Chapel Hill: Opinion

More letters, April 30

These crepe myrtles are examples of the way experts say crepe myrtle trees should not be pruned.
These crepe myrtles are examples of the way experts say crepe myrtle trees should not be pruned. Chris Seward

The mall’s mistake

The closing of Roses Store at the mall is a big mistake. It has brought other customers into the mall and has shared its goods with all varieties of pocketbooks. To make University Mall just for the up-market customers excludes ordinary people.

I can't afford $200 dresses or $80 blouses. I wear clothes I’ve owned for years. They may not be the modern styles, but they were good clothes when I bought them and I take care of them. At 86 I would look silly in these modern get-ups. There is very little at the bottom and even less at the top. I also have a back which is painful and I walk on two canes. This makes my mobility limited. Rose's for me was an easy place to shop. It carries a good line of children's clothing and comfortable women's things. There is bed linens and towels and other household items which are necessary and useful. I could find things easily, and Mrs. Gill, the manager, found someone to help me.

A mall should cater for all size pocketbooks. The hard-earned dollar of an hourly wage earner is just as good as the wealthy patron’s thousands of dollars. A lot of small-wage earners will create thousands of dollars and bring customers in the mall. I avoid up-market shops with snooty sales people who look me up and down and say “Tisk, tisk,” under their breath. Rose’s allowed all customers to feel welcome.

Ariana Mangum

Chapel Hill

Town not listening

How rare it is to find a four-leaf clover. They are said to bring good luck. Well, this four-leaf clover – Obey Creek, Central West, Glen Lennox, and Ephesus Fordham – is only going to bring higher taxes, more runoff, traffic jams, destruction of existing neighborhoods, and a loss of already struggling locally owned businesses.

Currently, we have a surplus of vacant commercial and office space. Just walk downtown, go to East 54, or check out University Mall. The current trends and future trends show an increase in online shopping and a decreased need for commercial retail space. Why pay high rents when you can sell your products online? So why then is the town so hungry to approve tons more construction for things we don’t and won’t support?

The mayor and council are elected to speak on our behalf, but it seems they really do not want to hear from us. And most alarming is that once these are voted in, there is no chance to vote this kind of form-based development out, which means the pesky citizen will no longer have a voice.

I think that the town I moved to in 1974 has changed so much. The governing body and town officials have primarily become a voice for developers, and a body dedicated to squashing the voices of its citizens, with little or no care for the ordinary man, much less, for the disenfranchised

It is hard not to be sad mad and a little bit paranoid. Let us slow down, listen to the people who want to speak but are being prevented from doing so. Otherwise, this will only feel like calculated maneuvers.

Jan Halle

Chapel Hill

Crepe murder

Ah, spring in Chapel Hill! The beautiful flowering trees in white, pink and deep pink and then we see the chopped off trunks and branches of the lovely small trees with summer blooms, the crepe myrtle.

What will the “landscapers” and property owners do next? Will the next fad be to chop off the dogwoods to make them uniform height? Or will they look at the crepe myrtles on MLK Jr. Blvd., N.C. 54 near Meadowmont or Bim Street by the Farmers' Market in Carrboro to see how crepe myrtles should be pruned? Probably not.

Sherri Ontjes


Jacobs and Marcoplos

I am writing to express my support of Barry Jacobs in the Orange County At Large Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) primary and Mark Marcoplos in the District 2 BOCC primary.

The Triangle as well as the US economy’s future growth depends on new ideas creating new innovative products, infrastructure and businesses that in turn create new jobs. Both Barry and Mark have shown they have the experience and capability to create and grasp new right ideas that lead to new innovative solutions to Orange County and regional issues.

Barry’s contributions to the creation of the Piedmont Food and Ag Processing Center has helped create an incubator for the development of small agricultural related businesses creating new job opportunities in Orange County. Barry has played an important role in the development of a regional transportation plan that will create an infrastructure that will potentially help create hundreds of thousand of new job opportunities in a sustainable environment in the Triangle region. Barry’s history in the BOCC has shown that he is an exceptional leader and has the right skills and experience needed to play a major role in the BOCC in the future.

