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Falling through the safety net
I grew up in Rancho Bernardo, Calif., and all of my family still lives there. It was absolutely devastated by the fires this past week. Of the 20 homes in my parents’ area, only three are still standing. My parents were blessed enough to be one of those three.
And while they are so grateful, financially it makes it difficult. All of the donations and aid only goes to those who lost homes. My parents have no power, and were told it could be up to seven weeks before it is restored. They will have to be in a hotel for that time. They need to have their home cleaned out to remove all the horrible ash that is in the ventilation, which costs more than $6,000. They have fire insurance, but their deductible is $10,000.
There are many families that are in that same predicament. They cannot ask for help because everyone just tells them they are lucky to have kept their home. Those who lost their homes have already gotten checks for $28,000 from FEMA to cover their deductibles and displacement costs. I wish there was something set up for all the families who didn’t lose their homes, but have to cover $5,000, $10,000, or even $20,000 deductibles for partially damaged homes. There are so many families that will have to pay these costs that cannot afford it. They could use a little help too.
HOME INVASION HOAX
The view from the school
Aurora Lopez’s selfish and irresponsible actions (“Copycat bank employee kidnapping turns out to be hoax,” Oct. 26) cost a lot more than a $4,000 bill for the inconvenience of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. Not only did she potentially endanger other individuals who might have had a real emergency during the time she was tying up officers’ time, but she caused undue trauma to students at nearby schools.
My grandson is a first grader at Jack Barnes Elementary School. This was his first “lock down.” Students were rushed back to their rooms and huddled in a corner away from the window, out of sight of the “bad guys” who reportedly had guns. My compliments to the administrators and teachers at Jack Barnes for handling this situation with speed and professionalism. However, because of the self-centered actions of one woman, those children unfortunately experienced unnecessary anxiety and confusion.
Perhaps part of Lopez’s punishment should be to share with school children that there can be dangerous consequences when one lies — consequences which cannot always be paid with a check.
Stop plundering the Earth
Although the Oct. 21 column by Linda Turley-Hansen may be a good start on the topic (“Indulgence overload,” Opinion 2), it didn’t cover the most important reasons why we can no longer consume or feel entitled to consume vast amounts of resources. Every day, China plunders natural resources around the world, and pollutes its own environment to make “stuff” for us that we will put in a landfill in a year or two. Really, who cares if possessions are a burden on people. The real message has to be our planet cannot continue to produce oil, plastic, furniture or electronics for us until we cut down the last tree and catch the last fish.
Corporate-owned media won’t print the steps we have to take (replacement rate birthrate or less, change our diets, and stop fossil fuel consumption) to continue to survive on this planet because they would lose money. I stopped buying “stuff” some years ago. It doesn’t benefit our economy. If we all did the same, the only people who would suffer from this are the stockholders and the CEOs of places such as Wal-Mart, and the mega banks that finance middle-class debt when they buy those big screen TVs. And I would hardly worry about the $10-an-hour jobs at Target, there’s plenty of other service jobs that pay poorly, especially if the illegal immigrants go home. Some of us try hard not to have a huge impact on the planet but with a looming population of 9 billion or more, I don’t really see how we’ll conserve our way into the future. When I see people emerging from giant, energy-using homes climbing into giant, gas-sucking vehicles, sitting at McDonald’s with their large families, I don’t really have much hope.
Starving war via entitlements
I’ve finally figured out how Hillary Clinton is going to stop the war in Iraq. 1. Health care for every child up to 25 years old. 2. Lower the limit from 50 employees to 25 employees for giving time off for caring for babies. 3. Giving $2,500 for every baby born. There won’t be any money left to fund the war. Maybe they will also lower Social Security payments. By the way, if an employer has between 25 and 30 employees, he or she will just cut the work force to 24 employees. I think I’ll look long and hard before I vote for Hillary.
Gov’t care must improve
The recently released recommendations by a bipartisan commission to streamline and improve care for our military veterans was a small piece of good news in the struggle to secure prompt and effective treatment for this vulnerable population. Prior to the release of the commission report, led by former Sen. Bob Dole and former Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala, the news was dismal. A congressional advisory panel found that one out of four Gulf War veterans is seriously ill.
The war in Iraq continues to result in an unprecedented proportion of our fighting men and women affected by traumatic head injuries and post traumatic stress disorder. A recent congressional report stated that more than half a year after disclosure of systemic problems at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and other military hospitals, the Pentagon’s promised fixes are threatened by staff shortages and uncertainty over how best to improve long-term care for wounded troops.
Regardless of which side of the political debate over our current military involvement we find ourselves, one thing remains clear: Care for our veterans must be improved. Now is the time to make care of America’s veterans a regular part of our local community’s attention and of our national dialogue.
GERALD S. MAYER
Not looking good
1 million-plus Iraqi dead and counting. 2 million-plus Iraqi external refugees and counting. 2 million-plus Iraqi internal refugees and counting. Reliable electricity, what’s that? Drinkable water, what’s that? Sewerage, what’s that? Health care, what’s that? Education, what’s that? Cholera epidemics, what fun! Should we not declare “victory” and come home, “Mission Accomplished”?