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Community Forum: State needs controls on home foreclosures
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In Georgia, real estate values of every home and property are being threatened by an old law that allows the undermining of the entire market. The Georgia law "don't pay, don't stay" allows for the destabilization of not just the real estate market but the entire economy.

The Georgia real estate markets is facing one of its most challenging times in history. Bank foreclosures are at an all-time high; the reason for this is that banks have no incentive to work with consumers when an economic downturn occurs. They need money, and the notes they hold on property have equity; if they take that property, they can replenish their capital needs quickly.

The problem is that in doing so, they also dump into the market properties for a little as 18 percent to 50 percent of real value, which is where the real damage begins. They undermine the values of their good-paying consumers and virtually bankrupt entire communities and themselves because they now hold mortgages and loans that have nothing but negative equity.

With values so low, the construction industry cannot afford to build or develop. Those who try, thinking it will level out, fail, which enhances the problem. With the lack of construction jobs, the bank is subject to more foreclosures.

While we try to figure out how to stabilize the economy, Georgia's real estate is being taken by banks and sold to investors from around the world at discounted prices with a devalued American dollar.

The construction industry has taken a major hit with its new competitor, the bank, who cares not for the real value but only what it can receive for a quick sell. Bank officials are too mesmerized with the ability to have such a strong market at the loss of their clients. What they fail to realize is the money they once received from real values of properties held by property owners and the earnings of the hard-working construction industry is now being disbursed throughout the world and will not be deposited into their banks nor reinvested in their communities. Without a change, once Georgia recovers from this debacle who will have confidence in the security of its marketplace?

We cannot allow an economic downturn to destabilize our market when we can create a law to protect real estate owners. Many Georgians have no reserve capital except the equity in their home; if they get sick, become unemployed or face an increase in cost of living, it can place them behind 30 days. Banks are accelerating loans and starting foreclosure proceedings within 30 days of being in arrears.
When a bank sells a property for 50 cents on the dollar, it is forfeiting seven to eight years of interest payments on a note of 70 percent to 100 percent loan to value. They claim the government bank auditors are making them do this. If this is the case, the law is broken.

To change the banking law to include a provision to allow property owners a specific minimum default time, and the ability for recovery of a real estate property by granting a six-month time period for redemption in the event of a foreclosure, would prevent abusive taking and encourage the financial systems to try to work out other arrangements then just foreclosing and devaluating the markets.

David A. Derusha

Midwestern folks don't need federal handouts
We've all seen on TV the devastating floods in Iowa and Missouri. Then why haven't we seen Jesse Jackson, the ACLU, the NAACP, Al Sharpton and other black leaders on TV screaming that Bush and the Republicans are discriminating by not moving fast enough to accommodate those sitting and waiting for a handout from the federal government?

I'll tell you why. Because, I'm from Missouri, and folks in Iowa and Missouri are resilient and do not sit and wait on anyone for help. We get busy and help each other and put our house in order without outside help from anyone.

Back in the 1940s, I saw men who were sick in the bed when their wheat or corn crop was ready to harvest and their neighbors would come in and get those crops in the barn for them. Those folks don't sit and cry that the government doesn't move fast enough for them.

So Mr. Sharpton and Mr. Jackson, your services are not needed in Iowa and Missouri, thank you.

Paul S. Barnes
Flowery Branch

Tradition is lost with no fireworks at Legion
I am saddened by the news that the fireworks will no longer be held at the American Legion. When changes are made (such as moving the fireworks), the tradition and the appeal is lost.

I don't see that the entrance and exit from Laurel Park will be any better than from the Legion. Will the park in fact accommodate a larger crowd? Will the parking and access issue be better? Will the baseball fields and other amenities be properly protected from damage?

Part of my objection to the move could very well be personal. I grew up on Etta Vesta Circle, just around the corner from the Legion post, and have watched the fireworks from that home for the last 40 years. All the neighbors gather on the crest of the hill, make homemade ice cream and basically have a "street party." It has become a tradition.

After my mother became too frail to join us in the street, my father would sit with her on their bed, hold her hand and watch the fireworks out the bedroom window. This year, they will have an excellent view from heaven no matter the origination point.

I'm sure Jim Lancaster has put a lot of thought into this move. I just hope it is the right one. I have enjoyed this show for all these years and will miss seeing it this year.

Susan Crowe

Deputies defended themselves from dogs
In response to the article regarding the dog shooting in Hall County: How unfortunate that a dog had to die, but these officers were doing their jobs by serving a warrant and were charged by growling dogs. I believe they reacted appropriately in defending themselves.

I have witnessed officers with K-9 dogs in various locations and know that they have a special bond with these dogs. So I don't think they would intentionally harm any animal on purpose.

Considering the circumstances of this situation, I think it came down to shooting the dog or getting mauled.

Keith Hansard