Columns » Letters to the Editor

Re: Fracking; Hofmann Forest; Affordable Care Act

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Re: Fracking

Growing up in Chatham County, I swam often in the Haw River. I would lie down, stare up at the sky and let the cool rushing waters sweep away the summer heat. While I cannot return to those simpler times, I enjoy knowing that those same waters flow as cool and clean now as they did then. That's why it is disheartening to learn that the legislature is this month traveling to Arkansas to get a glimpse of their vision for North Carolina. That vision includes opening our precious water to the polluting process known as fracking.

The legislature has the opportunity to make the right decision for the 2.4 million people who rely on clean drinking water by placing a ban on fracking in North Carolina.

I invite our lawmakers to stay closer to home next time. Perhaps they, too, can remember that North Carolina's waters are a reminder of our past and that we want them to be a part of our future as well.

Jason Beverly, Durham


Re: Hofmann Forest

There are just too many "coincidences" in this case ("Dueling stories surround Hofmann Forest deal," Nov. 13). As an alumni of N.C. State and the College of Natural Resources program, it is infuriating to see the institution completely disregard public opinion, along with the legal obligations like an environmental analysis of the sale. We are taught about environmental policies and ethics at NCSU, and the fact that our university and program are not practicing what they preach is outrageous and shameful.

Whichever "excuse" the university plans on going with means one of two things: Either they did not read the sale agreement, or they knew about it all along and have been lying to the public from the beginning. Both are completely unacceptable, and the board of trustees should be held accountable for their unforgivable actions.

Also, "coincidentally," the board of trustees may just benefit from this sale once the land is turned into a large-scale corn farm. North Carolina has an extremely large hog population and a corn deficit from trying to feed these hogs. Two NCSU board of trustees members just happen to be largely involved in the corporate-owned hog business.

I beg to differ that this quote from Chancellor Randy Woodson holds any truth on the matter after the evidence that has come out in the past few weeks: "I am confident that Dean Brown and Dean Watzin have handled this in a very inclusive way with many opportunities for constituents to voice their opinion. I am equally confident that the Foundation Board has come to their decision after very careful and thoughtful discussions with the long-term success of the college, our students and faculty front and center in their minds."

We were the farthest thing from the front of their mind. Money was front and center, plain and simple.

Sarah Fellows, Minneapolis


Re: Affordable Care Act

Bob Geary's article "Obamacare: A symptom, not the disease" (Nov. 20) suffers from repeated factual and logical errors.

He calls the Founding Period the "Age of Enlightenment." The Enlightenment is considered to have happened in 17th century, not the 18th. By the time of the Declaration, our founders were drawing upon well-established ideas like Locke's "life, liberty and the pursuit of property" (1689).

Geary goes on to mischaracterize the Founders' intent. He calls "checks and balances" an attempt to "deter majority rule," in the context implying an effort to thwart democracy. It is more subtle than that. Madison argued in "Federalist No. 14" that checks and balances prevent autocrats from exploiting the passions of the mob. His views on democracy resembled FDR's on capitalism—regulate the system to save it from itself.

If Geary's interpretation of Madison is incomplete, his analysis of Jefferson is completely off. He claims Jefferson and others wanted "to protect the rich and their special interests" and would applaud a system where "wealth is controlled by a few." In fact, Jefferson was the first to criticize what he called "monied interests." Concentrated financial power disturbed him.

So Geary's scapegoating of the founders doesn't hold up. Nor does his policy analysis. He implies that, unlike other countries' systems, the Affordable Care Act doesn't "cover everyone." "All Obamacare does," he writes, "is insist that insurers accept your money even if you have a pre-existing condition." Put differently: The A.C.A. requires insurers to cover everyone.

He complains that "these same insurers—because of the individual mandate—will enjoy an influx of highly profitable customers." Are we to infer that any rise in business profits weakens the common good?

Alex Jones, Raleigh


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