The Opinion Shop

Bonus letters on Gov. Pat McCrory, Franklin Graham, cycling, Donald Trump, Islam, education

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


McCrory’s successes

In Rob Christensen’s Dec. 6 column “ The many faces of McCrory,” he claimed that, “After three years as governor, McCrory has struggled to find his footing.”

In January 2013, when Gov. Pat McCrory took office, our state’s unemployment rate was 9.4 percent, we owed the federal government $2.5 billion in unemployment insurance debt and our top personal income tax rate was 7.75 percent.

In January 2016, our state’s unemployment rate is 5.7 percent, we paid off our unemployment debt to the federal government four years early and now have a reserve of $1 billion in the unemployment trust fund and our personal tax rate is 5.499 percent.

Since taking office in 2013, we have witnessed the net creation of nearly 240,000 jobs and historic tax reform which has meaningfully improved our business climate. These reforms are projected to save families and businesses $4.4 billion over the first five years of tax reform.

North Carolina ranked No. 2 on the Forbes “Best States for Business and Careers” list in 2015.

McCrory has his footing and with future goals to advance our educational system, strengthen our infrastructure and improve our quality of life, he continues to guide us toward better lives for all North Carolinians.

Newell Clark




A great track record

I was disappointed to read Rob Christensen’s Dec. 6 column, “ The many faces of Pat McCrory.” McCrory hit the floor running three years ago, and through his dynamic leadership the state’s unemployment rate has dropped from 9.4 percent to 5.7 percent. The state has paid off a $2.5 billion federal loan for unemployment insurance. The state unemployment fund now has a $1 billion reserve. Our personal income tax rate was 7.75 percent. It is now 5.44 percent.

Under McCrory’s leadership, the state has added nearly 240,000 jobs, and our state’s personal income growth is among the strongest in the nation. Our state was just ranked No. 2 in the Forbes “Best state in business and careers for 2015.” The governor has great track record of improving the lives of all our residents.

I think Christensen needs to recheck his facts about the governor’s record.

Jim Melvin

Former mayor



Graham’s ‘godly leaders’

In response to the Jan. 4 Focus column “ Graham will try to rally the Christian conservative vote”: As a United Methodist and a bleeding heart liberal, I think in a different perspective about church and state politics.

With Franklin Graham telling evangelicals to vote for “godly leaders,” I have to pose the question: What makes a godly leader?

Graham always condemns liberal values such as abortion rights and same-sex marriage, saying that voters should back Bible-based candidates. If we were to read our Bible, we would discover that Jesus’ ministry was to everyone, including the prostitutes, liars, tax collectors. So I would have to pose another question: If voters should support Bible-based candidates, should voters support candidates who support Planned Parenthood or same-sex marriage? Shouldn’t we support a candidate who supports everyone? That’s Bible-based.

I would sum up Jesus’ ministry in one word: love. We as Christians should “love our neighbor as ourselves,” not condemn them .

Matthew 7:1: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”

Miles Hunt



Islamists spreading

Presidential candidate Donald Trump has again made a very provocative statement, in essence, to stop immigration from Islamist countries until we can figure out what really is going on.

Most Islamic nations have some form of Sharia Law that governs the people and nation state, with little if any “separation between church and state/nation.” That makes it pretty clear that Islamism is not just a religion or way to worship God but a way of life that describes how one leads his life and how a nation is governed and has as its tenants world domination.

Islam at its peak in the past had the Persian Empire and the Ottoman Empire, and the Moors also controlled most of Spain for 700 years. I have read that when the Islamists reach about 2 to 8 percent of the population, they begin this process.

Maybe after we understand Islamism better, we will realize that if its immigration is not stopped, it will take over the Western world, including Europe, before the United States and not by terror but by out-populating the Western world.

Joseph J. Moyer



Wrong priorities

In response to the article “ Raleigh downtown proposal calls for new sports and entertainment center”: I was disheartened to read about the City Council’s skewed priorities. Instead of focusing on important issues such as education, members want to create more short-sighted development projects. A possible new home for the Carolina RailHawks? Please. Even David Beckham couldn’t make soccer popular in the US.

According to the National Education Association, North Carolina ranks 47th in terms of teacher pay beating Mississippi, South Dakota and West Virginia (but just by a smidge). These dismal conditions are causing a “talent drain” as quality teachers flee the state looking for better jobs with higher pay. Yes, cities don’t set teacher salaries, but there is a lot they can do to address aspects of the problem.

Considering the lack of affordable housing in the area, one option would be for the city to fund subsidized housing to ease the burden on teachers struggling to make ends meet, similar to what they did in Baltimore with Seawall Development. Development with a greater purpose.

If the state won’t pay our teachers what they deserve, the city can at least try to pick up some of the slack.

Lesa Sexton



The age factor

Regarding your safety tips for cyclists: As bike sharing downtown and bike lanes begin to pop up, the safety tips are well-received. However, bicycle planners have ignored a fundamental reality – a cyclist’s age! Just as teenagers have restricted motorists’ licenses starting at 16, children under 16 who ride bikes need similar sets of legislative rules when using motor vehicle lanes.

The National Safety Council, arguably the most respected safety council in the world, published in 2014 a literature review for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration titled, “Bicycle Safety Education for Children From a Developmental And Learning Perspective.” More than 100 professionals signed the treatise. Chief conclusions: “Learning to ride a bicycle and doing so safely in, and near, roads involves developing both motor and cognitive skills – to become proficient in (motor and cognitive skills) extensive practice must occur. It requires at least 100 hours of learning and practice to acquire any significant cognitive skill to a reasonable degree of proficiency.”

Under the direction of the American Planning Association and local governments, these rules, warning of injury and possible death to our youngest children, are ignored. State government needs to address this issue without delay.

George J. Sharpley



Rote math easiest to learn

When I taught math to fourth- and then fifth-graders for 25 years, we expected them to memorize number facts and basic processes and taught them easy ways to study them.

For example, the nine-times table was the easiest to memorize because we already knew 9X1, 9X2 ... 9X8. So you only had one fact to learn: 9X9. The goal was to say the facts as fast as they would respond to “What is your name?”

For example, when asked that question, we do not stop and think, “My mom wanted me named after my uncle, my dad felt differently, there were many choices and they decided on Jimmy.” No figuring, just responding.

We tried calculators without success because they would often input wrong numbers or misplace decimals. After they knew how to add, subtract, multiply and divide, we would show them why it all worked. Their eyes would open wide, and they would be excited to see the reasoning behind it all.

For a while we had tried discovery techniques. One of my co-workers quipped, “You can have them discover and discover and by the end of the year you discover they don’t know anything.”

Lila Singer