I must say I enjoyed your article "The Big Payback" [Derek Jennings, Sept. 12] enough to send it to dozens of my good friends around the world. I have friends throughout the United States, Germany, Austria, Kenya, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Puerto Rico, France, etc. ... .
This topic has been on our "party" list discussions for a few years now. You made some excellent points. Just for the record I am white, my friends are all colors and nationalities. The majority are not white. All are well-educated and liberals. I have many "American Black" friends as well as international "Black" friends. Points of view vary by where one has lived their childhood.
You are of course aware that you have only scratched the surface of a huge iceburg. The biggest discussion I have heard is that this is another facet of worldwide explotation of the masses; the world's wealth has been built on the backs of the poor.
Your article is good, it lacks a little, but I assume that was to keep it from getting too large so that your reader will hear a strong point without getting messy.
Thank you for writing and sharing it with us. By the way, I did not like your line, "Short white guys who want to be ... ." It did not suit your article well.
--ROBERT FIRST, RALEIGH
The battle begins
I became livid as I read Lee Pavao market himself as an environmentalist in the Chapel Hill mayor's race ["Fight for the Hill," Sept. 12]. During his eight years on the Town Council, six of which overlapped my tenure, Lee compiled a voting record that is totally anti-environment, anti-neighborhood, and pro-development.
Should Lee continue to promote himself in this manner, he will foster a level of citizen distrust that Chapel Hill politics has not yet had to endure.
--JOE CAPOWSKI, CHAPEL HILL
I read "Fight for the Hill" by Bob Geary [Sept. 12] looking for guidance on this year's race for Chapel Hill mayor. Fortunately, almost all of the facts that I needed were right in the article and my choice was clear. For Mr. Congeniality, Mr. Pavao seems to win hands down, but for Mayor of Chapel Hill I'd vote for Kevin Foy.
Mr. Pavao's contention that his and Mr. Foy's differences are merely ones of degree is, in itself, true--too bad he doesn't choose to specify the number of degrees between them. When Mr. Pavao states, with a smile, that "we're all doing that" in reference to being tough on developers he does seem to be, as Mr. Geary writes, "a little short on details." It has been well documented that it was Mr. Foy's perseverance in pushing developers for concessions that has resulted in the town reclaiming some of its rightful authority. Conversely, Mr. Pavao has never sought to extract any consideration from developers despite his "negotiating ability."
Mr. Pavao's attempt to cash in on the affordable housing issue in the eleventh hour is so transparent as to be laughable. In answering a challenge to a $10,000 campaign spending cap by pledging 15 percent of his campaign contributions to support affordable housing, Mr. Pavao shows a complete lack of respect for the intelligence of the voters. Compounding that affront is the fact that a final tally of the contributors and their total unlimited contributions will not be published until after the election.
There are still important issues facing us in Chapel Hill. The environment, school over-crowding and the Horace Williams tract are among the questions whose answers will affect each and every one of us who live here. This is why it is important to vote for strength and vision over sunny dispositions.
--DEL SNOW, CHAPEL HILL
You do your readers a disservice with your conclusion that the question of "whether the differences are vast [in the Chapel Hill mayoral race] is a claim that [Kevin] Foy will have to prove to voters over the next eight weeks" ["Fight for the Hill," Sept. 12]. If your reporter were truly familiar with the two candidates' records, he would have reached the opposite conclusion. In 1997 and 1999, the Sierra Club published scorecards which rated Chapel Hill Council members on key environmental votes. Kevin Foy's score was a stellar 94 percent whereas Pavao scored only a paltry 15 percent. But you don't need to depend on the Sierra Club to understand this. Anyone who pays passing attention to the Town Council understands that Foy and Pavao are nearly polar opposites.
The reality is that it is Lee Pavao who must justify his contention that there is little difference between himself and Foy. Pavao's record is not one of support for "smart growth." He has unequivocally supported any and all growth and has done so in a knee-jerk manner. By contrast, Foy brings a thoughtful presence to the Town Council and his strong record on a wide range of social, environmental, and economic issues demonstrates the results.
Chapel Hill braces at the presence of a smiling and "compassionate" conservative in the White House. It would be a sad twist of fate if the poor reporting of The Independent helped to put his counterpart in their mayor's office.
Please do a better job of reporting in the future so that progressive Chapel Hillians can understand the importance of getting out the vote for Kevin Foy on election day.
--PETER TODD, CHAPEL HILL
That was a fine article on John Herrera by Jon Elliston. Certainly, Carrboro is in need of a "bona fide progressive who is campaigning on his record of grassroots organizing." I admire that Herrera "doesn't want to be pigeon-holed as simply the Latino candidate" in what I believe will be a hotly contested election for aldermen and mayoral seats.
I landed in Carrboro some 13 years ago with my spouse. We now raise our family here and are proud of being part of "The Carrboro Experience." Our children attend Carrboro Elementary and the one thing that strikes me is the student ethnic diversity, which is a mirror of the town's diversity. I embrace it and celebrate it.
So, where am I going with this? There is another bona fide progressive who, in my estimation, is campaigning on her record of grassroots organizing, and that would be Jacquelyn Gist. Jacquelyn has represented me and others like me at the political table for years and she is in need of strong support. I am a registered Independent and independent thinker, proud Carrboro citizen and homeowner, and most of all, I appreciate what a re-elected Jacquelyn Gist and newly elected John Herrera together can do for our community.
--GEORGE LIVANOS, CARRBORO
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