Tables, not walls
Late Sen. Hubert Humphrey once said: “The moral test of government is how that government treats ... children … the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life; the sick, the needy and the handicapped.”
A recent TV news segment featured interviews with residents of an economically depressed, coal mining county in West Virginia. One resident said that both Republican and Democratic campaigns talked mostly about the “Middle Class.” Folks in his town, he said, were not “middle class,” they were “poor.”
While some middle class (income range in U.S. $50,000 to $250,000) stagnation may be real, an enlightened government’s foremost priority should be its neediest, not the already relatively secure.
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Preferential treatment in enacting legislation should be for the elderly, children, the hungry, the homeless, immigrants, veterans, refugees fleeing war, the sick, handicapped, uninsured, unemployed, racial, religious, ethnic and sexual minorities, and citizens re-entering society after serving prison time.
During Sen. Humphrey’s time in Congress hunger was virtually eliminated in the United States. For America to be “great” again we should focus on building longer tables not higher walls.
Light rail, heavy cost
Is your family ready to pay $7,124 for light rail?
If not, it’s time to speak up.The local portion of the bill for the proposed light rail project that Orange and Durham County will have to pay just increased to $748 million (N&O, Nov. 23).
There are approximately 420,000 residents in Orange and Durham County.
We can argue about who will actually bear the burden, but the bottom line is that the cost to our local communities for this light rail project is approximately $1781 per person, which comes out to $7,124 for a family of four.
That is a best-case estimate assuming that the costs don’t increase as the project moves forward. Optimistic proponents of the plan think that by 2040 there could be 26,000 passenger trips a day (or 13,000 round-trip riders), indicating that even 20 years from now less than 2 percent of the community is expected to use this service each day (N&O 11/23, http://ourtransitfuture.com/faq/).
The total cost for the project (federal, state, and local) is $1.87 billion – $143,800 per daily rider. I am all for efforts to reduce our impact on the environment and increase our ability to move people around the Triangle efficiently, but in time when money is tight this seems like an extravagant expense that few would support if they understood the real cost.
GreenToGo to reduce waste
Don’t Waste Durham is piloting the East Coast’s first reusable takeout container service called GreenToGo. GreenToGo boxes are durable and long-lasting takeout containers which are 100 percent reusable. The GreenToGo service uses a check-in and check-out system so members can use them whenever they get takeout food or have leftovers. Once returned, they are washed and sanitized in commercial dishwashers, ready for the next customer.
GreenToGo reduces waste, diverts trash from landfills, saves local businesses money, and aims to improve quality of life (health, environment, and local economy) for the Durham community. Durhamites should support this project on Kickstarter (www.durhamgreentogo.com), because:
▪ Single-use takeout containers create unnecessary waste and are bad for our health, environment, and local economy. Downtown Durham alone throws away an estimated 10,000 disposable takeout containers every month.
▪ GreenToGo offers a variety of affordable membership packages for residents and businesses – from single box subscriptions to custom corporate plans.
▪ Many of Durham’s favorite restaurants are participating in GreenToGo. The long and growing list currently includes: Old Havana, Toast, Luna Rotisserie, Bull City Burger and Brew, Bagel Bar, Durham Co-Op, Ninth St. Bakery, Saltbox Seafood, Q-Shack, Rose’s Meat Market and Sweet Shop, KoKyu Na’Mean, Alpaca Rotisserie Chicken, Nana Taco, Cocoa Cinnamon, Geer St. Garden, The Boot, Vegan Flava, Scratch Bakery, Happy + Hale, Bull McCabes, and Nosh.
▪ This is a proven business model in San Francisco and Portland, as well as many university dining halls across the country, including UNC, NCCU, NCSU, and Duke.
For more details visit: www.durhamgreentogo.com/
Founded in 2013, Don’t Waste Durham is a coalition of citizens, government agencies, non-profits, and small businesses working together to reduce consumer waste in the Durham community. Contact Crystal Dreisbach, chair of Don’t Waste Durham at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more info about the program go to http://dontwastedurham.org/
Holiday safety tips
The Durham County Sheriff’s Office wants to remind the public to enjoy the holiday season but to remain vigilant, especially when shopping or leaving their home unattended. Holiday travelers and shoppers can be easy targets for theft, cyber crimes, and home break-ins.
We want the community we serve to celebrate the season without worrying about crime. The reality is: crime doesn’t take a holiday. It’s important to keep your home and your family safe, and protect your wallet.
Follow these safety tips:
▪ Schedule a maintenance check for your vehicle before hitting the road.
▪ If your holiday plans include being away from your home, temporarily stop newspaper delivery and mail service.
▪ Ask a neighbor to monitor for your residence.
▪ If you live in the jurisdiction of the Durham County Sheriff’s Office, request a home check. Call (919) 560-0900.
▪ A single shopper is the best target for theft. Always shop with a friend or relative.
▪ Shop during daylight hours. If you shop at night, park your vehicle in a well-lit area.
▪ Dress casually and comfortably and avoid wearing expensive jewelry. If carrying cash, keepit in your front pocket rather than in a purse or wallet. This makes it much more difficult for a pick-pocket to remove. Also, store car keys in a pants or jacket pocket.
▪ Pay careful attention to your surroundings and avoid overloading yourself with packages. Itis important to have clear visibility and freedom of motion to avoid mishaps.
▪ When returning to your vehicle, check around it and in the back seat. Be aware of strangers approaching you for any reason. Have your car keys in your hand to avoid spending unnecessary time unprotected from the security of your vehicle.
▪ If you feel uneasy returning to your vehicle alone, find a security guard and ask them to walkyou to your car.
HOLIDAY CREDIT CARD FRAUD
▪ Keep a close watch on your credit card every time you use it, and make sure you get it back as quickly as possible.
▪ Never write your PIN number on your credit card.
▪ Shield your credit card number so that others around you can’t copy it or capture it on a mobile telephone or other camera.
▪ Only carry credit cards that you absolutely need.
▪ Shred anything with your credit card number written on it.
▪ If you’re planning to purchase online, make sure the web page where you enter your credit card information is secure.
HOLIDAY GIFT CARD FRAUD
▪ Never buy gift cards from online auction sites. This is a large source of gift card fraud.
▪ Only buy gift cards directly from the store issuing the gift card or from a secure retailer’s website.
▪ Always keep your receipt as a proof of purchase as long as there is money stored on the gift card. If possible, register your gift card at the store’s website.
▪ Never give your Social Security number, date of birth or any other unneeded private information when purchasing a gift card. No reputable company will ask for this information.
Sheriff Mike Andrews