Letters to the Editor

NC amendment would create a State Board of Elections ‘designed to fail’

I’m voting against all six constitutional amendments, even after the legislature rewrote two of them. I’ll mention only the amendment about the State Board of Elections. It creates a board that is designed to fail.

The board would have eight members, likely four Democrats and four Republicans. In case of a party-line vote, no one could break the tie. Currently, the board has nine members – two Democrats, two Republicans and one unaffiliated. Why would the legislature design such gridlock, and put it in the Constitution?

Early voting provides a clue. Early voting cannot happen at multiple sites in a county unless the county board is unanimous on a multi-site plan, or the state board approves a plan for the county by majority vote. If the state board ties on an early voting plan, the plan fails. The default is early voting at the county elections office only.

In certain counties, robust early voting means more minorities and students can go to the polls. This legislature has a long record of making it harder for such people to vote. Gridlocking the board may be a subtle way to tamp down early voting in those counties.

Bill Gilkeson


Reject Kavanaugh

As a transgender woman of color and opponent of North Carolina’s bathroom bill, I’m no stranger to discrimination, but Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court presents even bigger problems.

His confirmation would roll back our rights and risk the health of the entire LGBTQ community. Kavanaugh has repeatedly argued against the ACA. Before the ACA, insurers often denied coverage for crucial services like reassignment treatment and hormone therapy. The ACA’s non-discrimination measures allow transgendered people to become outwardly the people they’ve always been.

Trump has done everything in his power to sabotage the law, including a rule change allowing insurance companies to discriminate based on gender identity, putting health care for non-conforming and LGBTQ people at risk. Trump also gave health care providers the right to deny treatment that violates their religious views, including sexual reassignment surgery.

This adds to the hostility transgendered people already face under Trump. In the first year of Trump’s presidency, there was more violence against transgender people than ever before, primarily against transgender women of color. Kavanaugh will only further diminish our rights, especially when it comes to health care. Our elected leaders must reject Kavanaugh’s nomination.

Candis Cox


Dedication needed

The Civil War formally ended in 1865; Wilmington’s post-war black population became so successful that the race riot and massacre of 1898 resulted; mass black migration was occurring from the South; slavery was being replaced by sharecropping; Jim Crow laws were being ushered in as the white population attempted to re-establish a sense of white supremacy; and actions taken by the Daughters of the Confederacy reinforced these emerging strong emotions.

This is the backdrop for Julian Carr’s speech in 1913, as the Silent Sam statue was dedicated. During his speech, he bragged about having whipped a “Negro” female less than 90 days previously.

No one denies the Civil War occurred or its role in Southern history; nor can anyone deny that alumni of the University of North Carolina fought and died in this war.

Perhaps respect for this statue, erected more than 50 years after the war ended, would be better served if it were re-erected elsewhere complete with an appropriate dedication allowing all to better understand the feelings surrounding this situation. Silent Sam could then become a teachable moment in North Carolina’s history.

Margie Maddox



Regarding “SPARKcon will be back this fall, thanks to generosity of donors” (Aug. 24): I was amazed to read that last year’s SparkCon festival entertained and edified 84,000 people with a budget of $84,000. Can it be that the volunteers produced this marvelous free festival at a cost of $1 per attendee?

To borrow Winston Churchill’s phraseology: Never in history have so many people had so much fun for so few dollars. Thank you, Visual Art Exchange and all the creative energetic people who put on this extravaganza of art, design, circus, fashion, dance, music, comedy, theatre and fun.

Matthew Brown