Letters to the Editor

Reminder: America already has a ‘border wall’

A U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agent passes along a section of the border wall in Hidago, Texas.
A U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agent passes along a section of the border wall in Hidago, Texas. AP

The headline “For Trump, it’s fund border wall or face a shutdown this fall” (July 30) and statements like “more public money to build his long-promised border wall” demand greater clarity.

There is already a border wall – 700 miles of wall exist along our 1,951 mile border with Mexico. Another 1,255 miles of border is in the middle of the Rio Grande River, and 24 miles in the Colorado River.

The Secure Fence Act of 2006 is responsible for most of the 700 miles constructed during the Obama administration. There are already 17,000 border agents, along with cameras and sensors, also forming a “virtual fence.”

There are also land owners, state and local governments and river regulations that have a voice about the border. Let’s be more precise in our selection of terms about the border and stop erroneous language that implies we don’t have a border wall.

Jerry Barker


A life in newspapers

The rector in his eulogy for Dave Jones didn’t have to strain to find what news people call the lede. Jones was a newspaperman, the rector said – echoing the obituary that had appeared in The N&O a couple of days before.

For that was Jones’ proud occupation throughout a career that took him to the top ranks of The News and Observer Publishing Co. and to leadership in an industry crucial to our civic life.

William Davis Jones III died on July 21 at age 91. The congregants at his memorial service in Raleigh came to honor a man of many dimensions – loving husband and father, veteran of two wars, witty and well-read.

But Dave’s dedication to the world of news gathering and publishing merited a special salute. With him at the helm of The N&O’s business operations as general manager under Publisher Frank Daniels Jr., the company’s profitability gave it the ongoing strength to serve as the leading newspaper of Eastern North Carolina and as a vigorous watchdog of state government.

In our present digital era, the industry model built around printed newspapers is on the verge of obsolescence, with the viability of its replacement still unproven.

Yet the role of a news organization in linking its readers and telling them what they need to know so they can exercise good citizenship remains as important as ever. We have to hope the industry can attract enough future leaders willing to grapple with those challenges and wise enough to overcome them – leaders of the caliber of Dave Jones.

Steve Ford


Steve Ford retired in 2012 as The N&O’s editorial page editor.

Highest growth?

Regarding “Trump touts economy as ‘envy of the entire world’” (July 28): Trump is bragging that he brought about the highest economic growth rate in 13 years because the economy grew by 4.1 percent in the second quarter.

President Obama, who was elected just after Bush’s huge economic collapse, had four quarters of higher growth than this during his presidency. This 4.1 percent would actually only tie for the fifth-strongest quarter under President George W. Bush and the 13th-strongest quarter under President Bill Clinton.

We need to fact check and double fact check our news. The major news outlets were posting a graph depicting the 4.1 percent as if it were a yearly rate. Support our local newspaper, they may be the last guardians of truth and democracy.

Karen McGrew


‘Economic envy?’

Regarding “Trump touts economy as ‘envy of the entire world’” (July 28): I am astounded by Trump’s suggestion that the latest Commerce Department Report on the economy shows that “Once again, we are the economic envy of the entire world.”

Perhaps the rest of the world doesn’t know how many of our children go hungry on a daily basis; how many of our families have low-paying jobs or have to work two low-paying jobs that still do not meet their needs; how many individuals in our country do not have health insurance and adequate health care; that one of the richest countries in the world does not adequately support the education of its children (the future of the country); and that so many people of color or ethnic minorities are discriminated against over and over again.

Trump is the president of all citizens of the United States, and he is not doing his job.

Margaret S. Miles, BSN, PhD

Chapel Hill