Transit dollars should serve region
I am writing in response to the guest column from the Sept 20 Durham News (“State cap opens door for true regional transit,” nando.com/2ai). I am and remain a strong supporter of mass transit and attempt to venture using the regional bus periodically from my South Durham to downtown Raleigh commute. I long for the day when a vibrant regional transit system exists so that I had daily options that proved worthy of a commute.
Right now the time and effort to take the bus to Raleigh daily takes too long and is unreasonable forcing me to continue with driving. I was very disappointed to learn of the lack of state support for the proposed light rail system but do agree with the point of view that efforts and costs should be directed toward a regional system and not the narrow benefits of a rail system just between Durham and Chapel Hill. When I learned that plans for this light rail effort were not going to address the Raleigh-Durham-RTP demand I wondered why the obvious was not being addressed.
I remain seriously concerned about the politicization of light rail by this current legislation (I can’t help but wonder accordingly given the highly democratic areas of Durham and Chapel Hill), but the need for major funding and efforts for the RDU region as expressed by the columnists is warranted and should now be seized upon given the recent funding setback.
Ill suited for light rail
Regarding editorial “N.C. budget could hinder local light rail” (N&O, Sept. 16, nando.com/2aj): The General Assembly deserves a loud vote of thanks from the residents of Durham for, we hope, bringing the ghastly light rail plan to a halt.
Even a brief review of the facts surrounding light rail in general and specifically the Durham-Orange light rail plan demonstrates that light rail is ill-suited to this community and promises only increasing costs and slow transit times compared with other modalities like bus rapid transit.
The Republicans showed common sense and fiscal responsibility, saving the taxpayers from an increasing future tax burden for little service.
Additionally, given the debate surrounding the location of the Rail Operations Maintenance Facility and the number of at-grade crossings required by LRT, both of which promised disaster for local communities like Downing Creek and the Farrington Road corridor, the members of the GA who voted for the cap on light rail funding showed a consideration for these neighborhoods sorely lacking in the planning of GoTriangle and the Durham City Council.
Let’s move on to better plans like Bus Rapid Transit and driverless vehicles.
The Sept. 16 editorial “N.C. budget could hinder local light rail” left some points to address.
“Why is this a partisan issue at all?” At ground level it isn’t. Community voices have united from left, right and center to question the folly of the Durham-Orange rail plan.
“What is it with (leaders’) antipathy toward light rail and commuter rail?” I’ll ask one better: What is it about the phrase “light rail” that makes municipal planners giddy with uncritical thinking? Anyone involved in the recent process could see they were calculating backward toward a preordained conclusion. The plan’s serious shortcomings were an inconvenience to brush aside.
“Residents approved a tax to pay their share.” Yes, but the referendum was for “transit” – it never specified rail. For a much smaller investment, our region can establish a dedicated Bus Rapid Transit system that is far more scalable and flexible.
In the end, the editorial got one right: “Local officials ... should not give up the campaign for productive and farsighted transit alternatives.” Amen.
We should all be glad the legislature appears to have saved us from a wasteful and shortsighted one.
Robin Kirk must not be very familiar with the Rev. Pauli Murray’s genealogical line (“Selfies worth seeing,” DN, nando.com/2ak)
By “Mary Ruffin” she means Mary Ruffin Smith, the spinster aunt of Pauli’s grandmother Cornelia Smith Fitzgerald.
The story of Mary Smith and her lascivious brothers James and Frank, who fathered a total of four girls with Mary’s slave maid, is told in my new book, “Miss Mary’s Money,” available through McIntyre’s at Fearrington Village or Amazon.com.
Thank you for correcting history.
H. G. Jones
Challenge to Donald Trump
Donald: You threaten the safety and well being of our children by perpetuating myths about a connection between autism and vaccines, and encouraging parents to follow improper and medically dangerous vaccine schedules.
You insult our women based on the fact that not all of them are shallow, young, and vacuous like the women you prefer. You condone and even encourage calls for eliminating Muslims from our country.
You slander the very office you claim to aspire to, by falsely referring to our current President as a non-citizen and casting false doubts on his religious affiliation.
You insult, frighten, and attempt to marginalize both legal and illegal immigrants to our country by referring to them as criminals and rapists.
Have you no dignity? Have you no shame?
And where are all the other alleged candidates for the Republican nomination? Who among you has the courage to stand up and repudiate the Trump version of McCarthyism? Do you want to stand out from a crowded field?
If so, try acting like someone who wants to bring people together across demographic lines, rather than working to sow fear, loathing, and mistrust.
Chief couldn’t win
Regarding “Durham gives Police Chief Jose Lopez mixed reviews.” (DN, nando.com/2al)
Dammed if you do, dammed if you don't. If you stop people that you suspect of crime you are dammed, and if the crime rate goes up then you are blamed. Can’t win.
Purple people logic
So let’s get this straight: an area of town has a crime problem. The cops focus resources into that area, increase surveillance, increase stops, and increase questionings.
If you cannot use these tools, what options do we have to try to combat the crime?
If the area is inhabited entirely with “purple people eaters,” then it will appear “purple people eaters” are being “profiled.”
If the cops are stopping “purple people eaters” all over town, even the ones living in the good hoods, for just being “purple people eaters,” perhaps the “purple people eaters” have an argument. Otherwise, no.
Church, state must be separate
Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis, who refused to pass out marriage licenses to gay couples, has failed the test of separation of church and state.
When elected, the public official agrees to follow the law of the land, her state and U.S. government. Whether rightfully a law or not, established by the U.S. Supreme Court it is the law.
It seems the clerk can recuse herself from issuing licenses or at the least resign. She obviously cannot carry out the duties required as an elected official.
She is not responsible for the law, but she must uphold it. That she would be tried and convicted in her "religious court" is her right to believe. Now she has been found in contempt in her state court, which is reality.
There is no question of the right of individuals to believe in religion as they wish. But that belief cannot override the responsibility to the elected office.
The late John Kennedy was accused of bowing to the wishes of the Catholic Church if elected. He observed the separation of church and state as every elected official must. Thomas Jefferson recognized this as the new country began.
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