Letters to the Editor, Feb. 15

Opinion San Francisco Chronicle Published 1:05 am, Thursday, February 15, 2018 window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-3', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 3', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); Photo: Amy Beth Bennett, Associated Press Image 1of/3 CaptionClose Image 1 of 3 People gather outside the campus of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., after a shooting that left 17 dead. People gather outside the campus of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., after a shooting that left 17 dead. Photo: Amy Beth Bennett, Associated Press Image 2 of 3 Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., are released after the school was locked down following a shooting that killed 17. Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., are released after the school was locked down following a shooting that killed 17. Photo: John McCall, Associated Press Image 3 of 3 Letters to the Editor, Feb. 15 1 / 3 Back to Gallery Bob Dylan wrote a song titled “Blowin’ in the Wind” that asks the question “how many deaths will it take till he knows that too many people have died?” The shooting at the high school in Parkland, Fla., is the 13th school shooting in 2018. That’s practically one every few days. When are people going to find their voices and stand up to the National Rifle Association and pass laws that will prevent people who should not have guns from getting guns. The Second Amendment was established to allow people (a militia) to have a firearm to defend themselves against enemies. How many Continue Reading

Letters to the editor: Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017

Angry, sad, disappointedAfter reading the Nov. 12 edition of the Naples Daily News, my reaction moved through stages: 1. Anger 2. Sadness 3. Self-disappointment.I was angry because nearly every "news" article was supplied by USA Today or the Associated Press and blatantly filled with liberal philosophical bias. I was sad because your publisher and editorial department appear unable or unwilling to deliver unbiased reportage. I was disappointed in myself for continuing to subscribe, only because the paper is a good source of local info. George Kilpatrick, Naples Park Democratic Party alive and kickingI write in response to a letter printed Nov. 12 from Bob Jacobs headed, "Democratic Party is dead." Jacobs must have written his letter prior to the elections of Nov. 7.A "dead" Democratic party would never had done what it did in the telltale states of Virginia, New Jersey and Washington. In Virginia, the Democrats ran roughshod over the GOP, taking the offices of governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general. The governorship was won by a whopping seven points in what was predicted to be a toss up.Most telling is the complete upheaval in the Virginia House of Delegates: the Democrats went from being a weak 36 percent minority to a controlling 51 percent majority. That is a sign of vibrant life, Jacobs.The Democrats won the New Jersey governorship (by a significant 13.5-point margin) and the lieutenant governorship. And, for the first time in a while, the Democrats now hold a majority in the Washington state Senate.I respect Jacobs' feelings for the Republican party, but certainly not his assessment of the Democratic party. Robert Mills, Naples Many accomplishments in a yearIn response to Irene Ketover's letter asking how Donald Trump has made America better in the short time he has been president, here's my answer: He has appointed an outstanding Supreme Court justice in Neil Gorsuch.The stock market is hitting all time highs.He has removed the Continue Reading

Letters: National debt is looming threat

All readers should bookmark www.usdebtclock.org. After passing the $20 trillion mark this summer, our country is now almost halfway to $21 trillion in debt. The government spends $4 trillion annually and collects $3.3 trillion in taxes. The current interest on the debt is $273 billion annually while total defense spending, so we are told, is about $637 billion. The interest payments on the debt, risk free investment proceeds to the recipients, now equal 29 percent of the total Social Security payments made by the government. An increase in interest rates would send debt interest soaring.These numbers should require extensive revision of government spending measures before any proposed reduction of tax revenues. We are borrowing from China to rebuild Afghanistan. Frederick Emhardt Carmel End gerrymandering to better represent publicOur country is about as divided politically as it could be.  The major contributor to this division seems to me to be the gerrymandering that has occurred throughout the country.  When one party or the other gets control of the state legislature, it redraws congressional boundary lines in its favor.  This leads to  red states and blue states. I would like to see red, white and blue states.  The only way this will happen is if laws are passed that divide each state into districts based on population and not politics.  At this time, the major challenge to any candidate is the primary, since his or her party already controls the district.  General elections tend to be less about candidates and more about party control.  Consequently, when we elect our representatives they go to Washington to do the bidding of the party rather than the people.Therefore it is not surprising that our representatives predominately divide along party lines once they have been elected to Congress.  Hence the dreadful gridlock that stands in the way of Continue Reading

Colorado man ends up in court with $700 debt after buying $42 worth of Girl Scout cookies

A Colorado IT expert has been hit with a day in court and a $700 debt after buying $42 worth of Girl Scout cookies. Tad Osborn, from Fort Collins, is being hauled before a judge on May 8 due to what he claims is an admin error by his local troop's bank. He claims he paid for a dozen boxes of the sweet treats last year with a check. Some weeks later, however, he was contacted by a collection agency saying his payment had bounced and the bill now stood at $82. Osborn said he called up the Girl Scout state HQ in Denver, where a staffer revealed they believed his account had been closed. Explaining there must have been an error with the processing of his check and that his account was very much open, he got his bank manager to send a letter of confirmation. But his case was still passed on to the AAA Collectors Inc. debt collection agency which is now suing Osborn for $739.85 - the bulk of which is $450 attorney fee, court and principal costs. So that the agency doesn't win by default, Osborn has already had to pay out $100 to file a legal response and will now likely also have to hire an attorney. The Girl Scouts of Colorado have not commented on the pending litigation. But spokeswoman Rachelle Trujillo told ABC News that the cookie operation, which sells 3.5 million per year, is like any other large business. "When a check is reported as bad debt by a troop's bank, the troop attempts to contact the customer and the council then attempts to resolve the debt," she said. "Like any other business, after multiple attempts to resolve, we use a professional collection agency," she added. AAA Collectors Inc. has declined to comment. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

