Your letters, Sept. 25

September 24, 2013 

Why not reroute Columbia lanes?

I’m just the messenger, but the idea was too smart to not pass along.

With three lanes being laid on Columbia Street, wouldn’t it be a good idea to route two lanes going onto campus in the mornings, and then reverse it later, and make two lanes coming out?

No need to re-invent the wheel, just put a two-sided sign up coming, and another leaving campus. Everyone would get to work without the usual headaches.

Don’t waste a perfectly viable opportunity!

Carol Barrow

Chapel Hill

Medical loan closet

While living in Hendersonville, an Episcopal church initiated a Medical Loan Closet (only for that county) which supplied used medical equipment, free of charge for 90 days, to the residents of that county. It met a great need for the community, which allowed residents to use crutches, wheelchairs, commode stools, shower transfer benches, and on and on.

By saving the government (Medicare and non-Medicare) money in supplying items for short-term use, it was a great service. For instance, if a person was having a knee replacement done, the orthopedic surgeons had a crosscheck list which they could supply the family with, and the equipment was waiting when that patient came home.

If any church or organization is interested in this endeavor, I can get the protocol for setting this up. There are some liability and maintenance issues which are easily resolvable. If one is interested, my phone number is 919-259-7215. This could be a great project, and much needed, for our community.

Jim Smith

Chapel Hill

Palmer’s colorful signs

I was just telling a friend how striking the campaign signs for Maria Palmer are: colorful, the green being a harbinger for the fresh ideas I know that she could bring to the Town Council.

I have known Maria Palmer now for two years, since I began working at Binkley Church, where she is a member. I have enjoyed facilitating Maria’s work teaching an ESL/Church School class for new immigrants, and have appreciated and admired her care and commitment to the “least of these.” May her signs and those of others motivate folks to vote!

Stephanie Ford

Chapel Hill

No gun-free utopia

The Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership’s opposition to concealed carry permit holders patronizing local restaurants is a solution looking for a nonexistent problem.

The Partnership and some downtown merchants are under the delusion that a window sticker prohibiting permit holders from entering their establishments is some panacea against potential violent crime. Actually, those stickers place a target on the backs of the employees and patrons announcing to criminals that THIS is the place you want to target, because there will be no possibility of someone with a licensed concealed weapon to stop any armed criminal. It is not coincidence that the four most recent mass shootings (Aurora, Newtown, Fort Hood, and Washington, D.C.) were carried out where the shooter was assured the victims would all be unarmed.

Chapel Hill has experienced significant violent crime and likely will see more. Downtown has had armed robberies with the criminal using a shotgun in the alley near the Varsity Theater, and at the University Mall. Nightclub patrons were shot in consecutive years on Rosemary Street with one killed and six injured. A father was beaten on Franklin Street and is now disabled after six brain surgeries. A woman was murdered in front of a school near Southern Village while waiting to pick up her child. Two UNC students were murdered in the last six years. An attempted daytime abduction of a UNC coed happened downtown as she jogged. And we have had our own version of a psychiatric patient, who was also a UNC law student, killing innocents on Henderson Street.

If Chapel Hill believes it is some sort of gun-free utopia immune to violent crime, it has a track record proving otherwise. None of these events were the result of legally licensed conceal carry permit holder actions. And none of them would have been stopped with the window stickers on Chapel Hill restaurants. But some of them may have been stopped had someone with firearms training and a concealed weapon been present.

Suzanna Hupp carried a licensed concealed weapon in Killeen, Texas. But Texas law in 1991 prohibited her from taking it into Luby’s Cafeteria. Her weapon was locked in her car outside when a man crashed his car into the restaurant, shot 50 people and killed 23, including both of Hupp’s parents. Chapel Hill merchants and the Downtown Partnership need to understand that licensed concealed weapons are NOT their threat and never have been. The people who are the threats will ignore your stickers or worse, use them as a means to identify the soft targets.

We prefer to patronize downtown merchants for meals, but already informed four of our regular destinations that we will no longer dine there due to their stance against Second Amendment rights and their misguided policy to make their establishments safer for criminals.

Perry Collette

Chapel Hill

Why not a poll tax?

Regarding the letters comparing requiring voter ID to requiring ID for flying, obtaining a driver’s license, or receiving medical care, I offer a modest proposal in reply.

While these comparators are all optional privileges for which we pay and which require ID for both safety and to ensure accurate billing, the letter writers seem to feel that these should be directly compared to a constitutionally guaranteed right of all citizens, namely the right to vote.

If this is true, then I suggest the N.C. Republican Party go beyond the indirect poll tax imposed by making people pay for birth certificates and other ID needed to obtain the “free” voter ID. Why not impose a direct poll tax? Certainly this would be unconstitutional, but that hasn’t stopped our legislators from proposing a state religion, attempting to ban the rising of the sea, unconstitutionally imposing the indirect poll tax, and abusing the constitutional rights of women, gays, and our children expecting access to quality public education.

If the N.C. Republican Party continues its pattern in this session, I expect this proposal to be swiftly implemented.

Josh Ravitch

Chapel Hill

Wrong foot

As an elected official in Chatham County, I was disappointed in Rep. Valerie Foushee's first statements after she was chosen as our new senator. Her statement did not express a desire to improve education, bring more jobs to N.C. or even to expand access to voting.

According to your story, her first thought after thanking party members and voters was, “ he first thing the party needs to do is take back the Chatham County Board of Commissioners.” Rather than say how she would represent us in Raleigh, she first thought of gaining more power for her party.

In Chatham we've come to expect our senator to rise above politics and work with officials of the district. For many years, we were represented by Sen. Bob Atwater, who never let politics get in the way of an effective working relationship. I sense with our newly selected senator those days may be gone, and Chatham no longer has the representation we deserve.

If Foushee is this openly antagonistic toward the local officials, I question how effective she can be in Raleigh, where she will be working with a majority of Republican senators.

Brian Bock

Chatham County Board of Commissioners

Real testing

If it is true that standardized tests test for the knowledge that is absolutely necessary to function in this society, it is essential that those who currently hold critical positions in this society take these tests and that their scores be made public. This "high-stakes" testing should start with all those who hold public office, from the governor on down.

Jerry Carr

Chapel Hill

Fedora on watch?

Wow! We read that UNC football coach Larry Fedora claims he neither saw, heard or smelled rules violations while he was an assistant coach at Oklahoma State (”UNC's Fedora shocked by SI investigation,” N&O, Sept. 12).

So is there a chance that he's a little more vigilant now that he’s the head coach at UNC?

Bruce Ladd

Chapel Hill

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