To the editor:

Based on the current number of rental licenses issued by the Columbia Heights, 44% of approximately 8,000 addresses in our community are rental units. This is almost double the state average and significantly higher than the 30% the city continues to cite. (I believe the disparity in the City’s figure is the result of counting buildings rather than actual units — a less than transparent approach.) The 44% rental figure does not include the 270 units attached to the Alatus development at 40th/Central, nor the 58 units soon to be approved and slated behind the Safety Building. According to our 2040 Comp Plan we only needed an additional 100 units over the next 10 years, and we will have exceeded with the two projects mentioned above.

Data shows property values are directly impacted by significant imbalances between owner-occupied and rental properties. Many cities have a rental density cap, West St. Paul’s is 10% of residential streets allowed to be a rental property. When rentals are not licensed, the city is impacted by uncollected fees and potentially lower taxes assessed if those properties continue to be taxed at homestead rates. This affects every taxpayer in Columbia Heights.

This is not about renters; it is about renTALS. When choosing to be a landlord, you’re operating a business requiring specific compliance with codes and regulations — many designed to promote health and safety from landlords whose lack of ethics allow him/her to skirt the system. This must change!

Kt Jacobs

Columbia Heights

Jacobs is running for City Council.

(2) comments

DerbySteve

𝗘𝗻𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗦𝘆𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗺𝗶𝗰 𝗥𝗮𝗰𝗶𝘀𝗺 𝗶𝗻 𝗖𝗼𝗹𝘂𝗺𝗯𝗶𝗮 𝗛𝗲𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁𝘀!

For centuries, structural racism in the U.S. housing system has contributed to stark and persistent racial disparities in wealth and financial well-being, especially between Black and white households. In fact, these differences are so entrenched that if current trends continue, it could take more than 200 years for the average Black family to accumulate the same amount of wealth as its white counterparts. While homeownership and affordable housing are not a panacea for eliminating entrenched racial inequality, lawmakers must make amends for past and present harms by enacting new laws designed to expand access to prosperity for all Americans.¹

Is City Council candidate K.T. Jacobs expanding access to prosperity for ALL Columbia Heights citizens? No! On the contrary, she’s emphatically proposing to do the opposite by advocating to put a rental density cap on Columbia Heights.²

What is a rental density cap? It’s a highly controversial limit on the amount of rental properties within a given city block.

How is this systemic racism? Caps cause rents to rise and rental options to become scarce. Our BIPOC community of unity is poorer than the richer white CoHi homeowners, like K.T. Jacobs, who is also a landlord. (Higher rents are $$$ ka-ching, ka-ching $$$ in her wonderful white privileged pockets!)

And her proposal is simply stemming from the long historical white privileged tradition of oppressing Blacks from living in the Heights, and oppressing Blacks from accumulating wealth for home ownership. She deflects the attention away from all of that by saying this is “not about the renters, it’s about the rentals.” But the truth is, the impact of her proposal is felt most by the renters, who are predominantly BIPOC citizens of Columbia Heights. Her proposal cements historical systemic racism into our city through a phenomenon this video below explains best. →

https://youtu.be/e68CoE70Mk8

"We see that historically these initiatives, these ordinances, have been used to exclude minorities in cities or neighborhoods," said Julio Zelaya, a coordinator of ACLU's Greater Minnesota Racial Justice Project.³

In our most critical time of economic hardship, she’s going to make life even harder for the poor!!! Can you believe it?!!

𝗟𝗲𝘁’𝘀 𝗳𝗶𝗻𝗮𝗹𝗹𝘆 𝗲𝗻𝗱 𝘀𝘆𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗺𝗶𝗰 𝗿𝗮𝗰𝗶𝘀𝗺!

𝗗𝗼 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝘃𝗼𝘁𝗲 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗞.𝗧. 𝗝𝗮𝗰𝗼𝗯𝘀!

¹ https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/race/reports/2019/08/07/472617/systemic-inequality-displacement-exclusion-segregation/

² https://www.hometownsource.com/abc_newspapers/free/letter-time-for-change-to-rentals-in-columbia-heights/article_5a4de450-cdcd-11ea-ae8d-cf8c24245473.html

³ https://www.mankatofreepress.com/news/local_news/north-mankato-passes-controversial-rental-density-cap/article_1afe49d4-749e-11e6-a2d8-8bb4b8f702a7.html

DerbySteve

CORRECTION: KT Jacobs is not a landlord. In an earlier Letter To The Editor, titled "Letter: Jacobs will hold Columbia Heights accountable

Jul 9, 2020," it is Clifford Johnson that states he is a licensed landlord in Columbia Heights, and not KT Jacobs. Johnson praises the benefits he and other landlords will receive by having KT Jacobs as a city councilmember. I was mistaken and thought he was referring to KT Jacobs as being a landlord too. She is not. This is my mistake and no intent of malice was meant by my error, that I have now corrected.

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