Chapel Hill: Opinion

March 25, 2014

Your letters, March 26

There is a profound irony in the manner in which the Town Council approaches the issue of students moving into the Northside neighborhood.

A profound irony in council’s logic

There is a profound irony in the manner in which the Town Council approaches the issue of students moving into the Northside neighborhood.

Under the guise of protecting the interests of the black community, they have used various zoning laws to deter students from moving into the area. In short, they are saying this is a black neighborhood and we want to keep it that way.

Why government-sanctioned efforts at segregating the community haven't caused more of an uproar has always puzzled me.

There has been great consternation among council members that rising property values make it difficult for lower-income black families to stay in the area. Oddly enough, they don't see lowering property taxes as the solution, but instead try to lower the value of the property these lower-income families own.

I would guess we will never see any of the council members proposing inane zoning rules in an effort to lower property values in the neighborhoods in which they live. Common sense would dictate that a neighborhood three blocks from campus would have a high student population. Instead of working to integrate students into the community, the Town Council seems far more determined to wage war on both sides.

Zach Arble

Chapel Hill

Misinformation and rhetoric

As a board member of the N.C. League of Women Voters with a long career in the financing of health care, I was chagrined by both the tone and the content of the information presented by Chris Conover to the Joint Study Commission on the Affordable Care Act Monday in Raleigh.

If the four co-chairs of the so-called ‘Study Group’ were trying to defend their anti-ACA stance, then inviting Mr. Conover to present an overview of the ACA was understandable. If instead their intent was to educate the legislators and the audience about the ACA, which should be their intent, then they failed dismally.

Mr. Conover’s presentation couldn’t have been more anti-ACA, more slanted, and frankly more off target from a factual perspective. By making an offhand and derogatory mention of Sandra Fluke, and by prefacing his remarks with the suggestion that the initial “A” in ACA should stand for “Abominable,” Mr. Conover was intentionally inflammatory.

I am horrified that this is what passes for “study” content and that this is the way our legislators get their information. Informing legislators who are responsible for making critical decisions about the health-care services available to North Carolinians should be grounded in facts and substantive analysis, not intentional misinformation and rhetoric. With over 200,000 North Carolinians already enrolled in Marketplace plans, it is clear that the ACA is here to stay and that our legislators should get with the program.

Janet Hoy

The writer is the vice president for League of Women Voters of Orange, Durham and Chatham Counties

Vouchers benefit kids

Josh Ravitch has managed to write an evidence-free attack against school vouchers (CHN, March 14, If he were aware of the growing body of research on vouchers, perhaps he would be astonished, for it shows that vouchers are beneficial to kids and society on almost every measure.

For one, several studies actually show that vouchers increase racial and wealth integration, opposite to Ravitch's rather offensive implication that private schools are for rich, white kids only. Without vouchers, private schools are accessible largely for families with the money to both pay for taxes to support government schools and for private tuition. That means a lack of vouchers actually increases racial and financial segregation.

Studies also show that private school students are more tolerant of people they do not agree with. That's an environment more children should be able to enjoy, especially since the lack of it seems to have produced folks like Ravitch who are ignorant enough to slander Christian, Jewish, and Muslim schools as rife with “indoctrination” for merely teaching their historic beliefs, such as loving your enemy and caring for the poor. That's definitely something society needs less of, right?

Joy Pullmann

The writer is an education research fellow at the Heartland Institute in Chicago.

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