12/23 Letters: As a former Republican candidate in NC, I am ashamed of my party.

As the former 2008 Republican nominee for NC US House District 7 (at the time encompassing all of Bladen County) and a past resident of Bladen County, I am appalled at the circumstances of the election in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District.

I declare that the good ol’ boy system is alive and well, and what is right rarely rises to the forefront. I want to thank the bipartisan State Board of Elections for realizing that the absentee ballot scandal is not worthy of certifying the election in NC-9. I also criticize the state Republican Party for putting ethics aside and calling on the board to certify the election when it is clear malfeasance was present. This whole scandal is making a laughing stock of the Republican Party and Bladen County.

I disagree with my party and call for a new election to be held in the NC-9 race as well as a full criminal investigation into the activities surrounding the election. Anything short of these actions will show democracy does not exist in North Carolina.

Will Breazeale

Las Vegas

Despite wonderful care...

My wife, Gaby, has been and continues to be a patient at the Lineberger Cancer Center. She has experienced wonderful care from talented, warm and exceptional doctors and nurses. This month marks two years she has been cancer-free – an anniversary we attribute to her successful treatment under the center’s care. Our experience and the medical outcome are powerful motivators for us to do what we can to support the Lineberger Cancer Center and its vital, life-sustaining work.

However, the recent action by the university to abandon the UNC Center for Civil Rights, and now the latest plan to spend millions to enshrine the white supremacy symbol of Silent Sam, affects us deeply in another way. Our daughter, son-in-law and grandson are black; we are white. What hurts them hurts us. These decisions at the university’s governing level show hostility toward civil rights and communicate to members of our family that others believe they are inferior. I wish my words could convey the anguish and sorrow these decisions cause us. This year, instead of our modest gift to the Lineberger Cancer Center, Gaby and I are giving to causes of social justice.

We acknowledge the UNC Board of Governor’s recent refusal to create a Silent Sam museum, but will await its final decision on disposal of the monument before we reconsider our charitable choices.

John Espenshade

Chapel Hill

Net neutrality

I’ve always been impressed by the policies Rep G. K. Butterfield (D-NC) has supported, but his lack of support for net neutrality has left me highly disappointed. Net neutrality is crucial to a free and open internet. Without it, Iinternet service providers can and will throttle sites that fail to pay premiums, making it difficult for new entrants to gain a foothold. Worse, ISPs may create plans that make it impossible to access most of the internet. This has already been seen in Portugal, where basic internet plans only allow access to Facebook, Amazon, and a few other social media sites. The promise of the internet has already been dealt a severe blow in recent years by the dominance of a few major players. Do not help them cement this dominance.

Chris Dragga


Divisive opinions

While Silent Sam caused pain to some, to me it symbolized a special, happy time in my life at a wonderful university, where I transitioned into adulthood with the guidance of teachers and the camaraderie of supportive classmates. It is not my intention to cause pain to anyone. I also know that no one is exempt from pain, as it visits all races, genders, and socioeconomic classes.

The incendiary opinions and editorial letters from UNC professors only encourage more anger and divisiveness, which threatens the safety of the majority of the University students concentrating primarily on an education. The destruction or removal of painful or bothersome reminders will not solve anyone’s or any group’s problems.

Pat Holscher


Alive and well

To the extent that one is able to untangle J. Peder Zane’s latest convoluted diatribe (“Fight over Silent Sam is just one piece of a broader battle,” Dec. 20), he is conflating the Silent Sam controversy into an example of a “broader effort to transform American culture into a fierce battleground of race . . .” in which America is being characterized as a “racist nation.” He deplores a “creeping authoritarianism” which demonizes and intends to silence anyone daring to assert that we don’t have a significant racial problem.

Zane should shift his gaze to another section of the Opinion page to get a taste of what folks may be concerned about when it comes to race in America. A writer from Louisburg (“Respect our laws,” Dec. 20) exhorts us to “respect . . . our Confederate ancestors and the grand principles and causes for which they fought.” Principles and causes? Anyone not blinkered by prejudice or willful ignorance knows that the so-called War for Southern Independence was fought to preserve the enslavement of black people. And, yes, the lingering effects of that ignoble past have not yet been fully extirpated from contemporary society. Racism, in various forms, is alive and well in America.

Dick Robinson

Chapel Hill

Future catastrophes

The NC Influencers, composed of 50 business and cultural leaders, overwhelmingly believe climate change is a reality and human activities contribute to the problem. Recently, the administration released a report recognizing the perils of doing nothing. These truths must not be altered by political whims. How many more catastrophes will it take before we wake up to reality? The naysayers believe that climate change is a natural phenomenon and nothing can be done to avoid or alter it. The best way is to elect those who believe we have a huge, insidious problem that must be dealt with now. The price tag will be hefty, yet we and future generations must accept that.

Tom Clark


Exercise costs

I and other retired ladies who exercise at the City of Durham’s Edison Johnson Recreation Center have just been informed that the price of attending one exercise class three times a week has skyrocketed from $20 a year to almost $200, beginning in January. This is the only exercise class to increase in price. Obviously, we cannot continue to participate at that price. Are they trying to get rid of us?

Although I joined the group recently, some have been attending for decades. It’s a charming group who care about each other and about their health. Does the City of Medicine care? Exercise prevents Alzheimer’s as well as a list of other costly diseases. Even though we are seniors, many of us are caretakers of family members who could not survive without us. I guess somebody at Durham Parks & Recreation was just not thinking clearly.

Sandra Jenrette