Chapel Hill: Opinion

Your letters, April 27

Marcoplos has vision

I just read, “Primary to decide 2 county seats,” (CHN, April 20) and for the most part , all the candidates sounded the same. In my view, there's a clear distinction for the District 2 seat.

I've known Mark Marcoplos for over 25 years, both professionally and working on important community issues at the grassroots. I don’t know Earl McKee personally, but from what I can gather he’s a good guy who sincerely wants to serve Orange County, and he’s been an adequate commissioner.

At a time when we're facing serious long-term issues, including how we handle our trash, how we continue to improve our schools in the face of reduced support from Raleigh, and how we develop our local economy to support local businesses and good jobs, we need someone with vision who’s willing to ask the big questions while being rooted in practicality. In his construction business, Mark embraced “Green Building” before we even had a name for it, and has decades of experience balancing a progressive vision with the daily realities of budgets, customer preferences, product availability, and managing employees.

I urge readers to check out the website at for a fuller view of Mark’s vision, experience, and views.

Arnie Katz

Orange County

Faucette for sheriff

It is with great personal pride that I publicly thank Sheriff Lindy Pendergrass for his 32 years of outstanding service. A hallmark of Sheriff Pendergrass has been his earnest desire to promote diversity within the department, and a direct beneficiary of that was a humble African American Hillsborough youth named Larry Faucette who graduated from Orange High School and soon thereafter embarked on a career in law enforcement.

Faucette over 30 years rose from deputy to captain (the highest ranking African American in the history of the Sheriff’s Office) and retired in 2009 before returning as a part-time school resource officer in 2010.

He has decided to seek the office of sheriff on a pledge to be a strong advocate for “accountability, diversity and fairness.” He is the only candidate from the very onset of the campaign to say that he will be strongly focused on all the youth of Orange County and both school systems to promote positive intervention programs that challenge the “School to Prison” perception and steer our young people down positive paths to responsible citizenship.

Faucette is committed to serving the entire community through such diverse programs as SALT (seniors and law enforcement together) where deputies on routine patrol check on seniors in rural areas and Life Track, a free bracelet/anklet tracking system for young children and adults with brain disorders who may wander away.

Larry Faucette is truly committed to being “A Sheriff for All the People” of Orange County and has clearly shown this through this work as a high school coach (football, basketball and track), volunteer work for Relay for Life, Ronald McDonald House and Orange Congregations in Missions.

Please vote for Larry Faucette for Orange County sheriff on May 6.

Stephen H. Halkiotis

The writer is a former principal of Orange High School and Orange County commissioner and current member of the Orange County Board of Education.

Hauser a natural leader

Please join me on May 6 and cast a vote for Bonnie Hauser for Orange County commissioner-at-large.

I know Bonnie well through her work with the Center for Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Education of North Carolina. She’s a tireless advocate for our communities, especially young people. Bonnie spends many hours going to schools with her mother (a Holocaust survivor) sharing the lessons of the Holocaust and the message that individual action can make the world a better place. And that’s exactly how she lives her own life. Her devotion to public service and helping our communities in tangible, meaningful ways is evident from her work on matters related to the environment, health and safety, and education.

Bonnie’s skills in policy and financial management and her natural leadership qualities will ensure our county is run efficiently and sensibly. She will know how to plan for future growth and services. She will ensure our values and local government issues will not be compromised by the current leadership of the General Assembly and the governor.

I value Bonnie’s unique ability to connect diverse communities throughout the county in a respectful manner. She is a leader who can be trusted to do what she says. And, she will always be accessible!

Please vote for Bonnie Hauser, Orange County commissioner-at-large.

Sharon Halperin

Chapel Hill

Carrboro school fair

On behalf of the Carrboro Elementary School community, we would like to extend our gratitude to more than 100 businesses that have donated money, gift certificates, goods, and time to make our annual School Fair and Silent Auction a success.

While the fair is a time to celebrate the end of the school year, in recent years it has become an increasingly critical way to compensate in small ways for cuts to the school budget. Money generated through the fair goes toward both basic supplies for teachers as well as parent education programs, media center resources, and many other areas that were previously covered through district funds.

We want to send a out a big thank you to the parents of our students who volunteer their time and expertise for countless projects in preparation for the event and running 35 different games and booths at the fair, including the perennial favorites, Chuck the Chicken, the Toilet Toss, Dangling Donuts and the big draw of the day, sledding! Thank you to our Latina Leadership Council--making preparations to cook and serve chicharrones preparados and platos de arroz y frijoles and our teachers and principal, who have bravely signed up to be dunked in the dunking booth. A big shout out to our students who have been busy selling raffle tickets and designing posters.

We truly appreciate all the hard work done by everyone, and particularly the continued support of our community partners. The fair has been a terrific community event for countless years and we welcome families of all ages to join us, rain or shine, on Saturday, May 3, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 400 Shelton St., Carrboro Elementary School!

Tamara Daley

Emily Moorman

The writers are a parent and teacher, respectively.

Republican logic

Can someone please explain the Republican logic as regards taxes?

