Your letters, July 3

July 2, 2013 

Price on target

Thank goodness for David Price. His “Baffled and Dismayed" statement published on Sunday (CHN, June 30, was wise and absolutely on target.

In an otherwise fairly hopeful session of the Supreme Court, the Supremes “blew it” big time when they gutted the Voting Rights Act. Shame!

Sadly, the most spectacular illustration of that judicial blunder is being played out in my beloved native state, North Carolina

Of course, the court has not had the opportunity to see and hear Moral Mondays at the Halifax Mall. I now have to beg and plead with the N.C. House of Representatives to find their better angels, repent of their current pettiness and meanness, and act like the grown up men and women whose legislative deeds have added to the stature of our state in years past.

Please! Much is at stake here. I still believe you are capable of responsible governing.

Paul Hardin

Chapel Hill

Missed savings

An unintentional consequence of comments made at last month’s Orange County public hearing on the budget put as much emphasis on “raising taxes” as on “not cutting the county and city schools’ proposed budgets.

Whoops! Everybody supports our high level of public education; but to push increasing property taxes on an already financially stressed population should be the funding weapons of last resort.

As a relatively small county of about 150,000 people, our entities still operate separately: Hillsborough, Carrboro, Chapel Hill and Orange County each has its own elected officials and administrative staff. There are four departments of public works, four fire departments and police departments; four recreation departments and park systems. Public libraries are separate, and the county and city schools are run completely separately.

What a waste! Even Duke and Carolina are sharing library references, classes and shuttle bus.

The tremendous costs of running four duplicated governments and services in four different locations calls for huge capital outlay with no apparent gain in quality. To combine just the administration staffs would result in millions in savings and free up money for where it’s needed more.

Isn’t it time we give cooperation a try?

Marty Mandell


Blood in their veins

At the recent anti-Silent Sam rally held at the Confederate soldier monument on the UNC campus the speakers called for a plaque to be placed on the statue explaining its “true” meaning to students.

One speaker called Silent Sam “an altar to evil.” As most of the students who attend UNC are North Carolinians they probably are descendants of Confederate great-great grandfathers and uncles.

They have the blood of these proud people in their veins. It is hoped that the students realize that comments like the above and the effort to place the plaque are direct, blatant insults to them and their families and the families of thousands of North Carolinians who have Confederate ancestors. They constitute a disrespectful attempt to dishonor their memory.

This effort to deface the statue and stain the memory of our ancestors because of political correctness must be stopped in its tracks, and Silent Sam, who has stood in honor on campus for a century, should be allowed to stand, unmolested, for years to come.

James Ward


B.Gen. W.W. Kirkland Camp

Sons of Confederate Veterans

Almost every day

Almost every day there are reports in the various media of sexual violence.

The allegation of sexual assault on the UNC campus remains a huge issue which has been poorly handled. Referring such allegations to the Honor Court was, from the start, inappropriate, since sexual assault is a felony. I, for one, am happy that such allegations have been taken out of Honor Court jurisdiction. Prosecution should be within the prosecutorial jurisdiction of such crimes, not college honor courts.

What the university should provide is a program of awareness about sexual assault for all incoming students. Consultation with and even direct help from the non-profit Orange County Rape Crisis Center to establish such a program in addition to providing a place on campus that is supportive, free of fear and intimidation, and safe for students who are victims of sexual assault would be important first steps.

It is not necessary to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to figure out what the university should do when extraordinary resource help and expertise is available five minutes away.

Deborah R. Finn

Chapel Hill

FOIA anniversary

This Independence Day marks 47 years since the landmark Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was signed into federal law – yet Americans are still distrustful of government. A 2013 Pew Research Center poll showed that only 26 percent of Americans surveyed say they can trust government in Washington “almost always or most of the time” – among the lowest ratings in the half-century since pollsters have been asking the question.

FOIA established our right to access government records and to know what our government is doing – both its successes and failures. Exercising our right to know gives us – the public – power. It allows us to contribute to our government and hold government accountable. From food and transportation safety to the use and disposal of chemicals, FOIA has enabled the public to ensure the health of our democracy and our own well-being.

FOIA (and related state and local laws) are only as good as we demand that they be. For decades, members of the League of Women Voters have acted as government watchdogs at the federal, state and local levels –observing government meetings, conducting document audits and empowering citizens, but more work needs to be done.

The key to a healthy, open and trusted government is public participation. This FOIA anniversary, exercise your right to know by attending a government meeting, contacting an elected official, or visiting a government website. Join your local League of Women Voters to continue a legacy of volunteer work to empower citizens and encourage voter participation!

Brenda Hyde Rogers


League of Women Voters – Orange, Durham and Chatham Counties

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