Letters to the Editor

Should rental scooters and other businesses have to pay ‘user fees’ for sidewalk access?

Bird electric scooters are now in downtown Raleigh.
Bird electric scooters are now in downtown Raleigh. jleonard@newsobserver.com

Sidewalk fees?

Regarding “Praise, complaints and a couple of injuries – jury’s still out on scooters” (Aug. 5): A growing number of commercial enterprises such as rented bicycles, rented electric scooters and restaurants with outdoor dining are making use of municipal sidewalks. Sidewalks installed and maintained with tax revenue.

Perhaps it is time to consider placing user fees on these businesses that depend upon having access to our sidewalks.

Deborah Brogden


Join ‘majority’

State ABC Commission wasted millions, audit finds” (Aug. 10) is a telling account of: No oversight or review; no one thinking to assess, giving only limited assistance to the issue; unauthorized state spending for services that it didn’t have to pay for; and possible criminal behavior.

Any “silver lining” here? Yes. Some good may yet come of this state-run debacle. Perhaps by shedding light on this unnecessary state venture, it is telling that N.C. is one of only of 17 states with such a board.

It may be time for North Carolina to join the majority 33 states which believe in common sense: if you can legally buy liquor by the glass in a bar, you should be able to buy a bottle of gin next to the red wine in your neighborhood grocery.

Why do we have political appointees and others spending our tax dollars – especially those who mismanage? How ridiculous.

Roderick Deihl


Liquor prices

My husband and I have many neighbors from other states. They are all dumbfounded by the cost of alcohol in North Carolina. Since we have lived here since the early 1970s, they have asked us why liquor is so expensive in North Carolina.

I appreciate “State ABC Commission wasted millions, audit finds” (Aug. 10) on this subject. Now I have an answer for my neighbors, and I have an answer for them as to what to do about it.

Three to four times a year, we head to a Costco in South Carolina that sells the lowest-priced liquor anywhere. We stock up on our liquor and buy for family and friends, while making a mini-vacation out of our excursion. The friendly people at Costco always ask us if we are from North Carolina, since many North Carolinians are now taking their business south of the border to stock up.

Just like lottery ticket sales (until North Carolina approved the lottery), North Carolinians are spending their money in other states. Until North Carolina loosens up some of the state’s antiquated laws, North Carolinians will take their business elsewhere.

Nancy Wills


Stop EPA rule

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently proposed the “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science” rule (83 FR 18768), which the agency claims will increase transparency and “public access to data and influential scientific information.”

However, the proposed rule may instead exclude critical science and impede innovative new research. The proposal suggests that only research with publicly available data be considered for environmental regulations, which poses obstacles to current clinical and epidemiological research because of existing privacy laws. If implemented, the rule could prevent utilization of the best science available because prior studies that have been crucial could be excluded.

The proposed rule will also directly impact children as toxic chemicals and inhalants have the most significant effects on kids as their bodies grow and develop. A 1997 EPA report to Congress on the Benefits and Costs of the Clean Air Act showed that pollution reductions prevented over 200,000 early deaths and over 10 million lost IQ points in children.

EPA is accepting comments on this rule through August 16. As a pediatrician and concerned citizen, I strongly urge health professionals to join me and submit comments to oppose this rule and protect public health.

Sara Intner, M.D.


The writer is a pediatrician in Charlotte and a member of Medical Advocates for Healthy Air, a program of Clean Air Carolina.

Farm bill ‘harmful’

Regarding “Trump sides with House on farm bill work requirement fight” (Aug. 2): The House of Representatives passed a farm bill that would take away food assistance from many low-income households, including those with kids. This bill is bad policy that punishes people living in poverty.

Fortunately the Senate has chosen a different path, with a bipartisan farm bill that protects SNAP. I urge members of Congress in both the House and the Senate to agree on a final farm bill that’s bipartisan and protects SNAP. As millions of families struggle just to get by, we need to expand and strengthen anti-poverty programs – not make harmful changes.

Rebecca Birmester