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Letters: Jul. 4, 2005

7 minute read


The cover report on the U.S.’s real estate bonanza and the way record home prices are changing people’s lives drew responses from happy homeowners, worried prospective buyers and those dismayed by the rampant speculation. Some said the housing market is a bubble that’s bound to break

Your article on the country’s love affair with the housing market did a fantastic job of pointing out those who played the speculation game and won [June 13]. Such booms, unfortunately, are often followed by busts. Real estate may be safer than stocks or other investments, but to assume that this gold rush will continue forever is naive.

BRIAN M. STARNS – Portland, Ore.

As a real estate appraiser for nearly 30 years, I consider the housing market so bizarrely bent that it’s seriously Enron-esque. When banks start loaning money to anybody who can sign his or her name, the end of the boom is rapidly approaching. All the greedy little lenders want every available cent invested in something, anything at all. I am sorry to say I am disgusted by what a thoroughly dishonest nation of money-hungry fools we Americans have become.

SUZANNE MURPHY – Southampton, N.Y.

Your story on rising property values on a block of Chicago’s North Wood Street reminded me of my grandfather, a Polish-Lithuanian immigrant who lived on North Wood and kept his money in the walls of his house rather than bank it. If he were alive, I’m sure he would be scolding my Uncle Adam for selling the property for a mere $22,000 a few years back. Who would have thought that reading an article about real estate would awaken such a flood of memories?


Until I read about the crazy housing market, I thought I was the only one living in a place where people make real estate deals with money they don’t have. Unless I become a movie star or join a drug ring, I will probably never have enough money to own a house in a decent neighborhood.

KAYLA DADGAR – Phoenix, Ariz.

Americans’ greed is pitiful. People who speculate on housing while others remain homeless are shallow in the extreme. Tearing down perfectly good houses to build huge, gaudy mansions is wasteful, immoral and counterproductive. People must understand that the only difference between a homeless person and a person who inhabits the largest house in Beverly Hills is four walls.


You reported on the teardown craze in Brentwood Flats, Calif. We live next door to an 11,000-sq.-ft. mansion being built on a 16,000-sq.-ft. lot. The only thing more massive than the structure is the owner’s ego.


Not a day goes by that my wife and I, proud parents of a new baby boy, don’t relish the fact that we bought our house before its value made it too expensive.

JOHN POLAGRUTO – West Sacramento, Calif.

Out of the Shadows

“Inside Watergate’s Last Chapter” [June 13] was a good history lesson for the younger generation, which missed the biggest political scandal of the 20th century. President Richard Nixon and his top aides deliberately flouted the law and lived to regret it, largely because of former FBI official W. Mark Felt, a.k.a. Deep Throat. Revisionists like Pat Buchanan, a former member of Nixon’s staff, who would have people believe that Felt, not Nixon, was the criminal, have in recent days geared up a propaganda machine that would have been the envy of the Kremlin during the cold war. Buchanan and friends are in denial, delusional or willfully deceptive. Many people learned a lesson from Watergate and the failed cover-up. Others, apparently, are still covering up.

MITCHELL J. FINE – El Dorado Hills, Calif.

“I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic”–that is the oath Felt took when he became an FBI agent. That some of the loudest rebukes against and condemnations of his character are coming from those who were not acquitted but convicted of crimes they committed and their mindless sycophants, like Buchanan, says it all. Our nation would be better served by more people like Felt and fewer G. Gordon Liddys and Buchanans. They disgraced our nation and became media darlings of some who still seek to subvert the Constitution today.

JOHN CAPUTO – Chestertown, Md.

Felt did not commit a crime. He did not profit from the tips he provided. And if he was getting even for not being promoted to his rightful, hard-earned position as FBI director, so what? Nixon was a criminal. Without the clues Felt gave, Nixon’s offenses against the Constitution and the electoral process might have remained undiscovered, and he might have finished his term in office.

ED KRAUSS – Scarsdale, N.Y.

As Felt’s actions are called into question, Americans should know where their true allegiance lies. It’s to the Constitution, and the mark of a true patriot is the courage to set aside all other loyalties, personal or institutional, in the Constitution’s defense.

ANTHONY BUCKLAND – North Vancouver, B.C.

A Pressing Need

In his Essay “Dark Secrets in the Parking Garage” [June 13], Richard Schickel wondered whether we could use more investigative reporters like Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein in Washington now. There is no question about it. We need others like them to uncover the lies and distortions that are issued each day by the Bush Administration. John Dean, Nixon’s lawyer, has branded this Administration “worse than Watergate.”

ROBERT F. MARTINA – Shreveport, La.

Rice in 2008?

In “Which Brand Would You Buy?” [June 13], columnist Joe Klein mentioned Senators John McCain, Hillary Clinton and Sam Brownback as prospective presidential candidates. He overlooked Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. A smooth diplomat and tough problem solver, she could follow in the historic footsteps of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe, each of whom held the post of chief diplomat before becoming President. Our nation is ready for our own Margaret Thatcher, a woman of strength who wears a diplomatic velvet glove.


The New Iran

“Fast Times In Tehran” [June 13] reported that since Iran’s young people have been able to enjoy Western-style pleasures, they are no longer interested in politics. As a practicing Muslim, I was deeply saddened by the repression and intolerance of Iran’s post-1979 regime. Now I am equally saddened by the lifestyle of young Iranians described in your article. I do not know which is worse–the fanatical fascism of the mullahs or the alcohol-soaked, reckless hedonism of today’s Iranian youth.

FARHAT BIVIJI – Cherry Hill, N.J.

Occupational Hazards

The “10 Questions” Interview with race-car driver Danica Patrick [June 13] filled me with admiration for the young woman until I read the last question. Her answer to how she deals with ordinary traffic jams–“I hate slow drivers … I have road rage every day”–left me disappointed and angry. She should leave her aggression at the track and not take it with her among normal, law-abiding drivers. I hope I never have to share a road with her.

RUTH GIBSON – Mercerville, N.J.

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