Durham News: Opinion

What you’re saying: Jeff Paine, Clara Downing, Myra Dotson, Matthew Paul, Erik Landfried, Ran Dasi, Kelvin De’Marcus Allen, Tom Field and Bert Clere

Serious about sidewalks

Regarding “City To Hire Bike/Ped Person” (DN, http://nando.com/2wb):

It’s great to hear the City of Durham is getting serious about replacing sidewalks in downtown. And I love that the city is going around our neighborhood in Trinity Park and replacing dangerous, broken-up sidewalks, making them safer for pedestrians.

But over a year ago, the city Department of Water Management insisted that the meters in front of my home on Watts Street be moved from their property between the sidewalk and the curb on to my front lawn. I had to pay to have a 2-foot wide strip of the sidewalk cut out for them to do this.

Well, you guessed it – after my multiple attempts by phone and by using the city’s One-Call website and phone system, my sidewalk has never been repaired! This is a trip and fall accident waiting to happen in front of my house. We are talking about 24 inches of repair that has been ignored by the city for well over a year!

Who decides who gets their sidewalk repaired and who doesn’t? What’s a tax-paying citizen have to do, beg?”

Jeff Paine


Black Lives Matter reaction

Editor’s note: Bob Wilson’s column “Black Lives Matter puts rhetoric before reason” (DN http://nando.com/2vj) generated strong reader feedback.

In the column Wilson wrote: “Black Lives Matter attracts zealots who cut and paste their version of truth – the Big Lie. Like the 1960s-era Black Panthers, of which it purports to be the successor, BLM is a reason-free zone. And like other impromptu social-justice movements, BLM feeds on the gullibility of young people of swept up in the passions of the moment. Alas, the Great Awakening that they were mere pawns comes too late for some.”

Here is what some of you said:

Clara Downing: As an African-American woman having attended and graduated from two “99 percent” white colleges, earning a B.A. then an M. Ed., I would like to say that BLM needs a leader that can articulate exactly what change is needed. So far, all I’ve seen was the media repeatedly showing the students barging in on a speaker, even ones that address the issues of racism, such as Sanders. Our children are angry, including white and Latino children. I think universities and colleges should not promote racism by pretending it doesn’t exist. On the other hand, I am still waiting for a reason to have a president resign. It has to be more than someone being called the N word. I’m looking for issues such as discrimination in admission or grading policy, allowing KKKs to march on their university campus, etc. I would say that All Lives Matter, including Black Lives. Personally, regardless of where the bullet comes from, whether it’s from racist cops or stray bullet from a drive-by shooting in a trailer park or the projects, violence kills and All Lives Matter !

Myra Dotson: Finally, a voice of reason. Thank you Bob Wilson, for your bravery. I agree with most of your article, but I don’t agree with you on where this is coming from. They are not “the spawn of 1960s radicals” ... do the math ... they could be the “grand-spawn” of the ’60s radicals. But I don’t agree with that either. I think they are the spawn of the Obama administration’s plans to initiate racial tensions. Instead of a black president lowering racial tensions, his administration has worked very hard increasing tensions. Think about it. How many presidents go on national TV and make agitating statements about incidents, only exacerbating the tensions? (Remember Obama comparing himself to Trayvon Martin: “I could have been Trayvon.” This is whipping up racial tensions to a high that never existed before 2008.

Matthew Paul: Well after all aren’t older, white males the most qualified to judge the merits of the BLM movement?

Erik Landfried: Stop publishing this stuff. Telling a group of people to get a grip is not a piece worth publishing. If Mr. Wilson had offered some suggestions for how the movement could be more effective in his eyes, that might have had some merit for publication, but all he does is attempt to dismiss the movement without providing any reasons why he wants to do so. This will not lead to a productive conversation.

Rani Dasi: The Black Lives Matter movement is significantly older than two years and arose from unimaginable atrocities commited against a group of people. Black Lives Matters attracts people who care about basic human rights. I wonder how Mr. Wilson would write this column if his grandparents had been denied access to education, health care and basic human dignity and if his parents had been less able to be educated and if his children were more likely to have negative health outcomes than other populations. If that happened to his family, as a fellow American, I would wonder how I could help instead of spending my power and energy bashing them.

Kelvin De’Marcus Allen: You are blind to your own truth, Mr. Wilson! Fortunately, there’s only one truth. You decry the tactics of Black Lives Matter and ignore the real issues they bring to the fore. Revolutionaries don’t play politely. Remember the Boston Tea Party?

Cowardly decision

Regarding the news article “McCrory: Don’t send Syrian refugees to N.C.” (N&O, Nov. 17):

Courage and cowardice take many forms, and our governor has provided a sad counterpoint to the thousands of courageous, desperate families fleeing ISIS while Gov. Pat McCrory, ever so fearful of a terrorist possibly destroying our country, has boldly proclaimed North Carolina off-limits to all Syrian refugees.

Mothers, children, everybody must simply go back home to the bombs, brutality and rapes of ISIS, since the world’s most powerful military, its local police and an armed citizenry cannot possibly cope with the prospect of a few terrorists possibly slipping through the vetting process.

Since the Paris plotters hatched their plan from Belgium, I would guess that McCrory’s next move will be to urge the military to bomb Brussels.

Tom Field

Chapel Hill

N.C. losing dignity

One of the most interesting displays in the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is the “Japanese Friendship Doll” called Miss Kagawa. This was one of 58 dolls sent to the United States by Japan in the 1920s as part of a goodwill exchange between the two countries.

During World War II, North Carolina was the only state that didn’t destroy its friendship doll or remove it from display in order to appease anti-Japanese sentiment.

To me, the doll is a symbol of the higher standards of human dignity and global citizenship that North Carolina has traditionally strived for.

As such, I was disappointed to read Gov. Pat McCrory’s announcement that North Carolina should not take in any refugees from Syria.

The governor is catering to the winds of fear rather than the higher ideals of North Carolina. I urge him to reconsider his stance and learn more about these refugees, most of whom are good people fleeing violence and persecution.

Bert Clere


Shameful reminder

Refugees? If Gov. Pat McCrory were really concerned about the safety of North Carolina residents, he would have pushed for the expansion of Medicaid and provided funding for more social workers and nurses and better pay for teachers in public schools.

His fearmongering about immigrants is a shameful reminder of our reaction to refugees during past wars and disasters, the Irish, Italians, Polish, etc.

My father was born in Poland and came to the United States at the age of 7 in the 1920s. He became a doctor and then enlisted in the Army shortly after graduating, fighting in the Pacific in World War II.

David C. Sokal