Durham News: Opinion

What you’re saying: Betsy Crites, Mark G. Rodin, Michael Jay

The districts we deserve

Regarding the news article "Federal court invalidates maps of 2 N.C. districts" (N&O, Feb. 6):

The drama around North Carolina's gerrymandered District 1 and District 12 is moving faster than an action movie. Unfortunately, the various court decisions on these districts will not solve the basic procedural malfunction that affects the whole state, i.e., how the districts get drawn in the first place.

North Carolinians have been through gerrymanderings for decades under both Democrats and Republicans. We've seen the disputes resulting from these deformed districts dragged through the courts for years.

Successful alternatives have been tried in other states. Iowa turns the process over to a nonpartisan commission made up of professional legislative staff. A similar bill, H.B. 92, has been introduced in the N.C. House. It would establish a nonpartisan redistricting commission whose members would be chosen by leaders of both parties.

Support for change is growing with a bipartisan majority in the N.C. House of 63 co-sponsors. The former Democratic mayor of Raleigh, Tom Bradshaw, and the former Republican mayor of Charlotte, Richard Vinroot, have led an effort supporting reform.

The most important change to protect our votes is not voter ID, but a nonpartisan process for drawing districts.

Betsy Crites


Unhelpful protest

Regarding the news article "4 arrested in raucous protest" (N&O, Jan. 27):

UNC Board of Governors chairman Lou Bissette is correct: Those who disrupt meetings to protest the appointment of Margaret Spellings are disrespectful and do not help their goal of progressive change for the UNC System.

As Bissette noted in the story, voters elected the Republican majority in our state's General Assembly, and it will only be through elections that those "who elected this board" will be removed from office. Power of control belongs to the victors in elections.

Civil disobedience such as this protest influences the electorate at large to keep the current Republican majority who hired Spellings in power following November's general elections.

Mark G. Rodin


Liu also missed

As the chair of an academic unit at UNC, this is the time of year I conduct annual performance evaluations of faculty in my unit. I am painfully reminded again this year that one member of my division, Dr. Feng Liu, will not be evaluated because in July 2014 he was brutally murdered - bashed in the head with a stone and left on the street for dead - just blocks from the UNC campus.

Why, unlike on the anniversary of other UNC murder victims, were there no front-page stories in The N&O or an email blast from the UNC chancellor? Why no call from President Obama or mention of this horrific crime in his press briefs?

Liu was a kind soul who served his profession and community; he wasn't even involved in a dispute with his neighbors. Anyone who attended the memorial service for Liu after his murder could see the visible pain it had on his colleagues, friends, family and community. A pall of sadness and fear - yes, fear - continues to hang over them today.

Does anybody about their voice or is Liu just not enough of a sympathetic victim?

Michael Jay

Chapel Hill