Christie holding up

foreclosure funds

At a time when thousands of New Jerseyans' homes are in foreclosure, the federal government issued grants to the states to provide mortgage relief to homeowners unable to keep up with payments. The New Jersey grant is $300 million. Until recently, Gov. Chris Christie had released only $4 million. After facing criticism, the governor has now released $42 million, still a fraction of the available funds.

New Jersey state Sen. Ray Lesniak, D-Union, has pointed out that the HomeKeeper Program is a "use it or lose it" proposition, meaning that unused funds will revert back to the U.S. Treasury. New Jersey is last in the amount of funds distributed. Thousands have already lost their homes because of Christie's failure to act.

As of September, 498 families had benefited from the program, but 2,000 others were denied, and another 37,500 could benefit if the full amount of the grant were distributed.

Property taxes have risen 20 percent since Christie became governor, but he still insists we need tax cuts that mostly advantage the wealthy, although revenues fell $253 million short for fiscal year 2012. Our state ranks among the worst in jobs, property taxes and cost of living. It is time Christie began taking responsibility for that.

CHRISTINA BEVILACQUA

Longport

Koch brothers

don't care about us

Regarding the Oct. 16 story, "Closer Look/Kochs' quest," about Charles and David Koch:

If you think for one minute the Kochs care about any of us, think again and carefully read this article. What they fear is a "bloated, regulation-heavy, free-spending government that could plunge the country into another deep recession" - with the emphasis on regulation.

They blame the housing meltdown on too much regulation, when actually it was the lack of regulation that caused the housing crisis. The Kochs appear to care for ordinary people, taxpayers, and the poor. But if you believe that, I have an island I'd like to sell you.

"The government can shut our refineries down just by not letting us take an old heater and replace it with a more efficient heater. You need a permit for that. They have the power to shut us down," the Kochs' longtime political strategist, Rich Fink, complains. What is so wrong with needing a permit? Their employees need to be protected from malfunctions and accidents due to improper installation.

All interested voters should go online to fact-check and read about their real motives for buying a president and the government.

Please, voters, be well informed before you step into that voting booth. You'd be surprised at how many aren't.

TRISH KUREK

Northfield

End double-dipping

by government retirees

What do state Sen. Loretta Weinberg, the governor's Deputy Chief of Staff Lou Goetting, and Assistant Insurance Commissioner Joseph Brennan all have in common?

They (and scores of others) are all retired public-sector employees who have gone back to work for the state and are collecting state wages while also collecting taxpayer-funded state pensions.

This practice is egregious and must come to an end. With 9.8 percent of N.J. residents suffering from unemployment, a 35-year high, these well-connected state officials collect two paychecks instead of one.

Today, the system allows government employees to "retire," start collecting a pension and then return to work for the state, often the next day or week. Many start work at their new state jobs one day after retiring from their previous state positions. And New Jersey has done zilch to end this double-dipping.

I propose a new law be passed that would end the practice of retired government employees working a state job after retirement. Common sense and fairness dictate that when retired state workers go back to work at a state, county, or municipal job they should not receive retirement benefits while working. With the state teetering on bankruptcy and with legions of people out of work, those collecting a state pension should step aside and give others the chance at gainful employment with the state.

DOUG KURZ

Lambertville

Write more tickets

for parkway speeding

Regarding the Oct. 18 story, "Young deaths on parkway raise concern":

The first thing that has to be done is to have more police on the Garden State Parkway between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., when most of the fatalities occur.

Secondly, they need to be writing a lot more tickets than they are. I drive the parkway every day, and the speed limit isn't enforced very well. At 65 mph, I'm being passed all the time. I wonder how people get behind a wheel of a vehicle and decide that 70 to 80 mph is safe.

It will not solve the problem, but if more people are pulled over, maybe the rest will get the idea that it is going to cost them money if they don't slow down.

DAVID WESSEL

Galloway Township

We need candidates

who don't distort truth

How sad that after listening to a debate between men who would like to be the leader of this country, we have to then check the facts as they have stated them. Do I want to vote for someone who distorts the facts to suit his own agenda?

Apparently there is such disdain for the electorate that it is OK to stretch the truth. It seems the political parties see the voters as so gullible they will accept distortions. In essence the political parties are saying, "You can't handle the truth."

How can any of us make an informed decision when we must look at every utterance or campaign ad with a jaundiced eye? Isn't it time anyone who runs for office comes clean and respects the voters enough to be totally truthful?

JEAN MacPHERSON

Mays Landing

Don't blame Obama

for the recession

Yes, the poor and the middle class have suffered in the last four years. But there is also a recession in many countries in Europe as well, and that can't be blamed on President Barack Obama.

Due to the freefall of the unregulated real estate market and investment funds, the middle class was brought down by job loss and left with unaffordable or no health care. Thankfully, my grandchildren will have health care coverage, through their parents, until they are 26 years of age.

Mitt Romney says he will create jobs, but what kinds of jobs will they be? Will they have health care coverage? Since he plans to dismantle Obamacare, how long would it take him to get a new plan started? In the meantime, the poor will have Medicaid, and only the rich will be able to afford private insurance. The middle class will be left out to dry.

BETTY CANDERAN

Cape May Court House