The Opinion Shop

Bonus letters on ag-gag, abortion, bees, UNC and legislature

Letters that got overrun by other issues before they could see print:

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What if someone goes to work and witnesses illegal behavior? He can go to the authorities, but it is his word against his employer’s. So he decides to take his camera to work and alter his routine in order to record the illegal behavior. Then he shows the evidence to the authorities.

Under a bill passed recently by state lawmakers, an employer could sue for any damages it suffers, plus its legal costs and punitive damages.

House Bill 405, the “Property Protection Act,” covers all nongovernment employees. Whistle-blowers who work in day cares, nursing homes or farms, just to name a few, could be liable for recording illegal behavior.

Why are we passing a law to protect criminals? Gov. Pat McCrory should veto this bill.

Rob Bergdolt

Raleigh

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The writer of the May 3 letter “ Embryo not a person” said that early human life is “just” an embryo, therefore of no value. No value, that is, until the woman decides it has value as a child she decides she wants.

This position comes off as so selfish it is almost beyond words. If we add the latest medical information that babies can feel pain, the selfishness raises to a stratospheric level, especially when considering the brutality of partial-birth abortions. And, of course, there is the Kermit Gosnell infanticide moral code of conduct. But let’s stick with this doctrine of “it’s only an embryo.”

By federal law it is a crime to destroy an eagle egg. Why? Because it has the potential to become an eagle. So for liberals, a lower form of potential life has more value than that of a potential human life. This is the religious tenet of liberals and the Democrat Party. It’s the center of their party platform and on its face is inhuman and an indictment of its supporters, irregardless of the morality of this procedure, which is basically murder.

The truth can be harsh, and one denies it to his spiritual peril.

Dave Campbell

Raleigh

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The North Carolina General Assembly has yet again passed upsetting legislation that is offensive to numerous populations. And yet again, we sit around and do nothing about it except complain.

I am speaking directly, however, to my age group: the dreadful “millennial.”

As a “millennial,” here are my qualms with us: We are reactive, hyperactive, overactive, interactive. However, we are everything but proactive.

In my Facebook feed I see acerbic posts: “Who keeps voting for these idiots?” “I’m sick of North Carolina politicians!” “Get them out of there!” Absolutely, I agree. But, what are they doing besides posting about it to garner more likes?

According to Carolina Transparency, in the 2014 general elections the average voting age was 58, with 67-year-olds casting a majority of the votes with 36,813 . My age group (26) cast only 5,806 votes. Are you kidding me?

All this tells me is of course the legislature is voting against us, because they do not represent us. We have no right to complain if we do not proactively engage in change.

Ways to engage? Run for office, join a campaign, make phone calls, donate money, join advocacy groups, etc. Be proactive, not reactive.

Mary Clare Freeman

Raleigh

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In response to the May 9 news article “ Apex family’s 7th wonder is a girl”: I was disgusted to find this front-page story, intended to be a Mother’s Day feature, which was a disturbing example of the egotism propagated by social media.

After a video of a “gender reveal” party, showing the mother’s reaction cutting into a pink cake forecasting a girl (she already has six boys) went viral on YouTube, she commented that if anyone ever told her that her body couldn’t make babies anymore, “I don’t know what I would do. I would mourn.”

I mourn for those women who want to conceive and for whatever reason have been unable to do so. Mother’s Day is a difficult day for them. This article seems insensitive to their plight and seems to flaunt the fact that they are missing out on this joyous life experience. Their bodies have been unable to make babies. No front page, no YouTube for them.

Let us remember that being a mother is not just about giving birth. Mother’s Day is a time to celebrate our mothers who have come before us, those we now enjoy and those yet to come.

Marilyn Lynch

Raleigh

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Regarding the May 29 news article “ McCrory: Magistrates can’t opt out”: I applaud Gov. Pat McCrory’s decision to veto the magistrate marriage exemption bill.

As a social liberal, I often find myself guilty of the type of divisive “us vs. them” mentality that is the cornerstone of inefficient government. While I can understand some of the Republican fiscal policies, I am deeply troubled by many of their social ones.

