Former Canadian Chief Electoral Officer to give GECOM technical aid

first_imgThe Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) will be benefiting from the technical expertise of retired Chief Electoral Officer of Canada’s elections body, Jean-Pierre Kingsley, as it prepares to head into the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections.Retired Canadian Chief Electoral OfficerJean-Pierre KingsleyHis appointment is being funded by the Canadian Government. According to GECOM’s Public Relations Officer, Yolanda Ward, the Canadian High Commission here had offered the elections body technical assistance in the form of providing an expert and the seven-member Elections Commission had approved accepting the offer, which resulted in the former Canadian Electoral Officer being appointed.Kingsley, who has 17 years of experience under his belt, is currently in Guyana, conducting familiarisation meetings with stakeholders. He has already met the Justice Claudette Singh-led GECOM Commission on Tuesday as well as the senior management at the elections body the following day.On Thursday, he was slated to meet with the political leaders from both the Government and Opposition.Guyana Elections CommissionWard further told Guyana Times during a telephone interview that while Kingsley would not have a continuous stay in Guyana, he would remain in contact with the Commission and have periodic visits leading up to next year’s elections.“Maybe as it gets closer to elections, he will be here on a longer term. But basically, he is here to offer technical assistance in terms of sharing best practices as it relates to conduct of elections and so on. So this visit is really to be in contact in the Commission and offer his opinions, and so on, based on best practices that he would have utilised in his past,” the GECOM PRO stated.The former Canadian Chief Electoral Officer served from 1990 to 2007 during which he participated in many significant international development missions aimed at promoting democratic electoral processes through cooperation, capacity building, and mutually beneficial relationships.He also provided electoral assistance to several Caribbean countries, including Trinidad and Tobago.According to his profile on the Canadian elections body website, Kingsley was proactive during his term in office, recommending and promoting key initiatives to make the electoral process more accessible.While ushering in reforms needed to comply with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, he led Elections Canada into the age of computerised election administration.In 1992, with the adoption of Bill C-78, the elections body gained a new mandate to inform and educate voters, particularly those most likely to experience difficulties in exercising their democratic rights.Kingsley’s other achievements include the introduction of the 36-day election calendar, digitised electoral geography systems and products, and the establishment of the National Register of Electors.In addition, the election financing regime was expanded to regulate third-party advertising and election financing of all political entities, combining to make the electoral process more fair and transparent.He also presided over a period of unprecedented technological change, including the development of the Elections Canada website as a comprehensive tool for public information. Moreover following his recommendations to Parliament, the Canada Elections Act was amended in 2006 to authorise the Chief Electoral Officer to appoint returning officers.Kingsley’s appointment comes at a time when concerns are mounting as Guyana prepares for elections on March 2, 2020.Meanwhile, GECOM has also received offers for technical support from the Commonwealth and other members of the international community. In fact, a joint statement from British High Commissioner Gregory Quinn, United States Ambassador Sarah Ann-Lynch and Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation to Guyana, Fernando Ponz Cantol last month reiterated their willingness to give such assistance after President David Granger announced the elections date. He has since named March 2, 2020 as E-Day.Further, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo last month had noted too that the extended elections timeline gave additional time for observers, both overseas and local, to scrutinise the preparation process leading up to next year’s polling day.last_img read more

