By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
The subhead of Donna Ladd's article "Negative Cash Flow" [August 31] stated that Judy Chicago, the artist who created The Dinner Party, "Receives Piles of $1 Bills. Trouble Is, She Doesn't Want Them." This is not true. In Chicago's Web site (www.judychicago.com), any halfway careful reader will find the phrases "we encourage you to become a member of Through the Flower (at whatever level of contribution you wish)" and "We will accept any and all contributions" and "We thank all people who have so generously contributed already and encourage and appreciate all those who will do so in the future."
Part of my purpose in writing the essay I sent out over the Internet was to reach women like myself, who don't want to get involved with meetings or personalities, and to tap the potential of hundreds of thousands of people who might want to contribute a small amount to save The Dinner Party. I have First Amendment rights. Neither the government nor the Fourth Estate in the person of Donna Ladd can tell me I can't e-mail my friends, family, and associates, and urge them to donate money to a nonprofit organization (and also to e-mail their friends and family with the same suggestion).
We've just begun to realize the Internet's potential for worldwide communication and understanding. The more people who have e-mail capability, the more who can talk to each other without the editing of for-profit publications, or the censorship of governments.
I did enjoy Ladd's statement that my essay "could orbit for years." And as it does, millions of concerned people will send money to help save The Dinner Party. That can't be bad.
Donna Ladd replies: My article was not an attack on Louise's initiative or free speech. Instead, it relayed the frustration of theThrough the Flowerstaff, which was dismayed to be on the receiving end of an uncontrollable chain e-mail soliciting $1 bills on its behalf. This frustration was clearly conveyed to me by Donald Woodman, Chicago's husband and director of the group, and is expressed on Chicago's Web site,which states, "While these small contributions are very welcome, handling and responding to a large number of $1 gifts is very expensive and overwhelming to our small staff," and asks that fans become members instead. I admire the sentiment behind Louise's effort, but believe we should carefully consider the potential problems with e-mail missives before we send them into orbit. There is likely a better way.
Only the Loanly
Andrew White's article "Liberals on Loan"[August 31] contained blatant inaccuracies and misrepresented the business practices of Delta Funding Corporation and the subprime lending business. Among the numerous misconceptions in the article, I'd like to draw your attention to the following factual inaccuracies:
Contrary to what White states, Delta does not "target" low-income homeowners. The median income for subprime borrowers in the U.S. is $34,000, and the median income for all homeowners is $37,000. The median income for Delta's borrowers is $46,500.
White accuses Delta of "luring" elderly borrowers and "burdening" them with debt. In fact, the vast majority (70 percent) of Delta's loans are debt-consolidation loans-under the terms of which the borrower consolidates outstanding debt, thereby reducingmonthly loan payments. Delta does not target "elderly" homeowners. The median age of homeowners in the U.S. is 51 and the median age of Delta borrowers is 50.
White alleges that Delta's interest rates range from 11 percent to as high as 14.9 percent. The average rate for Delta's loans is actually 10 percent, and our rates have ranged as low as 7.5 percent.
Delta typically loses $20,000 or more-not including the cost of default management-on a property that goes into foreclosure. This is illustrated in our audited 1998 Annual Report showing total losses on such loans of nearly $6 million. Hence, there is absolutely no motivation to lend to a borrower who we think will not be able to pay or otherwise make a loan with the purpose of taking back the property.
White reported on a loan to Mary Lee Ward, stating that she tried to back out of that loan but was unable to do so. In fact, Delta went above and beyond its legal obligation to accommodate Ms. Ward by giving her the opportunity to rescind the loan weeks after the rescission period had expired. It was Ms. Ward-not Delta-who declined to rescind the loan. After repeated phone calls from Delta advising her that the company was still willing to allow her to cancel the loan, she went ahead and cashed her check containing the net proceeds of her loan.
Ms. Ward later claimed that she did not attend the closing and had never signed any of the loan documents, which she alleged contained forged or duplicated signatures. However,in a deposition, Ms. Ward admitted that the signatures appeared to be hers, and that she did in fact sign the loan documents. Responsible coverage of Ms. Ward's situation should have included reference to the fact that she first alleged and then abandoned her allegations of forgery.
Delta is proud of its 17-year history of prudent lending and its ability to provide credit to borrowers who need and deserve it. Delta is committed to continuing to be the industry leader in consumer protection and setting the highest standards for lending practices.