Don't fall for the latest real estate bubble

Before the home prices crashed in 2008, there were 28 million subprime/risky loans nationwide. Such loans and price-rise illusion placed families in homes they could not afford. When they abandoned their homes, they suffered enormous financial and psychological damage. The banks suffered heavy losses. On the government sponsored loans, taxpayers lost approximately $200 billion.

Those who never missed a mortgage payment also suffered a loss in their home values. Now after five years, only 45 percent of the lost value has been recovered nationwide. An overly enthusiastic real estate industry, along with a government policy of low interest rates to boost the economy quickly, has put the housing market on the same path again in the S.F. Bay Area. It is getting bubbly.

In this buyer-beware market, the buyer must thoroughly investigate comparables of at least 18 months. Note that some unfavorable comps are concealed from public record against the buyer's interest. The current mortgage rate seems artificially low and is likely to jump to a more realistic 7 percent, with a negative impact on home prices. Rushing to beat the rising interest rate could result in suffering a loss in the market value of the purchased home.

Suggested criteria for selecting the safe price range is (a) a 25 percent down payment, (b) a mortgage payment not exceeding 20 percent of monthly income and (c) reserve funds for six months of payments if income stops. The government may also amend its policy to protect buyers and serve the public interest better.

T.S. Khanna

Alamo Foundation for Better Government

Court wrong on giving kids insulin shots

Faulty assumptions and shortsighted outcomes were associated with the state Supreme Court ruling allowing unlicensed school staff to give insulin to children.

Does the California Nurses Association have a vested interest in boosting the numbers of licensed registered nurses in California schools? The California Teachers Association, the American Federation of Teachers, etc. are the unions for school nurses. With a 1/2000 ratio of nurses to students, California is not supporting their obligations to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Caregiver convenience doesn't trump the state's duty to protect everyone from potential medical harm. The lower-level courts were correct, protected students, reduced potential liability for the districts and taxpayers and could've forced the education system staffing ratios up to adequate levels for kids with chronic illnesses.

In light of the recent exposure of inadequate training, leadership, and enforcement by state districts in child abuse cases which cost the taxpayers millions, why should this court ruling assure districts will train medically unlicensed staff well enough to keep the wrong child from getting the wrong dose of the wrong form of insulin?

Students don't wear ID bracelets as they would in a hospital and aren't allowed to carry their injectable drugs and paraphernalia around with them at school because those could be stolen, contaminated or misused. Who pays when mistakes are made?

Jan Howe, R.N. (ret.)

San Ramon

Sterilizing ferals far better option than euthanasia

In response to the July 18 letter submitted by Christopher Panton, whose opinion is to rid the problem of ferals by euthanasia rather than spaying and neutering, I submit this on fixing feral cats: humane versus inhumane options.

The Merriam-Webster definition of "humane" is: "marked by compassion, sympathy, or consideration for humans or animals." Let me summarize by stating a few unemotional "humane" facts. The pet industry is a more than $40 billion U.S. business characterized by a population that is capable of great compassion toward animals (63 percent of all households own at least one pet).

Note that business equals jobs, careers, capitalism, i.e. money makes the world go round. This booming pet business includes veterinary practices, the very means we use to spay or neuter ferals. Altering one female and her young over 10 years can prevent 420,000 kittens from being born.

We are frequently outraged as a nation at the inhumane treatment of homeless "humans" but would never consider euthanasia as a "humane" alternative, so why target feral cats? You had asked "who is going to pay for this?" and the answers are several. This nation is still one of the wealthiest in the world with abundant organizations, energy and opportunities to resolve the feral population.

People like me set aside charitable donations from their paycheck and systematically target organizations with a successful spay/neuter track record. There are volunteers who dedicate time to trap, neuter and release ferals to stop them from reproducing. What if a "one-cent tax" was imposed on every can of pet food, and redirected to the nonprofit spay/neuter clinics for trapping and fixing the feral population?

It remains a weighty issue that cannot be resolved overnight. However, using organized intent and banking on defined "humane" behavior, the problem will one day be resolved without killing.

Pamela Justin

San Ramon

Asiana crash is not the fault of Boeing Corp.

The Aug. 9 article by Dan Nakaso about the lawsuit being brought against Boeing Aircraft Corp. because of the crash of Asiana Flight 214 at San Francisco International Airport brings up another mark against our ambulance-chasing legal establishment.

I am a retired professional aviator with more than 22,500 hours of flight time, much of it in Boeing aircraft. Between the U.S. Air Force and the original United Airlines, my career spanned more than 36 years. I have made thousands of approaches, instrumental and visual, into SFO. The idea that Boeing shares in the fault because of the lack of yet another bit of software in the cockpit is ludicrous.

There were three legally qualified Asiana Airlines pilots in that cockpit, at least two airspeed indicators and two altimeters and the weather was clear. How can some missing software cause the blame for the accident to be shifted toward Boeing? What was missing was at least one voice saying "Hey, guys, don't you think we are too slow and way too low?"

Donald Merucci

Pleasanton