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Volume 4, Issue 1                                    University of Houston

Staff Editorial

Enron's problems affect the whole city

Houston, we have a problem.

Pollution, nightmarish traffic and now at the worst possible time, massive layoffs.

Some of our city's most prestigious firms, Enron Corp., Continental Airlines and Compaq Computers are handing out pink slips at an alarming rate.

Enron, once considered a bastion in the energy field as well as a pioneer of energy trading, has filed for bankruptcy and is now under investigation by the federal government for what appears to be shady dealings.

Enron dove headfirst into hot water around the time it released its third-quarter earnings, and has been drowning ever since. With more than 4,000 employees lugging boxes and other items from Enron's headquarters over the past week, the corporation will have to answer questions from Congress and the Security and Exchange Commission about its financial woes. The main issues are -- concealing debt to drive up its stock worth, company executives unloading stock right before the crash and employees not being afforded the same right.

Enron Field, the crown jewel of downtown, now sits uncertain of its future and its name. For the moment, the three-year old retractable roof stadium will continue to use the moniker according to Pam Gardner, Astros president of business operations. 

But Enron isn't the only guilty party. The two other aforementioned Houston-based companies haven't exactly been stalwarts during this time of economic strife.

Just days after the Sept. 11 tragedy, Continental became the leader in the airline industry when it was the first to lay off thousands of employees.

Continental is reportedly losing more than $4 million a day since the attacks on the United States.

Compaq has also endured numerous fiscal problems. It tried to solve the issue by mergering with fellow computer giant Hewlett Packard, but the deal is becoming more unlikely by the day.

It's really quite simple. We all go through financial snafus, but we have to be responsible for our actions. And more often than not, these big corporations ruin thousands of lives just so they can pinch a few more pennies. The government should impose heavy fines for companies hoping to take the easy way out.

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