Letters to the Editor

1/30 Letters: Is $35,000 a ‘good starting salary’ for teachers?

I read “School chief’s salary comment fuels debate” (Jan. 28) where North Carolina State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson said he thought $35,000 was a good starting salary for a teacher. I agree. I have the greatest respect for good teachers.

I also have friends’ children starting out in their chosen professions (beautician among them) not making $20,000 a year. They also work 12 months a year, with maybe one week of vacation a year, if they can afford to take it. They do not have benefits like health care, paid sick days, retirement, help funding a 401(k) or built-in paid work days. They also work nights and weekends.

God bless those who choose teaching and let’s hope they stay with it long enough to reap the money rewards.

Patsy Hill


Budget delay

Regarding “US government shuts down as partisan blame game heats up” (Jan. 20): Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should be proud that the new policy he established by not allowing a vote on a president’s supreme court appointee is now being applied to the budget.

This budget is too important to be approved by the current Senate: Let the next Senate decide on the budget.

Patrick Murphy


Commit to renewables

Regarding “NC OKs key permit for Atlantic Coast Pipeline” (Jan. 27): The NC Department of Environmental Quality has cleared the way for construction of the Atlantic Coast (natural gas) Pipeline. Too bad. This infrastructure approval commits our country and state to more fossil fuel use when we should be eliminating these global warming fuels and switching to renewable energy.

Still, Governor Cooper did say that his “goal for North Carolina is complete reliance on renewable energy,” but that we need the pipeline to bridge to that future. If so, let’s get started. Let’s commit now to build new solar, wind or hydropower to match every BTU of natural gas supplied by the pipeline. Then, say in 10 years, the pipeline will have spurred a new energy infrastructure based on renewables, made itself obsolete and bridged us to the future.

Without such a commitment, though, we will make the same ‘bridge’ argument when we build Atlantic Coast Pipeline number two in 2028.

Gary K. and Jane E. G. Smith


‘Day late, dollar short’

Show me Bob Orr’s timely letter supporting the Democratic judge nominees. Then I’ll take seriously his op-ed “Stop blocking judges for ideological reasons” (Jan. 21) supporting Tom Farr. A day late and a dollar short, Mr. Orr.

H. W. Dougherty


Higher wage needed

I wholeheartedly agree with “Raise N.C.’s minimum wage” (Jan. 7) in favor of raising N.C.’s minimum wage. Raising wages is beneficial to the economy, but even if it weren’t, isn’t there any moral compulsion to do so? This baffles me.

In a country so wedded to the value of hard work, our hypocritical failure to adequately reward such work is disheartening. Are there actually opponents who can bear people with multiple jobs living in squalor? I don’t get to close my eyes to that horror after decades of growing to care deeply for people in dire poverty.

I am haunted by the dignified older working woman I met, with no heat, wearing three coats, who needed me to remove a cockroach from her ear. By the man who nearly lost a finger at his job but requested I return him to work straightaway because he couldn’t afford to miss a paycheck. By watching working parents’ children fight over free crackers. Don’t these people, our own fellow hardworking Americans, move the hearts of the wealthy and powerful? For a day in the shoes of a working poor person would bring the rest of us to our knees.

Aparna H. Jonnal