I am equally as guilty of taking an uncompromising stance on my beliefs as the staunchest conservative. However, McCrory has shown me how reason, rationale and a true belief in the principles of this country and our Constitution are better than my way.

He has taught me, by his brave action of vetoing this bill against the wishes of his colleagues in the legislature, that there is hope for bipartisanship within our government. He has shown that a good man can be good, even in this dirty job of politics. This is a valuable lesson, and it is not lost on me that it comes from a different party than my own.

Thanks to McCrory for giving me hope.

Kate Macdonell

Apex

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Regarding the May 26 editorial “ Decline of honeybees could hit home” reprinted from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: The author ended with, “And for the love of groceries, if honeybees show up in your yard this spring, treat them as honored guests.” This would include not spraying the yard for mosquitoes with chemicals toxic to beneficial pollinators and also planting flowering plants native to our area so the native pollinators have something to eat.

The issue of pollinators being in decline is bigger than honeybees.

Margaret Partridge

Triangle Chapter Co-Chair, North Carolina Native Plant Society

Cary

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Columnist Luke DeCock said it very well in his May 23 column “ A revealing look into NCAA’s worldview.” The NCAA must consider the African-American studies classes set up at UNC by Deborah Crowder to be academic fraud for the benefit of its student-athletes.

I graduated from Carolina in 1971, when the ability to read and write was a strict requirement, and fund two academic scholarships, one undergraduate and the other in the Gillings School of Global Public Health.

I am greatly embarrassed by the academic sham and lack of institutional control. On the surface, it appears several Educational Foundation members with large pocketbooks had undue influence on the football program. (Incidentally, I am an Education Foundation member.)

To its credit, Carolina made an honest effort to discover the facts with the Wainstein report. Its academic and athletic leaders must now admit there were serious problems that should not have been neglected and accept the penalties the NCAA wishes to impose without delay and objection.

Chancellor Carol Folt must accept what will likely be at least a three-year ban from postseason play for its football and men’s and women’s basketball teams and the possible removal of its 2005 national basketball championship.

That’s the only way to keep those deep-pocketed Educational Foundation members on their best behavior and to ensure fraud does not reoccur.

Mark G. Rodin

Durham

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Like many Americans, I am concerned about protecting my property – personal and business. With personal surveillance drones at affordable prices and video- and photo-editing software a download away, it is all too easy for people with an agenda to create damaging footage. This is scary. And for cases in which people have intentionally falsely represented another, there are slander and libel laws to protect them.

The “Property Protection Act” goes too far in creating a law that would penalize whistleblowers. If I, as an employee, have become aware of harmful or illegal practices in my place of business, I see it as my moral obligation to come forward. It would frighten me to think that my government reached so far as to be able to penalize my values and violate my First Amendment right to speak out.

Furthermore, I believe that legitimate whistleblowing is an essential part of our free market. Consumers have a right to choose where they spend their money. If I have learned of bad practices that concern me at Business X, I can choose to take my patronage to Business Y, and I will pay more to reward good actors.

Cynthia Rosenfeld

Chapel Hill

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North Carolina’s Republican legislators have chosen to jump on the “protect the abuser” bandwagon that started when several key Republican presidential candidates jumped in as apologists for Josh Duggar’s sexual abuse of his sisters.

The North Carolina version comes in the form of House Bill 405, which protects the abusers of the elderly in nursing homes by making it illegal for employees to film the mistreatment and subsequently using the video to expose the wrongdoing. Is an elderly patient being physically, mentally or sexually abused? Being neglected in soiled clothing and bedsheets? Dehydrated, malnourished, lice or open wounds?

According to our legislature, that’s just too bad, because more important than the defenseless elderly patient is the hospital owner’s “property” – it says so right there in the first five words of the bill: “An Act to Protect Property.”

When given the chance to fix the legislation by providing protection if the activity they recorded was illegal, the legislators refused to even consider it.

The bill now sits on Gov. Pat McCrory’s desk. If he doesn’t want to be held personally responsible for the next preventable nursing home death, it would behoove him to veto it.

Leo Sadovy

Wake Forest

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Regarding the March 31 news article “ Several gun bills filed, with more on the way”: I will try my best to control my outrage at the proposed legislation known as Senate Bill 708 submitted by Sen. Jeff Tarte.

