Letters for November 24 

Readers sound off on student loans, door-to-door canvassing, the Mehserle verdict, and biking across the bridge.

"Top Ramen for Life," Feature, 11/10

It's a Racket

The federal government has been making, not losing money on defaulted student loans for years. This is a key point that was left out of this article.

Alan M. Collinge, University Place, WA

Boycott Student Loans

A top bankruptcy attorney told me that student loans are the worst loans to get. He indicated that I would have been better off getting ten credit cards and maxing them out to pay for my college education. I'm 59 years old and went back to school after losing my job in 2003. I thought increasing my skills and marketability by getting a master's degree was a wiser decision over collecting unemployment. IT WAS THE BIGGEST MISTAKE I'VE MADE IN MY LIFE!!! I received my degree and was making all my $1,000+ monthly Sallie Mae payments. Then I lost my job and have been diagnosed with a rare debilitating disease. My loans are in default and have skyrocketed. The bankruptcy attorney won't even accept the case because it's student loans and he won't waste my money trying, until the laws change. I've had excellent credit all my life, and now my credit rating is ruined, and there's no way out. There should be a national movement to BOYCOTT STUDENT LOANS!!! And maybe our banks and other financial institutions will begin to offer students college loans that include consumer protections, in the event that some unforeseeable crisis prevents you from repaying.

Ross Payson, Carpinteria

I Was Scammed

I can't believe the implication that all students put themselves into default. I was managing my loans just fine until I consolidated with Sallie Mae. My loans were guaranteed loans and interest was paid as long as I was in school half time. I accrued 2 years of interest and went back to school. Sallie Mae never disclosed to me that adding an unsubsidized loan with subsidized loans would unsubsidize them all. I had one $2,500.00 loan that was unsubsidized and I never would have added that loan if the proper information was given to me. Not only that, it took me eight years calling weekly and monthly to find out what happened. They would never discuss my loan with me and I never received any paper work about my loan. Everytime I inquire I do not get the information I am requesting. In fact, at one point a lady told me my loan was none of my business. WHAT!!! I am certain they scammed me and I have no recourse. I want my loan back to the original amount of $37,000 at 8 percent. I now owe $122,000. I will not accept that this defaulted loan is my fault. I was SCAMMED!!!!

Julie Ahrens, St. Clair, Michigan

Graduates Are Still Screwed

Correction — "Holders of federally issued loans have gotten help as well through recent improvements to the Income Based Repayment program" — this only applies to NEW borrowers starting in 2014. No statement on whether you can consolidate after 2014 to get re-classified from existing to new. Those of us who have already graduated continue to be screwed.

Sean Feeney, Terre Haute, IN


"Mehserle Sentence Is an Insult to the Black Community," Raising the Bar, 11/10

Social Justice Is Not Racial

Mehserle's sentence is an insult to anyone and everyone who believes in social justice and equality before the law. I'm insulted by your headline "Mehserle Sentence Is an Insult to the Black Community." Your neo-liberal roots are showing. Your headline is yet one more attempt to segregate "social justice" as a black issue. Fortunately, for the rest of us, the multi-ethnic turn-outs over cops running amok and the law encouraging that prove that the Express ought to change its name to the Walnut Creek Express. You don't really represent this side of the hills.

Maris Snyder, Berkeley

Racial Profiling at its Worst

My anger at the lenient sentence handed out to Johannes Mehserle is exceeded only by my outrage at the ghastly header and subheader for Jay Youngdahl's article in last week's Express. The assertions in those two horrific sentences are racist in the extreme. They have no place in any decent newspaper. Stating that Mehserle's sentence is "an insult to the black community" callously implies that outrage belongs solely to African Americans while it disregards the sentiments of all other racial and ethnic groups. This is racial profiling at its worst. Shame on Jay Youngdahl for writing such drivel and shame on the Express for printing it. You haven't risen above racial politics at all; in fact, you're mired in the same morass.

Miltiades Mandros, Oakland

Too Stoned to Comment?

I see another article on medical cannabis. Good job, I love getting stoned. Last week you ran an article regarding the lack of justice for Oscar Grant. Good job, two years for killing a person is a lack of justice. Strange, however, not a word this week about Derrick Jones. An unarmed man shot five times by the Oakland police. A police spokesperson said Oakland is a dangerous place. He's not kidding. The police will kill you even if they don't see an actual weapon. Oakland PD isn't going to wait to actually see the weapon. I'm white and I am outraged by the racist attitude of the Oakland PD. This is not a mistake, it's because the police are afraid of black Oakland. The shoot-first-fill-in-the-blanks-later attitude just fuels this racism. Where's your outrage, East Bay Express, about the killing of this man? Too stoned to comment?

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