Your letters, Aug. 18: Toben, bike accident and bus ads

August 16, 2013 

Toben’s timing

Tim Toben’s experience shows that in life, timing is everything (“Green not good enough?” CHN, Aug. 11,

Had Toben the good luck to break ground at Greenbridge a couple of years later, like RAM developers with 140 West Franklin, he too could have used the Great Recession to negotiate construction costs back substantially, and today he’d continue to be hailed as a “green visionary.”

Under that outcome, rather than feeling “it may make sense” the anarchist view that the “great crisis of our time is the industrial growth economy,” Toben’s assessment would likely have been very different, and probably he would find great hope in recent news reports about electric utilities’ rising concern about declining electricity usage – due in large part to consumers increasingly embracing energy-saving technologies like those installed in Greenbridge.

However, even bad timing would not have killed Greenbridge had its leadership paid more attention to its balance sheet instead of local politics. By caving in to a few, and making “politically correct” decisions like the $10 million to $13 million building design change to let more light into the Northside neighborhood, Toben’s group skyrocketed building costs beyond the affordable, resulting in lots of still-empty, dark Greenbridge apartments and retail space that ironically convey a hulking shadowy presence during both night and day.

Adrián Halpern

Chapel Hill

Radical change

I’ve known and admired Mr. Toben a long time. It’s interesting that the two of us have come to a similar place after all these years.

My own embrace of the radical-change agenda is driven more by political dysfunction in which we operate, which is an ongoing and systemic failure very much like the economic and environmental issues Tim is speaking about.

James Protzman


More analysis

I know and like Tim Toben, and I'm glad he's writing/saying this, but I'm really not seeing the race/class analysis here specific to this project. And that, as I understand, was a big part of the resistance to Greenbridge – green development as one more method of race/class gentrification. I wish he would have named that. This feels like a bit of a whitewash of the "anarchist" critique, at least in this interview.

Again, I agree with him 100 percent from an environment perspective, and the whole point of the piece seems to be to name the macro-level class stuff. And of course I agree with that, too. I just wish this article (and Tim may be thinking more than what's covered here, of course), brought more attention to the intersection of environmental activism and sometimes race/class impact.

But best wishes to him, and his work in naming all this and acting on it.

Mike Dolan Fliss


Better the helmet

Tuesday afternoon, July 16, I was cycling north down U.S. 15-501, on the berm of the road, just past Estes Drive

I was then hit on the back of the head by a wide load on the back of a construction truck trailer and knocked unconscious.

I would like to offer my most sincere thanks to the following for their help.

First to Gyro, the maker of my bike helmet. It was smashed in at the rear. Better the helmet than my head. Without that helmet, I would be lucky to be alive.

Second, to all the good folks, including a nurse who stopped, called the police and the emergency people and otherwise took care of me until the emergency van arrived. And another thanks to those who got the license number of the truck and then chased it to tell the driver what had happened.

And then the emergency team who took me to N.C. Memorial Hospital and the Emergency Room people who took such good care of me when I was barely aware of what was going on.

I am also grateful to the doctors and nurses at UNC Memorial Hospital who took such good care of me in the neurosurgical unit until I was discharged late Thursday morning. I could not have asked for a better crew.

Happy as I was to go home, I was almost sorry to leave such good people.

Donald A. Holloway

Chapel Hill

Sound familiar?

If Ms. Shohfi and the Salaam-Shalom Committee (CHN, Aug. 11, really do seek an even-handed view of the Palestinian situation, then they might recognize the fact that the Palestinian leaders – of both Hamas and Fatah – repeatedly claim a requirement that they kill all of the Jews.

Doesn’t this remind one of Adolf Hitler?

Miriam and Larry Slifkin

Chapel Hill

Perpetuating myths

Why must Sharon Shohfi in her Aug. 11 letter perpetuate the myth that Gaza and the West Bank are under the finger of an Israeli giant in the manner of the Scriptural Goliath?

Let’s look at some relevant facts. Israel, a country the size of Delaware, has about 8 million inhabitants, of whom approximately 6 million are Jewish. Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Pakistan, Indonesia, and the rest of the Muslim countries have a population of about 1 billion. Can someone explain the desperate need to destroy the Israeli homeland, located in the only democratic portion of the Middle East?

Over the years, Israel wisely invested the foreign aid it received to help build its country’s infrastructure and people’s prosperity, while also providing certain protective benefits (Iron Dome, anyone?). The Palestinian leadership instead squandered billions of dollars in foreign aid on weapons intended to obliterate Israel and then protests bitterly to people like Ms. Shohfi when Israel responds to stave off further attacks.

The bottom line: If the leaders of Gaza would lay down their swords and tomorrow turn them into plowshares, we might see peace. A resurgence of Reconciliation would be most welcome.

Stanley J Robboy

Chapel Hill

Black and white

It didn’t take long for me to figure out where Ms. Johnson and Ms. Okun are coming from when they started their commentary with the phrase “the unjust nature of the verdict” (CHN, Aug. 4,

Didn’t they watch the trial? The state of Florida did everything they could including withholding evidence and choosing an obviously biased judge to try to get George Zimmerman convicted. But they couldn’t because Zimmerman acted in self defense. The FBI investigated and found absolutely no evidence of racism.

Yes there is racism in this country but I submit to you that blacks are just as guilty if not more so than whites. There is an automatic assumption among blacks and even among many liberal whites that if you are white you are a racist.

When are people going to get over what happened 50 or more years ago. I think it is Thomas Sowell who said how can you have a black baby and a white baby lying next to each other in a nursery and have the white baby already owe something to the black baby.

Vincent M. DiSandro Sr.


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