Pulling back the curtain
I attended graduate school at UNC in the early 1980s, moved away, got married, and returned to the Chapel Hill area in 1987. My wife and I have lived and worked here ever since. We proudly tell folks “Yes, we’re from Chapel Hill.” Chapel Hill is our home.
Then I read Anne McNamara’s commentary critical of Chapel Hill’s lack of green policies and common sense approaches to becoming green (CHN, July 22, bit.ly/PEU2A1
). Her remarks remind me of the occasional comment from visitors who suggest our town doesn’t always merit my boasting. Is Chapel Hill really that progressively different than other towns? I want to believe that.
Anne McNamara reveiled Chapel Hill’s lack of “greenness” and articulated what I now know to be true. She simply pulled back the curtain for the rest of you.Joe Yadusky Chapel Hill On the right track
Last Sunday’s editorial questions (CHN, July 22, bit.ly/Pd86A1
) have a straightforward answer. Growth is inevitable so let’s embrace it, accept it, and accommodate it sustainably.
We’re standing on the shoulders of giants who had a vision to make Chapel Hill world class. I’m talking about Peg Owens, Jonathan Howes, Robert Epting, James Goforth, George Watts Hill, Ellie Kinnard, Joe Nassif, Jimmy Wallace, the list goes on.
Our town has approved only prescriptive pathways to date. Greenbridge, the $12 million Botanical Garden building, and the new $16-plus million library expansion are examples. All could have been done at half the cost if performance in energy efficiency and not “better ingredients” been the goal.
In an age of iPads, let’s draw up more public/private partnerships. Some years ago the town tasked the Chapel Hill-Carrboro YMCA to build a teen center. Not only was that project let off the hook but the field in back of the Y, to my knowledge, was never properly inventoried: an ideal spot for a four-story turf field on top of commercial space/teen center and parking.
When municipalities draft vision statements all open spaces need looking into, not just corridors. Many subdivision lots are double lots. If city government thought to incentivize homeowners then more multi family opportunities could arise. We must at least try for practicalities rather than inching forward mad at each other. Rail will come and businesses too, yippee!
The urban reach for the sky aesthetic is the natural progression for Chapel Hill because its all about infill development, the greenest kind. Every town needs a commercial tax base. Taller buildings on Franklin/Rosemary streets housing businesses, corporations, venture capital firms, pharma, consultancies, apartments means homeowners pay less in property taxes. We should encourage this. Let’s stop hiring expensive consultants and enlist grad student’s at UNC’s City Planning Department for good measure.
Carbon neutrality is within our grasp. One house per 10-acre minimums curb the sprawl we’ve seen outside of our city’s confines. Let’s embrace that aesthetic for balance sake while continuing to enjoy the bounty of the land, a beautiful city park system, and reservoirs devised long ago. All concerned must have more gratitude for what’s come before and stay positive in what lies ahead. Let’s stop being fearful and become world class! Yes, we’re on the right track.C. Shaw Chapel Hill Farmworkers overlooked
The article “Triangle groups tackle human trafficking” (CHN, July 18, bit.ly/NWMkBE
) addressed a very pressing, often overlooked issue. Yet, it did not describe the industries that traffic workers, specifically farms.
Farmworkers, especially if they are undocumented, can be easily exploited and be made to work for little or no pay. Most farmworkers who pick our crops are Mexican, and are either undocumented or with special guest worker visas, although some are legal permanent residents. They are employed instead of U.S. citizen workers partly because they are unaware of their rights and less likely to resist mistreatment for fear of losing their jobs.
Even a worker with an H-2A visa can be “trafficked” if their employers take away their passport, which gives the farmer an immoral form of leverage.
Farmworkers are an integral part of our food system, although their issues are not often talked about. Many work 12-hour days in the sweltering heat to feed America, often for below-poverty wages. Their issues, and those of other industries that foster human trafficking, should be in the spotlight more often.Atlee Webber Goose Creek, S.C. The writer is an intern with the Durham-based Student Action with Farmworkers. The easy path
The Boy Scouts of America recently announced that after a secret two-year review it would uphold its policy of excluding gay people, both adults and children, from participation in their programs. They justified their decision partly on their assertion that parents of Scouts would be more comfortable if the exclusionary policy remained in place.
I am the parent of a 14-year-old Boy Scout, and I decry their decision. Boy Scouts aspires to train young people for leadership and teach them values such as good citizenship, discipline, and hard work. With this decision the Scouts are teaching their charges that it is acceptable for leaders to exclude and pick on citizens who are considered different (though, personally, I reject the assertion that gay people are different), and that it is OK to follow the easy path rather than doing what is difficult and right.
For my part, I am deeply disappointed that the Scouts have chosen the path of bigotry and ignorance.Thomas Kelley CarrboroPaterno and Silent Sam
I note with sorrow that a goodly number of residents of Chapel Hill may be mourning the removal of the statue erected to glorify the late Penn State football coach, Joe Paterno.
Recall that this occurred because he was derelict in responding to credible claims of child abuse leveled against his colleague, Jerry Sandusky.
As is well-known, there are many in this town who argue vehemently that the statue that marks – and mocks – the UNC campus (“Silent Sam”) and is a symbol of the so-Called Confederate States of America, which sought to overthrow the U.S. government to continue the “right” to enslave Africans, should remain where it is.
To do otherwise – we are told – means history is being violated. Thus, I reckon that there are those in this town who are unhappy now that the statue of Paterno has been removed from a prominent site in Happy Valley – for should not that statue remain in place as a monument to a tragedy, a constant reminder of pedophilia?
Perhaps, those of that view can now advise Penn State to follow the example of UNC, which erected a smaller, less-imposing statue adjacent to “Silent Sam”, as a sop to those of us outraged by the honoring of traitors. I take it they can advise Penn State to erect a smaller, less-imposing statue adjacent to the Paterno statue as a sop to those of us who are outraged by child abuse. Gerald Horne Chapel Hill
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