Regarding the May 31 article "Latest fad in housing: buy to rent": Not considered in the article is a possible, even probable, effect on neighborhoods which become dominated by rental properties. While in some parts of the country, tenants may stay for years, in other parts that is not so.
Thus, a neighborhood can see increased turnover and decreased interest in the neighborhood itself.
Why bother joining a Neighborhood Watch if you're not planning on staying? Why bother developing even a nodding acquaintance with your neighbors? Why bother showing any consideration at all for anyone in your neighbhorhood?
The problem is even worse in vacation or resort areas. I suspect that eventually those homeowners who actually live all or part of the year in these neighborhoods will end up either suing those who buy to rent for negligence in tenant choice or liability for damages (including loss of property values), or will work to get more restrictive zoning ordinances passed.
When people turn everything into a commodity, then values like peaceful enjoyment of one's property, respect and consideration for the rights and reasonable desires of one's neighbors go out the window.
Regarding the June 14 article "Court hits jury race bias": Why not put proposed jury candidates behind a screen and alter their voices so that you could not tell their race, gender, or age? This would prevent lawyers from watching their faces to see how they respond to certain questions.
If the candidates answer truthfully, this could go a long way to making certain that it is a fair selection.
New Smyrna Beach, Fla.
Regarding Godfrey Sperling's June 14 Opinion piece "Rating Our Presidents": Possibly, the presidents we've had to date might best be divided only among "heroes" and "tragic figures" (with a few very forgettable exceptions).
My own amateur but neutral view of 20th-century US history makes no academic attempt to define our great or near-great presidents.
Rather, consider please a general layperson's awareness of potential strengths and essential visions each executive brought to and exercised while in the Oval Office.
Thus, may I offer your readers my humble votes, hopefully not based on a judgmental "good/bad" dichotomy, but only broadly speaking on each president's pivotal historical significance:
For "what he did" - FDR.
For "what he un-did" - Reagan.
For "what he nearly did" - Nixon.
Regarding the June 14 article "Rich-poor gap gaining attention": When people try to use self-reporting about social class advancement to demonstrate that all's right in the world, they've chosen an inherently flawed tool.
In the US, everyone believes they're middle class. I grew up in a "middle class" family where one of my brothers went to Project Head Start.
I was a newspaper copy editor handling material about that social program before I figured out the truth. Self-reporting is meaningless.
If the dollars show a growing gap, the gap is growing, no matter what people want to believe.
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