Tarte has proposed we allow the creation of a vigilante group, composed of members unknown to the public, that will be allowed to carry concealed weapons whenever and wherever they want without oversight.

I am sure that Tarte feels this will be a great deterrent to all the criminals out there since one of these vigilantes could be anywhere at anytime ready to shoot.

I know our representatives love to pander to their base, but this is a bit extreme even for one of our Republican officials.

Charles R. Schroeder

Cary

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Regarding the May 2 news article “ Student who hung noose apologizes”: The issue here is not the plausibility of Duke University’s claim that the incident resulted from the student’s “ignorance and bad judgment.”

It is possible that, as he stated, citing his background and heritage, the student simply was historically and culturally insensitive. Rather, the larger issue is whether North Carolina is on track to perpetuate more cultural and historical unawareness by adopting changes advocated by conservative groups to the advanced placement U.S. history courses currently in place.

This initiative is headed by Larry Krieger, a retired Advanced Placement U.S. history teacher who is urging the State Board of Education to demand that the College Board revise its recently updated curriculum framework and return to an emphasis on American “exceptionalism.”

Indeed, America is exceptional and thus should offer an exceptionally challenging, in-depth U.S. history curriculum allowing for study of both the brightest spots and the darkest moments in the evolution of this great nation. Without giving students a balanced perspective that addresses inhumane and unjust policies and practices of the past, the future may bring more unpleasant incidents resulting from historical ignorance.

Nancy Swisher

Raleigh

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The April 24 letter “ ‘Yow’s pow’ lacks wow” and its April 28 response “ Wow indeed” raise an important question: Why is it that there are all these buckets of money to pay administrators’ salaries and university legal fees? So what that Yow’s monies didn’t come out of the general fund!

That faculty and staff have not had a decent pay raise for years doesn’t make it right for Yow to get a 25 percent pay increase for such mixed performance results. (Coaches doing “well” is not data.) Ditto funding the pay raise of chancellor Randy Woodson when there was only a rumor that he might apply for another position. Ditto funding the legal fees for the UNC sports debacles spanning a decade now.

Here’s what donors need to be savvy about when leaving a bequest: Put a specific purpose on those dollars! There are many people who think they’ve left their money to a university to fund the university’s primary mission – academics – when in reality unspecified donations actually go to fund (questionable) administrator purposes like pay raises for coaches and fees to unwind from legal snafus.

D.R. Taggart

Raleigh

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The May 18 editorial “ Missing voters” missed the point. It is a news article masquerading as “Our Views.”

We are told all about how the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 has fared under different administrations and how North Carolina should be brought back into compliance with it.

What is missing is the reason we have such an act in the first place and why both (or all) parties should support it.

The United States of America is a democratic republic. Our government represents the citizens of that republic. Our duty as citizens is to vote for the people we want to represent us in that government.

The government should make voting as easy as possible no matter what party is in charge of the process. An administration that fails to encourage voting is acting against the basic principles on which our republic was founded.

Lane Tracy

Cary

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Regarding the May 30 news article “ McCrory vetoes workplace bill”: Recently, Gov. Pat McCrory signed Burt’s Law, which requires adult care home employees who witness sexual abuse of patients to report it to the proper authorities, stating it protects a vulnerable population and gives clear direction to employees to report any abuse they witness.

McCrory said, “I don’t want to discourage good employees of any industry from reporting illegal activities to the proper authorities, which is why I am vetoing House Bill 405. ... In good conscience, I cannot sign Burt’s Law and then in the same week turn around and sign contradictory legislation.”

Why is it that the House and Senate can support Burt’s Law and move to override the veto of HB 405? At least 74 percent of state voters do not want this bill. The AARP is against this bill.

The Wounded Warrior Project, advocates for disabled veterans, is urging North Carolina’s General Assembly not to override the governor’s veto of the employee trespassing bill.

What does it take for our elected officials to listen? Why are they supporting this when we don’t want it?

As voters we need to educate ourselves, dig, question, respond and vote. HB 405 violates our freedom of speech.

Tricia Lucas

Cary

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