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Maybe Ahwatukee isn’t Mayberry after all

In 1905, my great grandmother moved her family from Ireland to Indiana, jam-packed on a big ship with two small children, escaping poverty and, no doubt, in search of a better, safer, more prosperous future for her children.

Each generation of our family has contributed to America as factory workers, teachers, mechanics, and such. 

In December 2005, I migrated from Ohio, traveling with my two small children, to a seemingly “Mayberry-like” community called Ahwatukee.

We were seeking a better life, more sun, good people, a quality public education and an opportunity for my husband to be happier in his career choice. 

We immediately felt welcomed. And, I was often struck by the kindness of strangers as neighbors pulled over to catch a dog lost on the street, or Boy Scouts organized can good collections, or Kyrene Resource Center serviced those in need.

I was pleased our new public elementary school taught basic, humane principles, among them “good citizenship.” 

But perhaps Mayberry was just an illusion, because if you’ve read the more recent hateful rhetoric and experienced the lack of decorum on community social media pages, it suggests a much darker side.

In addition, our governor uses words like “drug cartels” and “human trafficking” to stoke more fear in Arizona’s constituents and give the illusion he is doing something important down at the border. 

While these things certainly exist, I suspect that’s not really what many of the protestors are afraid of as they march outside our local hotels housing these poor families — families who, by the way, are legally seeking asylum from horrific violence, are being tested for COVID, and are not “cutting the line” in the immigration queue. 

The “crisis” is the Fear.

How about a little research regarding our less-than-stellar American history and acknowledge who was here first. How about checking your ancestral trees and your hypocrisy, then “walk a mile in another’s moccasins”? 

I thank my great grandma for having the strength and courage to make the dangerous voyage. We’re a nation of immigrants, productive members of our communities.

And, one thing we all have in common — we’d do anything to provide a better, safer, more prosperous future for our children. So, let’s lend a helping hand instead of a fearful heart—be the solution. 

Whatever happened to, “Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Huddled Masses”?

Suzanne Whitaker

 

Loan sharks are still 

circling around Arizonans

Despite Arizona voters defeating a well-funded effort in 2008 to allow small-dollar loans to exceed our state’s interest rate cap of 36 percent plus fees, a persistent group of online high-cost lenders never lost their appetite for trapping cash-strapped Arizonans in debt.

Enter rogue, out-of-state banks not subject to state rate caps. 

The most audacious predatory lenders are now employing a “rent-a-bank” scheme whereby the lender charges and collects interest on a loan but a bank’s name is on the paperwork. 

The predatory lender claims the loan is a bank loan exempt from state law, leaving consumers and small business owners on the hook for 225 percent APR loans.

While the legality of this loan laundering scheme is in question, last year the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the national bank regulator, approved a “fake lender” rule that would overturn 200 years of case law allowing courts to follow the money. 

But the Senate recently introduced a resolution under the Congressional Review Act to overturn it. 

Senators Sinema and Kelly should back the resolution to overturn the “fake lender” rule. Arizona has real rate caps that protect real consumers from the very real consequences of predatory payday lending.

Cynthia Zwick, 

Executive Director, Wildfire, and Kelly Griffith, Executive Director, Center for Economic Integrity

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