Body camera precedent
The massive public reaction to the tragic deaths of three black men at the hand of white police officers has led to a national call for use of body cameras to record and prevent any future mistreatment of suspects.
There is ample precedent. Animal protection activists have used body cameras to document egregious atrocities and safety violations by workers in the meat, dairy, and egg industries. The resulting videos have led to a number of corrective actions, as well as felony convictions, meat recalls, and even a $500 million civil settlement.
How ironic then that agribusiness interests in seven states (Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, and Utah) have now enacted “ag-gag” laws imposing severe penalties for using body cameras in their agricultural facilities. The language is typically drafted by the anti-consumer American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
Let’s hope that other vested interests do not impose similar restrictions on the use of body cameras by law enforcement officers.
Need for statement
Regarding the guest column “Don’t punish all for the misdeeds of a few” by Langston Luck (CHN, nando.com/o3 )
Accomplices are still guilty ... before and after the fact. This goes for UNC-CH fans putting athletics over academics as well.
Let's make a statement with our reaction, that UNC-CH is an academic institution first. The punishment for this institutional corruption should leave no doubt as to the focus on the university.
Regarding Entrepreneur gives UNC's pharmacy school $100 million gift (N&O, nando.com/nz)
While Mr. Esheleman's gift is an admirable act of generosity and a nice windfall for the Pharmacy School that bears his name, it does not begin to compensate for the damage the people he helped elect have done to the university or to the state in general.
For example, in fiscal 2011-12, the Republican state legislature imposed a $100.7 million, or 17.9 percent, cut in permanent state appropriations to UNC-CH. That's $100 million a year, every year, for the foreseeable future. And that doesn't include additional cuts in subsequent years or cuts to other schools in the UNC system.
And were it not for the tax cuts the legislature passed, which primarily benefit wealthy individuals such as Mr. Eshelman, there would be money to increase public school teachers' pay without cutting education elsewhere and money to invest in the state’s neglected roads, bridges and water systems.
Protect open space
One important aspect of development in Orange County is the buffer zone around Chapel Hill. For a citizen to expand their experiences into nature easily is such an important component of living here and raising children here.
I don’t like any of these new intense development proposals and think they treat too lightly the space that is not filled as important (both on the land and in the sky). I’d like to suggest that for the healthy minds and sanity of our future citizens, we require much more open space in order to earn a building permit. If the developer cannot provide it on site, it must be permanently provided in the buffer zone.
There are other counties and towns where humans can live if not here, but we cannot get back what we will lose if we don’t thoughtfully plan for the humans who do live here to be able to easily expand into nature.
Markets as town centers
Great editorial and a suggestion that makes tremendous sense!
You know how some malls calls themselves a “town center”? Well, a farmers’ market IS a town center! It’s where people gather to talk, exchange ideas, and connect with musicians, artists, entrepreneurs, farmers, and their neighbors.
Welcoming business creates more business – and the town leaders must be made to see that!
Jane Susan Gabin
A family’s escape
Peer Learning will sponsor a talk open to the public with Maija Harrington describing her family’s escape from the Soviets in post-war Finland at 11 a.m. FRiday, Dec. 12, in the Binkley Church lounge, 1712 Willow Drive in Chapel Hill.
Maija came to the U.S. from Finland in Jan 1949. Her father Olavi Alakulppi, a celebrated cross-country skier (world’s champion, 1939), received the Mannerheim Cross, Finland’s highest honor, for his role in the Winter War and Continuation War (WW II) vs. Russia. The family fled to the U.S. because Olavi’s post-war activities, considered “anti-Soviet,” landed him in prison.
Maija grew up as a U.S. Army brat, then received a BSN from Cornell University-New York Hospital School of Nursing, and master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston. She spent her career as a nurse, pediatric nurse practitioner, and professor of nursing and public health.
After background on the Winter War and her father’s role in it and in post-war Finland, Maija will describe her father’s escape from prison and to the U.S., and her mother Eevi’s later escape to Sweden from the family home, which was surrounded by guards hoping to re-arrest Olavi. Eevi, with 2-year-old Maija and 6-year-old Vesa, walked 15 to 20 miles across country to Sweden.
Thoughts and prayers
Regarding “Chapel Hill assistant principal raising money for kidney transplant” (CHN, nando.com/ny)
A heart warming and heart breaking story... Makes you look at your own life in a broader perspective. I should not even complain. May God bless Mr.Goode and his family. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Brandi Pop Hunter
I’ve gotten a little tired of reading self-righteous letters to the editor from people bragging about how their ancestors were legal immigrants. Unlike the majority of immigrants today, their ancestors were from Europe. (Of course, African slaves came to this country as legal immigrants since slavery was still legal for several hundred years, but it makes a lot of people uncomfortable to talk about that.)
The fact of the matter is that there were virtually no restrictions on European immigration until the 20th century. If you came over on a ship that landed in New York, you might have to be cleared through Ellis Island for public health purposes, but no law stopped people from entering the USA unless they happened to be Asian or some other undesirable type.
The quota laws favored mostly northern and western Europeans when those laws went into effect in the 1920s. It’s arguable that immigration law in the United States has been a mess from Day One. Rather than complaining about the newest wave of immigrants to these shores, it’s time for Congress to pass some comprehensive immigration reform that will meet the needs of the 21st century.