A chance to make things right
Last week, the N.C. General Assembly returned for its “Long Session.” It goes without saying that the General Assembly has had a shameful track record over the last year. From passing House Bill 2 to using back-room partisan maneuvering to try to strip Gov. Cooper of his power, Republicans in Raleigh have made our state a national laughingstock.
With this new session, the Republican leadership in the General Assembly has an opportunity to make things right. They can accept Gov. Cooper’s outstretched hand, and work with him to move our state forward on key issues. They can join states across the country in expanding Medicaid, bringing health coverage to over 500,000 of our most vulnerable neighbors. They can restore our reputation, and end the economic damage, by repealing House Bill 2. And they can support our world-class public schools and universities by giving them the resources they need.
Gov. Cooper’s election last November showed clearly that North Carolinians are tired of the partisan games and divisive policies coming from Republican leaders in Raleigh. Republican legislators would do well to remember that, and work with Gov. Cooper on common-sense solutions to get our state on the right track again.
The mainstream media and their Democratic party allies are trying to make a big deal out of the “Russian hacking” and the influence it had on our election.
I have not heard any of them say that the hacked emails were altered in any way. If they were put out exactly as they were found, then the hackers did the American public a favor by exposing the lies of the party and their hand-picked candidate, and their collusion with the mainstream media.
The media is most upset over the exposure of their close association with the Clinton campaign and the Democratic party, something I had personally been able to see for years.
The media and the Democrats are up in arms about what we are going to do about the Russians. The American people should be up in arms about what is going to be done about the corruption of the media and the Democratic party.
The proposed wall
President Ronald Reagan made his opinion of walls clear when he said to his Soviet counterpart, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”
It would be good if the present administration would read Regan’s 20-year-old speech before continuing its present efforts to build a wall. According to Reagan (paraphrased) walls will fall because they cannot withstand faith, they cannot withstand truth and they cannot withstand freedom.
If President Regan were here today, in my opinion, he would say, “Mr. Trump, do not build this wall!”
William T. Fletcher
Historic hospitality surrendered
We have yet to learn from the many stories about refugees in our various faith traditions. One from my own tradition is recorded in the Gospel of Matthew when an angel tells Joseph “to take the child (Jesus) and his mother and flee to Egypt ... for Herod is about to search for the child to destroy him.” There they found safety.
Refugees from so many places are seeking sanctuary in our country where they can find safety and well-being. With President Donald Trump’s order to ban refugees, some even being detained within proximity of the Statue of Liberty, the hospitality that defines our nation’s history as well as many of our faith traditions, is being surrendered to a fear that is driven by religious discrimination and cultural racism.
Had Joseph and his family been banned as refugees some 2,000 years go, the child Jesus would have been subjected to the murderous campaign of Herod. In the present time he would be banned from our country, vetted as a radical extremist, albeit non-violent.
Mark W. Wethington
Light rail vs. Bus Rapid Transit
I want to thank the Orange County commissioners for their patience and continued due-diligence in reassessing our transit needs.
I am very excited and supportive of the proposed Chapel Hill Bus Rapid Transit project. I would ask that Chapel Hill Transit proactively reach out to neighborhoods within 1/2 mile of the proposed North-South BRT line, rather than rely on vocal advocates who live/work far away from the corridor.
I was amazed to learn, however, of the half-century Durham Orange Light Rail Transit financing plan that will stretch debt repayments into 2062. I am very concerned that this will severely limit our ability to pursue any of our other transit needs, as the huge size of this project will suffocate all other possible public transit projects. In the interest of public disclosure and transparency, I ask GoTriangle share the complete DOLRT payment schedule (2011 to 2062) with associated annual operating costs and annual ridership estimates (2029 to 2062).
Regarding GoTriangle’s continued assertion that “LRT is less expensive to build and operate,” we can easily benchmark DOLRT with the Chapel Hill BRT (or Wake BRT).
The DOLRT will cost $2.5 billion or 17.7 miles at $141 million per mile, with 40 percent or $1 billion to come from local funding and take 46 minutes end-to-end travel with service in 2029 with $28.7 million operating cost. And GoTriangle has yet to break ground!
Meanwhile, Chapel Hill is building NS-BRT for $125 million or 8.2 miles at $15 million per mile, with service in 2022 and $3.4 million operating cost (http://nscstudy.org/)
Chapel Hill BRT will deliver mass public transit seven years sooner at a fraction of the cost. In fact, free BRT service would be cheaper for riders (and taxpayers), while providing better service, sooner than DOLRT!
For the cost of a single DOLRT mile, you could build an entire BRT system like Chapel Hill.
For $2.5 billion, you could build 166 miles of BRT (vs. 17 miles of DOLRT). Now that would be mass public transit!
Chapel Hill (Durham County)
Get ready for Crop Walk
Team captains for the Durham Crop Hunger Walk have two opportunities to pick up their promotional materials as well as other resources in preparation for the April 2 walkathon for the hungry.
Team captains can come get their free print and video materials Thursday, Feb. 9, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., or Saturday, Feb. 11, from 10 a.m. to noon, at the Soul Café, which is located at Duke Memorial United Methodist Church, 504 W. Chapel Hill St., using the entrance in the rear of the building across the street from the church’s parking lot.
Event veterans will be on hand to answer questions and to share tips on best practices and successful recruitment strategies. The new edition 2017 Walk T-shirts will also be available for team captains to pick up for their walkers. A donation of $3 per shirt is requested.
Durham’s 43rd Annual CROP Hunger Walk on April 2 starts at 2 p.m. on the quad in front of Duke Chapel on Duke University’s West Campus. With last year’s walk, the cumulative amount raised for the hungry since its start in 1975 surpassed the $4 million mark.
To register a team on-line, go to: www.crophungerwalk.org/durhamnc/
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