Thursday, September 18, 2003

Readers' Views

Cinergy is forgetting customers' importance


Cinergy says they have low prices and we should be happy to send them a check every month. What about choice? I drive out of my way to spend more then I would have at the Wal-Mart down the street almost everyday. I think it's important to support businesses who act like responsible neighbors.

Not only has Cinergy forgotten that the customer is always right, they seem to have forgotten that they have customers at all. They do what they feel is in their best interest without worrying about the names on the thousands of checks they get each month. It's time for the city to take up aggregation. The powers that be might give a little more thought to their actions if they know that you and I can vote with our pocket books.

As for the naming rights of the Albert B. Sabin Convention Center, maybe we can find an elementary school or two to close down so the city can give Cinergy the $12 million dollars. Then Cinergy can give the city back the money, and we can reopen the schools next year. Unless they decide they need a parking garage.

Brian Ewing, Westwood

Elected officials catch taxpayers unaware

The column by Denise Smith Amos "With a nickel here and there, Ky. taxes creep up," (Sept. 15) demonstrates the arrogance of many elected officials. Earlier this year the Kentucky legislature voted to allow a significant raising of our taxes without the possibility of voter recall. And, last week, the Boone County School Board voted to raise our property taxes over 11 percent. Many voters were unaware of this deed, to which Kentucky state Rep. Jon Draud, R-Kenton, reportedly stated, "Why should boards advertise broadly the fact that they're about to raise taxes? There are enough misguided voters out there to kill a tax, or at least make trouble for board members."

Shades of King George III are on display here folks. This is taxation without representation and at the next "Tea Party," many may want to add legislators and school board members to the inventory that goes overboard.

Bernard J. Kunkel, Walton, Ky.

Pension fund flaws must be covered

Thank you for advising us of potential legislation to address abuses in state retirement systems ("Taft wants stricter pension-fund rules," Sept. 12). The article noted that the Ohio governor proposes legislation to fix questionable practices of funds serving retired teachers, police and firefighters. The Enquirer reported that a bill had been introduced; a provision in this new bill includes opportunity to recall state retirement system board members.

Most Ohioans applaud efforts to minimize or eliminate abuses of any type. But they also want legislation to apply equally to all folks in a given class. The last time I checked, Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro and Ohio Auditor Betty Montgomery were members of at least one board where abuses have occurred and been reported. The question must be addressed, "Where were these two people when decisions were made allowing the abusive policies to be implemented?" And, more importantly, the question must be asked, "Will the proposed legislation also address the failures of these two elected state officials to perform their duties as board members to protect these accounts?" How will their recall be handled?

We need greater accountability from folks at all levels of public trust. Unfortunately, recalls always seem to be cumbersome, and lengthy bureaucratic procedures. As citizens, we need to keep ourselves informed and make decisions that will elect statesmen/women who will serve the common good. This goal should remain before us whether selecting a member of a board or electing a person to state or national political office.

Until we, the citizens, develop a longer memory and become proactive at the next election, accountability is only a myth.

Stanley A. Wernz, Wyoming

Many in Ohio grow up where football is king

With regards to sports and young men, Paul Daugherty [Clarett's big decision should be as easy as ABC," Sept. 12] doesn't get it, and almost all the media hounds and talking heads don't get it.

Try growing up in an eastern Ohio steel town, deteriorating because the economic base has shifted and good jobs are scarce. Try growing up in a town where football is king and everything stops on a Friday or Saturday night.

Try growing up in a town where everyone remembers which high school football player made it to which Division I college, which players made it to the pros. Try growing up in a community that ignores youth who excel in drama, music, or academics. Then, and only then, will they understand how hard it is to ignore the big lies the coaches tell you about sports and education. I walked away because I knew there weren't very many 5-11, 180-pound white guys who could make a living in professional football.

Lawrence Mieczkowski, Woodlawn

Go back to old mortgage methods

As a former speculator of single-family homes, I found reporter Ken Alltucker's Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 series about how speculators have damaged neighborhoods well-written ("Mortgages for bad credit risks key to destroying neighborhoods").

I authored five real estate books in the past 20 years. One was directed at the "rent-to-own" method referred to in the articles.

What is disturbing today is the way predatory financing has entered the picture. They have thus made it easy for poor credit risk buyers to buy and dishonest speculators to cash out.

In the old days when I wrote the lease option book and was active in flipping single families, prospects had to have acceptable credit. Then after their two- or three-year lease-option period ended, the lessees could qualify for a legitimate mortgage and buy my property.

The trend turned about the mid 1990s when the lease-option became almost entirely marketed to people with bad credit. I stopped doing lease-options because I did not want to go through the horrors of an eviction.

Over the decades, there were always dishonest investors around who would find a way to get high illegal appraisals or slip deadbeat buyers through by falsifying loan applications. But the FBI put many of these crooks in jail. I hope the crooks today will be caught and punished.

Go back to the days when the only way one could properly qualify for a mortgage was having good credit and a secure job. The foreclosure rate would then drop, renters would try harder to earn good credit scores, and neighborhoods like Price Hill would not be stigmatized with high foreclosure rates.

Ed Rothenberg, Hyde Park

War on terror becomes whack-a-mole game

To win a war on terror, the United States needs a neutral policy. In his address to the nation, President Bush indicated again that we will win the war on terror by drawing the terrorists to Iraq and then capturing or killing them. Unfortunately, the president continues his tendency of seeing problems in simple terms. In this case, he assumes there is a finite number of terrorists who will be accounted for over time, resulting in a final victory.

The reality is al-Qaida is in danger of becoming more of an ideology and less of an organization. The president will end up playing a perpetual game of whack-a-mole. Each terrorist captured or killed is quickly replaced by another. One would think the cycle of violence in Israel would be evidence enough of this type of failed policy.

To put it simply, the U.S. must stop meddling in the internal affairs of sovereign nations. A policy of neutrality may bring higher prices but would be no more costly than the mounting cost of war, homeland security, and loss of revenue due to continued terrorist attacks.

Jon-Paul Kroger, Independence, Ky.

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