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Saturday's Letters to the Editor

Lessons from the collapse

EDITOR: There are still 10 million houses in U.S. underwater, according to Zillow.com. No wonder the economy is having trouble getting going. The years 2008-10 were bad, but they could have been much worse. The general public got real scared. Greed was everywhere — with plenty of participants. Banks, Wall Street, lobbyists, real estate brokers, mortgage lenders, assessors and house-flippers, the list could go on. The real estate bubble burst and could have collapsed the whole mess — much worse than the bank and Wall Street collapses of past years.

A house used to be one's shelter, a roof over your head and family. Building equity was security for the future. A house was a place to build some wealth, especially for the middle class. In many ways, it's now another financial tool to make more money.

The housing collapse was catastrophic to the middle class. There were many casualties — bankruptcies, divorces, personal tragedies. I lived it, experienced it and suffered through it. We were among the fortunate ones, with patience to wait it out. We were very lucky or blessed.

History has a way of repeating itself. I hope we don't have too short a memory and can keep this a learning experience.

PAUL A. WAGGONER

Santa Rosa

Hospital tax

EDITOR: Assemblyman Marc Levine sponsored a bill to commit Sebastopol residents parcel taxes to fund bond payments for a hospital district that no longer has a hospital (“Palm Drive debt relief possible,” June 18). Did he think to ask the large number of Sebastopol residents with property what we want?

How can you have a hospital district without a hospital? I started my nursing career at Palm Drive Hospital on the old hill and helped move to the new facility in the 1970s. It has always held a special place in my heart, but I have wondered for years how a small standalone facility could compete within 16 miles of three major health care organizations (Kaiser, Sutter and Memorial). Well it looks like it cannot.

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