Opinion

11/12 What you’re saying: Joe Moran, Rodrigo Dorfman, Nia Wilson, Rebekah Radisch, Steve Hutton, Sandra Hesketh Howerton, and Valeria DeMers Truitt

Skewed logic

President Trump, commenting on the shooting in Texas, called it a “mental health problem at the highest level” and not “a guns situation.” (The New York Times).

Were we to follow that skewed logic we must conclude that what happened there was simply this: a mentally deranged person walked into the church and started shouting insane things to the people assembled there. Upon witnessing his crazy behavior 26 innocent men, women and children fell down dead on the spot and scores of others lay injured.

One wonders what on God’s precious, blood-soaked earth it will take for our president and the members of Congress to finally wake up and smell the gunpowder.

Enough of their meekly and abjectly asking for prayers and locked hands!

If Senators Burr and Tillis, and the rest of the NRA’s generously-backed NC Congressional Delegation (here’s a link where you can find who they are: (http://wapo.st/2hqwhmL) continue spineless in the face of yet another massacre of innocent men, women and children, well then it’s time for them to be “politically” retired.

Joe Moran

Durham

Who should fill seat?

The question of who should finish Mayor-elect Steve Schewel’s term on the City Council, prompted this exchange on editor Mark Schultz’s Facebook page. (Send Mark a Friend request to join future conversations.)

Rodrigo Dorfman: Durham NEEDS a Latino woman connected with grassroots to be on the City Council, and unless she is nominated, it’s going to be a long time before a Latino wins a seat at the table. That’s just the political reality right now. I hope Steve will make the right choice with the guidance of other members. I have been voicing this for a while publicly and privately because it matters.

Alos, the biggest mistake non Latinos make is to see the Latino population as uniform. It is not. And with all due respect to many of my Latino friends who have managerial/professional positions/jobs, they cannot represent the majority of the Latino population in Durham which is mainly working class Mexican and Central American.

Nia Wilson: No demographic is uniform. And there are other demographics that equally are underrepresented in Durham. It is not up to what the council wants it is up to the people. What is the work being done to lift up the suggestion that you are making Rodrigo Dorfman? While I don’t disagree with it, I think there are many underrepresented people who feel the same way. Have we had a candidate from the Latinx community run for office? If not, why? We definitely need to to work to ensure that Durham is more equitably represented but I think asking the progressive white man to bypass all the people who ran for office this time, and go with who he thinks is best is a dangerous move to say the least.

I don’t know what the [selection] process should be; I just want it to be transparent and for there to be some serious community discussion. Maybe a community listening session.

Ted Maynor: Maybe a quota system? How about the most qualified PERSON? The most underrepresented population in our city on the council are white, straight, educated, moderate males?

Undercover or underhanded?

Our story on students outing an undercover police officer they said had infiltrated a group protesting UNC’s Silent Sam Confederate statue generated these questions on Mark’s page:

Rebekah Radisch: Why are campus police so militarized now? When I was at UNC, in the wacky ‘’80s, Lieutenant, then Captain, Mauer wore his simple uniform as he strolled the campus beat. He was just being a presence and being pleasant; he and most of the other campus cops of my acquaintance weren’t looking for people to harass or arrest. Now UNC has motorcycle cops with predatory speed traps near the hospital, unusually large vehicles, bomb-sniffing dogs, serious weaponry. It’s oppressive and an obscene waste of resources and trust.

Steven Hutton: Good reporting, but several unanswered questions. Did the Chancellor know/approve this surveillance? What is the extent of the surveillance? Are campus police maintaining files on students/faculty? Are they investigating people, as in doing background checks? Following Facebook pages, etc? Did they try to “borrow” an officer from another campus or jurisdiction? If not, why not? Did they not anticipate being discovered? What did they think the reaction would be once discovered?

I retired from UNC over seven years ago. During one campus protest in which I participated in April 2008, I was filmed by campus police. I suggested to the photographer that he ensure the footage made it into my police file. He said he would. In April 2009, campus police overreacted, in my opinion, by pepper-spraying some protesters at Tancredo’s speech. I believe there’s a definite, continuing misalignment between public safety’s perception of their mission and the campus community’s perception of what that mission should be and how it should be carried out.

The good doctor

Dr. Charles van der Horst’s column “Vy da minus?’ Mother asked. Who’s asking many children today?” (Nov. 6), which criticized state education funding, generated several responses on www.heraldsun.com, including

Sandra Hesketh Howerton: Absolutely correct, Dr. van der Horst. Teachers and education are greatly underappreciated here, and this nation is suffering and will continue to suffer because of it.

Valeria DeMers Truitt: Some parts of North Carolina have higher costs of living than other parts. In those areas that are more costly, the counties rightly pay a supplement (or a higher supplement) in order to attract and keep good teachers. However, it is the responsibility of the state of North Carolina to provide an adequate education for its citizens to be able to succeed in life and be prepared to meet the challenges of life. When after many years of hard work, the General Assembly had achieved the goal of funding NC schools at “the national average” and seen test scores rise accordingly, the elected representatives to the General Assembly changed the definition of “adequate.” Chaos ensued.

Education key

I read “It’s academic: Climate change, sea level rise?” (N&O, Oct. 22) with enthusiasm. It is so apparent that we are now faced with the consequences of climate change. We need these students, from a broad range of disciplines, to guide us in building newcommunities and rebuilding the destroyed communities.

Recently, Hillsborough and Orange County signed referendums committing to being fossil fuel-free by 2050. Infrastructure for new neighborhoods and businesses are being built and planned for continually. How fortunate that so many educational institutions are preparing future professionals to design and build our neighborhoods and businesses with the most advanced clean technologies. These architects, city planners and civil engineers will provide the means to protect us from the destruction of climate change.

I challenge all municipalities to hire professionals trained to help us build fossil fuel-free communities so that we can stop the progress of global climate change. I propose that all future building and repair be accomplished with a recognition of our vulnerabilities to climate change, especially on our coastline.

Kim Piracci

Climate Reality Leader, Durham

Integrity needed

UNC-Chapel Hill avoided NCAA penalties by arguing, in effect, that any Chapel Hill degree might be worthless, not just athletes’.

It was less than 30 years ago that UNC system president C. D. Spangler Jr. observed, “Athletics and academics are in tension by the nature of their time demands, but athletics and academics cannot be allowed to be in conflict in a great university.” Spangler reported that although an investigation of N.C. State University’s basketball program had found no major violations of NCAA regulations, “the spirit [though] not the letter of the law” had been broken, since it was “clear that [NCSU’s] academic processes and standards [had] been misused in a number of instances to benefit some individual basketball players.’’

Consequently, Spangler asked for athletic director Jim Valvano’s resignation. That’s what integrity looks like. We seem to have forgotten.

John Shelton Reed

Chapel Hill

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