Letters to the editor Nov. 10
Understand gentrification process
This is in response to Lamont Lilly's column (Nov. 5), “Gentrification rocks N.C.'s historic black community.”
While I don't disagree gentrification can lead to the displacement of low-income residents, I do have some disagreements about how it happens. Mr. Lilly states "Gentrification is the process of replacing low-income distressed communities with new commercial and residential districts that cater to the middle and upper class." In fact, gentrification is a long, complex process that typically starts with individuals who cannot afford high rent moving into distressed neighborhoods so they can fix up a home and make it a nice place to live. Once a few individuals fix up a few homes in a neighborhood, it starts to appeal to more people, businesses notice, and only then do wealthier residents arrive.
I also question Mr. Lilly's reference to eminent domain. Mr Lilly states "eminent domain is once again uprooting mostly poor black residents." I read the news every day and have not seen anything about any recent examples of eminent domain. It would be very surprising if our government is invoking eminent domain to build designer strip malls, as Mr. Lilly implies.
Intelligent discourse on the topics of gentrification and eminent domain will not happen until we take the time to truly understand the processes those words represent. Once we have a full understanding of those processes and their effects on communities, we can work to find creative solutions that will help low-income residents feel a vital part of a prospering Durham.
Invest in education
Everyone reading this needs to support public education in North Carolina, support our schools and most importantly, support our teachers.
North Carolina ranks an embarrassing 46th in the nation in teacher pay and a humiliating 48th in per-student support. How are we to attract and retain the best and brightest teachers at that level? How are we to prepare our children and grandchildren for a tech-heavy future at that level?
The actions of our new state legislature and governor have turned us backward instead, and unfortunately that is the direction our kids will turn as well. Contact your state representatives in Raleigh and demand adequate investment in public education.
Permanently ban fracking
I was disappointed not to see a single article on the Oct. 25th Mining and Energy Committee hearing in any of the major news media, considering what a huge impact the regulatory decisions they are making about fracking will have on North Carolina’s future.
I think the public needs to know what their decision makers are deciding. The citizens of North Carolina don’t have to look far to find thousands of cases of groundwater contamination in nearby states where fracking has been allowed.
Yet James Womack, chairman of the commission, said at the hearing that there are no cases of groundwater contamination from fracking. I am astounded that the commission continues to go in this direction, especially given the recent Duke University study that showed high levels of radioactivity in fracked water. By allowing fracking, the commission will directly violate their mission which is to develop a regulatory program that will, among other things, “protect and conserve the State’s air, water, and other natural resources.”
The only way to adequately protect our clean water and open spaces is to pass a permanent ban on fracking, which I urge the Mining and Energy Commission to do.