Your letters, Feb. 12

Raleigh News & ObserverFebruary 11, 2014 

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Cemetery solitude

I am writing in opposition to cramming more subsidized, low-income housing next to Chapel Hill Memorial Cemetery. We already have our share in this neighborhood. There must be another location with trees that can be cut down to make way for crowds of people. I much prefer the solitude of the cemetery. I hear enough of screaming children in the supermarket.

A contributor wrote in Jan. 5 Chapel Hill News advocating future burials be made at locations farther from the current location on Legion Road and involving only “green burials.” This indicates an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality.

Many people are opposed to cremation or other types of alternative burials. They have a right to full-body burial at a convenient location for family and friends to pay their respect. It should not be so far away that it requires taking a day off from work to go there.

In many large cities, cemeteries are located in the center and serve as places of interest, reflecting local history.

In this county, we observe holidays to honor certain individuals and erect costly monuments in their memory. How much more ought we to honor beloved family and played a prominent roll in our lives? If a family wants to put up a tombstone, that is permissible. Mowing is no problem. People have been trimming around them with hand clippers for centuries. It is called “Maintaining the grave.”

I see this as another maneuver by the “Town Planners” to foist something onto residents in spite of their opposition to it. They ask for “feedback” but continue their love affair with developers.

LuVerne Johnson

Chapel Hill

Schools a county priority

Thank you for the Chapel Hill News story on the Orange County commissioners’ retreat on Jan. 31.

One item in the story requires clarification. The article stated: “The county’s longstanding policy is to dedicate up to 48.1 percent of its annual budget to city and county schools.” This is a common but not minor misconception that fails to fully reflect the county commissioners’ strong support for public education.

The 48.1 percent is a target, not a cap – a way to provide predictability and disciplined budgeting. Whatever you may hear or read, the county staff in fact builds a budget based on the assumption we will allocate 48.1 percent of annual general fund expenditures to both school systems.

According to figures provided by Clarence Grier, the county's chief financial officer, since 2000 we have allocated an annual average of 48.2 percent of our general fund resources to schools.

Over the past five years, challenged by the recession and cuts in state funding, we increased the education portion of county funding to an average of 48.59 percent. For the fiscal year 2013-14, Orange County responded to pleas to help keep teacher assistants in the classroom by raising the school quotient to 48.99 percent.

The commissioners fund a range of services, from public safety to public health, libraries to social services, land use planning to economic development, parks and recreation to solid waste disposal. But we start with schools. Only once since 1996 did the Orange County commissioners dedicate less than 47 percent of spending to public education.

We lead North Carolina counties in total school spending as a percent of our budget, and believe we reflect the will of our constituents in doing so.

Barry Jacobs


Orange County Board of Commissioners

McCrory’s priorities

A letter writer in last Sunday’s Chapel Hill News thinks that Gov. McCrory needs to rethink his priorities (CHN, Feb. 2, I think he has them exactly right. He is doing exactly what the voters who elected him sent him to do. We were fed up with the corrupt tax and spend liberals who ran this state for the past 100 years.

With respect to gay marriage that is a matter which should be left up to the voters in each state. You can always find a judge to agree with your point of view and one person’s opinion (the judge) should not be forced on the entire population of the state. And so far, the people of North Carolina do not want gay marriage. With respect to voter ID, 20 or 30 states already have voter ID. I view it that anyone opposed to voter ID is in favor of voter fraud.

With respect to Obamacare anything which can be done to stop this trainwreck can and should be done. It was enacted based on a lie with not one Republican vote. It is destroying our health-care system, costing a fortune and helping very few people while it harms very many. On Medicaid the writer has the typical liberal attitude that federal money is free money. It is not. It is our tax dollars and they are more often than not, wasted.

Suggesting that our current leaders are not leading with foresight and justice is plain wrong. It may not be to the writers liking, but they are doing just fine by me.

Vincent M. DiSandro Sr.


Another solution 

About the article published on parking at UNC Hospitals, by Mark Schultz (CHN,

There is another solution for the problem of the lady from Apex and for anyone else to consider.

Telephone Triangle Transit Authority at 919-485-RIDE. They will help you plan your trip, and send to you proper schedules, costs and any information you will need.

James Sansom


Offense offensive

Katelyn McCracken finds naming a dormitory after a pro-education former governor (Aycock) who also held some racist beliefs to be mentally offensive (CHN, Feb. 2, Yet, she has no problem attending a university bearing the name (Duke) of a person who made his fortune using slave labor in his tobacco fields as well as that of those that increased the fortune by poisoning people with tobacco products. Her offense to the lesser crime is in itself offensive.

Robert L. Porreca


OWASA seeks community input

The OWASA Board of Directors cordially invites you to comment on Thursday, Feb. 13, on our Draft Strategic Plan for fiscal years 2014-17.

The board has spent nearly a year developing this plan to guide OWASA as we seek to improve our services. Public involvement is a crucial part of OWASA’s strategic planning, and we need your participation to make our planning process successful.

Please share your thoughts, questions and suggestions with us on Thursday, Feb. 13, at 7 p.m. in the Community Room at OWASA’s Administration building, 400 Jones Ferry Road, Carrboro.

We also invite you to comment by Thursday by e-mail to; by letter (400 Jones Ferry Road, Carrboro, NC 27510); or by fax (919-968-4464).

The Draft Strategic Plan includes seven strategic initiatives:

• Provide a reliable and high quality supply of water for the next 50 years.

• Engage the community.

• Implement a new customer billing and financial management system (if justified).

• Adopt financial management policies and budget decision processes to ensure affordable services and fiscal sustainability.

• Implement an Energy Management Plan.

• Implement advanced metering infrastructure.

• Develop a plan and policy framework for long-term management and disposition of OWASA lands.

Citizens who wish to receive a paper copy of the draft plan or who have questions are invited to contact us at 919-968-4421 or; write to us at our street address; visit; or send a fax (919-968-4464).

Our strategic planning process is a wonderful opportunity to share our vision and increase our engagement with you about how OWASA should best serve the community. With the benefit of your perspectives and values, our Strategic Plan will be a powerful instrument for continuous improvement.

Alan Rimer




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