As if his unfounded character assasination of Councilmember Zerby written in the editorial section of last weeks MN Daily was not enouh, columnist John Hoff continues to distort facts and lower the journalistic standards of our only other daily paper here in Minneapolis. Several letters were submitted to the Daily editorial board last to set the record straight and as of today all remain unpublished. In fact, in response to readers pointing out factual inaccuracies in last weeks column Mr. Hoff lambasted those neighbors for challenging his fiction piece and took the opportunity to rip on CM Zerby yet again.

What has this columnist to gain in his personal attacks of soon exiting Councilmember Zerby? Who knows. I only know that Mr. Hoff is apparently too shiftless to search his own paper's archives to see that there are no less than 19 articles written since September 2003 (month of the fire which killed three students) regarding the fire and addressing his concern that: "There should be some kind of plaque or marker near the spot, so we don’t forget that some paid the ultimate price for neglect of housing issues." The memorial "plaque" is about 200 ft north of my office door in Van Cleve Park for a fire that occurred 2 doors down from my office door and it took more effort to get that plaque than Mr. Hoff will ever know (or bother the time to research in his own paper). The neighbors haven't forgotton the fire and how Councilmember Zerby quickly responded to the neighbors concerns regarding lax City inspections of problem properties, and how he demanded more be done to avoid future tragedies. The institutional memory of the editorial board appears to be now measured in nano-seconds.

I could care less about Hoff's motivations, but you would think someone with a criminal record and not exactly a "traditional" student (pushing 40) would not want to draw undue attention to himself and his hypocritical stances (absolutely no inspections, I mean more inspections, I mean Zerby just sucks). After all, The MN Daily is supposed to be a semi-legitimate paper and not just a propaganda piece for narrow political viewpoints--what are my state tax dollars helping fund again?

Additionally, I have no problems with people having negative opinions about political leadership, but making things up soley to discredit and distort is another thing. Then subsequently publishing these inaccuracies in a paper that you have editorial control over (viewed by tens of thousands of readers) is completely unacceptable. If we don't have journalists that try to get the facts straight, then what do we have left in a democracy?--I guess the web.

The articles links are included below for reference. The MN Daily (and their editors) are available online at (published Thursday 12/1) (published Thursday 12/8)

Justin Eibenholzl

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