Letters to the Editor

07/01 What You’re Saying: Jack Wagstaff, W.B. Turner, S.K. McIntee, Shelly Green, Larry H. Rocamora, and Mark G. Rodin

Why were lids left open?

My garbage was collected by a Durham Solid Waste Management crew during a heavy rain storm June 26. The crew not only left the lid to my small roll out cart open but all my other neighbors’ in the 200 court of Cottage Lane after removing the garbage bags.

I cannot understand why the cart lids were left open when closing them takes a second and the crew who came was wearing rain coats and hats. Luckily I retrieved my cart just after the crew came, but my neighbors were not as fortunate.

My hope is the person in the Solid Waste Management Department supervising the collection crews will emphasize the importance of closing cart lids in inclement weather. If the goal of city employees is to provide excellent customer service, then why shouldn’t they take a moment to prevent storm water from getting into the carts?

Mark G. Rodin


Fix the pot holes first

Here’s a solution to the Broad Street bike lane controversy (June 28): Let’s scrap the project and use the money to resurface the many pot-hole-ridden streets in the greater downtown area.

Not only would this alternative benefit far more cyclists (safe, smooth surfaces), it would please many motorists. Moreover, the lack of downtown parking has been all the buzz lately and this project would eliminate heavily utilized on-street parking. Durham is experiencing rapid growth and must prioritize infrastructure projects that address both immediate and long-term needs.

Jack Wagstaff


We need problem solvers

I’m a WWII and Korean vet that served in combat as a rifleman in Germany. I’m also a born again believer that Jesus Christ died on the cross to save my soul eternally. My wife and I raised our five children with no government assistance. In fact we were givers instead of takers from our government.

After this introduction, here’s my reason for writing this letter.

We had an election in 2016 when Donald Trump was legally voted in as president of the U.S. I’m a conservative voter and have been for over 50 years. Our tax money pays senators and Congress to come together and solve the problems we have, but for over a year the Republicans and Democrats have blamed each other for the problems we have. We need problem solvers, not blamers. In running a business, when one has problems, to be successful you don’t play the blame game, you find the solution. That’s what our government officials need to do.

In my opinion President Trump has done more for the American people in 17 months than Clinton, Bush and Obama did in 24 years and I thank him for Making America Great Again and respected around the world.

W.B. Turner


Forest for the trees

Regarding P.H. Craig’s guest column “Why I have to clear-cut a part of the P.H. Craig forest tract in Chapel Hill

Thank you, P.H., for explaining the situation. Some people pay more attention to the individual trees than the health of the forest, and the region’s ecology.

If we want tree health, because we have caused most of the stress put on trees now, we now have to actively take care of them. We could lose our trees if we don’t.

A stand of dead pine trees is highly flammable, and we will have drought periods which will make a forest fire likely. If you care about trees, look at the pine bark beetle and climate change damage in other parts of the country, where there are, from an aerial view, large swaths of orange acreage, all of dead pine trees. While North Carolina may be too moist for this degree of damage, we don’t want to wait a find out.

S.K. McIntee

via www.heraldsun.com

Happy 150th, Durham

On April 10, 2019, the city of Durham will celebrate its sesquicentennial, which is the 150th anniversary of its incorporation by the N.C. General Assembly. For those of you around in 2003, this might seem a little redundant, so let me clarify.

The city of Durham began as a settlement (named for Dr. Bartlett Durham) and railroad station. Its birthday is considered April 26, 1853, when Durham was first recognized as a place by the U.S. Postal Service with the establishment of its post office. But the town (now city) wasn’t incorporated until 1869 after the Civil War ended.

Celebrations and commemorations held in 2003 were low-key. Within the past six months several citizen groups began convening independently to brainstorm ideas for the milestone. Some see big celebrations while others envision conversations and the development and execution of civic projects to observe the occasion.

Mayor Steve Schewel convened a group of about 25 individuals in April to discuss the sesquicentennial. Many ideas were shared, and the mayor appointed a small convening committee to assess the possibilities and make recommendations.

I was asked to spearhead the convening group along with Patrick Mucklow, executive director of the Museum of Durham History. We’re brimming with ideas to share with the mayor and the larger committee.

Because this is such an exciting event with multiple opportunities for collaboration, I’d like to make sure we invite all interested groups and individuals to be part of the larger celebration umbrella spearheaded by Mayor Schewel and the City Council. If you know of any organizations planning events, please let me know their contact information so that we can connect. Email me at shelly@durham-cvb.com

Shelly Green

President and CEO

Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau

Revise or repeal

I am writing to clear up confusion about the Statement by the Durham City Council on International Police Exchanges that was unanimously passed April 16, and to call for its revision or repeal.

First, the pertinent part of the statement which appears to be causing confusion is as follows:

“The Durham City Council appreciates receipt of the memo dated April 4, 2018 from Chief C.J. Davis to City Manager Tom Bonfield stating that ‘there has been no effort while I have served as Chief of Police to initiate or participate in any exchange to Israel, nor do I have any intention to do so.’ The Durham City Council endorses this statement by Chief Davis and affirms as policy that the Durham Police Department will not engage in such exchanges (emphasis added). The council opposes international exchanges with any country in which Durham officers receive military-style training since such exchanges do not support the kind of policing we want here in the City of Durham.”

One must read the statement as it is written and as the council intended. While singling out Israel is offensive for many reasons, it is the italicized sentence that prevents any exchanges with Israel by the Durham police that is most disturbing. While Durham police are prevented from participating in military-style training with any country, they are only prevented from police exchanges with specifically Israel. This singles out Israel from the rest of the world.

When I recently met with Mayor Steve Schewel, he confirmed that my understanding is correct. I asked him if the intent was to prevent police exchanges with only Israel and to prevent military-style training with all foreign countries. While I was hoping the answer would be no, Mayor Schewel said “yes.” Why did the council go further in preventing exchanges by the police with just Israel?

Second, I ask that the Durham City Council remove the specific mention of Israel from their April 16 “Statement by the Durham City Council on International Police Exchanges.” Israel is the only Jewish majority country in the world. Jews are in the minority everywhere else - in North Carolina, in the United States, and throughout the world. The petition and the statement singling out Israel resulted in the mainstream Jewish community feeling attacked and targeted by our local government. It has caused many Jews to feel unwelcome and marginalized in Durham. It is time for corrective action to be taken by removing mention of Israel in the City Council statement.

Larry H. Rocamora


Durham-Chapel Hill Jewish Federation

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