3 ways to scrub a collections stain off a credit report

Your credit scores take a hit if you fall behind on payments to a creditor, and again if an account is sent to the creditor’s collection department or sold to a third-party collector. You may be able to repair some damage to your scores by resolving a collections account on your credit reports.Collections accounts generally stick to your credit reports for seven years from the point the account first went delinquent. You may want them off sooner than that; unpaid collections always hurt your scores. And while newer versions of FICO and VantageScore credit scores ignore paid collections, many lenders still use older formulas that count even paid collections against you.There are a few ways to get a collections account off your credit report, depending on your relationship with the creditor and the account status.First, do your homeworkGet information on the debt from two places: your credit reports and your own records.Gather your own records for details on the account, including its age and your payment history. Between the two, verify these details:Once you have the details straight, you can decide which approach works for you.1. If a collection is on your report in error, dispute itYou may have a collections account on your credit report that shouldn’t be there. Maybe it’s too old to still be reported, or the collection itself is incorrect.Too old to be reported: Delinquent accounts should fall off your credit report seven years after the date they first became and remained delinquent. But that doesn’t always happen. For debts that linger longer than they should, file a dispute with any credit bureau that still lists the debt.If a credit bureau has made a mistake on your report — if you don’t recognize the account or a paid account shows as unpaid, for example — gather documentation supporting your case. Then, file a dispute by using the credit bureau’s online process, by phone or by mail. The bureau has Continue Reading

Election letters: May 16 primary

I am honored to receive the endorsement of the York Daily Record/York Sunday News Editorial Board for judge of the Court of Common Pleas. Thank you for your vote of confidence.In the article announcing the endorsement, the board expressed a hope that I would commit to serving the full 10-year term. In a word, “absolutely.” York County has my commitment. If elected, I will serve the entire term faithfully and with fidelity.In the last election, Pennsylvanians voted to extend judges’ mandatory retirement age from 70 to 75, in part because all of us are leading more active, healthy lifestyles. This allows voters to elect and to keep experienced, hard-working and dedicated judges on the bench. York County also has my commitment to being a judge of that caliber in fulfilling the 10-year term.Thank you again for your endorsement. Clyde W. Vedder Candidate for judge CLICK HERE: Guide to 2017 primary in York County I believe as elected officials it is our goal to serve our community with a strong local leadership from highly qualified candidates with the knowledge and experience for an office.As your current recorder of deeds, Randi Reisinger, I am endorsing Brad Daugherty for recorder of deeds. Brad has worked as my chief deputy in the recorder's office over the past 7 years and has 30 years of experience as a title abstractor. His experience in the office and knowledge of understanding day to day county government is unmatched by any other candidate. He has the experience to continue growth in the office for the future while maintaining customer service to the community.I am honored to endorse Brad "Doc" Daugherty as the best choice for recorder of deeds, and personally ask you to join me in voting for Brad on May 16. Let's have a qualified person "hit the ground running, knowing the job" his first day in office. Randi Reisinger York County Recorder of DeedsI write to express my support of Clyde Vedder for judge of the Court of Common Continue Reading

Petraeus whistleblower Jill Kelley living large, but is flat broke and drowning in debt with her mansion in foreclosure

She drives a luxury Mercedes and always dresses to kill — but Jill Kelley is actually drowning in debt. The woman at the root of the four-star scandal that led to the downfall of David Petraeus and threatens the career of Gen. John Allen lives an extravagant lifestyle that conceals mountains of money owed to banks and credit card companies, court documents show. RELATED: HEAT'S ON PRESIDENT OBAMA IN FOUR-STAR FIASCO FOR U.S. RELATED: PAULA BROADWELL HOLES UP IN BROTHER'S WASHINGTON, D.C. HOME RELATED: GEN. JOHN ALLEN'S BRILLIANT MILITARY HISTORY, ACHIEVEMENTS DIMMED BY PETRAEUS SCANDAL The palatial home in Tampa, where Kelley, and her husband, Scott, hosted top military brass, including Petraeus and Allen, has been in foreclosure since 2010. RELATED: OBAMA STICKING BY ALLEN PHOTOS: THE KEY PLAYERS IN THE PETRAEUS SCANDAL Court records reveal that in March of that year, Bank of America claimed the Kelleys hadn’t paid their mortgage since September 2009. The bank said the couple owed $328,338 on their home valued at $1,837,571. SDFL/Splash News Look who is on the TV in Kelley's house ... The house remains in the foreclosure process, with the most recent motion filed on Oct. 12. Kelley, who is an unpaid social liaison to the men and women in uniform coming and going from MacDill Air Force Base mere miles away from her home, never showed signs of stress. “ She turns heads,” an anonymous friend of the Kelleys told the Daily Mail. “At the parties she would flirt with all the senior military guys. She’s touchy-feely. Her hands would be on their arms. She was attentive. It’s not hard to see why she had some guys under her spell.” Yet the party was at risk of coming to an end for at least two years. Chris O'Meara/AP Jill Kelley looks out her window. A second property owned by the Kelleys in downtown Tampa was also in foreclosure proceedings beginning in 2010. In that Continue Reading

