Letters to the Editor

06/01 What You’re saying: Laura Gutman, and Craig Carter

Sheriff put safety first

The lead article on Memorial Day described a man who had come to the U.S. as an illegal alien about 11 years earlier, had two DUIs, had failed to appear in court regarding the DUIs, is not reported to have claimed asylum status as a pathway to citizenship status, and who was recently transferred by our local jail to federal immigration services at the request of ICE agents.

The article states he is a window-installer, so your reporter could have inquired if he has a valid Social Security number, and if there is an employer who has hired him as an illegal alien. A large part of the article was devoted to comments from the man’s attorney asserting his client had been wronged by our sheriff and to descriptions of the worries of his family.

Why did the Herald-Sun decide that the apprehension of an illegal alien with multiple DUIs and failure to appear in court should merit front-page, top-of-fold status on one of our most somber national holidays? Does the newspaper also support the position of the candidate for sheriff, Mr. Birkhead, who opposes honoring federal requests to hold people wanted by federal immigration officers? Does The Herald-Sun advocate that Durham be a sanctuary city?

The position of our current Sheriff Andrews is that his job is for “the safety and security of the community.” I thank you, Sheriff Andrews, for implementing your mission. Since the subject of this article is deeply relevant to the safety and security of our community, I could have wished for a stronger recognition of that reality.

Laura Gutman


Inequality in Orange County

Last summer my momma lay in the yard for one hour bleeding profusely as she waited for emergency services to help transport her to the hospital. She suffered broken teeth, multiple lacerations, bruises and a concussion. While angered, I wasn’t surprised because just 21 years ago my mother-in-law also waited for over an hour for medical transportation. While my momma thankfully survived her accident, my mother-in law passed away at Duke Medical Center. That night I had to look at my children and tell them that their Grandma was in Heaven. If you live in northern Orange County this is the expectation: high taxation with little representation.

Recently our county commissioners voted to build a new and larger jail on property that will have runoff that goes directly into the Eno River, water that Hillsborough residents drink every day. This was to the protests of many. How ironic that the place where African men who were once in chains and forced to clear and work that very same property will now be housed disproportionately in new shackles so the county can make additional revenue. It’s a sad fact that there are more African-American prisoners in America than any other race, yet in our progressive county we seem to want to encourage this trend by inviting more federal prisoners so our county government can help offset excessive spending on other special interests.

Twice in the past 20 years I’ve called 911 requesting assistance only to have my rural phone call bounce first to Durham, then Orange, then to the Park Service; I never received any assistance.

Inequality continues in Orange County, especially for citizens in the northern part of the county. While commissioners fight over a man’s right to fly a flag on his property, they seem to miss the point. We just want to be heard, represented fairly and treated with the same respect our neighbors in Chapel Hill and Carrboro receive. Yes, many of us are country folk, and while we may not have the fancy diplomas on the wall we have had to learn to take care of ourselves because we know that we can’t rely on Orange County.

Craig Carter


Speak up

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