Letters to the Editor

04/21 What You’re Saying: Alex Charns, Marcia Harris, Richard Leber, Amy Scurria, Tofunmi Olaleye, Janice Putnam, and Julie McClintock

Trumpian bond schedules

I agree with Allyn Sharp that the money bail bond system punishes the poor (“Cash bail system preys on, profits off the poor,” April 22) A wealthy accused teen with their own car, a passport and a retained lawyer is less likely to appear in court than a teen who works at McDonald’s and has a court-appointed lawyer.

Presumptive bonds should not exist. If they continue as a rough guideline, they should be on a sliding scale based on wealth. A schedule of Trumpian bonds predetermines who wins and who loses in our criminal justice system.

Alex Charns


Rescind resolution

Do you live in Durham or visit its many shops, restaurants, and local attractions? Are you aware that according to national crime statistics, in 2016, on a scale of 1 (lowest)-100, Durham’s violent crime rate score was a whopping 64, compared to the national average of 31? Yet in a smug, short-sighted move, on April 16 the Durham City Council passed a resolution opposing “international exchanges with any country in which Durham officers receive military-style training…” The resolution singularly mentions Israel as a country with which they will not engage in training.

Firstly, who defines “military-style training”? I guess the council members can use this phrase to avoid training with any country they dislike. None of the training in Israel has been with the military, but rather with the Israeli police. At a violent crime rate over double the national average, does the City Council really believe that Durha is doing such a great job that it cannot learn from other countries with far greater expertise in counter-terrorism and in decreasing crime?

At least 300 high-ranking sheriffs and police from New York and Maine to California have benefited from Israeli training. Participants speak highly of the experience. Former U.S. Capitol Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer called Israel “the Harvard of antiterrorism.” Former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed made the following comments as he rejected demands to stop allowing the Atlanta Police Department to train with the Israeli police department:”I happen to believe that the Israeli police department has some of the best counterterrorism techniques in the world. And it benefits our police department from that longstanding relationship.” Atlanta’s deputy police chief Joseph Spillane praised his Israeli peers for …”how far they go in regards to human rights and the rights of the people they may be investigating.”

I urge the Durham City Council to rescind their ill-conceived resolution. Perhaps they feel there is no need for such training of their police at this time, but why preclude the possibility in the future?

In the meantime, I’m happy to live in Raleigh, with a violent crime rate of 36, plenty of great restaurants, shops, and entertainment, and a City Council with common sense!

Marcia Harris


Greene for Orange commissioner

I am writing to endorse Sally Greene for Orange County commissioner. I’ve known Sally since she first ran for Chapel Hill Town Council in 2003. I supported her then because of her commitment to affordable housing, a commitment she has steadfastly maintained over her 13 years of council service. Most recently she spearheaded efforts to have 149 apartments built for families of low- and very-low-income people who need safe and secure housing. The DHIC project leveraged $6 of funding for every $1 of local funds.

Given the county’s affordability crisis, the kind of expertise, vision, and leadership Sally has demonstrated is critical. I’m voting for Sally, and I hope that you will too.

Richard Leber

Chapel Hill

An action of integrity

Sen. Thom Tillis and I don’t always agree on our politics, but on this issue, I am deeply proud to call him my senator. I want to thank him for sponsoring the bill to protect Robert Mueller. I know that we both agree that the rule of law is so deeply important to the integrity of our nation and our government. And to protect the investigation where that rule of law might have been ignored, is so very important.

I know that this action goes against our president’s wishes and against the wishes of the aenator’s party, but it’s an action of integrity. And I am deeply appreciative that he is taking this action. I’ll be rooting for this bill.

Amy Scurria


ERA is fundamental

America is one of the few industrialized nations that has not yet recognized its women as equals. The Equal Rights Amendment would provide blanket protection to women for all time. State laws can be overturned and repealed, thus reversing positive strides and eroding the rights and freedoms women should already have. The arguments against the ERA have been weak and demonstrate a resistance toward progress as well as the intent to legislate inequality.

The ERA is non-partisan. Equality is fundamental human right. The text of the ERA reads: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”

Tofunmi Olaleye


CHALT endorsements

On April 20, the Chapel Hill Alliance for a Livable Town announced its endorsements for the May 8 Orange County Democratic primary election. For Orange County Board of Commissioners, CHALT endorsed Brian Crawford for the at-large seat, Jamezetta Bedford for District 1, and Earl McKee for District 2.

Crawford, 54, is a practicing attorney at Sanford Holshouser law firm, specializing in community development. Brian is a doer, a former chair of the Orange County Planning Board, and founder of the County Affordable Housing Advisory Board. A skilled consensus builder, he knows how to work across organizations and connect governments with private sector and other stakeholders. Additionally, Brian recognizes the need for a stronger, more cost-effective public transportation system that improves access to jobs, health care, and education for all Orange County residents.

Bedford, 59, previously served as chair of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board and will bring to her work on the BOCC her deep understanding of the challenges facing our schools as well as their strengths. As a practicing CPA, she brings much needed expertise in fiscal policy and finance.

McKee, 65, is an eight-year incumbent Commissioner who has established a record on the board for practical solutions that are strategically and fiscally sound. As co-chair of the Emergency Services Task Force, he was instrumental in recommending solutions that reduced emergency response times and increased overall efficiency. Earl has advocated for regional bus transit solutions that will benefit all Orange County residents and has demonstrated a healthy skepticism regarding the merits and cost-effectiveness of the proposed Durham-Orange light rail project.

We believe that these three candidates will provide the BOCC with the best combination of experienced leadership and fresh perspectives.

Julie McClintock

Chapel Hill

Bring back prayer

Such sadness from the recent school shootings, bullying and lack of respect for others. Students are marching and making demands to limit guns in the hope this would be a solution.

Before we rush to listen to advice from young people, let’s remember what happened in Syria when a young man started disruption and the result of thousands being killed and millions displaced ensued.

Instead of limiting more freedoms let us consider the source of the problems. We have removed prayer from our schools. Back in the day we started with the pledge of allegiance. Then we had a prayer or devotion. Teachers required respect and were backed up by the office and principal.Prayer can have an impact at all levels. From calming when you take a few quiet moments to reflect and ask for strength even in driving and daily activities.

Common sense is gone. Instead of taking away freedoms from law abiding citizens who only want to protect themselves and their property, let's encourage the restoration of prayer and the referral of those with mental concerns to those who are equipped to deal with them our wonderful social workers and other.trained professionals. Prayers for our country and leaders including school teachers and students. God bless America.

Janice Putnam


Speak up

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