Last month, I wrote a letter about my unsuccessful attempts to speak with Council Member Meg Tuthill on what the city could do to keep unscrupulous landlords from cheating honest renters out of their damage deposits. I was told then, and Ms. Tuthill’s lead staff person, Ms. Leslie Foreman, confirmed, in an Oct. 7th letter to the SW Journal that Ms. Tuthill refused to take or return my call because I did not live in the 10th ward.
Then, Ms. Foreman said I was calling for my daughter. Wrong.
Not that it should make any difference, I called after my daughter had received her court-ordered damage deposit back, not before as Ms. Foreman’s said. With the high number of renters in ward 10, I naively and mistakenly thought that a suggestion on how to prevent them from being cheated would be welcomed. It wasn’t.
I called because city action was needed. Most renters are always at work or school and don’t have a retired dad, like me, who had the time to visit the court house multiple times to chase down a deadbeat. Accordingly, the bad landlords win, even when ordered by the courts to pay, while honest tenants lose and good landlords get smeared with guilt by association.
I served as a legislator for 30 years and received and returned calls to Minnesotans from Ada to Zumbrota and every ward in Minneapolis, including the Tenth. I never told anybody that I would not speak with or return their call because they did not live in my district. Communicating with the public is part of an elected official’s job. Hence, I was flabbergasted when Ms. Tuthill’s staffers said I could not talk with her, ever.
It’s not like I was asking for something, like Zygi Wilf and his swarm of big buck lobbyists did when they charmed Council Member Tuthill, into stripping the people’s right to vote on the stadium tax. Rather, I was just trying to fix an injustice that happens to too many renters.
Frankly, I just don’t understand why Council Member Tuthill’s lines of communication are so wide open to New Jersey billionaires seeking the greatest transfer of wealth in the history of Minnesota and so closed to somebody wanting to make a suggestion on how to keep some renters from being cheated.
State Senator, ret.