According to the Republicans, if small business owners get a state income tax break (and we got huge breaks for 2012 and 2013), we will spend that money in the community and help to generate jobs and economic growth.

Suppose that we don’t get a tax break, and that tax revenue is used to give teachers and other state employees a raise, they will ... what? Put the money in their Swiss bank account? Take a trip to the Riviera?

No, they’ll spend the money in the community, but for some reason the Republicans think this won’t help to generate jobs and economic growth. Duh, of course it will – a dollar is a dollar regardless of whether it is spent by a teacher or a business owner.

Plus, it would slow the loss of experienced teachers and perhaps get North Carolina out of the teacher pay Hall of Shame.

The Republicans have never been very strong on logic or thinking ability, but do they really expect people to buy such nonsense? Of course, with the direction they are taking our public education system, it won’t be too long before the state is dumbed down to where most people will buy it!

Peter Aitken

Chapel Hill

Hauser gets facts, finance

Orange County Democrats and Independent voters have an exciting choice for the future on May 6.

Bonnie Hauser, candidate for county commissioner at large, brings a combination of business experience, community advocacy and fresh perspective to our local government. She has proven her skills in planning and collaborative problem solving while working to improve emergency service response issues and has an impressive track record of results including the closing of the landfill.

As a retired PriceWaterhouseCoopers partner, Bonnie understands priorities, value and finances. She excels at separating the facts from the politics, and can provide leadership to address chronic shortfalls and long-term planning needs for our schools, opportunities for working with towns on economic development and restructuring needs for our county government and services.

As a volunteer, Bonnie has a special relationship with our schools and social services. She knows that schools are our top priority and is urging reprioritization of spending to provide funding for teacher salaries, curriculum and maintenance needs immediately, followed by deliberate planning to modernize budgeting and funding policies.

Please vote for Bonnie Hauser to bring the experience, ideas and leadership that we need for the future

Jeanne Brown

Chapel Hill

Recycling reality

Orange County's recycling program is no longer on a path to lead.

As the managing director at Moore Recycling Associates, a nationally recognized consulting and management firm, I get to work on programs all over the country. When I moved to Orange County from San Francisco 10 years ago, I enjoyed challenging my California colleagues when they claimed their communities were leading the country. Today there are rural communities from Texas to Wisconsin implementing programs that will push them ahead of Orange County. We haven’t even progressed to using roll carts instead of open bins for curbside collection.

If we don’t support the reinstatement of the recycling fee (3R) or the formation of a tax district (even if temporarily), we, the residents of Orange County, will be responsible for the unraveling of a great program. The steps we take to reduce our waste are an indication of our commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, creating jobs, and supporting our state’s economy.

A tax district may not be the most equitable mechanism to pay for our program but neither is abandoning a program and creating dependence on communities in other counties to deal with our waste and fumes from inefficient shipment of waste.

It's extremely unfortunate we so quickly abandoned a pretty equitable mechanism (the 3R fee) to fund a holistic program. The issue is more extensive than just curbside pick up of materials in un-incorporated areas. It’s about education, program development, and planning.

In order to continue to see progress in our county, we have to get serious about an interlocal agreement with a stable funding mechanism. The landfill closure means the program has half as much funding. Moving toward an opt in or out system, means a highly unpredictable financial situation with little cohesion or ability to pull collective interests to implement the big needs like commercial recycling, a transfer station, or large-scale compost recovery.

Those who have championed ambitious goals like zero waste, reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, etc., we need support now. We will never get close to such goals if we don't fix our program's foundation.

Nina Bellucci Butler

Orange County

Special gift for special coach

I recently presented this beach print to Coach Sylvia Hatchell of Tar Heel women’s basketball fame.

I am a huge admirer of her, and a fellow beach lover and shag dancer with her and her husband, Sammy. They have a home at the same beach as I do and dance at some of the same places.

At first it was just going to be a beach print, but when people started signing the back it became “a piece of work.”

Sylvia is in a Bible study class for women, and Sammy and I are together in a Bible study for men. First, I got all of them to sign. The first was Lennie Rosenbluth (National Player of the Year in 1957).

Next were fellow shag dancer and N.C. Secretary of State Elaine Marshall; Phil Berger president pro tem of the senate; and even the governor, who signed in bold red ink “WE LOVE YOU” Pat McCrory. Marshall signed it as “Certified to be Original.”

Sylvia was was totally surprised.

Others signing included Chancellor Carol Folt, Freddie Kiger, Lee Smith and Ron Stutz. Mickey Ewell, Moyer Smith, Steve Campbell and Jim Lilly helped spring the surprise in a visit to her office.

The whole back of the print is filled with messages of inspiration. “You Are Our Hero”; “You Are Such an Inspiration to All”; “You Are Such an Asset to this University” and many other messages of love and hope for her speedy recovery from leukemia. Each person was asked to say a silent prayer for her recovery. There must be a 100 signers; in fact two frames wore out while making the rounds across the state.

P.H. Craig

Chapel Hill