021, a federal judge temporarily enjoined enforcement of Saint Paul’s Tenant Protections Ordinance.  As of April 19, 2021, and until further notice, the City will temporarily cease enforcement of the ordinance’s requirements, including any rules previously posted

There is wildlife in the city and nightlife too

Turkeys
Turkeys

Turkeys are a common sight in St. Paul. It seems like I am seeing more of them this year than in the past. We also see fox and racoon and an occasional deer walking down the street but never all at the same time.

Bald eagles are fairly common and so are hawks. The picture wasn’t taken this year but a couple of years ago when we had green grass.

Higher property taxes and affordable housing

River Park
River Park

“Saint Paul Mayor Melvin Carter Proposes a 6.9% Property Tax Increase

Last week, Saint Paul Mayor Melvin Carter unveiled his 2022 budget proposal. Included in his budget proposal was a 6.9% increase in property taxes, which is equivalent to a $127 increase for a median value home in Saint Paul.
The mayor acknowledged that this tax increase could negatively impact people who were financially burdened due to the pandemic, which is why he also proposed a program to assist low-income homeowners, this program would receive $600,000 under the mayor’s proposed budget.” Pioneer Press
According to Mayor Carter, some of the property tax increase is supposed to help make housing more affordable. It is likely that it will do the opposite.
Go to Stpaul.gov to learn more about the city budget. It is a proposed budget. It isn’t too late to contact your city council representative and let them know that you believe higher property taxes will lead to more expensive housing.
I strongly favor affordable housing. Raising property taxes makes housing less affordable for everyone. Property taxes are regressive and disproportionally harm those who are already overburdened with housing costs.

What I learned about climate change last weekend

For those who were in the Twin Cities area last weekend, the air was unbreathable at times. Smoke from Canadian wildfires filled the air. It burned the eyes and throat and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency said that it was “unhealthy” and “very unhealthy”.

 

MPCA warnings about air quality
smoke
Smoke from Canadian wildfires as viewed from the Mississippi River 

For part of last week, we didn’t see sunshine or the sky. Everything had a kind of yellowish orangish cast to it. Almost sepia. What we experienced isn’t “normal” and it is likely to happen again. Most of us have no idea how to plan for this or how to deal with it.

What I learned is that none of us are safe from wildfires and breathing in smoke-filled air does diminish the quality of life in any neighborhood.  Heck it even took my mind off the drought and the pandemic.

Crispy and smokey

The drought continues. We gave up on the lawn weeks ago. It is brown and crispy and hasn’t been mowed since June because it doesn’t grow.

Last week we got a lot of smokey air from the fires burning in Canada and on the West Coast. Let’s get ready for another hot dry week.

Smokey skies over Minnesota

In there is a lot of green in the picture because of the trees.

park
Upper Landing Park

On hot days I like to take my walk early in the morning before the pavement gets too hot. This one was taken at about 8 in the morning last Thursday. It was still hazy and smokey but the air smelled better.

Temperatures are going to be in the 90’s today and for most of the week. We get a break on Friday, with temperatures in the upper 80’s.

Happy July 4th 2021

The Pioneer Press got it wrong. St. Paul did not cancel public fireworks. There hasn’t been any kind of city-sponsored public fireworks here since 2014. There will be fireworks after the Saints game at the ballpark in Lowertown.  Those fireworks will be seen by ticket holders and those who live in the building surrounding the park.

Minneapolis has public fireworks over the river where everyone can see them but canceled this year because of the drought.

Fireworks are illegal in Minnesota and we have strict laws. Anything that explodes or flies is illegal, but the laws are not enforced.

Keep your hose handy this weekend.

Here are some pictures from 2014 and 2013. Both fireworks displays were sponsored by the city and held in locations where they could be seen for free and were visible for miles.

Minnesota State Capital – July 4th 2014

 

fireworks
fireworks 2013 St. Paul, MN