Ducks need a fresh face

first_imgThe Ducks showed they could match goals and blows with the scalding Vancouver Canucks for 60 minutes before falling 3-2 in overtime Tuesday night at the Honda Center. There was something missing, however. Despite 40 shots on net, the Ducks managed only two goals, giving Vancouver goaltender Dany Sabourin his first NHL victory in his 12th game in three seasons. The Ducks fired shots from all angles at Roberto Luongo’s backup. But Vancouver won it on Daniel Sedin’s power-play goal 2:19 into overtime after a debatable hooking call against Ducks defenseman Scott Niedermayer. Sami Salo’s perimeter shot sailed high and wide of Jean-Sebastien Giguere’s net, caromed off the glass and fell on Sedin’s stick. He stuck the puck in the back of the net. “I didn’t know where the puck was going to be,” Giguere said. “I wasn’t sure where the puck was going to go. It was a bit of a lucky bounce.” ANAHEIM – Conventional wisdom suggests the Ducks must add a fresh face before the trade deadline next Tuesday. Acquiring a rent-a-veteran such as Bill Guerin, Keith Tkachuk or Owen Nolan is the only way they can recapture their early season magic. Or so the theory goes. Ducks general manager Brian Burke lost out on the Peter Forsberg sweepstakes, deciding the Philadelphia Flyers’ asking price was too steep. Burke wasn’t about to give up Corey Perry and Forsberg was dealt to the Nashville Predators last week. center_img Chris Kunitz scored a power-play goal in the last seconds of the second period to give the Ducks a 2-1 lead. Vancouver’s Markus Naslund countered with a goal early in the third to tie the score at 2-2. The Ducks earned a point by making it to overtime, and moved seven points ahead of the second-place San Jose Sharks. The Ducks have earned at least one point in four consecutive games (2-0-2). “We look at the standings occasionally,” center Andy McDonald said. “For us, the goal is to be back to having that effort we had at the beginning of the season. We’re just starting to get our game back. It hasn’t been all bad. We’ve taken some steps lately.” The Ducks recalled center Tim Brent from their minor-league affiliate at Portland, Maine, to take injured center Todd Marchant’s spot in the lineup. Brent responded by scoring his first NHL goal, slamming home a rebound from near the left post while on one knee and giving the Ducks a 1-0 lead 6:51 into the game. elliott.teaford@dailybreeze.com (310) 540-4201 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Weekley lets victory slip away

first_imgVillegas and Coceres closed with 4-under 66s, while Weekley and Wilson shot 71s. Tripp Isenhour (67), Robert Allenby (68) and Steve Stricker (69) followed at 4-under, and Brett Wetterich and Daniel Chopra (71) were another shot back. It’s the sixth time the Honda has gone to a playoff; most recently, Padraig Harrington beat Vijay Singh and Joe Ogilvie at Mirasol on the second extra hole in 2005. It’s also the tour’s first four-man playoff since the 2004 Reno-Tahoe Open, and the first unscheduled Monday finish since the 2005 PGA Championship. “If it’s my time to win,” Weekley said, “then I’ll win.” PHUKET, Thailand – South Africa’s Anton Haig won the Johnnie Walker Classic for his first European tour title by making a 3-foot birdie putt on the first hole of a playoff with compatriot Richard Sterne and England’s Oliver Wilson. The 20-year-old Haig shot a 2-under 70 to match Sterne (72) and Wilson (71) at 13-under 275 on the Blue Canyon Country Club’s Canyon Course. South Africa’s Retief Goosen (70) finished fourth at 10-under, and Canada’s Mike Weir (67) followed at 9 under. The event also was sanctioned by the Asian and Australasian tours. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Only 3 feet separated Boo Weekley from everything he’s spent the last decade chasing. A PGA Tour victory, the big winner’s check and a two-year exemption all were a short putt away. He pulled his putter back in the fading light on the 72nd hole of the Honda Classic, struck the ball and waited for the cheers to rain down. Courtesy of Weekley’s miss on the final hole of regulation, he, Camilo Villegas, Mark Wilson and Jose Coceres – who all finished at 5-under 275 – went into a four-man playoff Sunday, one they couldn’t finish before darkness fell on PGA National. “I was shaking,” Weekley said. “I ain’t going to lie about it. I mean, I was shaking like a leaf. I made a good stroke. I just hit it way too hard.” Play was scheduled to resume today, with the foursome on the par-4 10th hole. “You’ve got to feel for Boo,” Villegas said. “But it’s golf. Those things happen.” Each player made par at the par-5 18th, the first playoff hole. center_img They never came. And he had to wait until today to get a shot at redeeming himself. last_img read more

