The General Assembly of North Carolina treats both state and local retirees as depreciating assets. In fact, a former NC Speaker of the House said the retirees lost 25% of their purchasing power in the first 10 years of retirement. It may be more now. I find it ironic that the legislature wants to improve the economic condition of the rural counties but fails to provide a cost of living adjustment to local and state employees.
The retirees help and stimulate the local economies for rural areas, with retiree money turning over three to four times in the local economy. Retiree money going to rural areas has more impact there than in urban areas. However, regardless of areas, retiree money contributes to the economic health of North Carolina. The retirees have earned their COLA as they continue to contribute to the well being of their communities.
Fund behavioral health
As a Durham county commissioner and board member of Alliance Health, the managed care organization (MCO) for publicly-funded behavioral healthcare services for Durham County, I urge the GA to stop cutting single-stream funding. These state funds are critical for providing services for uninsured/underinsured citizens with mental health, intellectual/developmental disabilities, and substance use disorder needs. Over the past several years, the legislature has drastically cut this important funding. To make up the shortfall, Alliance and other public behavioral health MCOs across the state have had to halt or abandon community reinvestment projects.
When you jeopardize the behavioral health safety net in this fashion, the whole community feels the effect with more people showing up in jails and emergency rooms for mental health crises or overdoses. I have seen firsthand the tremendous positive impact on our community of behavioral healthcare investments. Behavioral health crisis and urgent care centers are specially equipped to stabilize those experiencing mental health crisis and engage them in appropriate treatment. We need more of these vital services, and I implore the General Assembly to stop cutting the funding that helps make them possible.
Heidi Carter, Durham County Commissioner
Oil tanker attacks
After two more oil tankers were attacked in the Middle East, Secretary of State Pompeo and President Trump stated Iran was responsible for the attacks. Iran is attempting to get the United States to lift its crippling economic sanctions which have severely restricted its oil shipments. Iran is trying to interdict oil shipments from competing countries in the region and could be trying to drive up world oil prices, but this strategy runs the risk of the United States and other countries taking military action against Iran. We, and other impacted countries, should put an end to the Iranian attacks on the oil tankers by conducting mine sweeping operations in the Gulf of Oman, Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf. Impacted countries should provide naval escorts to the tankers. If necessary, Iranian naval forces should be neutralized, and while at it, we could take out Iran’s strategic weapons systems.
I would like to offer the Raleigh City Council a tool to use in its decision on the potential Peace St. Tower (“Kane realty floats $1 million for affordable housing for Peace street tower rezoning,” June 14) It’s a simple tool with lots of power. The title of the tool is pronounced (N-OH) or simply NO! The council should try it.
Regarding the Sunday op-ed “Why we brought hammers to a nuclear fight,” I continue to marvel at the naivete of those who would have the US downgrade or discard its nuclear weapons. Such weapons are dangerous if used, but that is the point of having them. No one dare use them. Every country in the world knows that. The non-state actors are a different matter, but I suspect even they realize the consequences. But it is our possession of such weapons that prevents their use. Do people not recognize what would happens if the US were to lessen its nuclear deterrent?
It would be ideal if the nuclear powers could agree to rid the world of such weapons, but that is not in the least realistic. Stay strong America. Keep nuclear weapons up to date and ready. It is actually the only assurance we have that such weapons will not be used against us or our allies.