January 10, 2011

Letters to the editor, Jan. 10, 2011
Governor's pardon was courageous

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

Touch Rin Svay, seen at his 2004 pardon hearing, could have been deported to Cambodia if Gov. John Baldacci had not acted.

Press Herald file

Deregulation would work like a charm if all businesses lived by the high ethical standards of the best of them. They obviously don't, and what is needed is not so much education as commitment. How many potential whistle-blowers have remained silent, and why? Why, if their superiors actually believed that their policies were beyond reproach?

Whether or not power corrupts, certainly corruption gravitates toward power. Willie Sutton is credited (wrongly, it seems) with saying that the reason he robbed banks was because that was where the money was. Face facts: Money attracts crooks, and if the financial and political power of the ethically challenged is not to keep growing exponentially, government has to be big enough, strong enough, and ethical enough to keep it in check.

George F. Dole


Housing editorial did not capture the right trend

The Jan. 3 editorial "House prices go 'soft'" flies in the face of facts. S&P's survey of 20 major markets shows a 1.3 percent drop (October's numbers, "the most recent available," according to the editorial), but the National Association of Realtors' figures show a 1.2 percent increase in November (yes, that's more recent than October).

However, Maine's statistics were even better; home prices here went up 3.66 percent in November, and 2.42 percent for the 9/1-11/30 quarter (MAR statistics). The woes of some specific urban areas (Las Vegas, for instance) that have dramatic overbuilding and speculation skew the numbers for a large part of the country.

For USA Today, ambiguous national numbers may make good press; I expect better from the largest paper in Maine. Bizarrely enough, later in the editorial you state that, with prices dropping, "fewer people will buy their first one." Low prices and low interest rates mean about as good news for first-time buyers as could be hoped.

Your readers look to you for advice, and deserve to have you do better research, particularly on local conditions, before you state an opinion.

David Shedd



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