Finishing a term

first_imgSylmar Levine’s logic Re “Levine wants to put teeth in pet population control” (March 2): The logic proposed by Assemblyman Lloyd Levine is typical of Democrats. Mandatory spaying or neutering of every dog and cat does not prevent 500,000 dogs and cats from being euthanized. It prevents them from being born. His same logic can be used by Planned Parenthood. We’re not killing unborn babies; we’re preventing people from dying in President George W. Bush’s unjust war in Iraq. The bottom line is always the same. Tax the breeders, tax the pet owner, tax, tax, tax. – Steve Duhm Woodland Hills Good move Re “Interim LAFD chief starts changing management; No. 2 administrator Fox is effectively demoted” (Feb. 28): Los Angeles Fire Department Deputy Chief Andy Fox has said that chief officers who are responsible for maintaining the standards and setting the example are to be held accountable commensurate with their position. His documented failures in this regard, coupled with numerous costly lawsuits, are why LAFD members support Fox’s “reassignment” (demotion) now. – Chris and Eric Mattson LAFD, retired Fallbrook Libby trial Re “`Scooter’ Libby guilty on 4 counts” (March 7): How political can it get? To condemn I. Lewis Libby, build a questionable case and send him to jail is a big lie. The drug and sex lords are not in jail and are breaking the laws. The human slave traffickers are not in jail and should be. There is no excuse for this. Shame. – Theodora Howell West Hills The city’s fault Your editorial “In name only” (March 7) is deceptive in its characterization of why this year’s San Fernando Valley Fair was moved to Santa Clarita. The city of L.A. agreed the event could be held in Woodley Park. The squabbling erupted when the L.A. Department of Recreation and Parks caved to political pressure to pull the permits. Who is at fault? The city of L.A.! They yanked the rug out from under the event with just a few weeks before the start-up date. – Sean McCarthy West Hills Look to ourselves Re “Dog and cat `business”‘ (Your Opinions, March 7): Our planet is not being destroyed by dog and cat poop. Strays are not born. They’re a direct result of our ignorance and negligence, the way we deal with them, our failure. We need only to look to ourselves and the inertia that envelopes us into allowing others – in Washington, state and local governments – to make all decisions. I hope Al Gore’s message will unite and activate us to do as much as possible to ensure a healthy and safe future for all of God’s gifts. Perhaps the dogs soiling Theresa Gassler’s grass are strays, alone, desperate and hungry. In mine, it’s the human at the end of the leash who fails to scoop. – Grace Pedraza Valley Village Hahn on gangs The recent arrest of Mario Corona, a gang-intervention administrator in the Valley, raises some valid concerns about hiring former gang members to help fight our war on gangs. This is exactly why we must invest more money in gang-prevention programs to keep our kids from joining gangs in the first place. To effectively fight gangs, we must invest in early prevention and after-school programs. Programs like the Gang Alternatives Program work with fourth-grade students to give them the tools they need to stay out of gangs. Think about what an impact we could make if GAP was in every school in Los Angeles. If we could grow up an entire generation of kids who say no to joining gangs, we could eliminate the need for any intervention workers in the future. Let’s invest in fighting gangs on the front end – before kids ever join gangs. We know that for every $200 we spend on a child for early prevention programs, we save up to $1,800 in the long run. Let’s be smarter about how we are fighting the war on gangs. – Janice Hahn Councilwoman City of Los Angeles The returning injured If the Bible is correct and the wages of sin is death, then I suggest a raise for all those who have so sinfully neglected to care for the returning injured of Bush’s illegal, immoral war. – Eddie Johnson Panorama City No deceit planned Re “Union backtracks on Election Day pay” (March 3): I did not suggest that teachers mislead the Los Angeles Unified School District into believing that volunteers for the Jon Lauritzen campaign were participating in professional development, when in fact the teachers were doing political work. My colleague, who was attending a campaign event sponsored by United Teachers Los Angeles, did not understand my directions to call for a sub. My only mistake was in telling teachers which button on a telephone to push. Whether they push button 3 or button 6, UTLA will pay for the substitute hired. No one can be released for professional development without an administrator’s approval. UTLA has no reason to “backtrack,” as there was no deceitful behavior planned. – Ed Kaz Reseda High School Public transit cuts Re “Valley commuters score” (March 1): So much recent political attention has focused on which roads and highways will be expanded that public transit needs are at risk of being overlooked. Los Angeles subway trips increased 12 percent and light-rail trips increased 7 percent from 2005 to 2006. Despite public transit’s success, the governor’s budget proposes cutting $1.1 billion from public transit. Huge cuts would result in fewer services and more cars on the road, and that means more traffic congestion and pollution. Mayor Villaraigosa must demand that the Legislature reject the proposed cuts and, instead, invest in convenient, quality public transit. – Emily Rusch CALPIRG Transportation Advocate San Francisco The warming trend Re “Not what they seem” (Your Opinions, March 1): Eric Obermeit hurls an array of insults at anyone who would dare to disagree with the trendy global-warming hysteria. The truth, Obermeit, is that no one knows the absolute truth about this matter, and theories abound on both sides of the aisle. Perhaps you should read a few opposing arguments as well, so any future debates on this issue might be focused more on intellect and less on emotion. – Sharon Hess Sherman Oaks Just a light trim A two-year term limit for the president would eliminate a lot of today’s war problems. – Jack Botwin Sylmar160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Re “Triumphant Alarcón eager to begin term” (March 8): I see the people have decided to give Richard Alarcón another chance to complete a term for the position he was elected to (again). Can we count on him to stick around this time for the full term? Or will he abandon us as he did before in the other jobs that he was elected to and didn’t complete? Is the reason he keeps changing jobs because he isn’t qualified or because, once there, he can’t handle the position? He is a prime example of why we have to stop the political musical chairs. In the private sector, you wouldn’t have a job for long – starting something and then quitting to move on to something else on a constant basis. – Gary E. Taylor last_img

