Sunday, December 23, 2007

I hate being right ...yet more on the credit crisis.

Just in time for Christmas. Yay!

Back on Novemember 6 I blogged about the mortgage crisis that engulfed many banks and was threatening- and is threatening - to swamp the economy. Meanwhile, many neighborhoods are being swamped by respossesions and abandonment, which is then leading to lowered tax bases and decreased services for cities and surburbs. I was wrong about the extent of the problems- not only young and minority buyers were affected. This credit crisis has worked it's way into well healed suburbs, and it is threatening the very foundation of our economy.

Now, the Fed has proposed ways to make lending more secure- but it is far too late, and the proposals are weak at best. And of course there plenty of pleading about a 'bailout'from so called liberterians and free marketers. ( Is it just me, or are free marketers/liberterians basically teenagers in grown up form - "I wanna do whatever I wanna do, without restrictions?" ).

And lets not forget the pension money that many Europeans and Asians had invetsed in many of these risky bonds that comprised much of the funding for these loans. Whole communities proably thought they were getting a great deal with the hypothetical returns. Now, alot of that money may be lost.

Will this go further, making fools of us all? But of course it will.

On that happy thought- Happy Christmas, all!



Saturday, December 15, 2007

Fareless Square and Crime

There has been much talk lately about eliminating Fareless Square ( the free transit area located in downtown Portland and in NE Portlad, Lloyd Center) because of horrible incidents involving beatings and harassment of riders on the trains. In addition, there has been drug dealing ( I have personally witnessed a bust on the Max) petition signers,the cluelessly vulgar, the desperate homeless and a garden variety of mentally challenged people whose utterances and cries disturb commuters.

So, of course, the answer is to get rid of Fareless Square. Logic: Many of these people are fare dodgers, and get on the trains in Fareless Square. There, these people are free to travel about and commit crimes. By getting rid of Fareless Square,there can be more inspections of fares and lessor rate of criminal activity happening on the Max.

But this is faulty thinking and bad logic. All of the bad incidents have happened away from Fareless Square. In fact, much of the activity has been happening in the outer stations of the metro area- 82nd, Gresham, Hillsboro, Beaverton. At the time, there was this, if any presence of the police there. This suggest that the unsavory folks are doing their business there- and getting on the train there, skipping fares- rather than getting on downtown and then travelling out.

Fareless square does do have a purpose. Due to the number of conventions and trade shows that meet here, Fareless Sqaure a convienent way to get from Northeast/Lloyd Center to Downtown hotels. It also links several retail and business districts together, making it easy for workers and business owners to connect without unnecessary use of their vehicles. Fareless square is also a boon to downtown residents, both the well to do and limited income folks, so that they can get around to services.

Increase fare ispectors, and lets continue to step up patrols in he outer stations and downtown. But leave Fareless Square alone.