Letters to the editor

Oct. 12, 2013 @ 11:57 AM

Writer wrong on Constitution

Dennis House (Oct. 9) criticized a writer for not knowing what is in the Constitution. However, contrary to Mr. House’s claim, the Constitution does not require that funding bills originate only in the House.
Rather, Article 1, Section 7 requires that "All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives." Revenue includes taxes, fees and import duties. Revenue is not the same as funding.
Funding determines where the money available to the United States government (which comes from revenue and borrowing) should be spent.
Under our Constitution, those spending decisions are made jointly by the President, when he proposes a budget under his executive authority (Article 2, Section 3), and by Congress as it decides how to provide for "the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States" (Article 1, Section 8). Under our system, after the President submits his proposed budget, Congress debates that budget, modifies it and eventually adopts a final budget. Alternately, Congress can decide not to decide by passing Continuing Resolutions, essentially saying we will never agree on anything better than last year’s budget, so let’s just keep spending that way.
Finally, Congress can allocate money outside of the final budget or can modify the budget by adopting appropriate legislation. Such spending proposals can originate in both Congressional chambers.
To claim that the Founding Fathers made initiating funding decisions the exclusive purview of the House is just plain wrong.
Ethan Hertz

Renovating DSS building ‘not viable’

Thank you for your recent article, “Public square could replace current DSS,” covering the presentation that I with County Engineer Glen Whisler and landscape architect Dan Jewell made to the County Commissoners Monday.  Since that article, we have seen several concerns raised about why the county would want to demolish the building.  I think that is a very important question and I would like to address it.

I have been a Durham resident for over 10 years.  I love this city and am tremendously proud of the development of our downtown.  The Freelon Group has made Durham our home for more than 23 years and has been a key part of its development over that time.  I can assure you we are fully committed to contributing to good urban design decisions for downtown.  Our evaluation of the existing DSS building concluded it is not a viable candidate for renovation.  While it served its purpose for many years, the physical configuration of the building would make it almost impossible to bring it up to current code and accessibility standards.

As was mentioned in the article, nothing has been designed yet for this site.  We are about to begin seeking public feedback so that we can determine the best use.  We want to hear from our fellow residents about what they want.  While demolition is recommended, we envision this property becoming an asset to downtown.  I invite all interested parties to engage in the conversation about what can happen on that site.

Kevin Turner

Principal, The Freelon Group