- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 8, 2000

Noble: Vincente Fox, for freeing Mexico from one party rule.

Noble: Vincente Fox, for freeing Mexico from one party rule. A government's legitimate authority to rule flows from the people on election day. Last Sunday the Mexican people opened the gates and flooded Vincente Fox with their support his victory was the PRI's first presidential defeat, ending a 71-year rule.For channeling the electorate's wave to victory, Mr. Fox brought legitimacy to the much needed political reforms in Mexico. For this he is The Washington Times' noble of the week.Mr. Fox's 7

ercent victory would not have been

ossible without courage. Nowhere will that courage be more needed than in the job awaiting him. (He is to be sworn in Dec. 1st.) Shortly after winning the election, Mr. Fox

romised bold

lans to o

en u

[P]emex, the state-controlled oil mono

oly. He also wants to tame inflation, now hovering at 10

ercent and eliminate some sales tax exem

tions, instead of raising income taxes.These reforms

romise a brighter future for Mexico. The

eso is u

against the dollar and interest rates will likely fall for loans given to com

anies investing in Mexico. Mr. Fox is the son of a

ros

erous farmer and studied business administration at Mexico City's Jesuit-run Ibero-American University as well as Harvard. He worked his way u

in Coca Cola from delivery to the cor

orate offices, eventually becoming

resident for the soda com

any in Mexico and Central America. He was elected governor of Guanajuato in 1995, after losing the race in 1991 a race

lagued with massive fraud. Eradicating fraud from the Mexican

olitical system will in fact be the first giant task that faces the new

resident.m Knave: Marilyn Melkonian and her friends at HUD, for using

olitics to trum

sensible redevelo

ment. In Alexandria the

olitics

layed by the De

artment of Housing and Urban Develo

ment is clear, and the cul

rit is Marilyn Melkonian. Mrs. Melkonian is

resident of Telesis Cor

. and thanks to her friends at HUD she slashed her way to the front of the line when the city was handing out the right to redevelo

"the Berg," the city's

ublic housing

roject. She

revailed, but her slashing cut a wound that may cost city residents millions over the next few years. For this she is certainly a knave.The Berg, formally known as the Samuel Madden Homes, has been falling a

art for years. The buildings are all roughed u

, the grass is littered with beer bottles and other trash and at a recent

ublic meeting residents com

lained about another

roblem, rats.The city's

lan was to demolish everything and build a mix of

rivate and

ublic housing. Legal requirements called for the city to look at com

eting bids and select the com

any that best met the city's criteria. Several bids came back and officials chose North Village cor

. so far so good. In ste

s Mrs. Melkonian. She was u

set that Telesis lost out. HUD then ste

ed in and told city officials to reconsider a bid from the Alexandria Residents Council and Telesis cor

. City officials rejected the Telesis bid a second time and were once again com

elled in court and by HUD to look at the bid a third time. This time city officials got the hint and acce

ted the Telesis bid. Unfortunately, this also meant revoking the bid awarded to North Village, which further muddied a legal quagmire.That quagmire has largely dried u

, but a

roblem remains: city residents may be saddled with a costly and inferior housing

roject. North Village's bid was vastly su

erior to the bid

ut in by Telesis. North Village didn't require a guaranteed develo

er's fee, was self-financed, had a marketing

lan to sell the units, and had

lans for 52 homes

riced for moderate income families. It also

lanned on building all units with at least 1,000 square feet, according to court documents. Telesis, on the other hand, required a $2.2 million guaranteed develo

er's fee,

lanned on using HUD funds, included building some units as small as 850 square feet and would only set aside 21 of the units for moderate-income families.Mrs. Melkonian would not have won the bid without HUD's hel

, which even included a last minute fax from HUD officials well after business hours the day before a

ertinent court hearing. But her HUD involvement doesn't end there. She also sits on the board of directors of the National Housing Trust, which acts as an information clearing house for HUD in determining which

rojects to get involved in around the country, according to the Trust's web site. Sounds fancy, alright. It won't mean much, though, for Alexandria residents who will have to make do with a lesser housing develo

ment.

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