Letters to the editor
Excellence in urban forestry?
For “excellence in urban forestry,” Durham’s being recognized again by the National Arbor Day Foundation.
Ironically, City Council just passed an amendment that makes it easy to plant fake trees in Durham. The Director of Planning can permit cell towers disguised as pines - 2 times taller than our native ones - in residential zones without residents’ say-so. Three neighborhoods insisted Council make cell towers that target residential zones a legislative rather than an administrative process. The Inter-Neighborhood Council, long-time advocate for the interests of Durham communities, after ambitiously studying the amendment and the city’s 700 page Development Ordinance, concluded both have embedded illegal provisions.
“The process for approval of these cell towers by the Planning Director,” said INC, “is unlawful discretionary decision-making.” Ironically, Council’s stated urgency in passing the amendment was to be “in compliance” with NC statutes that oblige municipalities to clear up non-legally supported “discretionary provisions.”
On the bright side, Council indicated that because of citizen advocacy a full review of Durham’s cell tower approval process is on their horizon. The Mayor asked Planning for a timeline when this could unfold. If you care what happens where you reside, ask City Council to stay on task on the towers at Council@DurhamNC.gov.
Our lives run on wireless. That fuels the assertiveness of the telecommunications industry. So let’s remind our elected councilors, “As you forge a balance between resident and tower, offer us democratic process - the founding value of all our levels of government.”
Outstanding work by outdoors columnist
Jason Hawkins' "Outdoors" columns in the Sports section alone are worth the subscription price to your newspaper. His essays are thoughtful, beautifully written and belie a spiritual philosophy embedded in the nature that surrounds us. Just outstanding!
Better debate needed on budget issues
There have been several letters to The Herald-Sun lately regarding reduction of the national debt. A few have discussed tax increases. More have urged a considerable spending decrease. I personally feel we need to do both.
My parents' generation did not leave us with a debt crisis. I prefer not to leave one for the next. Therefore, I would like to see the debt reduced as rapidly and responsibly as possible.
For those writing regarding spending reduction, it would be beneficial to discuss specifics. Phrases like "getting rid of the deadwood" offer no insight. For example, I have read that, due to the nature of warfare today, we could close at least a couple of large military bases in the country without jeopardizing our national security. Yet no congressman wants a base closed in his district due to the ensuing voter fallout.
The biggest drains, of course, are the programs which supposedly will benefit us all at some point in the future - Medicare and Social Security. What can be done without destroying the safety net for those at the lowest end of the pay scale? Is the Republican-backed voucher system a viable option to Medicare?
I would like to see discussions on these and other issues rather than back and forth generalizations.