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Letters to the Editor for Aug. 31

Governor reveals his economic ignorance

The more he opens his mouth, the more our governor reveals his ignorance about the economics of finance.

In a July 28 article titled 'Governor: No predatory lending,' The Oregonian quotes Gov. Kulongoski as saying that anybody charging 250 percent to more than 500 percent annual interest on loans 'is a predatory lender.'

In the first place, any lover of free enterprise must ask, 'What gives the governor the right to dictate interest-rate ceilings - or prices of any kind?' In a free economy - one not distorted by monopolies or oligopolies or 'Oregonopolies' - isn't the marketplace generally the best determiner of price? Under some circumstances, such as home mortgages, some would say that interest over 12 percent would be exorbitant. In the case of credit cards, anything over 19 percent seems outrageous.

The governor recently signed a bill that limits interest on payday loans. And if you asked the governor, he would likely assert that the limit is set at 36 percent, but when you factor in the loan origination fee, as required by federal truth-in-lending, the total comes to a whopping 156 percent.

Now, the governor is talking about capping the interest charged not only by payday lenders but also by conventional lenders (banks, credit unions, etc.). Does that mean he's ready to 'take on' U.S Bank, a huge conventional lender that charges APRs as high as 3650 percent (actually a 'fair' rate on a one-day loan) in connection with their 'checking account advance' (another name for a payday loan)?

Not all interest rates are equal. Some, as in the case of short-term loans, need to be higher. And if too high, the competition will soon swarm in and drive them down, such as some credit unions are now doing to payday-lending interest rates.

Where are the governor's economic advisers? It gets embarrassing to have him talking like such a nitwit. And why isn't business-savvy governor candidate Ron Saxton speaking out regarding this area of obvious vulnerability in state government?

J. ALLEN GREEN, M.B.A.

Beaverton

Beaverton can use Wal-Mart jobs

I am disappointed to read that Wal-Mart's application has been rejected. It is shortsighted.

Beaverton needs the employment that Wal-Mart can bring.

Wal-Mart should be required to:

(1) ease parking/traffic problems satisfactorily;

(2) pay a minimum wage of $10 per hour;

(3) create a consulting body to teach small 'mom and pop' businesses how to compete.

Don't forget, Wal-Mart has been chased out of Germany and Japan by aggressive competition.

It would be interesting to know how much Fred Meyer contributes to the election funds of the council members.

BRIAN SHEPHERD

Beaverton

Commission, fair board need scrutiny

I'm afraid our County Commissioners and fair board aren't used to having people show up at meetings and oppose their plans. It seems they're more comfortable conducting business with no witnesses. That way they can do whatever they choose with no opposition. Unfortunately, it appears they've been caught trying to give away most of the fairgrounds to development, and they just don't like that. I think that's why they've over-reacted so badly to opposition. How absurd to feel threatened because county citizens dare to speak out.

The truth is, neither the boosters nor the Middle-Aged Housewives have made any threats implied or otherwise, toward the fair board.

What the fair board members have done is try and portray the fair boosters in a negative light and attempt to discredit them. Why? Because this group has the nerve to oppose their plans and even worse, to speak out about it.

Maybe its time the fair board and the County Commissioners let citizens be heard. It's a new concept, I know, but it's how 'honest' government works.

KATHY WNOROWSKI

Hillsboro

Biggi knows how to grow economy

I am ecstatic to hear that local businessman Domonic Biggi is running for the Oregon State House. District 27 needs a state representative who understands that growing our stagnant regional economy and creating jobs is the only long-term cure for our state's fiscal crunch.

For too long Salem has acted like a 500-pound gorilla on the backs of Beaverton's business community. Thankfully, with Domonic, we have an opportunity to bring a fresh and much-needed fiscal paradigm to Salem. Domonic understands the connection between the economy, funding for our schools, health care and other important services. He understands that a growing and vibrant economy results in more revenue for the state coffers and more money in the pocketbooks of Oregon families.

These same skills that made Domonic Biggi a successful local businessman, are the same ones that will make him an excellent state representative. Please join me in promoting a strong regional economy and fiscal discipline in Salem by electing Domonic Biggi in November.

DYLAN AMO

Portland