I was most disappointed when I had the opportunity to finally read Jim Reed’s article “The Day The Music Died.”
When I agreed to talk with Mr. Reed, it was in the spirit of not only sharing information, but to put this issue in the proper perspective. I realized that there was a great deal of misinformation regarding this issue, my limited involvement in it and the issues at hand for the Savannah City Council to consider.
Contrary to Mr. Reed’s assertion, this is not the City vs. Loco’s or the City vs. anyone. This issue is ultimately about making sure that we are able to protect our citizens under the age of 21, and that the ordinances that the City Council enact are clearly understood and communicated. Where there is confusion, then it is our responsibility to clarify.
Mr. Reed presented himself to me as an credible, objective journalist concerned only with the gathering of information from all parties in this matter in order to present it so that Connect Savannah readers could read it and make their own decision as to their position. I made myself available to talk with him at length, in an attempt to clear up many of the rumors floating around.
The result was a opinionated, subjective, incendiary article with Mr. Reed’s personal perspectives mixed in between that ultimately resulted in an op-ed piece where Mr. Reed takes a position seething with innuendo, speculation and distortion of facts, ultimately questioning my integrity and my motives. I have never known any responsible or credible journalist that works for a viable publication to report on a story and then offer a personal opinion letter.
I expected much more.
Regardless of Mr. Reed’s bias and inflammatory remarks, there are ultimately two separate and distinct issues at hand:
1) During two separate routine investigations conducted by the City of Savannah, staff at Loco’s illegally sold alcohol beverages to individuals that were under 21 years of age resulting in one conviction and another pending This is a criminal violation. There will be a show cause hearing in the near future where the Savannah City Council will consider all the evidence concerning this case and will make a decision whether to grant Loco’s a renewal of their alcohol license.
2) In my opinion, there are flaws and loopholes in the City’s Revenue Ordinance as it relates to bars, clubs and restaurants. This has resulted in the unintended consequence of confusion between members of the City Council, members of the City Staff and owners of bars, clubs and restaurants. The City Staff is presently examining this ordinance and will make recommendations to City Council, who, as in the past, will solicit public opinion and then make a decision.
In both cases, it is my hope and my expectation that your City Council will thoroughly weigh all of the merits and where possible, seek your input in making decisions that is best for Savannah.Van R. Johnson, IIVice ChairmanAlderman, District 1Savannah City Council
I wanted to thank Jim Reed for the objectivity in your story on the interviews and events leading up to the present Loco’s situation. Unfortunately, this thing has apparently gotten a life of its own but hopefully calm heads will prevail in the final analysis.
Your reporting appears to be fairly presented and I hope that the city leaders will see that this is a far bigger issue than one restaurant being treated differently than the others. I hope that all of our aldermen/alderwomen, our city manager and our mayor will avail themselves of the opportunity to read your article and honestly hope that any existing anger will be diffused and we can all move on.
Thank you again for your fair report.Bob Everette
Regarding Carmen Alexe’s “Shedding light on the subprime crisis”:
What caused the subprime crisis? The subprime crisis resulted from banks’ failures to properly screen mortgage candidates.
Their failure arose from its own greed for more and higher fees and not from uninformed consumers. Blaming the subprime crisis on uneducated consumers is like blaming the sinking of the Titanic on the passengers.
It’s not the responsibility of citizens to master the nuances of banking rules and regulations; it’s the responsibility of industry to sell safe products. Even highly educated, intelligent citizens would require several months of working in the industry to become knowledgeable about the rules.
Since that is impossible for citizens, the net result will be that they will shy away from any such products, unless banks take more responsibility for their products.
Mortgage bankers, mortgage brokers, and lenders saw a lucrative, risk-free opportunity to profit by enrolling subprime customers. They extended credit to these individuals, bundled the mortgages into securities, and sold them to the secondary market for large fees without warning the buyers about the reduction in credit-worthiness of the mortgages.
So it’s a failure of the banking system and not of consumer education.
A responsible banking industry is necessary for the survival of capitalism. It is the intent of the banking industry to cheat that needs to be addressed, and not the ignorance of the borrower---because in a democracy the premise is that everybody will be treated fairly and equally.
Much, if not all of the deception by the industry occurred on the upper levels of the banking industry pyramid---at the Wall Street level, where the money is created, and from where it is siphoned to regional and local banks.
Why banks had to sell to sub primers. Home prices are over-inflated with respect to household incomes. Today’s prices are much higher compared to household income than they have been in the past. That has stalled home sales because no one can afford them.
Much of the recent activity in the residential housing market has resulted from temporary speculation--- hope that property can be flipped for a profit in the short term. When the speculation stalled, credit dried up.
After the speculative wave collapsed, banks had to sell to subprime borrowers because that’s the only way they could create more liquidity in order to keep lending. The more such loans they could create, the more they could pass on to the secondary market.
Because you can’t force people to borrow, sub prime borrowers had to be enticed into the system with whatever incentives.
In no way was the lowering of the credit bar by mortgage banks meant to support the benevolent ideal of expanded home ownership. There is a limited supply of qualified mortgage customers, a market condition that enhanced the value of mortgage-backed securities to investors.
But this supply fluctuates with the economy. When wages increase and homeowners do well, their supply increases, and vice versa.
The banking industry tried to circumvent this common sense reality by pooling sub par mortgage applicants with questionable credit ratings in with those with good ratings, failing to warn investors in the secondary market, and pocketing the substantial fees generated by the new supply of mortgage customers
The banking industry tried to turn a limited supply of qualified mortgage consumers into an unlimited supply, while turning a limited amount of money into an unlimited supply with the help of the Federal Reserve, thereby breaking the rules of sound economics, not to mention sound banking practices, and setting the economy up for a perfect storm of evaporating liquidity and falling home prices
Patience and education are not the answers to our credit dilemma. Bankers who violate sound economic principles---not to mention other laws---must be made to pay for their mistakes with their own capital.
Unless this happens, Americans will lose faith in the banking system, and our economic system will fail to exist.Craig Perron, CPA
As the weeks rolled by, I realized with complete dismay that you had stopped running Jane Fishman’s excellent column. As the song says, “What were you thinking?”
Her columns were apt, insightful, humorous, inspiring, a joy to read and look forward to each week.
I, and many others think you have done a great disservice to your readers and wonder what prompted this decision.Charla
Editor’s Note: We’ll keep you posted!
This mail will definitely be coming to you as a surprise, but I must Crave your indulgence to introduce myself to you. I am Sgt. Mark Fitzgerald, an American soldier, currently serving in the third Infantry division in Iraq.
I am currently in Kuwait on duty break. I and my partner, secretly Moved some abandoned cash in a mansion belonging to the late President, Saddam Hussein and the total cash is 25 million USD. As I Write this letter to you, this box is with security firm in cash as I secretly moved it out of Iraq to a security firm for deposit.
You do not have to be afraid of anything as no one else knows about this and everything is safe.
I would be pleased and grateful to you if you could assist us in Receiving this box for us on our behalf as I will be heading back Soon to camp in Iraq to join my Colleagues. Of course, I will give you some money for your efforts.
We have limited time now, kindly get back to me immediately. Moving the funds out of here is not going to be much of a problem as arrangements are being made towards that. All I want from you is your trust and assurance that if the box gets to you, you can keep it in a safe place until our arrival.
I have to stop here for now, as your response will determine our Subsequent correspondence. Please do not expose us for security reasons.
In God we trust,“Sgt. Mark Fitzgerald”
Editor’s Note: Hat tip to Eric W. for forwarding us this latest variation on the old “Nigerian scam letter.”