1/17 Letters: We need a true wilderness park, not more of what we already have.

Sledders walk through Dorothea Dix park in Raleigh Sunday morning, Dec. 9, 2018.
Sledders walk through Dorothea Dix park in Raleigh Sunday morning, Dec. 9, 2018. ehyman@newsobserver.com

Wilderness parks

The Triangle has multiple outdoor performance venues, great botanical parks, historical farms, numerous children’s theme parks in addition to the wonderfully renovated Pullen Park, athletic parks for soccer, softball and even cricket, and bicycle trail systems. We also have a great multitude of restaurants and breweries everywhere.

But what we need in our bustling city are wilderness park areas — large areas of quiet forest and swamp where we can see and hear wildlife and walk in quietude. Even now, Umstead, the Fine Arts Museum grounds and Dix Park are being threatened with commercial development — from a quarry to a city venue of hotels, parking, restaurants, and amusement parks.

Wilderness parks provide a place to walk, sit, and contemplate - a spiritual refuge from the noise and commotion of the city. They also provide ecosystem services - to purify the air, treat the water runoff from streets, absorb carbon, provide habitat for wildlife and preserve plant and insect diversity.

Lets make Dix Park a refuge within the city, not just more of what we already have.

Regan Mensch Brown


Unequal coverage

I was quite surprised to read the Herald-Sun’s coverage of the Human Relations Commission meeting on the Durham City Council’s stand against police training exchanges with Israel.

I attended the meeting Tuesday night, where those supporting the council’s position against police exchanges considerably outnumbered the pro-Israel side. But you would never have known it from the story.

Jill Madsen of the Jewish Federation and some local rabbis were quoted at length, and a video of Madsen’s statement was included as a sidebar to the online story. Desmera Gatewood from Coalition for Peace with Justice delivered powerful testimony about Israeli human rights abuses she encountered during a recent trip to Israel-Palestine. But it was ignored in the coverage.

Claims by pro-Israel advocates of “discrimination” against Jews were reported uncritically without any reference to what other speakers presented. Israel is not Judaism, and it is not synonymous with Jewish people. Israel is a state government, and criticism of its monstrous treatment of the subject Palestinian population is neither discriminatory nor anti-Semitic.

Lee Mortimer


Rising profits

The Raleigh scooter company Bird complaining about the annual $300 per scooter fee is disingenuous at best. If each scooter is rented only once per day, that means the $2 per ride price increase brings in $730 per year — $430 extra profit for the scooter company after paying the $300 fee. Five rides a day, $3350 extra profit. With a cap of 500 scooters, that’s $1.675 million extra profit per year for Bird. So, please don’t complain about the fee when it is clearly more profit that you are after.

Peter Aitken

Chapel Hill

Ready and waiting

In the midst of the protests and conflict over Confederate statues and memorials, let us be aware that the National Monument to Peace and Justice Museum in Montgomery, AL has a memorial steel monument that could be sent to us. This museum is informally known as the National Lynching Memorial. It has over 800 steel monuments, two for each Southern county where a lynching took place. The name of the county and the names of the victims are on the monument. They have a program by which they hope to send the duplicate to the county it represents. Durham, Orange, Wake and several other NC counties all have a memorial slab there. A local group needs to sponsor the request and have an approved installation site. It’s time to have a monument that shows another part of our history. Please, some organization take on this project. The need for it is now.

Deborah Brogden


Selective statistics

A letter on Jan. 14 decries Durham-Orange Light Rail, stating “Light Rail was never mentioned” in the 2011 Durham referendum. They use selective statistics. The 60.1 percent yes vote in Durham was a 17 percent turnout, but the writers ignore the 2012 Orange referendum 58.9 percent yes with 68.3 percent turnout. As to the assertion that light rail was never mentioned, I found an October 2011 Independent Weekly editorial endorsing a yes vote, citing light rail, a Duke Today article noting the light rail, a John Locke Foundation issue paper criticizing the light rail, and a Durham City council presentation on light rail that summer. All from ten minutes research, so I find a case of amnesia from the writers.

Gerry Cohen