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Web Letter

This is a stunningly well-researched, on target article about the income chasm between the uber classes and the working poor. I congratulate you and the author on articulating insights and accurate analyses...I worked for 32 years in New York State, 24 of those years in New York City's most beseiged and left behind neighborhoods. I worked through the caldron of the Bronx Burnings, and the crack fueled HIV/AIDS epidemics in the foster care and juvenile jstice systems...since 1999 I have lived and worked in human services in York,Pennsylvania; the exurban and rural areas of the Hudson Valley in upstate New York and the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts; Gallup, New Mexico, rural West Virginia,and on The Zuni Indian Reservation In New Mexico.

I hope that your article has opened minds and hearts. I hope that opened hearts and minds and community action in place of the "affluenza hustle" will result in a new social paradigm; one that encoulturates the value of ALL our denizens rather than their objectification, marginalization, alienation and despair.

Aminah Yaquin Carroll

Gallipolis Ferry, West Virginia

Apr 17 2007 - 8:47am

Web Letter

I live in Washington County, Oregon, home to Oregon's high-tech industry and some of its wealthiest zip codes. These are the suburbs of Portland. There are still farmworker camps here, and there is lots of low-income housing, but these features of the area are generally unseen or unacknowledged by those driving from the cul-de-sac to the upscale mall to the office park.

Suburban areas are the front lines for progressives. Raising consciousness about one's neighbors - rich and poor, white, Asian and Hispanic, native-born and foreign-born -- equals opening eyes to issues of economic justice, immigration, and (to quote Bill McKibben) "deep economy." Our challenge is to figure out how to convert the existing suburban landscape into something healthy and sustainable.

On a partisan level, Washington County is of course a swing county. In Oregon, this is one of 3-5 counties where the Democratic Party and its allies should mount all-out assaults: (1) to help the upper middle class connect the dots between our lifestyles on the one hand and environmental and economic destruction on the other, and (2)to organize the working poor to vote and to gain a voice.

Anne Glazer

Portland, Oregon

Apr 14 2007 - 1:32pm

Web Letter

After nearly 20 years as an international sports photojournalist, I have found myself working as an estimator/building materials salesman in midwest Virginia. I had been trained in this field many years ago and looked to that for employment with health insurance.

I am working for a company based out of Charlottesville, Virginia in Albermarle County. Out of approximately 30 employees only 2 of them can afford to live in Charlottesville.This is very rural area where some 1/2 acre lots start at $265,000.00!

I recently visited a real estate office that a long time friend started. I asked them how they thought about the cost of housing and the fact that many people who worked in Charlottesville cannot afford to live there? I pointed out that if rising gas prices continued those people, now driving 45 minutes to an hour to work, would have to find work elsewhere.

Their reply, in unison, was this was the way they keep out the garbage. "Those people" I was referring to were not welcome there and the cost of housing, along with the lack of low-income housing, was the the only way to maintain their way of life.

This is also an area where a great many Hispanics work to build their homes valued at $750,000.00 to $3 million. I wonder what they will think when they want to take their five-year-old to McDonalds and a "Big Mac" costs around 12 bucks?

J. Brett Whitesell

Waynesboro, VA

Apr 8 2007 - 8:57am

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