Praise for School Beat; Underwater Mortgages …

by on August 22, 2011

To the Editor:

Many thanks to Lisa Schiff for her well-thought out column, School Beat: It’s Time for New Strategies. Despite press releases and school districts giving themselves pats on the back for a rise in test scores, our schools continue to do a terrible job educating African American students, Hispanic students, low-income students, and students with disabilities. These students are not failing – we are failing to educate these students.

As Ms. Schiff stated: “Public education activists and supporters have been working hard for years to challenge these policies, while simultaneously attempting to put forward better approaches to a complete, rigorous curriculum offering and more meaningful, useful forms of assessment and testing.”

Katy Franklin
Chair, SFUSD Community Advisory Committee for Special Education


To the Editor:

Excellent article in School Beat! This is what I’ve been trying to say for so long. Is Lisa Schiff available to speak to our PTA?

Susan Bell
San Mateo, CA


To the Editor:

Principal reduction of underwater mortgages is the only way out of this mess. The only key component left out with this proposal is “where will the reduction portion fall?” If the banks or investors have to take the hit, this will not work. IF the reduction portion of the mortgage is “tacked on” to the back of the loan as a balloon payment 30 years from now when the house value goes up and the mortgage balance went down … this may work.

Dominick Sammarone
Chestnut Ridge, NY


To the Editor:

A Workforce Housing Program which has been around for more than 30 years and actively utilized in the ski resorts and many major cities could simply be applied to resolve the foreclosure crisis. The plan would be to offer an opportunity to all homeowners to participate in launching a National Workforce Housing Program by placing a “Deed Restriction” on their home (must live in the home, own no other home and work for a living) with a 3% yearly cap rate for sale purposes. The home would be reappraised at the new value (30% to 50% less than a similar free-market home). The mortgage would be rewritten and payments adjusted to the new appraised value.

It would not be a “give-away” or a “bail-out” since the participants would buy-in to the program by forfeiting the “free-market” appreciation value of their home and by also participating in launching a National Workforce Housing Program, which is much needed, plus there would be no negative stigma on participants since they paid to participate. The home would remain affordable to workforce people and families forever due to the restricted appreciation and sale price (3% compounded yearly). It would not encourage homeowners who own a home they can afford to jump in on a “give-away” or “bail-out” they don’t need, but would reward them by solving the foreclosure problem in their neighborhoods and cities and allowing their home to start appreciating again and allow the economy to repair it self.

The Plan could also be offered to bank owned and developer owned homes, which would also help the housing industry by doing away with the over-supply of homes for sale in our country which is a major problem. It would also create and opportunity for renters and 1st time homebuyers to purchase a home at an affordable price which is also much needed and deserved.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to create a national workforce housing program at a fraction of the cost of a piecemeal price while solving the foreclosure crisis and the homes would be scattered throughout communities instead of concentrated in projects. It is a solution to the foreclosure crisis and one that we already understand, and know how to run and implement not one we made up for the crisis. Families would be able to keep their homes and homes would once again become a home like in the not so long ago times of our grandparents who burned the mortgage as soon as they could and never borrowed against their home again.

Scott Brown
Telluride, CO


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