Letters to the Editor

08/01 What You’re Saying: Altha Cravey, Trey Tanner,James bartow, Gabriele Pelli, Daniel Meier, Terri Buckner, Shanon Burwell, and Nickolas G. Staffa Jr.

The sheriff and ICE

Note: Last week we reported on the Orange County Sheriff’s Office releasing a convicted sex offender who was in the country illegally despite an ICE detainer request. Editor Mark Schultz asked on Facebook whether readers agreed with the sheriff’s position not to honor detainers, which ask agencies to hold someone for up to 48 hours past when they would normally be released, such as by posting bail. Here’s what some of you said.

Altha Cravey: Public safety is compromised when due process is routinely disrespected as ICE does. I support Sheriff Blackwood and others who stand up to #ICE's heavy-handed practices. I stand with others who are calling to #AbolishICE

Trey Tanner: The guy was in jail for almost a year ... if ICE wanted him, they should have taken him. State and local law enforcement are not here to work for the Feds ... nor should they treat one criminal defendant differently than another due to immigration status.

James Bartow: I am with Sheriff Blackwood on this. The person in question was charged and made a plea deal for time served after spending 200-plus days in prison. ICE cannot and shouldn't be able to force local law enforcement to do its bidding. I agree with Sheriff Blackwood when he says holding people in jail with no other cause except because ICE says so violates their rights. I also am not a fan of what ICE is doing here. It is true the person in question committed a serious crime. With that said using that as a justification for a policy that impacts an entire group of people is not just irresponsible but harkens back to the past when other immigrant groups such as Italian Americans were en-masse labeled as gangsters, anarchists and assassins. Policies targeting a large group of people shouldn't be influenced by a few people who happen to be part of that group. It’s collective punishment and wrong.

Gabriele Pelli: I'd like to know why in the world Sheriff Blackwood would release a convicted child sex offender (who's also in the country illegally and has a previous DUI)? How is that furthering public safety? How negligent.

Daniel Meier: You have to release them when they have served their sentence. The only question is do you hold them an additional 48 hours at the request of ICE (which some say is constitutional, some say is unconstitutional, and the courts haven't really decided yet), or let them go when their sentence is done. One thing this article shows, though doesn't emphasize, is a reason many support the ICE holds: When ICE has to go into the community to get the people they are looking for, they arrest anyone they come into contact with who isn't here legally. The article notes they arrested three or four others in the apartment. If they had been allowed to get their target at the jail, they wouldn't be going into the community as much (at least that's what they've stated).

Shanon Burwell: Blackwood is under NO obligation to abide by anything except the law. ICE is not the law. ICE is just another martial law group. Blackwood does his job and does it extremely well. If ICE wants to take someone into custody when they are released, then ICE needs to be responsible on their own to be there.

Terri Buckner: I am more concerned that sexual battery of a child is only classified as a Class 1 misdemeanor (150 days maximum sentence) than I am the ICE stuff.

Turning left

It has been my observation that most North Carolina drivers are still in rural driving mode, not knowing how to make a left turn in heavy traffic. I have checked the DOT’s manual and there is little on making left turns except to follow all signals and yield to on-coming traffic – nothing about how to smartly make a left turn when only a round solid green light is displayed.

When driving and you want to make a left turn and you approach a traffic light which is green, but there is traffic coming from the other direction, because the light is green, you may enter the intersection and wait for the light to change and the oncoming traffic to stop. Because you have already entered the intersection on a green light, you may then proceed with your left turn, even if the light has turned red.

Do keep your wheels straight while waiting so, if you are hit from behind, you are not forced into on-coming traffic. When you go to make the left turn, you will have to crank the wheel harder to the left than if you waited behind the line, but you are not lazy, and if you move far enough into the intersection, the person in back of you may then enter, at least his front wheels, and thus also make a left turn. You’ve done your daily good deed.

Nickolas G. Staffa Jr.