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Ain't No Cronkites

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As the investigation into the Trump campaign's ties to Russia continues, Bob and Susan McClanahan of Orange County have some thoughts for Senator Richard Burr, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. In an open letter, they write: "'The accusations that have been leveled and the evidence of wrongdoing that has surfaced has cast a black cloud of distrust over our entire society. Our citizens do not know whom to believe, and many have concluded that all the processes of government have become so compromised that honest governance has been rendered impossible. We believe that the health, if not the survival, of our social structure and of our form of government requires the most candid and public investigation of all the evidence. ...'

"These are the words spoken by Senator Sam Ervin Jr. as he commenced the Watergate hearings that led to the uncovering of criminal activity designed to influence the outcome of the 1972 presidential election. How true those words continue to ring. How essential it is now for the truth to be revealed as to what efforts Russian or other foreign actors made to assist in the election of Donald Trump, as well as what interactions anyone from the Trump campaign had with those actors. Clearly, a key item which will shed revealing light on these questions is Trump's tax returns from the last several years."

Commenter Rataplan, meanwhile, sees accusations without evidence behind the calls for Trump's impeachment, including ours ["A Republic, If You Can Keep It," Jeffrey C. Billman]. "Some verifiable proof, instead of politically inspired allegations of Donald Trump's crimes against the country, would be nice for a change. When a writer holds up to contempt his audience (for not grasping what he claims is obvious), that often turns into a mirror that reflects poorly on the author's motivations. In other words, there ain't no more Walter Cronkites out there, least of all Mr. Billman."

Responding to our piece last week on the Reverend William J. Barber leaving the N.C. NAACP ["The Next Mission"], Terry Duff of Garner writes that Barber should not be celebrated: "Did his previous mission improve the life of even a single person? He is rich and famous, but the black family has further dissolved. Gangs, drugs, violence, single mothers, welfare, school dropouts, crime, drive-by shootings, unemployment, abortion still are prevalent. Was Reverend Barber's previous mission a success or failure for anyone other than the Reverend William J. Barber?"

Finally, commenting on our story about the Raleigh City Council's plans to replace the Citizen Advisory Councils ["Twilight of the Amateurs"], FONCitizen says the city might be looking in the wrong place: "Some additional stats about city communications with citizens. The 'A Few Minutes with the Mayor' YouTube interviews have as few as 59 views and at most 656. Is this a failure? The city of Raleigh YouTube channel has only 815 subscribers. Is this worth the effort? Compare these to the six hundred citizens attending a single CAC meeting to voice opinion on a rezoning case. It did happen. The city of Raleigh Facebook page has 6,268 likes, about the same as the number of CAC subscribers. Compare this to the four thousand citizens one active CAC group got to sign a petition opposed to an unpopular rezoning. That's the very definition of engaged citizens. If Mayor Nancy McFarlane wants to evaluate the success of citizens' engagement tools strictly by the numbers, it would seem she should make a recommendation to shut down her interviews, Raleigh's YouTube channel, and the city's Facebook page as unsuccessful. It seems to me the city actually wants to shut down CACs because they don't like the message they receive when the citizens do engage actively."

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