Note: Our story on Durham police suspending motor-vehicle checkpoints, posted earlier this week at www.newsobserver.com and www.heraldsun.com generated many comments online and on editor Mark Schultz’s Facebook page, including:
David Gardener: Motor-vehicle checkpoints catch a huge number of people driving drunk, without licences and other offenses. So we let these people potentially harm children, innocent bystanders, etc. just because we don’t want to make a person here illegally feel uncomfortable?
Philip Williams: Checkpoints at schools do NOT generate “a huge number of people driving drunk, without licenses and other offenses.” Checkpoints at football games, country clubs and at wedding parties DO generate a huge number, but are rarely done. I know this from 30 years working in criminal courts. Checkpoints at football games, country clubs and weddings generate calls from more important people.
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Tim Hathaway: I have been a law enforcement officer LEO for 23 years and have participated in hundreds of checkpoints at random locations that invariably intercept people violating traffic laws (DWI, no license, etc.) or worse. ... We don’t target ANY group. It’s illegal to do so as well as unethical. The courts clearly state that license checkpoints are to be random and for the purposes of traffic enforcement. DWI chechpoints are even more strict in their requirements. And informational checkpoints (for the investigation of a specific crime) are used solely to generate leads and don’t even involve enforcement unless the officer notices an immediatly identifiable violation. Checkpoints do prevent deaths and injury related to traffic violations as well as the apprehension of criminals. Simply put, the reason they are used is because they work and, so far, they are approved by the courts. To take a tool away from law enforcement based on the fears, misgivings and discomfort of a group of people who are themselves breaking the law is, in my opinion, illogical.
Paul Bonner: I have had no qualms in the past about officers setting up just past the parking lot of a bar frequented by illegal immigrants – no seas tonto, muchacho; no manejas borracho, as the bumper sticker says. However, now, as long as I can’t expect ICE under this administration to exercise principles of equity and humaneness in its detention and deportation of illegal immigrants, I’m leery of any checkpoint that gives even the appearance of targeting them. I’d prefer that Durham let officers use their experience and suspicions to enforce traffic laws, but if this is what Chief Davis has to do accomplish that, I support it.
Heart of school system
The Durham Public Schools Board of Education is proud of the work of the women within our system. Teachers, support staff, administrators and district staff: these women are the heart of our school system.
We know that many of our teachers, bus drivers, cafeteria workers and other employees planned to take off work Wednesday, International Women’s Day, as part of “A Day Without a Woman.” It is this passion that makes these same women some of our very best teachers and employees, and we salute and support them.
At the same time, we believe Superintendent Bert L’Homme made the right decision to hold school Wednesday. As a system, we do not believe we can ask our parents to rearrange or miss their own jobs by closing our schools on short notice. We do not want to cause many of our employees to miss a day’s paycheck, and we do not want to miss a day of instruction with our students.
Our principals and staff have been encouraged to find ways to teach students about the historical, and ongoing, fight for equality that is represented by International Women’s Day. We support these efforts.
Without women, there would be no education and no future. We are grateful for the leadership women give to our schools at every level.
The writer is the chairman of the Durham Public Schools Board of Education
My family and I have spent a considerable amount of time discussing the 2017 municipal elections in Durham. After careful consideration of many factors, I want to take this moment to announce that I will not be a candidate for re-election to the Durham City Council .
Although I continue to enjoy the work of the council immensely, I am looking forward to the pursuit of several civic, personal, and family projects over the course of the next few years. With almost five months before the opening of the filing period, I want to alert potential candidates that the next Ward 2 contest will not include an incumbent.
Even though I will not be a candidate for re-election, I want to assure my colleagues and the residents of Durham that my continuing work on the council will be conducted with the very same rigor as a candidate who would be seeking re-election.
A culture of lying
Sometimes reality is sadder than we could have imagined. America has fallen to the place where the people can no longer tell the difference between a lie and the truth.
This is sadly evident in the ongoing Jeff Sessions saga. In the hearing he was asked a question that he did not answer. Instead he denied any knowledge of Russian ties with people around Donald Trump. He even went so far as to say he never had contact with Russians.
In essence he told a direct lie. As we now know, he had in fact multiple contacts with Russians. Now it is bad enough when the average person lies, but when an officer of the law lies it becomes much more.
They should not be in law enforcement. When the head of all law enforcement lies this should be totally unacceptable by anyone’s standards. Every politician and news reporter should be calling it what it is -- a lie. Instead they dance around it by using words like falsehood, untruth or fake news. This only diminishes the impact of what we are dealing with.
If our nation based on laws can’t distinguish between fact and lie then our future looks pretty bleak. Frankly I see the fact of whether you are a Trump supporter or not as irrelevant. It is bigger than one man or political party. We are talking about the integrity and future of our nation.
Think about efficiency and safety
I like the idea of fast trains between Chapel Hill and Durham. I voted for the half-cent tax. But the system planned by GoTriangle is not what I voted for. How about you? Can you afford $2.5 billion (at least) for a train slower than current bus routes and very hard to get to unless you live and work at UNC Hospitals, the VA or Duke?
I find it baffling that county commissioners have allowed GoTriangle to proceed to the plan’s engineering phase. Are they blinded by the shiny cars?
A 2015 traffic impact report by UNC states “In addition to finding appropriate sites for more Park & Ride, the key to a successful P&R system is the ability to run an efficient and quick transit shuttle service to Main Campus.”
Efficient and quick do not apply to the current plan, with or without more P&R. Today one can get from Chapel Hill to Durham by bus faster than on the projected light rail system. And it won’t be available until 2028! Road traffic certainly will increase by 2028, but electric buses can serve everyone in the county much sooner and at one-tenth the cost. Duke Energy has noticed and offered Chapel Hill Transit a free charging station on a trial basis. Why not try that?
The many ground-level street crossings make safety a big issue with rail. This plan is not glamorous, safe or efficient. Ask your commissioners/councils for a better one. Your tax burden depends on your efforts.
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