Letters to the Editor

Letters: Duke should step up and support Durham-Orange light rail

Light-rail excuses

Regarding the news story “Duke can’t support Durham-Orange light rail without changes, president says in letter” (Nov. 20):

This is an easy letter to prepare because I wrote these words 18 years ago.

It seems to many in the Durham community that Duke tried a number of excuses why it didn’t embrace a regional rail station at the Medical Center — until one finally stuck:

1) too noisy (with the state’s busiest heliport, Durham Freeway and mile-long freight trains, some felt this was suspect),

2) ugly tracks (matter of opinion, others see clusters of parking decks as ugly too),

3) creates a wall at Duke (regional rail would open access to the Medical Center and help break down the walls),

4) loss of golf course corner (please, as the largest employer in Durham, Duke has a responsibility to help cut air pollution and reduce traffic — one would hope the small corner of a golf course is not keeping Duke from these benefits),

5) can’t find a site (the initial rail plan included a stop on Erwin Road and Duke told them to take it out),

6) Chapel Hill’s hill is too steep for regional rail (since when does Duke care about the incline of Chapel Hill’s hill — Duke should care about Durham).

Not until Duke argued that we should wait for a study of the U.S. 15-501 corridor did they seem to buy some time. The first six excuses seem to tarnish their sincerity on this seventh excuse. Now, 18 years later, Duke is piling on more excuses.

One must wonder if Duke is opposed to regional rail for the same reason Georgetown University was opposed to Metro in the 1970s — and everyone back in D.C. knew the reason for that. The Duke administration needs to stop being dishonest, step up and support this important regional project.

John Schelp


A disruptive plan

Regarding the news story “Chapel Hill neighbors shocked to find I-40 project could plow road through their homes” (Nov. 15):

I am not seeing the compelling transportation reasoning behind this expensive and disruptive plan. The state would be stealing value from these people if they didn’t buy out all these houses surrounding the change.

As a state tax payer, I would rather see those state funds apply to several more urgent transportation problems like sidewalks and fixing the bridge for safer multi-modal travel.

The people in this neighborhood should consider becoming part of Chapel Hill if they want the town to protect them. There are many good reasons to be part of a town or city. This is one of them.

Sally McIntee

via www.heraldsun.com

DOT, don’t destroy

Regarding the news story “Chapel Hill neighbors shocked to find I-40 project could plow road through their homes” (Nov. 15):

The N.C. Department of Transportation (DOT) plans to re-route Eubanks Road, a major street, through the old, tree-shaded Northwood neighborhood of one-acre lots in Chapel Hill, demolishing homes and isolating others.

The plan places the new five-lane road next to the community well system allowing roadway water runoff to potentially ruin the wells and impact our septic systems. The heavy truck traffic to the town dump and recycle areas, city buses, traffic to a major UPS installation and major shopping traffic will now travel through our peaceful subdivision adding noise, endangering pedestrians and fouling air quality.

It is amazing that DOT did not clearly notify the subdivision residents, or even the town of Chapel Hill of this plan. Traffic problems that DOT wants to solve have already been addressed by the town at considerable expense. This plan will likely cause a serious traffic backup at the N.C. 86/Weaver Dairy Road intersection. Synchronizing traffic lights in this area of N.C. 86 might greatly improve traffic flow, but this does not seem to have been considered.

DOT should re-evaluate their traffic assumptions using current data and not destroy homes, lifestyles, values and other aspects of this moderately priced historic subdivision.

Frank Barnes

Chapel Hill

Trump, time and again

On Tuesday, Congressman David Price (D-N.C.) released the following statement after the Trump administration issued a release defending Saudi Arabia’s denial of the murder of Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi.

Once again, President Trump has rebuffed our nation’s intelligence agencies to the detriment of our nation’s values and interests. The CIA has concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman ordered the assassination of American resident and Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, yet, Trump has taken his denial at face value and even joined the Saudi regime in smearing Mr. Khashoggi’s reputation following his death.

Time and time again, Donald Trump has trusted murderers and autocrats over his own national security officials. His affinity for strongmen and despots has put our national security at risk and diminished our reputation on the world stage. In the case of Saudi Arabia, it is also clear that his judgment is clouded by his personal financial interests and his disdain for a free press.

Given the Trump administration’s refusal to hold the Saudi regime accountable, Congress must fill the void of leadership in responding swiftly to Mr. Khashoggi’s murder — including reviewing the sales of arms to the Saudi government.”

David Price

Fourth Congressional District

Invasion fears

Oh, horrors! We’re about to be invaded!

Forget about our falling bridges, failing schools, and the millions of people who don’t have access to health care thanks to states like ours that refused to expand Medicaid. Instead, let’s be afraid, very afraid, of all those brown folks heading north, running from out-of-control violence and a level of poverty most people here have never seen and can’t imagine.

Let’s send down the troops, roll out the razor wire, and build a huge wall to try to keep them out. After all, what will they do here? They’re young and eager to work, and if past experience is any guide, they’ll work harder, work better, and work longer hours than most lifelong citizens do. They’ll work at the jobs most citizens won’t take at all, jobs we need filled. They’ll pay into Social Security – haven’t we heard it’s in trouble, needs more funds? And they’ll do this without much hope of ever getting any Social Security benefits themselves. They get to not be murdered by drug gangs supported by U.S. citizens’ drug cravings, maybe even pull themselves out of poverty through hard work, and we get to have our fruits and vegetables, our new houses and pretty landscapes, our clean hotels and schools and public buildings, plus more funding for Social Security and the countless other social benefits their tax dollars support.

Sounds like a win-win to me! What on earth are some of us so afraid of?

Joan F. Walsh


Thanks for the memories

Regarding Barry Jacobs’ column: “Remembering Durham sportswriter Al Featherston, who covered the ACC and more,” (Nov. 13):

I am very thankful for your memories of Al. I had the pleasure of working with him his entire tenure at the Herald-Sun. He was truly the one to go to if you had a question on ACC basketball or battles of World War II. His writings will be miss by not only Duke fans but anyone who loves basketball.

Harold Moore

via www.heraldsun.com

Chess championship

For the first time since Bobby Fischer famously defeated Boris Spassky in 1972 to win the world chess title, an American is competing for the World Chess Championship. American Fabiano Caruana is facing off in London against current world champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway.

It was front-page news back then, but I’ve yet to see any coverage of the current match in the newspapers. Hopefully this will address that omission. The match is currently tied after 10 rounds (out of 12), so Caruana still has chances of winning.

Conrad Conero

Durham Chess Club


Election abomination

In the midterm elections, the Republican House candidates won their elections by about 55 percent majorities. The Democratic House candidates won their elections by about 70 percent majorities. Ten Republicans won election; three Democrats won election.

This is what gerrymandering produces. It is an abomination. With fair election districts, the election might have flipped two more House races.

What I am writing to say is that the District Court that admitted the racial gerrymandering of the state legislature erred in not ordering corrections immediately, before the midterm elections. As a result, we now have House representatives elected under court-condemned districts for another two years.

If new districts had been required before the election, it is likely that most people would have adapted to the new boundaries. But also, given the excitement of the blue wave prospects, it is likely the voter turnout would have improved, since so fewer Democratic votes would have been wasted. The Republican turnout might also have improved, because their total vote would have been less certain. All for the good.

Phil Lawless


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