The Opinion Shop

Letters to the Editor: Teachers, N.C. legislature, Moral March, Claude Pope, teacher gifts, voter ID, Sen. Bob Rucho, Sen. Richard Burr, West Virginia toxic spill, high school sexting

These letters were not published in the print edition but deserve a look.


The Feb. 9 news article “N.C. losing teachers at every turn” should be a “must read” for all North Carolinians.

Anyone who thinks this legislature is on the right track should volunteer at a local school. Arrive by 7 a.m. with the teachers; watch them juggle larger class sizes of very mixed abilities; teach to a “plan” with little, if any, flexibility; test, retest, assess; leave at 5 or 6 p.m. with papers to grade and a plan to organize for the next day.

For this, our teachers’ pay is the 46th lowest in the country. Tenure and the benefits of master’s degrees are out.

Education is essential for the future of our youth. Is it possible that the “I got mine, not worried about you” mentality rules? While I don’t have the answers, I do know the state is headed in the wrong direction. Wake up, voters!

Jill Fleisjher



I have a complaint about your Feb. 9 news article regarding the Moral March in Raleigh. Allowing N.C. Republican Party chairman Claude Pope, in a prepared statement before the march, to broad-brush the march as nothing more than “fringe, far-left groups” was extremely offensive to me.

A Wilmington native in my mid-50s, I marched with the New Hanover NAACP Chapter and the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Wilmington. We are hard-working people who love our families, attend church and volunteer in our communities. We see our neighbors suffering from the immoral and unconstitutional policies being passed by our state government. We marched for important values: quality education for all children, clean air and water, safe food, affordable health care and everyone’s precious constitutional right to vote.

I challenge anyone to call these “fringe” values! Giving Pope and the N.C. Values Coalition the opportunity to prematurely cast spurious accusations about the marchers and our motivations was wrong. Was there not one public official courageous enough to actually attend the march whom you could have talked to? Next time, have respect for us and for the truth.

Peggy Fry



Haven’t the teachers of Wake County suffered enough? Just as the legislators of North Carolina have given teachers nothing, neither should the parents of the students in Wake County schools. Leave the teachers out of this gift-giving controversy!

If the parents of Wake County students do have gifts to offer at Christmas, perhaps they should give the superintendent and each school board member a lovely mug containing delicious hot chocolate mix. We all know that it is the superintendent and the school board members who raise test scores. It certainly is not the teachers! In the future, give the superintendent and the board members a well-deserved gift, and the teachers will continue to be the faithful servants they have always been. Problem solved.

Just another attempt to make teachers feel worthless.

Bob Hancock

Seven Lakes


In his Jan. 25 letter “Facts on common-sense ID law,” Sen. Bob Rucho accused The N&O of making up facts about voter ID, but then made up facts of his own. He said, “It is nearly impossible to live in society today without photo identification. Whether you are going to the bank, traveling, filling a prescription or even picking up the family dog, you will be asked to present an ID.”

In fact, it’s easy to live without a photo ID. I don’t drive due to visual impairment so I’m always accompanied by a friend or relative who can show ID for these purposes and others.

I’d have to travel about 15 miles to the nearest DMV office to get a state ID and repeat every five years – probably $50 round-trip cab fare. But it’s “free.” Swell. Or I could prevail on a friend to haul me there, wait forever and haul me back. Neither seems worthwhile.

I probably won’t get an ID, and I expect others may do the same. Rucho expressed concern that one fraudulent vote cancels the vote of a law-abiding resident. Does he not care about law-abiding residents who can’t drive? I don’t mind displaying a voter ID if it is easy to acquire. It should be no harder than registering to vote.

Mike Haynes



The full-page ad that Sen. Richard Burr (or someone acting on his behalf) bought in the Feb. 16 N&O seemed a bit desperate. If only he could see that it contained little to no actual information to distinguish his plan from the Affordable Care Act and that, where it did attempt to enumerate points, they were the same as those already covered by what he attempts to impeach by calling Obamacare.

Maybe if the senator could see these obvious truths, he could see his way clear to actually help his constituents by encouraging his own state government to get with the game, expand Medicaid and set up the interactive exchanges to make the ACA work efficiently. Perhaps health care dollars would then actually begin to pay for health care instead of enriching the corporate executives who would benefit most from repealing the ACA.

Who does Burr work for anyway?

Ronald E. Keeney



I recently made a trip from Raleigh to Wilmington, and I was appalled at the amount of trash on the Beltline and I-40. As a realtor, I am driving clients around the area constantly and touting the great climate, wonderful opportunities in technology and fabulous medical care we enjoy here. How embarrassing it is for them to see how badly we treat our beautiful state roadways by covering them with debris.

If trucks are failing to cover their loads, they need to be fined. If residents are throwing items out of their cars, shame on them because trash bins are everywhere. They also could put a litter container in their cars and take it home! Please, let’s make this a priority.

Sydney Langford



I am wondering why there has been no public outcry regarding the correlation between the contaminated public water situation in West Virginia and North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory’s 2014 legislative goal of energy exploration through hydraulic fracturing and off-shore drilling for oil and gas.

McCrory, who appears willing to sign anything that is put before him, seems to not see a relationship between the situation in West Virginia where toxic chemicals are used for the processing of coal versus the use of toxic chemicals pumped into the ground for extracting natural gas. In both processes, toxic chemicals are stored in containers on the ground in preparation for use. McCrory wants to open the state to fracking and offshore drilling as a way to boost the economy.

The situation in West Virginia is a present-day example of what can happen due to the leaking of toxic chemicals into the public water system. West Virginia is a perfect example of what a company responsible for the stored chemicals has done to abate the problem, i.e. file for bankruptcy. The governor of West Virginia has told residents they are on their own.

Vincent Spaulding



Regarding the Feb. 19 news story “Nude photos of Wake teens online”: Before we go sweeping the incident under the rug as some kind of teen prank, someone took those pictures and put them on the Internet. By all accounts, that amounts to child pornography unless some of those pictured were older than 18, and I hope the investigation goes far enough to identify the perpetrators and prosecute them appropriately.

People are being incarcerated for as many as 20 years for doing essentially what is going on here, although perhaps on a grander scale, and they never actually touched or abused anyone in the process. Child pornography is bad business to be sure, but let’s call a spade a spade. Someone needs to be held accountable before this kind of thing gets out of hand.

And imploring parents to talk with their kids about the dangers of putting unacceptable content on the Internet, while a good thing, doesn’t amount to anyone being held accountable.

Mike Strohmeyer