The Opinion Shop

May 14, 2014

Letters to the Editor: Unemployment, Racial Justice Act, VA benefits, Duke Energy, environment, climate change, cold water

These letters were not published in the print edition but deserve a look.

These letters were not published in the print edition but deserve a look.


Regarding the April 7 letter “ Make jobless clean roadsides”: I take issue with the writers’ suggestion that individuals who are receiving unemployment benefits be required to clean up litter along our state’s roadways. The most important thing for that individual is to approach future employment with a full-time job search of 40 to 50 hours a week. Any time doing anything other than seeking employment is lessening that individual’s possibilities of landing gainful employment.

The issue of cleaning up roadsides is like treating the symptom. We already know what doesn’t work. Why not try a fresh approach? While researching the topic, I found a photo of a sign on Cape Cod stating that violators of anti-littering laws faced up to a $10,000 fine. Michigan has a bottle deposit bill that has resulted in a 95 percent rate of return and is considering expanding to include plastic water bottles because they currently constitute a significant amount of litter in that state. I can almost hear some legislator saying, “If we have a bottle bill in this state, we’ll wind up like Detroit.”

If we don’t change our current tactics, our roadsides could resemble the yards of “abandominiums” (urban slang used in the Motor City for vacant, rundown houses).

Greg Bruhn



Regarding the April 14 news story “ Court to review sentences made under Racial Justice Act”: This is based on the sentences given to four inmates currently serving life sentences without parole. They had been sentenced to death originally.

Inmate Tilmon Golphin’s case caught my attention. He and his brother had stolen a car. A highway patrolman stopped them on I-95 about 15 minutes from my home. They overpowered him and executed him on the side of the road. They also killed a sheriff’s deputy who had come to assist. The police captured them about 3 miles from my home, thank God.

Now the liberals say they were discriminated against because of their race. Really? What about the families of the two law enforcement officers they murdered? They should have let their death penalties been carried out.

Hylton Lawrence



Regarding the Feb. 28 news story “Senate blocks proposal to boost benefits for veterans”: I was outraged to read that the Republicans in the U.S. Senate blocked legislation that would increase benefits to our veterans. And then I was further enraged to read N.C. Sen. Richard Burr’s comment inferring that voters do not care about this issue and will forgive the Senate’s lack of action.

Instead, Burr and the GOP continue to waste time and effort criticizing the Affordable Care Act and, in Burr’s case, proposing watered-down alternatives. Burr needs to know that Americans want affordable health care, and we support our veterans to the point that, yes, we think spending money on their hard-earned benefits is a priority.

As Burr’s constituent, I expect him to vote accordingly. I certainly intend to.

Maria Mauriello



As a Duke Spectra Energy shareholder, I recently received instructions on how to view proxy and voting materials on line.

Envelopes were emblazoned with the admonition: “Make a positive impact on your investment, while reducing the negative impact on the environment.” The irony was striking, given Duke Energy’s eagerness to pass the buck on its coal ash ponds to the ratepayer. Let’s save a tree but poison drinking water because somebody else will pay.

The Board of Directors recommends a vote “against” a proposal concerning political contribution disclosure and “against” a proposal concerning methane emissions. The board recommends a vote “for” executive compensation.

The only green Duke Energy cares about is a fast buck. Time to put its money where its mouth is.

Cindy Parks

Chapel Hill


The writer of the March 30 letter “ Bottled water boom” said, “Contamination of groundwater and fouled rivers will force consumers to buy the ‘safer’ bottled water.”

This is an excellent point, but this is just the tip of the iceberg with fracking. How do we protect our food chain? Do we feed our livestock bottled water and have our agricultural industry irrigate our produce with bottled water?

I also agree with the writer that “our politicians favoring their own special interests.” They have totally forgotten that they are supposed to be our public servants, not self-serving. Time for a change!

Charles Ritter



Thank you for your two recent climate change editorials. In the April 6 “ Weather alert,” you argued that N.C. needs a climate summit. I agree. The climate is changing. We must do what we can to slow it, to adapt to the changes and to help those with few resources to adapt as well. A summit can address these issues and more. In the short term, the Carolinas Climate Resilience Conference, scheduled for April 28-29 in Charlotte, is a place to meet people and get started!

In the April 13 “ Endless power,” you stressed that N.C. must grow renewable energy, and you lamented that ongoing legislation will rather decrease its production and use. If we are to slow climate change, we must move from fossil fuels and to energy conservation and renewables.

To this end, my wife and I installed a geothermal HVAC in our home in 2012, decreasing our HVAC energy bills nearly 50 percent. In turn, the energy we save is directly decreasing fossil fuel use. N.C. and federal tax credits enabled the installation, but the N.C. credits end in 2015. The credits must be extended to enable others to decrease their fossil fuel use.

A N.C. climate summit will debate these issues and move us forward.

Gary K. Smith



I am a former resident of the upper peninsula of Michigan. My family and I frequently swam in Lake Superior during June, July and August, when the water temperature averages 50 to 60 degrees and the air temperature averages 70 to 80 degrees.

I found the March 9 news article “Water is inviting, deadly” about cold water safety a little exaggerated. Yes, cold water combined with cold air temperatures can create dangerous conditions, but the language of the article was overblown and alarmist.

People have survived and actually thrived in much colder conditions than what we have experienced here in N.C. this winter, and recreation routinely takes place up north on days similar to the one described as “deadly” in the article. The class may impress those accustomed to warm climates but doesn’t ring true with those of us who have lived outside of the South.

Lisa Wolf


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