Readers Write 12/12

HOUSING

Response to “The affordable housing crisis,” Opinion, Dec. 5

The column “The affordable housing crisis” is one I hope every resident of Georgia will read. Millions of Americans in their 50s and older have not only lost their homes and equity, but have lived off their retirement accounts to survive this recession. If you look at foreclosures listed in the paper, you will see a few folks losing mansions — but most are losing their houses for the cost of a new, fancy car. We will not be able to build enough public housing to take care of all these folks as they grow older.

A solution that could work is to have churches screen and match older Americans needing a home and people with extra space in their current home. This could happen without using government dollars, but it could require zoning laws to change, and making sure homeowners’ insurance is correctly done. For once, I wish our government would do the right thing and consider what space we have now that can be used for affordable housing, that doesn’t cost us more in tax dollars.

Lynn Everitt, Oakwood

NATURAL GAS

Stream Energy article gives ‘false impression’

Stream Energy is deeply disturbed by the scandalous tone and highly selective use of information that The Atlanta Journal-Constitution employed in a Dec. 5 feature that created the patently false impression that our marketing program is a pyramid scheme (“Selling energy — and prosperity?” Page One).

Despite a wealth of information supplied by Stream Energy to the contrary, your story promotes the astounding perception that we materially depend upon revenue derived from our Ignite marketing arm. We informed the AJC that fees realized from our networking effort comprise roughly 2 percent of our projected $900 million in 2010 net sales.

Moreover, we cooperated fully in the hope that the truth would be told about Stream Energy’s network marketing program. The newspaper instead largely relied upon the inaccurate assumptions of professional critics of multi-level marketing towards creating a disreputable headline.

Firms such as Mary Kay Cosmetics and Avon have used network marketing to sell products for decades. As one of the fastest-growing businesses in U.S. history, we do not apologize for being among the enterprises that employ such a model.

Finally, we bring your attention to the fact that pyramid schemes are illegal under the criminal laws of every U.S. state, including Georgia. Never before last weekend’s AJC story had Stream Energy been reputably accused of illegal conduct. And for the AJC to give its endorsement for such scandalous accusations is a disgrace.

Rob Snyder, Chairman, Stream Energy

EDUCATION

Excellent APS coverage, but perhaps for naught

Thanks for the continued coverage of the APS cheating scandal (“Tough stance in APS probe,” News, Dec. 5). What the district attorney is just now finding is what those close to the system have seen for a long time — there has been teacher cheating and a cover-up.

The irony in the proposed prosecution is that with packed dockets and an overcrowded jail, after Paul Howard spends the next few years using his limited resources rooting out a handful of cheaters, they’ll all get probation as their sentence. And because most will likely be first-time offenders, the county will allow them to expunge their offense. In a few years, their sins will be forgotten to all but those who worked with them at the time (and then they’ll go get a school board job in another county).

Thanks for the coverage.

Brent Sobol, Atlanta

School board leader’s lofty words laughable

Regarding Khaatim S. El’s defense of the Atlanta Board of Education (“Atlanta board set for stability, clarity,” Opinion, Dec. 5), I can only say, “What?”

You say, “It is our job to ensure that the momentum of Atlanta’s school system continues.” Are you kidding me? The failure of Atlanta’s public school system is evident in the robberies, smash and grabs, and killings going on in my neighborhood. While it’s easy to point fingers and play the blame game, I think I can name the top three culprits: the parents (or lack thereof), the legal system (which releases thugs and predators-in-training back out to the public), and the Atlanta public school system.

Let’s clean house, and replace everyone.

Bob Ichter, Atlanta

MILITARY

Please, Tucker, don’t tell your views on ‘don’t ask’

Regarding “Doing in ‘don’t ask’ objections” (Opinion, Dec. 5): After Cynthia Tucker serves in the armed services (and especially in a ground combat unit), I’ll consider her opinion on the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, and that of bureaucrats such as Secretary Gates. Even the “brass” in Washington (as opposed to those in combat units) have got this one wrong.

Edward A. Watkins, Lilburn

CARTOON

Sure it’s loaded, but this oldie’s a goodie

I guess Cliff Smith, who objected to Mike Luckovich’s “gun in your pocket” cartoon (“Readers write,” Opinion, Dec. 5) was unaware of Mae West’s famous quote, “Is that a pistol in your pocket ...”

Alfred Andrew, Dunwoody