Mortgage rescue plan worth support
The May 31 editorial on the Richmond mortgage rescue plan contains standard mortgage industry opposition to anything that limits the ability to make more money from home loans.
The editorial is wrong that this plan is unfair to original investors. The original investors are long ago out of the picture in 99 percent of the cases, having almost always sold the loans immediately. Then most of these loans were put in the investment packages that almost sunk our national economy.
The editorial also opposes the Gluckstern investor's profit from this action that actually helps homeowners, while the investor and financial corporations that created the damage continue to argue for their legal right to continue doing so.
I would be glad to live in a city where these vultures were leery of doing business because the city would act against such manipulation and fraud.
Tree removal is right course for the hills
I love trees, but not the Monterey pine in my yard that fell onto the high voltage line, starting a fire, or the one that fell during a windstorm, killing a sleeping neighbor.
These trees are beyond their life expectancy, many are diseased and ready to fall due to their shallow root systems.
The tree-removal work done along Grizzly Peak by UC Berkeley, East Bay Regional Park District and the cities of Oakland and Berkeley is great. Do we remember the sight of flames a hundred feet high in 1991 as our hills burned? The cinders from the tall eucalyptus trees jumped at half-mile intervals.
A tree removal program at Skyline Gate in Redwood Regional Park done two years ago, amid much protest, left a pretty ugly and bare area. Now there are rare pallid manzanitas appearing, the oaks and other natives plants have never looked better, and no replanting was necessary. (A French broom removal project was part of this success.)
Choices are not always easy when we live in a forest.
Malnutrition is hurting our kids
Teaching in West Oakland opened my eyes to the heartbreaking effects of malnutrition in children.
The hungry children in my classroom were exhausted, disengaged and unable to think and learn. I had the feeling that food security would have transformed these children into entirely different people.
The statistics on malnutrition are staggering. Almost 165 million children suffer serious physical and cognitive damage from chronic undernutrition, and 2.5 million children die annually. In economic terms, diminished capacity of the undernourished to learn and work undercuts investments in education, health and economic growth, costing countries up to 11 percent of their annual GDP in lost productivity.
The good news is that the solutions to undernutrition are basic, proven and cost-effective: Every $1 invested in nutrition generates up to $138 in better health and increased productivity.
On June 8, a global pledging conference called Nutrition for Growth will be held to address malnutrition. A pledge by the U.S. of $1.35 billion over three years would maximize the effectiveness of global nutrition investments. This is a perfect opportunity for us to demonstrate our leadership by increasing our investment in nutrition with a $1.35 billion pledge.
Preventive care is essential
Half of the people infected with hepatitis C have not received proper follow-ups, so the patients are at risk for further complications, such as liver cancer, which are preventable.
Because the costs for health care are so high in the United States, patients may not return for follow-ups, fearing expensive hospital bills.
The solution to reduce the instances of several preventable diseases should not be creating new drugs but reforming the health care system.
The current health care system is based on the concept of free-market capitalism, where health services can be bought and sold as a commodity. The current system is driven largely by market forces. The theory is that private health insurance companies seeking to maximize profit will compete with each other, thus, driving down costs. However, costs have continued to rise steeply because the current free market system is failing.
Therefore, an effective health care system that will drive down costs to promote patients to seek preventive care is needed.