Not mortgaging their future now | Oct. 26, Perspective story
A sound idea to help troubled homeowners Joe Nocera of the New York Times deals with a proposal that came across his desk recently concerning the idea of allowing homeowners with "impaired mortgages" to forfeit their deeds to their lenders and then to be allowed to rent their homes. There are surely many details that would need to be worked out, but the idea is fantastic. This idea is a win-win for all parties, with no obvious losers.
Empty homes fall into decay. Abandoned properties lower the values of neighborhoods and invite crime. Families frequently are split up as they look for alternate places to live, and the stress involved impacts not only the health of the family members but also the unity of the family.
Renting the properties would provide the same stable home for the family, money for the lender, and would help stabilize property values for the community.
The lenders who had the audacity to allow borrowers who could "never in their wildest dreams" afford the mortgages they signed for should not be, under any circumstances, "bailed out." They need to pay a price for their greed just as the borrower will pay the price of a forfeited deed.
Leasing the property back to the original borrower at prevailing market rent is a great option for all, and hopefully will be considered viable by those who will be making these decisions as our government grapples with the gravity of the financial mess in which we find ourselves.
Judi Larson, Sun City Center
Be sure to cast your vote
for a better America
We have one of the most important elections coming that will either make this country of ours the best in the world or one that has lost its high standing among the great powers in this world.
We have two U.S. senators running, both with some responsibility for the damage that has been done to this country of ours. They make the laws; the president either endorses them or denies them.
Whom do we want in the White House? Who are the guests that our next president will have there? What about our first lady? Who has the most experience of the two that are running for this position? What about character? These are very important for us voters to look at.
I ask all to please get out there and vote for the person you believe will bring this great country of ours back to where we were before George W. Bush became president.
Lee Ricciardi, Pinellas Park
Obama for president | Oct. 26, editorial
You should be so smug in your views! Your obvious certitude is no less overwhelming! Broadly speaking, the current status of our country's lot is derived from liberal views significantly abetted by voices such as yours. Never mind that our garrulous Congress is now rated at an all-time low. How do you respond?
R.G. Pinette, Homosassa
A reassuring voice
This was a unique presentation. It made me even more proud to be an American! A comment made by my husband was: "Did you notice one thing that was missing in this presentation?"
The answer was that there was not one negative comment from Barack Obama about his opponent. How refreshing that was. How reassuring it felt to be listening to a future leader of our country with plans for America that offer all of us hope for the future .
RoseMary Hughes, St. Petersburg
Guantanamo, one word that says it all Oct. 26, Robyn Blumner column
Terrorists still a threat
Yes, George W. Bush is low man on the totem pole due to the economy and Iraq, as noted by Robyn Blumner, but that should not influence our attitude toward Muslim terrorists or even Guantanamo.
Granted that the unprecedented activities at the military prison may have undermined its usefulness by now, we are not out of the woods as far as terrorism is concerned — even the domestic variety.
Your story on the same day about the Muslim-American soldier in Iraq (An American's gravestone) is encouraging and hopefully may represent the attitude of most young Muslims in America. Nonetheless, we should be very careful. Though Muslim-American citizens should be given full due process if suspected, noncitizens deserve less. And any citizen caught overseas fighting against us should be sent to Guantanamo.
W.H. Riddell, Tampa
An American's gravestone | Oct. 26, Perspective story
A tarnished reputation
Colin Powell asserts that he spent a full hour gazing at Cpl. Kareem Khan's photo while reflecting on the fact that he was a Muslim.
That amazes me because Khan's religion is totally irrelevant. Whether he was a Muslim or a Mohawk, what is more relevant is the fact that he is dead, and given that Powell played a considerable part in his death (along with the deaths of the more than 4,180 other Americans who have died in Iraq), you would have thought that this would have entered his consciousness.
Powell lost most of his credibility when he went before the U.N. Security Council and the world brandishing what he said was proof of Saddam Hussein's possession of weapons of mass destruction but which was nothing more than a stack of fabrications and outright lies given to him by Dick Cheney and George Bush.
Powell was unaware of this, but his solid reputation at that time made it easier for the world to believe he was speaking the truth and that Saddam was a threat, thus giving Bush more leeway for launching his criminal invasion with its appalling loss of human life.
Powell was duped by Bush and Cheney, as he is well aware by now, but he is not going to restore his tarnished reputation by evasive articles like this. He needs to be much more specifically condemnatory, but that is not his way, and thanks to him — and Nancy Pelosi — Cpl. Khan and all the others will remain statistics.
R.G. Wheeler, St. Petersburg
"It wasn't illegal" is too low a standard Oct. 26, Howard Troxler column
I agree completely with everything Howard Troxler said in his analysis of the deplorable "Jim Smith incident" — but why am I not surprised by the "conditions" that led up to this entire Pinellas County Commission fiasco?
I remember hearing news of an earlier situation when the Eden County Commission agreed with three defense attorneys who said that although the allegation that Cain slew Abel was true, the commission could not (or would not) invoke any further action since Cain's act did not violate any written law and was, therefore, not an illegal act.
I also remember the names of Pinellas County "public servants," and I will not cast a ballot for any of them for any public office at any future election.
R.J. Radford, Clearwater
Jobs are the key
JPMorgan Chase announced that it will lay off hundreds of employees in the Tampa area and send the jobs overseas. Why? To reduce costs and improve efficiency.
What about the added costs to our failing local and national economies caused by taking so many salaries out of circulation? Where is the news instead that they are slashing executive salaries and bonuses to save workers' jobs?
The No. 1 solution for our nation's economic meltdown is through increasing the number of gainfully employed taxpayers. The elder Henry Ford recognized that if he paid his workers a decent wage that they would be able to afford to buy his product. They both prospered. If businesses are looking for a marketing advantage, advertise: "We don't ship your jobs overseas."
Fred Jacobsen, Apollo Beach
A private matter
I can't believe that in this time when finances, home foreclosures, daily living expenses, lack of employment and hardships for the average person living in Pinellas and Pasco counties are escalating, the St. Petersburg Times sees fit to publish several days of an article featuring a "surrogate" mother and her trials and tribulations!
Give me a break! This woman has a family of her own and, yes, it is sad that others cannot conceive. But that should be a private affair, not a front-page article. People are losing their homes, soldiers are dying on our behalf a world away and the Times sees fit to publish multiple articles about a woman's grief over not conceiving through artificial insemination. Let's place our priorities where they belong!
Regina Diorio, Hudson