Letters to the editor
An apology for DSS incident
On or about Aug. 31, 2011, I published a memorandum, the subject of which was: Concerns Regarding Ex Director/ Media Publicity. The memorandum was addressed to: Mike Ruffin, Durham County Manager; Michael Page, former chair of the Board of County Commissioners; and Joe Bowser, former county commissioner/DSS board representative. The memorandum contained various statements regarding the hiring of Mrs. Catherine Simmons by Mrs. Gerri Robinson, former director of Durham County Department of Social Services.
In publishing the memorandum, it was not my intent to suggest that Mrs. Simmons was unqualified for the position for which she was hired, nor was it my intent to suggest that Mrs. Robinson’s hiring of Mrs. Simmons was an example of nepotism. I apologize for any confusion that my statements may have caused the public. What’s more, I sincerely apologize for any grief that my statements may have caused Mrs. Simmons and her family. Moreover, I respect Mrs. Simmons for her nearly 30 years of service to the Durham County Department of Social Services.
Montina D. Swift, DSS Employee
Climate hoax charge ‘ludicrous’
If there is a hoax being pushed in discussions of climate change issues, it is coming from folks like Harry Phipps in his letter of Feb. 14.
Polar bears are dependent on sea ice for their survival and Arctic sea ice is disappearing fast. The impact varies geographically among bear populations, but the retreating ice means it is further away from their food source, and the earlier spring melt means less time for the bears to hunt. The collective result is a decline in bear population. Furthermore, regarding Mr. Phipps' comment about ocean acidity, the pH scale is a relative, logarithmic scale, so that a change in pH from 8.1 to 8.0 represents an increase in acidity (hydrogen ion concentration) of about 30 percent, sufficient to cause reduced availability of carbonate ions needed for making shells by many sea creatures.
Mr. Phipps seems to imply that the body of knowledge that defines our current understanding of how the earth's climate system works is a hoax, a deliberate deception. This is ludicrous, and such use of the term dishonors the lives and work of thousands of investigators across many scientific disciplines for more than a century. I recommend the small book, "The Discovery of Global Warming", by Spencer Weart to anyone wanting a serious summary of this evolving story. All living things on the earth, including us, are endangered as we continue to release gigatons of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere.