Durham News: Opinion

Your letters: Ophelia Marcus-Taylor, Mark G. Rodin and Jane Fraser

Labor nominee a bad choice

Donald Trump has nominated fast-food CEO Andrew Puzder to lead the Labor Department. This is a bad choice for working people.

This pick betrays the spirit of the Trump campaign and threatens to leave working people more vulnerable to abusive employers.

Puzder opposes raising the minimum wage and says workers don’t need overtime and should instead be happy with a “sense of accomplishment.”

Puzder has used his position and authority as a fast-food CEO to enrich himself at the expense of working people by violating labor law. One investigation found that more than half of the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s restaurants reviewed weren’t paying workers what they were owed.

He refused to pay his managers the overtime they earned and said he’d like to replace human workers with machines, because machines “never take a vacation … there’s never a slip-and-fall, or an age, sex or race discrimination case.”

People who work at his restaurants make poverty wages while he made more money last year in one day than one of his full-time minimum wage workers makes in a year.

All of these reasons make Puzder unfit to run the agency tasked with protecting people at work.

Ophelia Marcus-Taylor


Pity Pat

Pity former Gov. Pat McCrory who apparently lamented his re-election loss in a Time-Warner Cable News interview saying his “main suspicions” involved Durham County. McCrory is reported to have said he had no issues with the ballot box vote totals, but placed the blame for his defeat on the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court that voter IDs could not be used in November’s election, “which allowed a lot of college students who live out of state to vote.”

Wait a minute. I’ve served as a Durham County election official in eight of the past nine years and supervised at one early voting site for the November election. Our county board of elections sent all newly registered voters information cards. Those the U.S. Postal Service could not deliver were returned and the newly registered voter involved had an “ID required” alert placed on the county’s electronic voter registration records. That meant if the affected voter came to cast a ballot he or she was required to show proof of a current address under the federal Help America Vote Act. If a voter could not show a bank statement, credit card statement, utility bill or paycheck statement with the registration address, he or she was offered a provisional ballot and the board of elections made the final decision whether or not the ballot would be counted.

I served at the help desk during early voting and talked to several “ID required” voters. I can assure former Gov. McCrory those who could not show proof they lived at an address in Durham County were not allowed to vote a regular ballot. In addition I registered at least 50 persons during early voting and those who could not show proof they lived in Durham County were not allowed to register.

Mark G. Rodin


Help for stutterers

For many people, ringing in the New Year brings hope and joyful anticipation. But for those who struggle with stuttering, the old fears of speaking and being teased remain the same—year after year. Many of your readers don’t know that help for stuttering is available from so many places. Trusted information on stuttering is available at your local public library. Public schools have speech counselors, and children are entitled to free evaluation and help by law. Seek out a Speech-Language Pathologists in your area trained in helping those who stutter. Universities often offer speech clinics. Finally, the internet can be wonderful resource on stuttering—with free books, videos, and reference materials. Visit our website as a starting point: www.StutteringHelp.org. Make 2017 the year you find the help you and your family need.

Jane Fraser

The Stuttering Foundation

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