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Paying for Katrina: the next mess?

October 12, 2005

Re "Congress Attaches Strings to Cities' Hurricane Loans," Oct. 8

Our representatives in Washington decided that the federal government could not donate an extra $750 million to cities damaged by Hurricane Katrina for fear that money going to save government jobs and rekindle economic activity would not be spent in a "well-thought-out" manner.

Yet on the very same day, they didn't hesitate to pour an extra $50 billion into one of the costliest, most senseless and poorest planned government initiatives in our nation's history -- the war in Iraq.

Perhaps a more prudent investment would be to set aside $100,000 so the folks in Congress can hire a better accountant.

HOWARD PADWA

Los Angeles

*

When I read the Oct. 7 article, "Small Businesses Feel Lost in Bureaucratic Thicket," I wondered what small-business owner would agree with the Bush administration that the "disaster loan program" is working fine.

As of Oct. 7, six weeks after Hurricane Katrina hit, the Small Business Administration had approved only 25 loans to small businesses.

Despite the Bush administration's excuses, tens of thousands of small business owners still have no way to pay their bills and start rebuilding their lives.

Small businesses can't wait months for the SBA to get its act together.

They need access to grants and loans now.

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MASS.)

Small Business and

Entrepreneurship Committee

Washington

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