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The Baltimore Sun

Right to give owners chance to catch up

In the 1920s, my father and his brother were buyers of commercial property in Baltimore. They were conservative investors. They only purchased property if the bank would lend them 50 percent of the purchase price.

There came a time in the early 1930s when they were unable to cover the mortgage payments. The bank threatened foreclosure. Since the balance of the mortgage was larger than the market value of the property, my father and uncle offered the property back to the bank.

After considering the offer, the bank concluded it would be better off leaving the property in the hands of its owners and ended up reducing the interest and postponing some principal payments until income from the property could support normal loan payments.

Subsequently, the loans were paid in full, the property value increased and it sold for a profit.

Much can be learned from history. Bank of America is now following a similar "workout" plan for nonperforming mortgages ("The right solution," editorial, Oct. 7).

It will take some time for the housing market to recover, but recover it will.

Benedict Frederick Jr., Pasadena

AIG's posh retreat offends taxpayers

The fact that select American International Group executives went on a $440,000 grand retreat after taxpayers reluctantly bailed out AIG is alarming ("Lawmakers angered by posh AIG retreat," Oct. 8).

When the federal government used taxpayer money to save AIG, it made a huge mistake by not placing reasonable restrictions on executives' compensation and incentives.

If the federal government does not place conditions on executive compensation when companies accept taxpayer dollars, history is almost certain to repeat itself.

David Placher, Baltimore

Time to bail out struggling seniors

Now that Congress has bailed out the high-end investors and speculators, it is time for it to look out for senior citizens with fixed incomes who face high utility costs and medical costs, some of whom are becoming homeless because they cannot afford today's high rents ("Bush signs financial rescue bill," Oct. 4).

It is sad and shameful to see such a large number of seniors homeless, and the number is growing each day.

William Stevens, Westminster

The writer is vice president of the Maryland/D.C. Alliance for Retired Americans.

Morgan's leaders should be ashamed

One often hears about the steep cost of college education and how our state government can help pay for it. Then an article like "Sweet deal at Morgan" (Oct. 6) comes out.

It seems that Morgan State University President Earl S. Richardson knew how sweet his deal would look because he took pains to hide it from the taxpayers.

Greed apparently isn't just for CEOs and Wall Street traders.

Mr. Richardson and the Morgan State Board of Regents should be ashamed of themselves.

Jimmy Christhilf, Glen Burnie

Tougher standards for carbon emissions

Maryland's recent venture into a cap-and-trade auction for the right to emit carbon dioxide did not go far enough to reduce power plant emissions ("Emissions auction runs smoothly," Sept. 30).

By failing to set tougher emission standards, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative lost a huge opportunity to force power plants to do more to improve efficiency and clean up their emissions.

But now that Maryland has realized $16.4 million in revenue from the auction, the government must use the money to fund programs that effectively reduce energy consumption.

Maryland should replace every standard incandescent light bulb in the state with Energy Star-qualified compact fluorescent bulbs over the next several years. This would improve energy efficiency and reduce electricity bills for Maryland residents.

Additionally, Maryland must continue to invest in renewable energy sources and make renewable energy readily accessible to consumers.

Megan Barrett, Bethesda

The writer is a graduate student in environmental policy at American University.

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