Low snowpack stirs concerns about supply

first_imgState hydrologists had hoped for a wetter March to boost the snowpack. March storms typically add about 10percent to 15percent more snow in the Sierra. Frank Gehrke, the department’s snow survey section chief, said the storm that passed over the Sierra on Monday boosted the snowpack by about 2inches but wasn’t enough to recover from a dry month. “Instead of seeing an increase of 5 or 6inches in March, we lost 8 or 9inches,” Gehrke said “That’s a pretty bleak month.” Sierra snowmelt provides more than a third of the state’s drinking and irrigation water and is the lifeblood of the State Water Project, which provides water to more than 23million people and 775,000 acres of farmland. In addition, about a quarter of the state’s power comes from hydroelectric plants that rely on heavy mountain runoff during the spring and summer months. In the L.A. area, which is experiencing its lowest rainfall year on record, water managers said the region has enough in storage and from other sources to offset potential cutbacks in state water deliveries this year. “It’s always worrisome in a year like this, but you’re not going to see any rationing in Los Angeles,” said Jeffrey Kightlinger, executive director of The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. SACRAMENTO – The water content in the Sierra snowpack is at its lowest level in nearly two decades, causing concern that California may not be able to fulfill its water obligations to cities and farms if dry conditions persist for another year. The latest measurements were taken Wednesday near South Lake Tahoe during the fourth snow survey of the season by the state Department of Water Resources. This survey is considered the most important because state hydrologists use it to predict water supplies and deliveries for the summer months. The water content in the snowpack along the 400-mile-long range averaged 46percent of normal. That’s the lowest level since 1990, when it was 40percent of normal. “If you start putting dry winters together, you deplete the reservoirs,” department spokesman Don Strickland said. “We’re hoping we don’t run into that.” The Southern California water agency imports 2.1million acre-feet of water – of which 16percent comes from the state. It has more than 2.5million acre-feet in storage, Kightlinger said. An acre-foot is enough to serve two average-size families for a year. State researchers conduct five monthly snow surveys from January to May, measuring the snow at 382 stations. The snow depth on Wednesday at the Phillips Station along Highway50 south of Lake Tahoe was 35.4inches, compared with 73.1inches during the fourth snow survey in 2006. Electronic sensors showed that the snow’s water content was higher in the northern Sierra, where it was 52percent of normal. The water content was 48percent of normal in the central Sierra and 38percent in the southern section of the range.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Concessions may not fly

first_imgDETROIT – The head of the United Auto Workers said Wednesday that the union already has made health care concessions to General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co., and he implied that it won’t give any more. At the close of the union’s two-day bargaining convention in downtown Detroit, President Ron Gettelfinger said the UAW made major concessions in 2005 that saved Ford and GM billions in long-term retiree health care obligations. DaimlerChrysler AG’s Chrysler Group didn’t get the same concessions in 2005 because the UAW said the company was in better financial shape at the time. But Chrysler has since started losing money, and the UAW re-examined the company’s books to determine if it would grant the same deal. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

