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September 10-17, 2008

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Letters to the Editor

Lending Regulators to Blame

FANTASTIC article ("Home Sweet Hell," Cover Story, Sept. 3)! I bought a house as a single woman in the late '80s. This was just at the beginning of the housing boom, but I experienced a mild form of the lending practices described in that I was "prequalified" by the lender's agent by exaggerating my income and minimizing my debts. I was barely able to afford the payment on the 30-year loan, but did until I was laid off during a severe downturn in the Silicon Valley economy. I would not, however, have been able to continue paying the payment after I retired in about 20 years.

I do have to say one thing about Washington Mutual, however. After I was laid off in Santa Clara and lost the house, I moved to Stockton to be closer to my parents who were in their 80s. I worked for WaMu for a short time as a technical writer. At lunch one day, I heard a loan agent telling another about how she was able to get a loan authorized for someone she stated was entirely unable to qualify if the truth had been told.

WaMu obviously is not without blame in this mess, but I put most of the responsibility on those who loosened up the regulations that made our financial institutions reliable.

 Harriette Jensen,


Fast Learner

THANKS AGAIN to Metro Santa Cruz for balanced, accurate and fair reporting ("Had This Been an Actual Emergency," Nu_z, Aug. 27). Paul Wagner probably wrote this piece--you are lucky to have found a reporter so quick to understand the issues.

Mary Bannister,
Interim General Manager,
Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency

Moonbeam's Shining Hour

NAMING Chris Matthews to the Santa Cruz County board of supervisors was the finest action taken by former Gov. Jerry Brown during his terms in office. Chris was much more than a thorn in the side of the conservative establishment that was seeing its control of local government eroding: he was a true champion of the poor, the disaffected and the forgotten residents of his Pajaro Valley district and the county at large. He had a special affection for military veterans, particularly those who were down on their luck. He was an artist and a damned good friend to people in all walks of life. I wish I could be there for his wake. My compliments to Geoffrey Dunn for his wonderful paean to Chris.

Lee Quarnstrom,
La Habra, Calif.
Editor's note: The author is a former columnist at the Mercury News and the Register-Pajaronian.

Dettle, Do Right

THANKS FOR putting the downtown parking lot debate in Nu_z ("Unstructured Parking," Aug. 27). It was nice to hear City Public Works Director Mark Dettle voicing support for alternatives to the garage. In fact, the only thing that the committee of folks opposed to the garage is asking for (at this point) is that the city develop a strategy for using parking payouts and other strategies to reduce the "need" for parking expansion. Basically, for the same cost as the garage, we could pay 484 downtown workers up to $2,900 not to drive to work, and end up with just as many new spaces for customers without moving the Farmer's Market--that's a lot of bus passes, bicycle parts and CASH to lure them to work without a car. From Director Dettle's comments it would seem that he would join us in developing this greener option BEFORE we begin drawing up plans for another parking garage. After all, if we get all those folks cycling and taking the bus and we still need more parking downtown for customers, there will still be an engineer somewhere who wants to draw up another four-story box for cars.

Micah Posner,
People Power

In our Fall Arts Preview (Cover Story, Aug. 27), we misidentified the author of "Tuna: A Love Story." The author is Richard Ellis. He appears at Capitola Book Café on Oct. 17. Barbara Quick authored "Vivaldi's Virgins"; she appears at Capitola Book Café on Oct. 20.

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