A few letters that got overrun by other things:
I am surprised to find myself in agreement with your June 13 editorial on the risks involved in hiring a non-educator to lead the Wake County schools. You need only look back at the performance of the Department of Public Instruction under the eight-year tenure of state superintendent Bob Etheridge. North Carolina student achievement was at an all-time low and the function of the education department was handed over to the teachers association.
The only way out was for Jim Hunt, the education governor, to appoint noted educator Jay Robinson to the chairmanship of the State Board of Education to redirect the DPI mission and reduce the ineffective career politician Etheridge to a ceremonial position and not a policy influencing one.
I remember that The N&O endorsed Etheridge twice so you must have learned something from that misguided experiment.
The good corporate citizens at Titan Cement are at it again. Company memos revealed how Titan flexed its considerable lobbying muscles to persuade government officials to exempt them from SEPA review (SEPA protects our health and environment from polluting industries).
Judge Donald Stephens recently ruled that Titan must undergo SEPA scrutiny. Rather than jump at the chance to show the public how they intend to run a clean and safe operation (which is not possible in cement production), Titan officials have chosen to oppose Stephens’ decision. Have they no shame? Is it any wonder that 250 local physicians have signed a petition demanding a cessation of the Titan project? Why aren’t our local politicians demanding that Titan drop its appeal and finally undergo long overdue SEPA review?
The cement industry routinely produces over 140 dangerous toxins. This poses a threat to our entire county, especially considering that we live in a hurricane zone. UNCW economics professors project that Titan will result in a net economic loss for our area. Once Titan makes us the most polluted county in the state, diseases will rise, property values will decline and tourism will vanish. Have they learned nothing from the BP oil spill?
The picture on your June 16 front page is of the Rev. William Barber in handcuffs. Does he think a kid from Garner is going to learn by getting on a bus at 6 a.m. to ride 40+ minutes in the summer in an unairconditioned bus to Apex, where no other students speak his life language? Budget cuts that shouldn’t have been are stretching schools and teachers. Teachers in neighborhood schools can milk the local vernacular to motivate kids. Sleeping later than 5 a.m. has well-proven advantages. Is there any other way than breaking the law that Barber can get his point across? He needs to think harder. Who’s in handcuffs?
I am Jewish, I support Israel, and I dislike and disagree with Helen Thomas' sentiments. That being said, I fail to understand why Thomas has been forced to step down from her position. Since when, in America, is a person penalized for expressing an opinion, no matter how odious or ill-informed it may be?
Ms. Thomas deserves her job back.