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Blogzerpts / Opinions from

Excerpts from reader commentary on News staffers' online blog postings last week. Online comments come from registered users, but -- unlike reviewed and verified Everybody's Column letters -- can be posted under pen names.

The 'burbs: A blog by Bruce Andriatch on sidewalks and the people who complain about them drew this response from Kelly:

It has always seemed to me that the city should first plow the sidewalks (it is done in some places) THEN plow the streets. A car can often drive over the snow (as those of us in neighborhoods that are ignored by the plows all winter can attest) with less difficulty than most pedestrians can navigate snowy sidewalks (which turn treacherous as the snow gets packed down and icy). Having a paid work force do it makes more sense than having homeowners/tenants do it.

People have lives and jobs -- they are most likely to be at work, school, or even unable to shovel, whenever the snow may fall. Pedestrians pay taxes too!


MoneySmart: In a response to Samantha Maziarz Christmann's blog on the disappearance of layaway at discount department stores, Lydia Bezou-Hojnacki responded:

With space and utility costs skyrocketing over the past 20 years, it is not surprising that stores do not want to hold your merchandise for you. Additionally, many people -- same ones, probably, who don't pay on their credit cards -- did not complete their payments and "old" merchandise, out of season, had to be returned to floor stock. Sad, but true. We, in this country, have been hurt by irresponsible consumers, whether rich or poor.

Mark added this:

I have a small retail business and had a layaway program but I put a time limit on it, say 30 days. In most cases that worked fine.


Strictly Business: Matt Glynn's business story blog on decreasing auto sales amid the credit crisis, and a lack of consumer confidence, prompted this suggestion from Mark:

The government should again start to allow consumers who finance an auto purchase to take a tax deduction on the interest paid, just like on a home mortgage. Since leasing is starting to evaporate as a viable way to obtain new vehicles, and long-term financing at higher interest rates (for lower credit scores) are replacing that, reintroducing the tax write-off would make a lot of sense.


Parent Company: In sharing his difficulty prying homework assignment confessions from his two kids, Greg Connors drew sympathy and suggestions, including this from Hodge:

. . . I'm all for the Rosemond approach: It's his homework, let him be responsible for it. Having to admit to the teacher that he didn't get it done should cure him pretty fast. . . . Teachers need to hold the kids responsible, not their parents. Yes, give them the space and the tools to get it done, and then leave them alone. Give them higher expectations to live up to. I've heard that in some school districts, the teachers actually expect the parents to work on the homework alongside their kids. What kind of training is that for the workplace? I've yet to see an employment ad reading: "Worker and his/her parents wanted."

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