Mark has shown in the positions he has held in Orange county government that he is a leader and ready to take the next step as a commissioner in contributing to innovative solutions to Orange County and Triangle issues. Mark served on the Orange Water and Sewer Authority Board of Directors as a member and chair and the Orange County Planning Board contributing to the creation of new innovative solutions to Orange County’s water futures and planning processes. Mark has been active for many years in offering new ideas to resolve Orange County’s solid waste issues, many Triangle issues and numerous global issues. Mark also supports the regional transportation plan that will create a transportation infrastructure that will be critical in the development of an environment in the Triangle that will compete with the nation’s best innovation centers to create new job opportunities for residents in the Triangle for many years to come.

Dave Laudicina

Bingham Township

Misrepresenting the facts

I received an email from Barry Jacobs’ campaign for county commissioner signed by eight prominent citizens. The second paragraph contained only one sentence: “Please know that Barry’s opponent recently worked for a Tea Party Republican who ran against our Congressman, David Price.” Barry Jacobs’ opponent is Bonnie Hauser.

The signers are people I have long respected and supported so I was aghast that they chose to promote Jacobs’ candidacy by distorting Hauser’s profile. Saying that Bonnie “recently worked for a Tea Party Republican” is a misrepresentation of the facts, apparently in hopes of producing a toxic impact on her candidacy.

If they actually thought it was relevant, they should have given the facts. Bonnie supported B.J. Lawson in 2008 (as well as Clinton and Obama). Many voters would have immediately remembered that Lawson was not labeled a Tea Party Republican back then. He was not even characterized as a typical Republican – the Independent Weekly labeled him a “hybrid candidate.” In 2008 Lawson enjoyed the support of multiple solid Democrats. In the Indy’s endorsement of Price, they named it a “tougher call than it looks” and Lawson a “viable choice.”

I know Bonnie from her work on issues of serious importance to Orange County residents, who have sometimes found it challenging to get the attention and understanding of our county commissioners. Bonnie has consistently pursued transparency in government reports, budgets and data. She has worked tirelessly to open the dialogue, support information flow, and avoid facile solutions that would have negative consequences for our communities and environment.

I hope voters will think about what it means when campaigns choose to engage in innuendo instead of straightforward debate about the issues we face. It is clear to me that choosing this route is a reason not to keep Barry Jacobs in office.

Kathleen Hoffmann

Orange County

Caldwell has integrity

Here are a few of the reasons I’m voting for David Caldwell for Orange County sheriff. I have known David for almost 30 years, and I know he is a man of integrity. My friend Sterlin Holt has known David for 40 years, since he coached David at N.C. Central, and knows he is a man of integrity. My friend Fred Battle is David’s uncle, known him all his life, and knows David is a man of integrity.

David’s father was one of the first African American police officers in the state. He taught David and his brothers that you could serve the Lord, your community, and feed your family through a law enforcement career.

David’s great grandfather, Wilson Swain Caldwell, was born a slave on Feb. 27, 1841. Since his mother, Rosa Burgess, was a slave of N.C. Governor David Swain, Wilson was called “Wilson Swain.” When the U.S. Army liberated him in 1865, he took his father’s last name, Caldwell. He was a key delegate in persuading the Army not to burn down the university. He was a “janitor” at UNC after it reopened to serve only white men. Wilson Caldwell died in 1898, when white supremacy forces consolidated their hold over North Carolina.

David Caldwell’s great great grandfather, November Caldwell (1791-1872) was owned by Joseph Caldwell, the first UNC president. Known as “Doctor” Caldwell throughout the campus and town, many slaves and free people sought his medical and social counsel. Because of Dr. Caldwell’s visible leadership position, the KKK nightriders organized by Col. William Saunders after the 13th Amendment was passed, stoned the home of Dr. Caldwell’s family, including young Wilson. Dr. Yonni Chapman’s dissertation, available online from the UNC library, has many references to the Caldwell and Battle families and their deep community roots.

David Caldwell is the only candidate for Sheriff with a college degree. Like his ancestors, he loves learning, fighting for equality and justice, and trying to make the only community he has ever known a better place. His family has lived in the Rogers Road community for many years and he has helped lead the fight to get local governments to keep their promises to clean up the mess they made of his neighborhood when they put the landfill practically on top of it. I stop here, so my letter will not be deemed too long.

Al McSurely

Chapel Hill