Don’t dismiss dissent
An open letter to Mayor Bell and City Council members,
As a former chairman of the City of Durham’s Human Relations Commission, I am concerned about the growing negative reaction to the “three dissenters” report concerning racial profiling by the Durham Police Department. One example is found in the June 15 commentary, “Time to fix Durham’s police problem,” (DN, bit.ly/1iEA2co) in which the authors state:
“The reticence of three dissenters – a police officer and two conservative activists – to speak critically of the Police Department cannot be allowed to give the City Council license to kick the can down the road on such a critical issue.”
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What I find troubling about this statement, whether intended or not, is how it quickly marginalizes and dismisses the legitimate concerns of the three commissioners who are volunteers appointed by City Council. The authors, like the Human Relations Commission, are also engaged in helping to build a better Durham, and each has a history of good work to their credit. However, this type of rhetoric only divides our community further, making us more distrusting of one another.
While working through this very difficult issue, we should, as a community, commit ourselves to actively listening to and respecting one another, and, most importantly, including all voices equally at the solutions table.
Nathaniel H. Goetz
Editor’s note: The writer served on the City of Durham Human Relations Commission from 2006-09.
Can you see the irony?
While Durham Public Schools expands free breakfast, because so many children in Durham “don't have food,” (DN, bit.ly/UIW4FZ) Durham gets another “best” from GQ magazine’s Best College Towns summer addition (DN, bit.ly/UIW4FZ).
Why? Because “you can score a good rate at the Washington Duke Inn ... and feast at every meal.”
Does anyone else see the irony and disparity? If not, we're not as smart in Durham as we like to think we are.
Come on, Bull City. Do unto others ... and share some of your wealth. Students can start by tipping more and employers by paying higher wages. For more ideas, talk with your neighbors all around. And don’t forget to smile. : )
Sword needs sharpening
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 (DN, bit.ly/1i8B3ie). 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