USC basketball: Source: Young is ready

first_imgLeading scorer Nick Young will forego his senior season at USC and declare for the NBA draft, according to sources. Young, the small forward who played at Cleveland High of Reseda, plans to make his official announcement on campus early next week. Young has yet to hire an agent but will do so soon, according to a source close to the player. The junior’s stock rose during the NCAA Tournament last month, when he led the team in scoring in victories over Arkansas and Texas before the surprising Trojans fell to top-seeded North Carolina in the Sweet 16. In the weeks following the season, NBA personnel have indicated to Young that he would go between picks 10 and 25 in the first round depending on workouts, according to sources. Young said earlier in the year that he would most likely leave for the NBA if told he would be a first-rounder. He is giving up the possibility to play alongside top recruit O.J. Mayo on a team that has been projected to start next season in the top 10 by multiple publications. “You never know if his stock will be this high again,” said one source involved in the decision. “Anything can happen next year.” Young overcame a slow start last season to lead the Trojans with a career-high 17.5 points per game. He made the score-tying shot at the end of regulation of an overtime victory over Stanford in the Pac-10 Tournament and the winning basket over previously undefeated Oregon in January. The 6-foot-6 athletic forward scored in double figures each of the final 25 games, showing a widening display of offensive moves that could create space for a shot any time at the college level. Young led USC in scoring as a sophomore as well with 17.3 points. He ranks sixth on the school’s all-time list in points scored with 1,486, making the all-conference first team each of his final two seasons. Young overcame numerous obstacles to be on the verge of reaching his dream. His oldest brother, Charles Jr., was slain when Nick was five years old. Nick Young flunked out of Hamilton High as a freshman. After transferring to Dorsey, he found himself sharing classrooms with members of the Blood gang who killed his brother. He stopped going to class and flunked out again. Derrick Cooper, an AAU traveling team coach, helped Young get to Cleveland, where he thrived under the coaching of Andre Chevalier and the close watch of principal Al Weiner. Because he flunked out at his first two high schools, Young needed a fifth year to earn his diploma. With Cleveland’s support, he was granted an extra year on his third appeal. It wasn’t until graduation day that Young found out he had received a qualifying score on the SAT, clearing the way for him to attend USC. matthew.kredell@dailynews.com (818) 713-3607160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Developer hired for Rio Hondo physical education complex

first_imgWHITTIER – A new $27million physical education complex at Rio Hondo College that will replace an aging sports facility built in the 1960s has taken another step toward reality with the hiring of a developer, officials announced. The college’s board of trustees hired Telacu Construction Management Services to oversee construction of the new 42,000-square-foot facility. Telacu will take on two major functions on the project, said Steve Lohr, director of facilities services. First, the developer will manage the general contractor for the project “so that they can provide oversight on behalf of the district,” he said. The general contractor has yet to be selected. Construction on the new complex is expected to begin in the 2008-09 fiscal year and will be funded primarily through state funds, Lohr said. Preliminary plans for the complex are now being reviewed by the Division of the State Architect, a process that can take up to a year or longer, Lohr said. But once Rio Hondo gets approval from the state, the project will go out to bid. The lowest bids will be forwarded to the board of trustees, and then a general contractor will be chosen, officials said. Meanwhile, the college is moving forward on the construction of a new Library and Learning Resource Center, which is also being funded primarily with state funds. The college also passed a $245 million general obligation bond in 2004 to help pay for a five-year facilities overhaul program. “This is an important time for the college,” said interim President Manuel Baca. “The building program is under way, and the college is maximizing the opportunity to get as many projects started before the costs of construction continue to increase.” tracy.garcia@sgvn.com (562) 698-0955 Ext. 3051 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “The other is that they’re going to help us with the temporary relocation of PE functions,” Lohr added. “The PE complex has a lot of areas that are used for instruction, and facilities that faculty, staff and students use – like the fitness center – that will have to be relocated.” The college’s existing fitness center and gymnasium will be renovated as part of the plan. The new facility will include two new swimming pools, Lohr said. “It’s a priority,” Lohr said. “The \ building is outdated and it doesn’t meet our current needs. And the condition is such that it makes more sense economically to demolish part of it and build a new building. “You have to remember that most of these buildings were constructed in the mid-1960s, so they are 40-plus years in age,” he added. last_img read more

