Letters to the Editor

04/24 What You’re Saying: Ben Lloyd, Joan F. Walsh, Ruthy Jones and Ban Haas

Orange sheriff outstanding

In the April 4 Herald-Sun John Hood, chairman of the John Locke Foundation, states in his column the importance of people in counties to not overlook what is probably the most important race in the upcoming election, that being election of their sheriff. This is surely true in Orange County as no elected official is more important than the one we entrust with the protection of our property and the safety of ourselves and our families.

When I was elected to the Orange County Board of Commissioners in 1982, I continued my friendship with many in the Sheriff's Office and met others, one of them a deputy there for just two years. This young man proved himself as an outstanding law enforcement officer to the extent that over the years, he rose through the ranks to major (second in command) under former Sheriff Lindy Pendergrass. Then upon the retirement of Pendergrass, Charles Blackwood was elected the 47th sheriff of Orange County in 2014.

The law enforcement leadership and protection that he has provided as sheriff, along with his 38 years of law enforcement experience has been a blessing to the people of Orange County. Please join me in voting for the re-election of Charles Blackwood for Orange County sheriff on May 8.

Ben Lloyd


New Duham sheriff needed

Durham needs a new sheriff. We lag behind Orange County in human rights for immigrants.

Despite many years of effort by supporters of immigrant rights, our sheriff continues to cooperate with ICE detainers. As stated in today's (April 18) front-page article about the Honduran woman given sanctuary at the Church of Reconciliation in Chapel Hill, ICE is happy to deport those recognized by immigration courts as having fled here to save their lives. What does asylum mean, if this woman is at risk of deportation?

ICE has a bed quota. Congressional appropriations law requires ICE to maintain 34,000 immigration detention beds on a daily basis, preventing ICE from exercising discretion to use dramatically less expensive alternatives to detention (ATD) that would allow individuals who pose no risk to public safety to be released back to their families while awaiting immigration court hearings. ATDs cost as little as 70 cents per day, a fraction of the $159 ICE spends to detain one person per day. Over the course of a year, immigration detention costs about $2 billion, or approximately $5.5 million each day. We the taxpayers could save nearly 80 percent of this money if ATDs were more widely used.

Clarence Birkhead has promised not to cooperate with ICE detainers, i.e., to treat immigrants like everyone else. When a person is otherwise free to leave our jail, they won't be held longer only so ICE can re-incarcerate them simply for having come here to save or better their lives. Mike Andrews and his predecessor Worth Hill have ignored the rights of immigrants for far too long.

Joan F. Walsh


Vigil for Jerome Jackson

On Tuesday, April 24 at 6 p.m., the Religious Coalition for a Nonviolent Durham joins the loved ones of Jerome Bryant Jackson in a vigil to honor his life.

We will gather at 1007 Moreland Ave., near where Mr. Jackson, 34, was fatally shot on April 3, 2018. A beloved son, enthusiastic Spanish speaker, and cherished co-worker at Durham Co-Op Market, Jerome's gifts to our community are immeasurable and irreplaceable. We gather in vigil to honor his life and legacy, to offer comfort to his family and friends, and to reclaim this site of violence as a place of peace. All ages and faiths are welcome.

Ruthy Jones

Ben Haas


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