Saint Paul, MN mayor Melvin Carter was re-elected by a wide margin in November. A campaign plank of his that was more a product of bandwagon than closely held conviction was the city-wide referendum, of sorts, on the imposition of rent control in the city. The incumbent mayor had always been ambivalent on the policy’s merits (full discloure … I voted against it) but stuck his index finger to the winds, marshalling his (weak) support for it, ahead of certain re-election.

Looks like the chickens have come home to roost.

After repeatedly asking for more details about the city’s plans to enact and enforce the new measure, the council asked for an update Wednesday from Daniel Yang, Mayor Melvin Carter’s senior policy adviser charged with overseeing its rollout. But in an e-mail sent less than two hours before the council’s last meeting of the year, Yang said he would not be available to answer their questions and attached a letter from Deputy Mayor Jaime Tincher summarizing previous updates on the ordinance.

“I find it really disappointing and disrespectful, frankly, that we request the presence of folks to come speak to us at this meeting and then are informed hours before the meeting that that won’t be happening,” Council Member Rebecca Noecker said.

The new policy, which caps annual rent increases at 3%, has been called the most stringent of its kind in the nation. It is not tied to inflation, does not exempt new construction and does not allow landlords to raise rents by more than 3% when a tenant moves out.

Michael L. Douglas @doctorpundit

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