Editor’s note: Our story on the resgnation of the Carolina Theatre’s president and CEO (DN, http://nando.com/3d4) generated several comments, including:
Art Menius: (former director of The ArtsCenter in Carrboro) The concert market in the Triangle is so crowded that adding additional shows — regardless of price point or renown — is self defeating
Tom Mabrey: I felt the rosey picture being portrayed several years ago after they had large financial problems did not make any sense to me. How could they go from losing to all of the sudden successful. I knew there was something not right. So, for others to not know anything about this is a real stretch if a regular community member without inside knowledge could spot this a mile away. I think there should be further investigation beyond Mr. Nocek to see what was really known by whom and when. To pay someone $100,000 when the orgaization was losing money is unacceptable. Tie any future salaries to a profit — a real profit audited by an outside accoutning firm. Prudent protection of our tax money!!
Alicia Hylton-Daniel: It’s a great venue for local theater; perhaps they should consider this. With Central Park School of Children and Durham School of the Atys close by, I’m sure they could get about 10 local shows a year. Also, they need to do a better job marketing the movie theater side. I personally LOVE going there to see films way better than at the commercial theaters at the mall. With a growing downtown of city dwellers, it’s a walkable movie theater and they ought to do more to promote it.
Mass transit albatross
It is inevitable as a community grows and prospers that it sets it sights on the trappings of big cities. Light rail is one of those bright shiny objects. But the numbers add up, and not in a good way.
Mass transit is never, ever self sufficient no matter what the adoption/ridership level. Every community with mass transit of any kind subsidizes the expense with tax revenue of some sort. Big cities have tremendous density so the tax burden is spread thinly over many contributors. When you don’t have sufficient density, the burden becomes onerous on either property owners, businesses or both. The Durham MSA is a small part of the entire Triangle (Raleigh-Durham-Cary CSA covering more than 5,600 square miles) which in turn has lower total population than the island of Manhattan (which is packed into less than 34 square miles).
For mass transit to work, you have to have coverage. You need to pick people up where they live, drop them where they work, and have shopping available at either end. If people have to drive to the transit stop (and park) or take a cab from the stop to work, if they still need a car for daily errands, then you’ve not solved any problems beside, possibly, downtown parking. (Commuting congestion at our scale can be effectively mitigated with flex-time, staggered start and work from home.) One of the barriers to mass transit adoption in cities that are larger and more dense than the Chapel Hill-Durham corridor is that, for many, it takes more time to commute with mass transit than to drive direct/wait in traffic/forage for parking. To say nothing of the independence of not missing the last train/bus home or waiting an hour for the next one.
Rail, light or otherwise, is the most inflexible and expensive means of providing mass transit at our scale. If economics or demographics shift to make a previously served area no longer viable, you’ve got an albatross, public safety menace and eyesore to contend with.
There is always a need for subsidized mass transit, but let’s invest with eyes open and in view of our wallets not our egos. Let’s improve the flexible bus lines, let’s leverage ride-sharing, let’s prepare for self-driving cars, let’s work with local industry on work schedules. With all the disruption in transportation at present, with the fluidity of zoning and development in the region, investing in permanently anchored heavy iron does not seem a prudent path forward.
The writer is the founder and principal of Workflow Analytics LLC, Chapel Hill.
TV hot air
I note that Turner Classic Movies showed “Gone with the Wind” the same time as the most recent GOP debate.
Reason it’s 2nd
Regarding the news article “Obama: ‘We can’t accept this carnage’” (N&O, Jan. 6):
President Obama did all of us a favor by exercising his executive authority to extend the definition of who is in the business of selling firearms. As a result, some of the background check loopholes could be closed.
“All of us” is the 90 percent of Americans who support sensible gun-control measures. The 90 percent includes a majority of Republicans and a majority of gun owners.
So who is the Congress representing when it steadfastly maintains that the Second Amendment should allow former felons and domestic abusers to purchase firearms at gun shows, without background checks?
There is a reason why the right of the people to keep and bear arms is the Second Amendment, not the first. Freedom of speech, of religion, of the press, to petition and to peacefully assemble come first. Those rights were trampled on in Newtown, San Bernardino, Charleston and Aurora.
According to the Declaration of Independence, governments are instituted in order to secure certain unalienable rights with which men (sic) are endowed by their Creator, among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. One cannot exercise these rights if one is dead.
Regarding the news story “Board delays ‘negative’ charter schools report” (N&O, Jan. 7):
An agency files its report on charter schools with the state board; those on the board who want more charter schools suppress it. Surprised? Hardly.
Why were charter schools invented? Forget the blah-blah about innovation and better ways to teach. If that was the point, there might be a handful of such schools. Those things can be done in existing schools and lack only support in money and time. They should be done by professionals experienced in teaching, not amateur advocates and people hoping to make a buck.
No, charter schools were invented for a simple reason: The “good” people wanted to insulate their kids against contact with the kids of the riff-raff. They wanted segregation by legal means.
The result was predictable. We have nearly all white and nearly all nonwhite charter schools.
Controlled for ethnicity and economic status, students in charter schools do no better than those in real public schools. No data show clear superiority for charter schools. Yet their number continues to expand, as part of the contract between the GOP politicians and those with white privilege who vote for them.
To remain legal, that contract must remain unspoken. The facts must be suppressed.
We are grateful to worship God in a nation that explicitly protects our freedom to do so. We affirm the freedom of others to practice as they so choose, whether they profess different creeds, a different faith, or no faith at all. We know we are living in a troubled world—we are angered by injustice, we are grief-stricken by senseless violence, we are heartbroken by cruelty. But we renounce attempts to use our anger and grief and heartbreak to stoke fear. We reject messages that tell us to be afraid of outsiders. We condemn the persecution of and discrimination against believers and non-believers around the world, regardless of whether such actions target and victimize Christians, Muslims, atheists, or those of other faiths.
We remember that God’s perfect love drives out fear (1 John 4:18).
We will, with God’s help, work to do as God commands, practicing forgiveness, standing up for those who are persecuted, and welcoming one another, as Christ has welcomed us, for the glory of God (Romans 15:7).
Pastor Mindy Douglas
on behalf of Session of Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian Church
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