Your letters, Feb. 2

January 31, 2014 

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Don’t cry for P.J.

Lewis Margolis holds UNC responsible for the astonishingly irresponsible behavior of P. J. Hairston (Your Letters, CHN, Jan. 26, UNC does bear responsibility for the widely reported athletic and academic mess, but Hairston's behavior does not relate to this.

It is simply absurd to say that “the only amateurs in this so-called collegiate model are the players whose skills generate such vast sums.” Hairston is certainly one of these but was hardly engaged in “a vocation in which they are not fairly paid.” Hairston has done quite well for himself and will likely be paid millions in another year, playing in the NBA. I doubt that he regrets the time spent at UNC which gave him this opportunity. I would like to think that he benefited from academics here, but perhaps this is too much to hope for.

Certainly the salaries paid to coaches are obscene, but I find no fault in a system that pays “scholarships for classmates in non-revenue sports.” We do have the example reported in the N&O of Morehead-Cain Scholar Casey Burns who played field-hockey for four years at UNC and is currently a UNC law student. Certainly there are many other examples in non-revenue sports and perhaps, even in revenue sports.

I find it hard to cry for our athletes, “engaged in a vocation for which they are not fairly paid.” Stars like Hairston will get amply rewarded in “deferred compensation.” I believe that the others, both in revenue and non-revenue sports, are at UNC because of the love of their sport and for an education. A small number of them are compensated with a free education which I hope they will benefit from.

Elliot M. Cramer

Chapel Hill

McCrory’s priorities

The governor laid out his priorities. But he and his people in the General Assembly need to rethink what they’ve been doing. They should look at the signals telling us how wrong the path is that they are taking in our name.

Within recent months, two federal courts have struck down bans on gay marriage and another ruled voter ID to be unconstitutional. A North Carolina n court just ruled that the new GOP law mandating that women who choose abortion must undergo ultrasound and require an M.D. to explain it to her. These are the same lawmakers who refused to help North Carolinians obtain the health insurance they need because they said the Affordable Care Act was unwarranted intrusion of government into medical care.

But North Carolinians talked back to them by becoming one of the top populations in the country to sign on to Obamacare, with nine in 10 of them receiving subsidies to help them pay for it.

The governor should also pay attention to his fellow Republican governors who are choosing to expand Medicaid and take advantage of federal dollars that pay for all of it in the first years and 90 percent of it later, which is a much better deal than what North Carolina’s current Medicaid allows now. Meanwhile, North Carolinian taxpayers are paying for Medicaid expansion in other states.

Meanwhile, other states are investing in the future of their states and their economic strength by investing in all levels of education, including providing tuition assistance to undocumented students, allowing immigrants to get drivers licenses, and discouraging the break-up of their families by refusing to abet deportation.

Other jurisdictions are raising minimum wages, while this governor and his party have chosen to cut off financial support to long-term unemployed people, deprived many of the working poor of help under the Earned Income Tax Credit, and burdened low-income buyers with more regressive sales taxes but cut taxes for the wealthy. North Carolina is distinguished by its high poverty rate, especially among our children, and its low pay for teachers.

The governor’s 2014 priorities and plans of General Assembly leaders have every indication of more of the same: disregard for the ordinary people of the state, and importing outside private contractors to “solve” problems in ways that are likely to continue to reward friends and privatize public services.

If our official leaders continue to fail to lead with foresight and justice for all, then let North Carolina voters choose women and men who will.

Nancy Milio

Chapel Hill

Nothing poetic about it

I was both shocked and saddened to read Sally Keeney's laudatory coverage of the Arleth family's development of “Frost Forest” on Whitfield Road (CHN, Jan. 26,

My family has lived on Whitfield Road for over 30 years. Our house is on part of the Yeargan family farm, just as Frost Forest is. Leaving aside how out of tune with the neighborhood the development is (and how unlike anything Robert Frost ever conceived) do you really want to sing the praises of a family that requires a 9,000 square foot home for six people?

In light of Chapel Hill’s commitment to a low-carbon foot print, should we not deplore, rather than advertise this development as a life style to which we should aspire?

Betsy Dawson

Chapel Hill

Ephesus-Fordham plan makes no sense

Re “Form-based code could simplify Chapel Hill planning process,” CHN, Jan.26,

OK, I live one black away from the Ephesusus-Fordham area. I like walking to Whole Foods and to Trader Joe’s. I do NOT want to live next to a big box store, with all the trash, crime, crowding, noise, etc. If I wanted that I would move just down the street to the corner of Mt. Moriah and 15-501, less than two miles away.

I already pay some of the highest property taxes in North Carolina. Nothing in this plan makes sense. It’s a huge flood plain they are talking about building in. Which just recently flooded. And this is an outright lie” “Taller buildings also are expected to increase the number of people working and living in the area, increasing the demand for local places to shop.” Unless Microsoft, SAS or Cisco is planning to put offices there, nobody working at these retail shops is going to be able to afford to live there. My wife and I are in the higher-income brackets and we can just barely afford to live there with the higher property taxes and property values.

The area is already a traffic mess. We just recently had a pedestrian killed on Fordham crossing over to University Mall. Plus this corridor is already expected to get even worse as it is the traffic conduit for all the development in Chatham County on 15-501 to get to I-40.

Oh and now my property taxes get to go up yet again to pay for this debacle: “The town is drafting a master stormwater plan for the area and looking at ways to finance the work, including a bond, using Town Hall as collateral for a loan and creating a Municipal Service District that would tax property owners and developers. The town has estimated its stormwater upgrade costs at more than $1 million.”

This is all about some developers who own property at that corner and bought some apartments as a speculative investment looking for a payday. I'm sick of Ph.D. urban planners trying to force their version of Utopia on me. I feel my neighborhood is being forced to take what the rest of Chapel Hill doesn't want. Maybe it's time to just move.

Christopher Rose


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