House passes $15.25 billion hurricane aid package with short-term government funding, debt-ceiling increase

WASHINGTON — The House on Friday passed a $15.25 billion hurricane relief package that also increases the nation’s debt limit and funds the federal government for the next three months.The bill, which passed the House 316-90, was signed by President Trump late Friday afternoon. All House Democrats and a majority of Republicans who voted supported the bill, while 90 Republicans opposed it. The Senate passed the bill Thursday, 80-17.White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the bill provided "much needed support for storm survivors." The package is the result of a deal Trump struck on Wednesday with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., against the wishes of his own party leaders, who pushed for a longer-term increase of the debt limit. Before the deal, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said that lumping multiple bills together on a short-term basis was “ridiculous.”But on Thursday, Ryan said Trump wanted a “bipartisan moment” as the country responds to hurricanes Harvey and Irma, now a Category 4 storm barreling toward Florida.“We all thought we had more time obviously, to deal with the debt-limit issue, and that's before the hurricanes hit,” Ryan said at a Thursday news conference. “When these hurricanes hit and we saw the new numbers coming in from FEMA, that changed the entire calculation. And so the president made a game call yesterday that he thought it was — is in our country's interest to have a bipartisan support in a bipartisan package to deal with these ongoing hurricane disasters.”The package provides initial emergency funding to respond to the hurricanes. It also maintains government operations at current levels through Dec. 8 and extends the National Flood Insurance Program and debt ceiling to that date. The federal government is running out of borrowing authority, which officials say must be Continue Reading

Tompor: How not to be fooled by college award letters

Many times — maybe too many — high school seniors are just so happy to be accepted to their dream school that they don't give a second thought to the financial implications of their college choice.Then reality sinks in when they start digging into the details of college award letters.Karrington Baisden, 18, a senior at the International Academy in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., had several college offers on the table by late April — the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, Pepperdine University in southern California, Emory University in Atlanta and Howard University in Washington, D.C."My parents are pushing Ross a lot and Howard," said Baisden, who has a 3.8 grade-point average. She received a full-tuition scholarship offer from Howard, but she really wanted to go to Emory. She attended a LEAD Summer Business Institute program at Emory's campus one summer and fell in love with the campus."I love Atlanta. I have family out there," said Baisden, who lives in Beverly Hills, Mich., and wants to studying marketing. But Emory was soon out of the running, once Baisden received a revised financial aid package this week that the family didn't find attractive.So as of Wednesday morning, Baisden said she's going to Pepperdine — her second choice for a California college. For years, she had dreamed of going to the University of Southern California Los Angeles but she wasn't accepted there."I really love Pepperdine and what it has to offer me," she said. "I haven't put down a deposit yet, but I probably will this weekend."Earlier this week, Baisden had no idea of how much money she'd have to borrow and pay back. And she wasn't clear on the tuition costs at each school. She plans to talk over the financial packages with her parents on Friday and go out to dinner then to celebrate the final decision."I'm really excited and anxious to see what's in store for me," she said. "I really want to Continue Reading

Letters: Sen. Kenley has been friend to education in Indiana

When Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, retires from the state Senate this fall, he will leave a legacy as one of Indiana’s foremost champions of education. It is a legacy that will continue to bear fruit for our state, because his policies helped educate the residents who fill the ranks of businesses and organizations across Indiana and are building a community and economy we can all be proud of.Under Sen. Kenley’s leadership as chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Indiana consistently makes education funding a priority, and that consistency allows institutions like Ball State University to more effectively plan how best to serve its students. In each budget cycle, Sen. Kenley ensured adequate funding for higher education capital improvements, operations and student financial aid. Indeed, Indiana is one of just a handful of states that have not only regained ground but actually surpassed spending on higher education since the recent recession – significantly more so than neighboring states and our Midwestern peers.Some of the results of Sen. Kenley’s education policies are obvious. At Ball State, to name just one example, Sen. Kenley was an early supporter of our efforts to replace the Cooper Science Complex with two new buildings aimed at modernizing the educational experience in the critical health and STEM fields – the Foundational Science Building and the Health Professions Building, the groundbreaking for which will take place later this month. These buildings are the result of Sen. Kenley’s early and strong support, guiding funding through multiple years and multiple budget cycles.But buildings do not make a university or provide an education. These facilities mean nothing if students cannot afford to attend college, and it is here that Sen. Kenley made perhaps his greatest impact. He is tireless in his efforts to fund Indiana’s student financial aid budget, and is particularly – and rightfully Continue Reading