Letters to the Editor

03/15 What you’re saying: Anne Havisham, Tania Dautlick, Grace Marsh, Jeanette Wagoner, Mike Whittingham, Arlen Custer, Cecily de Forest, and David Price

A win for custodians, schools

Re “Durham public school custodians to get higher pay, benefits. What will it cost you?”

Congratulations to the custodial staff and their allies! It’s a win for the schools, too. Custodians who are employed by Durham Public Schools are likely to feel more loyalty to an organization that includes vacation and sick leave – as full-time employment should. That will show itself in improved relationships, a lower absentee rate, a higher rate of retention and continuity, and cleaner, safer school buildings.

Anne Havisham

via www.heraldsun.com

Right move for community

Re “Durham public school custodians to get higher pay, benefits. What will it cost you?”

This is the right move for the employees and for the entire school community. Putting dignity and security first will lead to conscientious care for our spaces, the chance to build mutual meaningful relationships among staff and students, and my hope is that it will lead to significant reinforcement of our school system’s waste-reduction efforts too.

Tania Dautlick

via www.heraldsun.com

Honoring Scott Holmes

Distinguished law professor Scott Holmes will receive the Elna B. Spaulding Founder’s Award on March 22 at the Partners for Peace Celebration in Durham.

Holmes has been a steadfast advocate for social justice. It has been a busy time for Holmes who last month won an acquittal for one of the protesters charged with toppling the Confederate statue in Durham. And just last week, Holmes stood in a Wake County Superior Court on behalf of Moral Monday arrestees arguing that the N.C. General Assembly did not have the constitutional right to delegate rule-making authority to a Legislative Services Commission to make rules about “where people can go, what they can do and how much noise they can make” inside the Legislative Building.

Serving as a lead attorney for Moral Monday protesters, Holmes is not a newbie when it comes to fighting for civil rights. He has advocated for a more equitable criminal justice system on behalf of immigrants, children, and the mentally ill. Over the course of his legal career, Scott has challenged the constitutionality of the court costs statute in Wake County Superior Court, the panhandling ordinance in Durham, racial profiling and police brutality. He has been a steadfast supporter of the First Amendment rights of North Carolina’s most vulnerable populations. In addition to practicing law, Scott is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Law and Supervising Attorney in the Civil Litigation Clinic at the North Carolina Central University School of Law, where he not only teaches but advocates for justice by representing numerous clients whose civil rights have been violated.

The award recognizes the achievement of individuals who embody the trailblazer spirit of the late civil rights champion, Elna B. Spaulding, founder of the Women-In-Action for the Prevention of Violence and Its Causes, now known as Elna B. Spaulding Conflict Resolution Center. Former honorees include Mayor William Bell, Mary Ann Black, the late Ann Atwater, Rep. Marcia Morey, Professor Irv Joyner, and Bob Beason, to name a few.

The “Partners for Peace” celebration will be held at Hill House at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 22. For tickets, visit http://partnersforpeace.pingg.com/PartnersForPeace. To SPONSOR/make a contribution, visit http://www.crc-mediation.org or call 919-680-4575.

Grace Marsh

The Elna B. Spaulding Conflict Resolution Center


Way past time for change

I am a long way from Parkland, Florida, but I want the students at the school to know how much I appreciate them and others for their brave actions in demanding change in our present gun laws. It is way past time for change.

I hope the young students, their parents, grandparents, and others will make a million-march on Washington and demand justice for those who have been murdered. It is too late for these, but not for those left behind.

Why were these and others murdered, we ask? I believe it has been because our spineless senators, congressmen, the president, and others have not been brave and sensible enough to make needed changes to protect them and the rest of us. I hope this letter will somehow reach Parkland, Florida. Good Luck to those who are willing to fight for the lives of those they love, and ours. God Speed on your march to Washington!

Jeanette Wagoner


Hollywood security detail

I was glad to see the Oscar ceremonies begin and end peacefully with no incident. Celebrities were able to freely speak their minds about gun control and other political issues, all the while surrounded by 500 well-armed officers and private security details.

Sadly, folks in DC and Hollywood tend to speak out from an alternate universe.

Mike Whittingham


Better beef

Re: “McDonald’s brand-new burger rolls out today. Here’s our verdict.”

The article on McDonald’s release of their new fresh burgers mentions “poor Ronald McDonald” and all the things he’s juggling to keep up with the demanding food market. While “poor Ronald” is making changes to McDonald’s beef, here’s one more thing he should juggle: the use of beef raised without routine antibiotics.

Routine use and overuse of antibiotics on the factory farms that supply meat to chains like McDonald’s contribute to the growing problem of antibiotic resistance and the looming danger of incurable superbugs. Seventy percent of the antibiotics sold in the US are sold to factory farms, and that number needs to go down. Personally I don’t want to see the day when common infections become untreatable and even deadly.

Here’s my verdict: if McDonald’s is really looking for better beef, the best thing they can do is to stop buying beef that endangers the health of our nation.

Cecily de Forest


‘Erratic and reckless’

On Tuesday, Congressman David Price (D-NC) released the following statement after President Trump announced on Twitter that he is firing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and replacing him with Director of the CIA Mike Pompeo.

President Trump’s firing of Secretary Tillerson over Twitter is another profound example of the chaos and amateurism that has characterized this White House from day one.

Make no mistake: Rex Tillerson will go down as one of the worst Secretaries of State in history, leaving us isolated on the world stage with our diplomatic capacity in shambles. Being consistently embarrassed and undermined by his boss may garner him sympathy among beltway pundits, but it doesn't improve his record of ineptness and self-inflicted damage.

Director Pompeo’s nomination might mean a Secretary of State who is more in sync with the president, but it won’t resolve the basic problem he faces: an erratic and reckless President and a diminished and disillusioned diplomatic corps.

U.S. Rep. David Price

4th Congressional District

Chapel Hill

Skewed analysis

Aside from Mr. Wendell's March 10 letter showing his bias, partisanship and false assertions about liberals thinking, his claim of Trump being a highly successful businessman ignores a lot of facts.

Mr. Trump has gone bankrupt six times to the tune of over $2 billion. leaving lenders, contractors, suppliers and employees holding the bag for his bad business practices. We the consumers ultimately pay for this. His practices are so bad that there isn't a bank in America or Europe that would loan him money. So he went to the only country that would loan him money, Russia. We must ask ourselves why would Russian interests loan him money given his track record?

Being a socially liberal-minded businessman my understanding of a highly successful businessman is one that pays his bills without gaming the system and still makes money. Maybe the conservative view of a successful businessman is one that leaves his morals behind and gets it any way they can. Given his history letting Trump be Trump would suggest that America will be bankrupt before he leaves office.

I further can't understand how anyone would think that a businessman would necessarily make a good president given that the goal of business is completely and in every way different than that of government.

Arlen Custer