I was flabbergasted by “NC justice’s speech cost taxpayers $36,000” (Sept. 10). For years we have been told that the court system is underfunded. Despite this, leaders of the state court system could find $700,000 to hire a national public relations firm to write articles, design stationery and monitor social media for them.
What are we to make of a chief justice who needs $36,000 of ghostwriting and coaching to give a speech? We teach high school students how to make public presentations. Can’t the chief justice do what we expect the average 16-year-old to do? And administration is not his strong suit either. If a subordinate had committed my office to a six-figure contract, I’d want to know all the details.
Justice Martin’s explanation of how the contract came to be calls to mind the phrase “plausible deniability.” This money was spent with the goal of educating the public on “the role of the courts in society.” But taxpayers know what that role is. The courts are to provide justice, uniformly and without delay. That’s harder to do when scarce resources are wasted on PR campaigns.
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Fight climate change
During the past month there have been events that should warn people about the future of the Earth’s climate if we do not do more to slow climate change. Some examples are:
▪ Atlanta having its first hurricane warning in recorded weather history.
▪ Irma being the strongest hurricane ever when it was further out in the Atlantic.
▪ Harvey dumping record amounts of rain on the south Texas coast.
▪ Record high temperatures in western cities including 106 degrees in San Francisco.
▪ Hundreds of homes destroyed in the fires in the west.
Those legislators and a president who continue to deny climate change must have their heads in the sand. We need to develop more solar power and wind power. And we need to do it now because if we wait 10 years it will be too late. Our children and grandchildren are counting on us to do the right thing. We must not let them down.
Keep art classes
Regarding “Why your young student’s class is smaller this year – and who is paying the price” (Aug. 25): The North Carolina legislature, in its infinite wisdom, has decreed that beginning with the 2018-19 school year, K-3 class sizes will be reduced from a max of 21 to 17 students. The Wake County School Board, in its shortsightedness, is considering eliminating art and music classes in order to free-up classroom space needed to accommodate this legislative mandate.
The drawback of this knee-jerk-action/knee-jerk-overreaction solution to overcrowding is its elimination of creative thinking from the school day, from the already teach-to-the-test education process, and produce kids who may know “how to do,” but will have no idea “what to do,” or “when to do,” or “why.” Robots will be smarter.