League finals scheduled

first_img3:50 p.m. League finals will be contested this week in track and field, swimming, boys tennis and boys golf. In track and field, the Almonte League finals are scheduled Friday at Bell Gardens High School. Cantwell is the host school for the Camino Real League finals scheduled Wednesday at Gardena Serra High School. Pioneer and Santa Fe are sharing host duties for the Del Rio League finals scheduled Thursday at Downey High School. Freeway League finals are Thursday at Fullerton College. Suburban League finals are Thursday at La Mirada High School. In swimming, the Suburban League finals are scheduled Thursday at Cerritos Park East. Del Rio League finals are hosted by La Serna and scheduled Friday at Whittier High School. Freeway League finals are at Sonora Friday. Almont League finals are hosted by Bell Gardens and Schurr and scheduled Friday at East Los Angeles College. In tennis, the Del Rio League finals are Friday at Palm Park.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Getting by may mean sacrificing

first_imgTHE outpouring of reader mail over the hassles of mail-in rebates had barely subsided when a new flood gushed forth on why it takes middle-class America two incomes “just to get by.” To clarify, I don’t believe it does. That claim belongs to Lou Dobbs, CNN commentator, who regularly lashes out against U.S. immigration policy, corporate downsizings, job “outsourcings” and skyrocketing health care costs. While acknowledging that these are legitimate issues, I dared to suggest that many Americans struggling on two incomes should blame their own profligate and careless ways. To my surprise – and delight – reader response has run close to 10 to 1 in my favor, although obviously not everybody agreed. “Please do not paint two-income families with such a broad brush,” one reader wrote. “In many areas of the country, current housing prices are completely out of whack with incomes even for the so-called middle class, as are many essential items. Many people do without a lot of extras and still struggle even with two incomes.” From a South Florida family, who gave in to temptation to participate the real estate boom. “In 1992, we bought a very nice and modest house for under $100,000. In 2001, when it was almost paid off, we refinanced and took out a cash-out loan and enlarged our home. Then, in 2003, our equity grew some more and we re-financed again. Now our house is worth approximately $400,000, but the mortgage payment with the windstorm insurance is almost more than we can afford … If only we didn’t keep refinancing.” From parents who understand their duty to their children is to raise them to be responsible adults: “Some people want what it took their parents 40 years to get. Plus, they give their kids much too much of everything. I am so happy that my parents taught me the value of a dollar and I tried to pass this along to my children. There is nothing wrong with telling your children you can’t afford something. This does not make you a bad person.” (Send questions or comments to Humberto Cruz at AskHumberto@aol.com or c/o Tribune Media Services, 2225 Kenmore Ave., Buffalo, NY 14207. Personal replies are not possible.)160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! This same reader added, “It is the people who think they need instant gratification and can’t seem to figure out that credit card purchases are not free to whom this article should be addressed.” OK, let’s do it. Instant gratification. Abuse of credit cards. An urge to consume, falsely believing that consumption leads to happiness. “Having to have” the latest cool gadget, no matter how much it costs (both to buy it and in monthly fees). A basic lack of understanding of saving principles and risk factors. All these explain why many two-income families struggle. But you said it best. Here are some of your comments, starting with an e-mail from a certified public accountant: “The families with two incomes want a lifestyle beyond their means and this never would have happened before credit cards and purchases that do not have to be paid for three years … Today, there are more financial avenues to buy the big-ticket items.” (But of course, I add, they eventually do have to be paid for.) From a city worker: “If people complain they cannot save, they should look at all the `things they cannot live without’ and stop whining. I work for a city agency and the welfare/food stamp offices are in my building. You will never see a wider array of expensive cells phones or iPods than among the people who come for public assistance.” (I wouldn’t go that far, but I too have seen my share of expensive electronic toys among people who claim they can barely survive financially.) last_img