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Letters to the editor – Wednesday (10-8-08)

Online property tax payment an expensive ‘convenience’
Today I went to pay my Rowan County vehicle property tax. Trying to be “green,” I looked into paying online, which they clearly encourage. Much to my surprise, just before entering the charge on my card I was shocked to see a $7 “convenience” fee added. That’s about an 8 percent additional tax on the tax. It seems to me that paying bills online would be to the payee’s convenience, not mine, and should cost me less. I suggest a re-evaluation of this policy for the good of the county and our environment. I will forgo my “convenience” at this time to save the money to fill my gas tank.
ó Sean Malone
Salisbury
Real cause of credit crisis
Josh Steedley’s attempt to blame the credit crisis on Democratic presidents, the Community Reinvestment Act and poor people who weren’t qualified to get home loans shows a total lack of understanding of the problem. He had no statistics to show what percentage of loans went to unqualified people or what percentage of bad loans went to foolish middle-income people who built McMansions, took out home equity loans on the increased value of those homes, thinking that the value would go up forever, and used those loans to go on expensive vacations and buy expensive cars. When those home values plummeted, they were all up the creek, owing more on their homes than the homes were worth.
If you believe Mr. Steedley, Wall Street wasn’t involved at all. The real story is a lot different. The crisis began with a brief meeting of the Securities and Exchange Commission on April 28, 2004. The big investment banks wanted an exemption from the “net capital rule” that limited the amount of debt they could take on. That rule required banks to hold in reserve billions of dollars as a cushion against losses that they might incur on their investments. The commission voted unanimously to do away with the rule.
Over the next few years, with no regulations to stop them, the big investment banks were free to take on huge debts. At Bear Stearns, the ratio of debt to assets rose to 33 to 1. Now, Bear Stearns is part of JPMorgan Chase and received a bailout of $29 billion from the federal government. The same problem caused the demise of Merrill Lynch.
The Republican Party has always been against regulation. Even recently John McCain has been ranting about getting rid of government regulation in spite of what deregulation has done to this country.
ó Shannon Bradley
Salisbury
Right man for commission
Raymond Coltrain is the precise candidate we need for our county commission at a time when local, state and federal governments face a perfect storm of financial mismanagement. Having worked with farmers all over the state, he has the fiscal background needed for the coming four years.
With the county having an unspent fund of $8.5 million dollars in the 2008 budget while citizens struggle to pay property taxes on homes that have lost 20 percent of their value in the past year, it’s time to face the problems associated with the economic crunch.
I had the pleasure of spending many sessions with Raymond Coltrain as we both vied for a spot on the November county commission ballot. He’s a sincere, honest and dedicated individual who believes he can make a difference as a public servant. At this critical cross-roads, we need Mr. Coltrain to represent the citizens of Rowan County.
ó W. Terry Julian
Faith
Field trips enhance learning
In response to Stacey Carter and Jill Hoben’s Oct. 3 letter:
I agree with you regarding the decision made by the Rowan-Salisbury School System to stop the field trips for exceptional children to Saving Grace Farms. I believe that the trips help these students learn to interact with other students and adults. They also learn to overcome challenges and deal with everyday situations. Those things are very important.
Last year when I was in the fifth grade, I was chosen to help with the exeptional students at North Rowan Elementary School. Each time we visited, we played games, watched educational TV shows or played outside. Getting to be a friend and to help with these children was a pleasure. Just to see the children’s eyes light up when they learned something new was amazing. These children taught me so much while I was helping them. Other people could learn compassion from special needs students.
Again, I believe that the Rowan-Salisbury School System should allow these wonderful children to visit Saving Grace to continue their learning experience. (The trips to the YMCA were canceled also!)
ó Megan A. Braun
Salisbury
Meals on Wheels of Rowan
Letter:
Meals on Wheels of Rowan, Inc. is a member agency of Rowan County United Way. Some of you may know us for delivering meals to friends, parents, grandparents and other family members. You may not be aware that we also give comfort and security by helping them remain at home. I personally know how much my grandparents appreciated both the food and encouragement they received every day from Meals on Wheels of Rowan volunteers.
Without Rowan County United Way we could not continue to provide this help to the homebound of Rowan. Meals and Wheels along with the other agencies need you now more than ever. I encourage you to support the Rowan County United Way and the agencies they help. Thank you!
ó Connie Basinger
President, Board of Directors, Meals on Wheels of Rowan, Inc.
While waiting in line at a local store last week, I noticed the customer in front of me didn‚t place the items on the bottom of their cart onto the belt to be scanned. When I finally made my way to the register I asked the cashier if she had scanned the items on the bottom of their cart. Her reply was that she didn‚t know they had items on the bottom of their cart and that if she couldn‚t see them then she couldn‚t scan them. She said she wasn‚t security and didn‚t get paid enough to confront people about theft.
I looked to see if the customers were gone. They were. She then informed me it wouldn‚t have mattered anyway, carts are occasionally checked at the exits but no one enforces this and thieves are allowed to just walk away with items. I made a comment, to no avail, about theft reducing profits, which in turn causes higher prices for me and reduces her chance of receiving a raise. She just smirked and made a smart comment about never getting a raise.
I was in a hurry and too angry to go stand in yet another line at customer service. I called the store after returning home. The manager was not available but I did speak with an assistant manager who sounded appalled. I have very little confidence that he actually did something about the situation.
Why not do what‚s responsible? What‚s happened to holding people accountable for their actions? Are people just too afraid to say anything anymore? It makes me livid that no one holds anyone responsible for anything. If you don‚t want to pay for your groceries, just put them on the bottom of your cart, no one will say anything.
ó Salem Dietz
Faith

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