Regarding “Duke Energy: Utility CEO’s pay hit $21M last year” (Mar. 14): Although North Carolina did not require coal-ash dumpsites to be monitored until 2010, coal ash from Duke Energy’s 14 coal-fired power plants was dumped throughout the state. These 50 coal-ash impoundments are estimated to have the capacity to hold 19 billion gallons of coal ash.
Following the Federal Tax Cut overhaul, Duke Energy has no doubt received its share of corporate income tax benefits. Additionally, Duke Energy Chief Executive Lynn Good’s income has been reported to have doubled from $10.8 million in 2015 to $21.4 million in 2017. During the past two weeks, Duke Energy has been requesting large monthly rate hikes ranging from 4.5 percent to even 14 percent from their customers before the NC Utilities Commission.
Based on the fact that Duke Energy is required to pay for the cleanup of their coal-ash ponds, why are they giving Lynn Good a tremendous income raise instead of using some of these funds to help pay for the cleanup? Is Duke Energy planning to share any of their corporate income tax cut with their customers or use it to help pay for this cleanup?
And finally, why should the customers be charged an additional rate hike to help pay for this cleanup, which should be the responsibility of Duke Energy and its shareholders and was mandated by the General Assembly as Duke Energy’s problem to fix?
Regarding “Zero tolerance and zero fairness in the Rep. Hall case”(Mar. 14): The article asks, “Do we really want to prohibit testing-the-waters flirtation?”
A boss shouldn’t put his subordinate in the position of explaining how his behavior is degrading. “It was a mistake, not a sin.” No, it is a pattern of entitled and gross behavior that goes unchecked when no one brings attention to it or when no repercussions are in place for the aggressor.
Women don’t want men to never flirt with them again. We simply hold this funny idea that we should be able to work in our professional field of choice without navigating demeaning, inappropriate, and overt sexualization from the people in power who hire us.
The #metoo movement isn’t a witch hunt where men are scapegoats. It is a shining light on sexism which has transitioned from overt to covert. It is a call for us all to examine our interactions, personal and professional, and do better.
Action from grief
The leadership of young people in the current gun violence crisis is a sign of hope, a breakthrough to help dislodge the logjam of political inaction by do-nothing elected officials. When adults won’t lead, our children rise to become our leaders.
I’ve been struck by the way that young people are facing their mountain of grief over the death of classmates in Florida and their worry over further grief that will come if the shootings are not stopped. The school walkouts, rallies, and marches for gun control are profound expressions of grief work – grief energy transformed into action.
It’s “public processing of pain” where pain becomes energy for change. The students are saying “enough is enough.” Gun violence must stop. The worship of guns has now become idolatry, the golden calf that violates the commandment, “You shall have no other gods before me.” These golden calf guns, especially the rapid-fire military guns, have become evil destroyers of precious human life.
When a son or daughter or friend or classmate is killed by a mass shooting, we all are plunged into wrenching grief. That grief can either paralyze us, or it can motivate us to action for change. Our young people have taken grief into the public square, and their public processing of pain has become a courageous act of hope. Their actions should demand that elected officials ban assault weapons and bring other reasonable regulations of guns.
It’s time for politicians to cease doing evil. Cease bowing before the golden calf.
Rev. Mel Williams
pastor emeritus, Watts Street Baptist Church
Durham Coordinator, End Poverty Durham