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Quiet on the Ring Road front
The plans for moving Hardin County government offices from downtown to a proposed location on Ring Road seem to have been shelved for now, but I believe they are very much in the long range plans and for good reasons are being kept under wraps.
To the best of my knowledge, there has not been any contact with the owners of the Herb Jones property downtown or any other owners of downtown properties. This would lead one to believe that there are no plans to build new facilities downtown and we are told that the present facilities are severely inadequate. Can it be that the public is just being kept in the dark?
I don’t think of myself as of suspicious nature, but after all the planning and the convincing arguments presented to various groups in support of the need for new facilities and the location on Ring Road as ideal, I can’t help but believe that there still are some plans in the works of which the public has not been told.
I hope that I am wrong but it doesn’t hurt to be on guard. I think we still want our downtown to remain the center of business. If others agree they should remain vigilant.
Richard R. Prothero
Changing face of retail
Hard times require hard choices. During a recession, there are reasons why mall stores are more vulnerable to going out of business. Unless they can remain competitive in a tough market, mall vacancies will become a sign of the times.
Hard hit by the realities of economic hardship, lower- and middle-income families quickly establish their financial priorities. They entertain no illusions about what they can’t afford.
While wealthy people can afford a shopping trip to the mall, they typically save, rather than spend, their money. The wealthy tend carefully to their business and professions. They find ways to make and create money.
People who live in an unpredictable economy worry about what will happen tomorrow. Distressed consumers look for ways to drastically reduce spending. Consignment shops, second-hand stores and used car lots begin to attract consumers and flourish. Others look to purchase real estate at bargain prices.
Nobody is exempt from feeling the effects of the falling economy. Those people most hurt by rising prices of gas and food stop buying expensive things they don’t need. While some managers of mall stores remain optimistic, I’d caution them to be realistic in their profit expectations.
In times past, mall stores have been able to fool some of the people some of the time. When things get tough, though, the tough get going. Unfortunately, sometimes they simply go away.
Theresa M. Money Vine Grove Clinton’s at the bottom of crisis
Pat McKinney’s letter “How we got here,” (Sept. 29), was excellent. It is very informative and helps to simplify and layout a seemingly complicated problem. This is an addendum to her letter.
Under President Clinton, the entire federal government put massive pressure on banks to grant more home mortgages to the poor and minorities. Andrew Cuomo, Clinton’s secretary of Housing and Urban Development, investigated Fannie Mae for racial discrimination and proposed that 50 percent of Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s portfolios be made up of loans to low- to moderate-income borrowers by the year 2001.
Instead of looking at criteria such as the mortgage applicant’s credit history and ability to make a down payment as most of us have experienced, banks were encouraged to consider more nontraditional measures of credit-worthiness. Threatening lawsuits, Clinton’s Federal Reserve demanded that banks treat welfare payments and unemployment benefits as valid income sources to qualify for a mortgage. A disastrous path.
In 1999, liberals were bragging about extending affirmative action to the financial sector. Los Angeles Times reporter Ron Brownstein hailed the Clinton administration’s affirmative action lending policies as one of the hidden success stories of the Clinton administration, saying that black and Latino homeownership has surged to the highest level ever recorded.
Meanwhile, economists were screaming that Democrats were forcing mortgage lenders to issue loans that would fail the moment the housing market slowed and defaulting borrowers could not get out of their loans by selling their houses. A decade later, the housing bubble burst and, as predicted, food-stamp-backed mortgages collapsed. Democrats set a time-bomb in motion and when it went off, it turned competent renters into deadbeat mortgage borrowers. Just think about who’s at fault.