Letters to the Editor

07/22 What You’re Saying: Sara Malone, Loren Pena, Alan Culton, Wynne Coleman, Tamieka Howell, Scott St. Clair, and Shelly Green

Money well spent

The headline of the news article “$390,000 spent to protect statue” (July 14)) seemed intentionally deceptive and suggested a certain bias, but fortunately the second half of the article gave a fuller picture by quoting the statement provided by the university officials who released the information on the 2018 fiscal year costs of protecting a very heavily trafficked area of the UNC campus.

It’s a pity the reporters who wrote the article did not mention other things on McCorkle Place – including the Caldwell monument, the Unsung Founders Memorial, the Davie Poplar (burned by an arsonist last spring), and the Old Well – that are being protected from damage along with the Confederate memorial statue and the thousands of people who cross through the beautiful front quadrangle each year.

We live in divisive and dangerous times. UNC is open to anyone who wishes to visit the campus. If an average of 100 people crossed through McCorkle Place each day of the year (and many, many more people do tread those brick walks, on football game days, after big basketball game wins, and when attending programs at Memorial Hall at night), then the cost of protecting people and state property last fiscal year would be around $10 per person per day or less. It seems like money well spent to me. I’m grateful for the service of the university’s Public Safety officers, and I hope the same level of protection continues to be provided so long as any potential or real threats are a possibility.

Sara Malone


Demand hearings

I am writing to request in the strongest possible terms that Sen. Thom Tillis and Richard Burr represent the interests of their constituents.

Please demand congressional hearings on President Trump’s remarks regarding the investigation on Russia meddling in the 2016 election and his doubts about the US intelligence community. His remarks during the joint press conference with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki raise the highest concern for Trump’s allegiance to the United States of America and his ability to advocate for the American people.

Our senators’ remarks in response to the press conference fall short of action and do not convey the accountability that any elected official ought to have in the face of such grievous statements as the ones the president of the United States made this week.

Senators, please demand explanations from our president. Please hold him accountable. Our democracy is in serious jeopardy, and constituents fear that we are already too far gone. Impeach Trump.

Loren Pena


Easy there, fella

FBI guy Peter Strzok reminded me of Maj. Frank Burns from MASH: sanctimonious, hyperpatriotic and running around with Hot Lips Hoolihan. (In this case Hot Lips refused a congressional subpoena.)

Strzok said FBI guys have ethics and integrity “unmatched anywhere in the world” and that questioning said integrity is “deeply destructive” to our staid institutions etc. Right, and did you ever hear a Catholic priest say that his integrity was unmatched anywhere in the world because he is a Catholic priest? Can integrity be assumed by the club you belong to? James Comey used the same argument but with a softer, obtuse approach with those large Gary Cooper eyes, “It may be true, it may not be true, I don’t know.” Poor old Strzok tried the same theme of righteousness by association, and he looked like a pit bull on a chain. Easy there, fella.

Both James Comey and Peter Strzok are using the same defense. They are polishing their FBI badges til they shine so bright they blind half the population.

Alan Culton

Chapel Hill

Transparency problem

I recently experienced exactly what Colin Campbell describes in his excellent commentary “Here’s how to fix the General Assembly’s transparency problem”: (July 20).

In a late-night vote in April 2017, the state Senate suddenly passed SJR 36, a North Carolina request for Congress to call an Article V “convention of the states.”

Without notice, the vote was slickly accomplished at the midnight hour by fast-tracking SJR 36 through a rapid sequence of three closed-door committee meetings. They were scheduled so quickly that the public had no time to become informed, attend, testify or adequately respond.

One day before the last day of the session , a House Judiciary Committee meeting on SJR 36 was held with less than 24 hours’ notice to the public. One minute was allowed to me and to those few North Carolina citizens who, through constant vigilance, managed to make it to the meeting to speak to the issue.

The question of calling an Article V convention to alter or abolish the U.S. Constitution is the most critical issue in American government. Yet the sovereign people who created their state legislature were left in the dark or intentionally prevented from fully participating, as they are on so many other issues.

Wynne Coleman

The writer is the chair of the No Convention of States-North Carolina

Keep teens vacciinated

As our adolescents prepare to return to school, it’s important that we remember that while buying new backpacks and school supplies, signing up for sports and after school activities, we also need to make sure our kids’ immunizations are current.

So often we feel that something could never happen to us or our family. But some illnesses like influenza, the reality is quite different. Last flu season, nearly 400 Carolinians died from the illness. Nationwide, among children who died from flu, the large majority had not received a flu vaccine.

Vaccines are critical for protecting our teens from serious and sometimes deadly diseases.

North Carolina has seen its share of even rarer diseases that have had epidemic waves in our schools. Pertussis – commonly known as whooping cough – has had several outbreaks in North Carolina schools over the last five years. Its potency can also have deadly effects, especially for babies too young to be immunized who are exposed to whooping cough.

The N.C. Academy of Family Physicians is proud to partner with the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services and the N.C. Pediatric Society to support Adolescent Immunization Month. So as you get your adolescents ready to return to school, take a moment to talk with your teen’s primary care physician. Keeping your child vaccinated could very well save their life.

Tamieka Howell, M.D., president, NC Academy of Family Physicians

Scott St. Clair, M.D., president, NC Pediatric Society

An ADF for everyone

The American Dance Festival is underway for its 85th year, and we’re celebrating because the festival is a collective display of movement meant for all of us to enjoy. Let’s say you haven’t been to many dance performances (perhaps this festival offers an opportunity to attend your first). You’re probably not quite sure what to expect, but don’t worry: attending a contemporary dance performance doesn’t require a leap of faith – merely an open mind. If you’re someone who enjoys self-expression, surprise, delight, color, and mystery in live performances, watching dance is no different.

We asked Mollie O’Reilly, marketing and audience services associate of the American Dance Festival, how she would sum up this year’s special collection of performances. She said: “Modern and contemporary dance are terms that are always changing and evolving. Sometimes you’ll see a show and think, ‘Hey! That makes sense!’ right then and there, and sometimes you’ll see a show that leaves you perplexed for days. Either way, you had a reaction to a very immersive and fleeting art form. I think the most exciting thing about watching a live dance performance is being there, truly in the moment, knowing that you may never see something quite like this again.”

Whether you consider yourself a skeptic, a local talent scout, parent, millennial on a budget, or dance connoisseur, consider this an invitation to take the plunge into an immersive ADF.

Shelly Green

The writer is the president and CEO of the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Speak up

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