Letters to the Editor

Durham City Council’s policing statement should include police chief’s full comments

Make chief’s statement whole

Apparently the recent meeting in City Hall between Jewish community representatives and Durham City Councilman Mark Anthony Middleton can be summed up in one word: mistrust.

Middleton felt it was necessary to record a meeting with three Jewish community representatives and two of them, Dr. Robert Gutman and Peter Reitzes also were of the same mind. It was reported when he learned Reitzes was recording the meeting at Dr. Gutman’s request, Middleton commented “from a good faith point of view, why wouldn’t you disclose that? It just felt a little icky.”

As one Jewish community and Durham resident who has written articles in the Herald-Sun opposing Jewish Voice For Peace and the City Council’s April 16 statement against military tactics and singling out Israel in the process, I feel Middleton’s desire to record what was said was equally “icky.” To me it indicates “you cannot trust Jews.”

Middleton mentioned Ferguson, Missouri, when asked why he supported the April 16 statement which mentioned Police Chief Cerelyn J. Davis’ comment “there has been no effort ...to initiate or participate in an exchange to Israel.” However, neither Mayor Steve Schewel or any City Council member thought it necessary to publicly disclose that Chief Davis also said “regarding the concerns of certain interest groups ... my training experience in Israel had nothing to do with terrorism, tactics, military tactics or the use of or exposure to military equipment.”

It is past time for Schewel to explain why Chief Davis’ complete statement was not made public.

Mark Rodin


E-cigs addictive

Parents, teachers, and officials are appropriately worried about the rapid rise of Juul and other e-cigarette use among teens.

E-cigarettes like Juul contain nicotine and emit toxic substances, and adolescents who use e-cigarettes have increased coughing, wheezing, and exacerbated asthma. These products are addictive, and are associated with increased use of conventional cigarettes.

Parents have filed lawsuits against Juul, including one describing parents’ efforts to stop their son from using Juul use by transferring schools, removing the bedroom door, and subjecting him to urine tests.

We suggest that the best approach to quitting Juul and other e-cigarettes is to get professional help. Free, evidence-based resources are available at 1-800-QUIT-NOW or www.smokefree.gov.

In North Carolina, high school student e-cigarette use increased by 894 percent from 2011 to 2017. Youth nationwide need to hear more about the addictive and harmful effects of e-cigarettes and all tobacco products. States and the federal government can help policymakers prevent e-cigarette and tobacco use through increased public education, stringent regulation, and legislation that allocates funds for youth tobacco prevention and cessation programs.

We can all help youth addicted to e-cigarettes conquer their tobacco addiction through prevention efforts, tobacco treatment, and support.

M. Justin Byron, Ph.D., Adam O. Goldstein, M.D.; and Leah M. Ranney, Ph.D.

Department of Family Medicine

UNC-Chapel Hill

Reduce wait for housing

First of all, I am resident in a Durham public housing community for 11 years and a graduate student in the social work program at N.C. State University. I am researching the issue of homelessness In Durham.

According to the March 13 Herald Sun article, “As Durham grows, so will homelessness” written by Dawn Vaughan, 1,200 people passed through Durham shelters and almost 300 people had no housing at all at some point in 2017. In my opinion, Durham has spent too much time and resources on revitalization efforts in the Southside, Northeast Central Durham and Southwest Central Durham target areas.

In reality, this revitalization has led to gentrification in these neighborhoods, where many low-rent housing units were torn down to make way for expensive houses. These efforts should have been focused on building more affordable housing for low-income families.

My argument is with the Housing Choice Voucher Program, also known as Section 8. The waiting list usually is closed. According to the Durham Housing Authority website, 6,500 people apply but only 1,500 people get housing vouchers. The agency uses a lottery to select which families get the housing voucher during one week every year.

I disagree with this lottery procedure which is unfair for many families who have waited for a long time. The procedure should be done case by case so more vouchers can go to the families who have waited the longest and people with disabilities. As for me, I waited 20 years for my spot. I implore to the city of Durham to reduce the waiting list effectively.

Lisa Fowler


The crumbling USA

The last two years have been the most stressful years of my life. The state of our government is in shambles and getting worse by the day.

What is being allowed in the White House is a disgrace to us and the world. We are subjected to daily lies and chaos which some have the audacity to state it is being authentic. What it is, is ignorance. Nothing has been accomplished but division of people and many whom seem to think they have a Trump pass.

We must all remember this is no longer the “Tale of Two Cities.” We must learn to co-exist in this one world that we have instead of letting a few destroy it, starting at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. We as a nation are on the verge of self destruction. Not everyone is meant to be a leader, starting with Donald J Trump, a name I don’t say and which sickens me to write. We must check ourselves and seek God or whomever you worship otherwise we are headed for damnation.

Cynthia Weeks-Baines


Speak up

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