Letters to the Editor

09/09 – What you’re saying: Carol Folt, Sandi Velez, Curtis Gatewood and Alan Culton, Bruce Joffe, Thomas T. Struhsaker and Larry Reed

Folt disappointed

Editor’s note: UNC Chancellor Carol Folt released this statement Friday:

I am disappointed in the vote of the UNC Board of Governors today regarding the Center for Civil Rights. I believe that the University and the people who testified on behalf of the Center made a compelling case about why the Center is so important to the people of our state. I am proud of the Center, its history and all who worked so hard to answer the board’s questions and provide important facts about how the Center serves the needs of our citizens.

We now must determine a path forward for the Center and reconfirm our commitment to educating the next generation of civil rights lawyers and providing assistance to the poor and disadvantaged in North Carolina. I will work with other University leaders, stakeholders and the school of law to explore all options and develop a course of action that allows us to continue this vitally important work while adhering to the new policy adopted by the Board of Governors today.

The School of Law is one of not only the University’s strongest assets, but it is one of our state’s, training generations of students who continue on in service to the state, the nation and the world. That tradition of excellence and service is the core of the school’s identity and it defines our greater purpose.

Chancellor Carol Folt


Defending DACA

Thank you, Attorney General Stein, for defending DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals).

It is a shame that Gov. Roy Cooper’s communications director, Michael Leach, refused to attend a community gathering or provide a letter of support for three North Carolina immigrant families trapped in sanctuary spaces due to “conflict of interest” because it’s a “federal issue” and after all, “realistically we are partners with the Feds.”

What the Governor’s Office should understand is that most of these families have mixed statuses and you can’t defend DACA and arrest and deport the rest of the family.

Sandi Velez


Health and the environment in Durham

The population of Durham is expected to increase by at least one-third in the next 18 years. Unfortunately, this growth in numbers will not improve our quality of life.

There will be an increase in traffic congestion, air pollution, noise pollution, and water pollution, all with negative impacts on the health of our community. Yes, even noise pollution affects our health (hearing impairment, hypertension, ischemic heart disease, sleep disturbance, stress). No matter how strict our storm water regulations may become, they will not prevent the negative effects of more impervious surface (roof tops, streets, parking lots). The pollution of Jordan Lake will increase as Durham’s population increases, adding even more to our tax bill for the cleanup.

We are facing serious problems, but rarely, if ever, does one hear political candidates debating the health issues caused by environmental degradation resulting from our increasing population. The current and projected growth in Durham’s population is a serious problem that will put more stress on our already over-stressed city and county departments, such as schools, law enforcement, health facilities, road maintenance, and storm water. This population growth will also stress our health and environment, our quality of life.

Let us hear from the candidates who are running for mayor and City Council of Durham. How will each creatively deal with these negative impacts of population growth? Who has the best specific plan?

Thomas T. Struhsaker and Larry Reed


Sugar-coated sermons

The Joel-Olsteen-type of mega-church, mega-money, mega-mansions, mega-book-deals, mega-materialistism are only “mega” examples of ministerial malpractice.

These types of lukewarm happy-go-lucky sugar-coated sermons that are afraid to confront evil principalities; afraid to oppose evil people in high places; afraid to address the true systemic injustice of the poor, the oppressed, and most vulnerable will be exposed by God. They have nothing to do with Christ.

In the book of John, chapter 10, The “Good Shepherd” is willing to “lay down his life for the sheep.” The “hireling” takes the money and runs and “leaveth the sheep to be scattered.”

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is exemplary of a Good Shepherd. Dr. King said it best in how we can determine true soldiers in the ministry – “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands during times of comfort and convenience, but where he stands during the time of challenge and controversy.”

In the “challenging and controversial” time of Trumpism, God will expose those who are attempting to make millions off a “comfortable and convenient” form of “religious” leadership.

Jesus’ willingness to be whipped all night; wrongfully incarcerated; wear painful thorns on his head; embarrassingly and exhaustingly carry his own heavy cross; have nails driven through his hands and feet; hung up on the cross; and be stabbed in his side was done to show how the true servant or “Good Shepherd” must be willing to sacrifice while confronting evil head-on on behalf of the flock.

This notion that we can live large, comfortably, without life-risking sacrifice while serving the God of justice is just a “convenience” created by cowards or crooks or the anti-Christians.

Another Good Shepherd known as Malcolm X also said it best – “If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything!”

The Rev. Curtis E. Gatewood


Harvey’s silver lining

The news that was hot a year ago has come and gone. Remember when North Carolina was being boycotted for HB2? Just two years ago the people of Houston, Texas, voted to ban transgender people from the ladies room. Probably not a good idea to boycott Houston right now as the ladies room is now under water. Silly boycotts are for comfortable times.

But if Harvey has a silver lining it’s that the statue people and the anti-Trump media had to move over for real news at least for this week. The Russians must be behind this.

Alan Culton Chapel Hill

Vulnerable Dreamers

Eight hundred thousand Americans trusted our government when they registered to become “legal” under the DACA program. They believed that by following the rules, this country, into which they arrived as children and for all intents and purposes is their home country, would accept them as legal immigrants.

Now, Trump has terminated the DACA program and threatens to begin deportations within six months. The “Dreamers” who trusted are now vulnerable and at risk. All their personal information is in government files, available to ICE whenever it decides to come after these people, who are our people – our neighbors, our colleagues, our friends, employees, and service providers.

This threat and fear extracts a cost, both on Dreamers and on all of us who believe that this injustice does not and should not represent who we are as Americans. Moreover, it destroys the possibility of success for any future government program that asks people to trust a commitment. No longer can anyone trust our government to do what it promises; anything can change whenever a self-serving, deceptive huckster or ideologue rises to power.

Bruce Joffe

Piedmont, California

The perfect fit

Southern School of Energy and Sustainability’s athletic department would like to welcome Mr. David Noel to our staff as our new Head Men’s Basketball Coach! After a thorough review of highly qualified candidates, we felt that Coach Noel was the perfect fit for our program.

Coach Noel brings over 22 years of basketball experience, which includes 4 years as a Southern Durham standout in both basketball and football. Upon graduating from Southern, Coach Noel received a full athletic scholarship from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he was part of the 2004 – 2005 NCAA Championship team. In 2006, Coach Noel was drafted in the second round by the Milwaukee Bucks and then continued his basketball career playing international basketball as well.

We are super excited to bring Mr. Noel on board and look forward to a great program being continued here at Southern School of Energy and Sustainability.”

Crystal Massenburg,CAA

Athletic Director

Physical Education Teacher

Southern School of Energy and Sustainability

What you’re saying

Please send up to 300 words to letters@heraldsun.com. Thank you