Letters to the Editor

01/07 What you’re saying: Elise Dickinson, Larry Bumgarner, Mark Rodin, Robert L. Porreca, Dick Ford, Stewart Epstein and Barbara Post

Over the cliff

Trump has shown his instability regularly over the past year. However, his latest tweet regarding the nuclear “button” takes him (and possibly the whole country) over the cliff. He is demonstrably insane and should be removed from office as quickly as possible. It is up to Congress to put our safety before anything else. This is not entertaining bluster – it is downright dangerous and irresponsible. If Congress does not act, its members will be complicit in the consequences of this maniac’s behavior. I expect our legislators to work with their colleagues in Congress to remove him! I am tired of getting responses explaining how impeachment and removal work. I know that. I want action.

Elise Dickinson


Lost opportunity

One positive outcome of the Trump presidency is he has exposed the level of racism in our country. It is obvious, and Trump’s record at every turn is that of a racist. Black people were not welcome at his rallies, but somehow we elected him as our president.

In my lifetime, I saw no black players on baseball, basketball or football teams. Today, black players dominate many of these sports and it makes me wonder about the lost opportunity that existed years ago

Today, if you look at our system of justice, racism rules. We discriminate against blacks, Hispanics, and the poor. Our system of bail is a great example. If you are charged and can’t make bail, you can sit in jail for two years and will be offered a plea to a lesser offense rather than continue to sit. If you get a public defender, many do not have the time to actually talk to you and then usually encourage you to take a plea.

Our constitution promises equal treatment. It promises a speedy trial, but it is a joke. We are the most incarcerated nation on earth, and we can’t seem to figure out how to fix this. Thank you, Mr. Trump.

Larry Bumgarner


Where is the proof?

In her Jan. 3 column about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict Kylie Stephens asks us to learn from the history of the region. Stephens paints a picture of “land theft by hard-core Zionists” prior to Israeli independence 70 years ago and says the “Israeli military can enter Palestinian territory, arrest people or demolish homes based on their own discretion.” Israel’s founders invited Arabs and Muslims living in Palestine to stay in the new country. Those who did enjoy the same citizenship rights as Jews.

Stephens does not give any proof of the “violence and hard-core land theft” she writes about. As for the Israeli military entering into Palestinian-occupied areas of the West Bank and Gaza, consider what you might do if your relatives, friends or neighbors were attacked and stabbed causing death or serious injuries.

Iran through its Revolutionary Guard and QUIDS Force aids both Palestinian and Hamas attacks on Israeli cities and settlements. Current public demonstrations by Iranian citizens caused by their economic hardship and mismanagement of the Iran’s economy by its government will hopefully bring forth a government that wishes to live in peace without hatred towards Israel and the United States. That would foster constructive negotiations between Israel and the PLO.

Although I did not vote for President Trump, I give him credit for publicly recognizing Iran as a regional troublemaker and for his willingness to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Mark G. Rodin


Protest portent

After reading the article about the Durham County commissioner who thought requiring officials be notified before holding a protest gathering would dampen the fervor to demonstrate, I had a vision.

Protesters gather without notifying anyone of a planned demonstration. No peace officers are there to protect them from possible counter protesters. Counter-protesters show up, tempers flare. Confrontation becomes violent. People are injured. County gets its britches sued off because no one was there to provide protection.

Nah – couldn’t happen here.

Robert L. Porreca


Reject teacher-housing plan

The Durham school board wants to build “affordable housing” for teachers. The Board of County Commissioners will consider the request early in 2018. The commissioners should turn them down.

Other school districts have provided subsidized housing where housing costs are high or in rural areas where housing is lacking. Durham is listed as a city having low housing costs relative to income and is not rural.

As the North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research recently pointed out, neither of these circumstances applies in Durham: bit.ly/2lyzE9b

The school board plans to use land by the unused Lowes Grove Elementary School. But they have just reported that they need more classrooms to meet the state’s mandate of small classes for grades 1-3. Unsurprisingly, Durham Public Schools claims the site to be “too small” for the new classrooms they need.

The school board talks about the needs of our high-poverty students, but its actions say something else: an interest in trendy left-wing activism instead of helping the neediest

Before approving this ill-advised move by the school board, I hope the commissioners will ask them why this “solution” has any relevance to Durham. Both the commissioners and the City Council have pledged to bring affordable housing to Durham. This proposal subsidizes housing to much-higher-income residents than are targeted for affordable housing.

Public officials make hard choices between needed projects and mere “nice to have” ones. I’m disappointed that the school board is bringing this forward at all and that progressive groups favor this when we do not have sufficient housing for the poor. I hope that the commissioners will put the brakes on this boondoggle.

Let’s remember this for the school board elections in 2018. And I hope that the Board of County Commissioners decline to approve this scheme.

The schools receive $127 million of your tax dollars from the county. Let’s make sure they spend it for our needy students and not progressive gimmicks.

Dick Ford


Outstanding citizens

On behalf of Chapel Hill’s Davie Poplar Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR), I congratulate the seven high school seniors from Orange and Chatham County high schools who received the Good Citizens Award at the chapter’s Luncheon and Awards Ceremony held Dec. 9 at the Chapel Hill Country Club.

Selected by their schools as exemplifying the good citizenship qualities of dependability, service, leadership, and patriotism, in their homes, schools, and communities, the 2017-018 recipients are Casey Barnes, Woods Charter School; Arielle Martinez, East Chapel Hill High School; Hope Anderson, Carrboro High School; Carolina Sierra, Cedar Ridge High School; Erica Nettles, Northwood High School; Gabrielle Kmiec, Chapel Hill High School; and Lauren Coffey, Orange High School.

Six Good Citizens chose to compete in the optional Good Citizens Scholarship Contest. Three judges reviewed the applications and selected Hope Anderson of Carrboro High School to be the Davie Poplar scholarship winner. She now advances to the next level of competition for the NSDAR scholarship.

Congratulations and many thanks to these studentsfor their outstanding contributions to our schools and communities.

Barbara Post

Chair, Good Citizens Committee

Davie Poplar Chapter, NSDAR

Humane and just

My boyhood hero Robert Kennedy used to say that “Jobs are better than welfare.” As a liberal/progressive Democrat, I agree. But I would add that having a job that pays a good and living wage that is well above the federal government’s “official poverty line” is the human right of every American who is willing to lead a responsible and productive life.

Therefore, I am proposing that following the November 2018 elections, our president and Congress reverse the 2017 tax cuts and instead spend $1 trillion on a federal government jobs-creation bill that guarantees a job with dignity and respect to all Americans that not only pays well above the official poverty line, but which also pays well above the “near-poverty line” (which is 100 percent to 125 percent of the official poverty line).

It is the “humane” and “just” thing to do.

Stewart Epstein

Rochester, New York