OPINION

On corruption, wind energy, rating agencies, plans to revive Athens center

Athens mayor unveils plans for reviving city center

Mayor Kaminis’s proposal to revitalize rundown neighborhoods by subsidizing rent is laughable and unsustainable. There’s a reason people don’t want to live in these neighborhoods; it’s not because of the high cost of rent, it’s because it’s a substandard community.

Here’s a suggestion, instead of creating such ageist policies that waste money, how about creating neighborhood standards? Look up «Broken Window Theory,» which states that monitoring and maintaining urban environments in a well-ordered condition may prevent further vandalism as well as an escalation into more serious crime.

Let’s begin by cleaning up the graffiti in public spaces and also issue warnings to private landowners to clean up their buildings or face stiff fines. Let’s reduce the amount of stray animals in the city by having all cats and dogs registered, which includes spaying and neutering cats and dogs as well as implanting identity microchips in order to hold pet owners responsible for abandoning their animals when they become a «burden» on them. Establish volunteer neighborhood watch programs where residents work together with police to reduce crime and vandalism.

After that is done only then can money be invested in public works projects that will create more livable neighborhoods, such as revitalizing parks, public squares, schools, creating bike lanes etc. This will help attract people that will want to maintain this new standard in the neighborhood regardless of age, race or religion. Bribing people to live in perceivedly dangerous neighborhoods only benefits landlords, not residents. At some point these young people will want to have children and will opt for living in a safer neighborhood and leave again because the bribe will not be enough to relieve their fears regarding the security of their children.

VASILIOS MANTIS

Vegan couple turned down for adoption

What a ridiculous decision by some bureaucrat and doctor who put their beliefs and prejudices in front of the common good. Vegan parents in North America and elsewhere raise perfectly healthy kids. No wonder the country is a mess.

NICK LAKOUMENTAS

Buying off sentences

Why are convicted criminals in Greece allowed to buy off their sentences? Where is the morality and facing the consequences of terrible acts committed? This is not justice but a slap on the face of victims and their loved ones.

GEORGIA CONSTANTIN

Why LAOS is making gains

Good to hear. Greece is far too leftist, and the main reason why it is in this mess to begin with! It’s nice to see the right making gains.

PETER MANOUSOS

Nick Malkoutzis on rating agencies

A very thorough and wide-ranging analysis, thank you. Scrutiny of the ?big three? ratings agencies is long overdue, as [Theodoros] Pangalos and [Hans] Martens have emphasised, in their different styles. Ironically, because the ratings are not paid for, their ratings of governments are probably more reliable than were those of their cosy US chums during the mortgage boom — but the Moody’s downgrade of Greece the day before a Greek bond auction makes me still skeptical about their motives. The information about the Chinese ratings agency was new to me, and many other lay people no doubt — and is very good news indeed. Sad, but predictable, that the toothless US ?watchdogs? are desperate to keep the Chinese out, but I think/hope they will lose. Keep up the good work — support Martens and get Brussels moving at last.

ROBERT SKAILES

Corruption on Corfu

I wish that corruption was not so rife here in Corfu. Today it will be exactly 12 months since I lodged a formal complaint at the Prefecture with regards to a totally illegal building erected below our terrace. What has happened? Nothing! No visits by an inspector to halt work. Why? Because the owner is a famous TV personality in the UK who can fill many fakelakia [envelopes with bribes].

DAVID BAKER

Fear of change

Again I heard the PM stating that Greece must change. Why are people afraid of change? We have not heard a word about downsizing Greece?s Parliament at a time when Greece owes over 300 billion and the unemployment rate is 15 percent and thousands of businesses are going under. Downsizing Greece?s Parliament would save millions of tax dollars and it would also show that the PM can make changes at the top. A reasonable reduction would be 100 MPs.

The US 112th congress has 435 House of Representatives and 100 senators for a population of 305 million.

The Netherlands has 150 House of Representatives and 75 senators for a population of 16 million.

GEORGE SALAMOURAS

Failings of wind energy

To all those who want to use the tragedy in Japan to promote wind energy: Regardless of how many wind turbines are erected, the need for conventional power plants is not reduced for the very simple reason that whole regions can be left without wind for days, weeks and even months.

For wind energy to be a practical replacement for nuclear power, it needs to be coupled with bulk energy storage. That way, when the wind stops blowing, we can use stored wind energy to keep the lights on.

Currently there is no way to store the very large amounts of energy needed for this purpose.

CHRIS KAPSAMBELIS

Less or more corruption?

The PM is happy to take credit for first fall in corruption since 2007, as recorded by Transparency International (?PM identifies signs Greece is turning the corner,? March 16). If one considers that activity in public sector procurement, construction permits and other areas where corruption is rife has fallen by far more than 10 percent in 2010, then it is very likely that the rate of corruption has actually increased. Anyone who deals with the public sector will know that corruption is worse than ever as negative attitudes and resentment over cuts is fueling opportunism for graft. If the PM really wants to deal with corruption, he can start by revoking political immunity, prosecuting the most corrupt politicians (everyone knows who they are) and sending them to jail. The government sets the standards for the rest of the country to follow. But then turkeys don’t vote for Christmas.

JW