Your letters, June 13
06/13/2014 12:00 AM
06/11/2014 3:10 PM
Solar farms needed
Regarding “Solar Farm Planned North of Chapel Hill” (CHN, bit.ly/1hJjmoU), I sympathize with the residents of the Falls of New Hope neighborhood who voiced their displeasure with the construction of the solar farm.
However, if they and others have not seen the most recent episode of the “Cosmos” series (global warming), I highly recommend they do so. I don’t consider myself an alarmist, but this episode does more to explain the great risk at which we place our planet and ourselves if we continue to ignore or downplay the impact of carbon dioxide and other hot-house emissions on our climate.
We must urge our neighbors and, more importantly, our government leaders to embrace green energy options such as solar energy technology before we reach a point of no return on climate change. If I had a choice of industrial neighbors, I would prefer a low-impact solar farm to many of the noisier, more intrusive alternatives. And yes, if such a facility were proposed near my neighborhood, I would support it.
Solar farm out of scale
Among the several important omissions from Tammy Grubb’s article “Solar Farm Planned North of Chapel Hill” (CHN, bit.ly/1hJjmoU) are two of the pertinent criteria enumerated in the Orange County Unified Development Ordinance for a Class A Special Use Permit. These are that the proposed project should be “in harmony” with the character of the area in which it is to be located and that it “maintain or enhance” the value of contiguous properties.
A solar installation on this scale, 18,000 panels over 20 acres, is grossly out of “harmony” with the residential character of our neighborhood. The eight-foot chain link fence around it will continually betray the utility’s colossal presence even if the proposed plantings could conceal it from view entirely – which they won’t. Our professional appraisals show that the values of contiguous properties will fall.
We recognize that the landowners, who are after all also our neighbors, are entitled to prosper from their extraordinary asset, and for years many of us have anticipated that someday another residential neighborhood would appear in the fields across the way. A huge solar utility, however, so hungry for space but so careless of land, does not belong on an extensive agricultural tract whose rare beauty and order represents many generations of conscientious proprietorship.
Chris Moran Library
I am pleased to announce that at its most recent board meeting, the Board of Directors of the Inter-Faith Council for Social Service (IFC) unanimously passed my motion to name the library that will be housed at the Inter-Faith Council @ SECU Community House the Chris Moran Library.
This honor is in recognition of Chris’ vision, his long and faithful service to IFC, and his commitment to the needs of the underserved in our community. When the new Community House opens next year and begins serving the needs of men moving from homelessness to independence, much of the credit will belong to Chris.
Naming the library for Chris is particularly appropriate because he loves reading and books and knows the power of words. As executive director of the IFC, he often arranged for donations of books for clients, knowing that homeless people love to read as much as anyone else.
We are grateful for all that Chris contributed to our community through his work at IFC and are glad to honor him in this way.
When dad’s in prison
It’s Father’s Day. Children proudly present homemade cards with a hug and “I love you Dad!” We smile at the havoc in the kitchen after the kids lovingly make breakfast for daddy. Similar scenes played out last month as families celebrated Mother's Day.
But what are these special days like for children dealing with parental incarceration? It is estimated that there are 2.7 million children nationwide with a mom or dad in prison, and 24,000 in North Carolina.
Our Children’s Place is a nonprofit agency dedicated to supporting these children by raising awareness about their numbers and needs, and by working with diverse partners to ensure they receive beneficial services.
It is our belief that with community support these children can remain connected with their parents, when appropriate, and grow to lead productive lives. We are also hopeful that community efforts can help to reduce the risk that these children become involved in the criminal justice system and reduce recidivism for their parents.
As you celebrate today, think about the children facing so many special days apart from their parents and consider joining us in support of these families. To find out what you can do, go to ourchildrensplace.com.
The writers are the chair, vice chair and past chair of Our Children’s Place Board of Directors
No unfettered right
In his June 4 letter in the Chapel Hill News, “Kinnaird’s logic fails,” Mr. Porreca reveals that his grasp of English grammar is somewhat wanting.
The introductory clause, “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,” cannot simply be overlooked because the person reading it doesn’t happen to agree with it. If that were so, all qualifiers would be equally suspect.
Take this sentence, for example: “Electronic eavesdropping to avert terrorist acts, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.” If you drop that introductory clause, you have the Fourth Amendment as it was written. But if that clause had been in the original amendment, then the protections to which people have a right would be limited.
In the case of the Second Amendment, had the Framers meant to secure an unfettered right to bear arms for everyone, they would not have qualified their intentions by using the words “well-regulated militia.”
A two-edged sword
We do not have an imperial governorship. Raleigh is not Washington, and our governor must abide by the constitution and laws of our state, which limit his powers.
For better or worse, neither he nor his Democratic predecessors under whom coal ash ponds were created have been empowered to direct Duke Energy to clean up its messes, as demanded by Jessica Burroughs in her commentary in last Sunday’s Chapel Hill News.
That power is reserved to the independent bureaucrats of the N. C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, whom Gov. McCrory cannot command. It was believed that isolating the NCDENR from political pressure would be beneficial to its purpose. We now see what may be the effects of regulatory capture, whereby an agency becomes little more than an assistant to an industry that it is supposed to regulate. In this case, political isolation is a two-edged sword.
Harold L. “Mac” McFarland
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