1/14 Letters: Punish businesses that hire undocumented workers

No wall will stop the flow of illegal immigration. Doesn’t matter the country of origin. Illegal employment, not illegal immigration, is the problem. It seems obvious that stopping illegal hiring will eliminate the vast majority of undocumented immigrants from making an arduous, dangerous journey to the southern border or an international airport. If they know they can’t be hired, they won’t come. Stiff, and I mean punishing, fines for hiring any undocumented immigrant would do a far better job at our borders and save us a whole lot of money.

Brian Letourneau


Too harsh

Like many, I have been concerned for the safety of users of electric scooters on our streets and for both users and pedestrians on our sidewalks. I thought it good policy for the City Council to establish some policies to make them more safe. I was stunned to note that the only thing it did was charge a $300 fee for each scooter. This does nothing to increase safety, but significantly increases the cost for those who use them, many of whom use them because they do not have a car.

What is the point of the fee other than making scooter use more expensive and thus punishing those who cannot afford a car? Imagine the uproar if the Council imposed a $300 fee on every car in Raleigh. Scooter users, because they are few, often low income and relatively powerless, are having their lives made a little hard for no apparent purpose.

Bob Fitzgerald


The authors of “We Can’t Afford to Miss This Train” (Jan. 6) have staked their political identities on getting a light rail — any light rail — to Durham. The authors assert that since the local funds for the project come from “dedicated funding” (Durham’s transit sales tax), the light rail won’t compete with other public projects for resources. They also assert that the transit tax was approved by “overwhelming majorities” in Orange and Durham Counties.

The truth is a far cry from these assertions. The transit sales tax referendum, which asked for “mass transit” funding, was on the ballot in an off year. Only 17 percent of Durham’s registered voters turned out. The light rail was never mentioned. Of all eligible voters, only 10 percent voted for the tax and seven opposed. This is not an “overwhelming majority,” no matter how you slice it.

The authors’ assertion that other public projects are not threatened is equally spurious. When the transit tax funds collected fall short of expenses, the only choices will be to increase taxes or siphon funds from other services.

The $2.5+ billion light rail will not take you to RTP or RDU. It does not create 30,000 new jobs. It is not even the best modern-day option for solving gridlock in Durham (“The Orange-Durham Light Rail Has Become a Runaway Train,” Dec. 30). Political messages are just what they appear to be: spin on facts we need to check for ourselves.

Ruth Ann McKinney, M.Ed., J.D., Durham City

Bettie Sue Masters, Ph.D., Durham City

Phillip M. Post, Durham County


It never ceases to amaze me how inept politicians are at the art of negotiation. I imagine this stems from the fact that the only negotiating they have ever done involves creating legislation in return for campaign donations. For all his faults, President Trump does understand the concept of leverage, and he uses it effectively. If I were Nancy Pelosi, and thank the Lord I am not, I would tell President Trump that he could have his $5.6 Billion for his wall as long as he signs a bill that requires all elected and appointed federal officials to disclose all financial assets and business and personal tax returns This would put Trump in a corner.

Chris Burke


Covering government

Your recent op-ed article by the Miami Herald Editorial Board about wasteful FEMA operations is a great example of how the press highlights government problems. One hopes that the exposure will lead to corrections and savings in taxpayer monies. But we don’t have to point to out-of-state examples. The N&O recently had an equally praiseworthy column on the awarding of government contracts to out-of-state companies in the restoration and recovery work in N.C. of recent hurricanes when North Carolina companies were available and ready.

The nation’s loudest press critic, Donald Trump, spitefully and falsely has damaged the public’s opinion of the press, but the stories above are reasons why Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. “

Barlow Herget