Well, so much for unbiased journalism. Your article on Michael White and his plight with Bickett Place had me nearly in tears ["Bickering Over Bickett Place," March 20]. Nearly I say around the nausea also elicited. Guess what, I live in that neighborhood at 1709 Bickett Blvd. right across the street from the proposed development. May I add a little information to the rest of the story.
White says he spent much time and effort researching the area before spending his money. None of that time was spent conferring with the existing neighborhood to work out an acceptable plan. His plans were made and presented to the planning commission before he talked to us. It was at the insistence of the commission that he talked with the association. Seventeen times? I don't think so unless you can count a quick phone call as a meeting.
I cannot figure for the life of me what he spent $150,000 on for changes. He made minor changes reducing the number of units from 21 to 19 and changing the entrance from Whitaker Mill to Sunrise. The height of the buildings are approximately the same. The traffic difficulties will be the same. He was asked to show plans for water runoff and promised to do so before taking the plans to the commission again. He did not and became hostile when asked. When he thought he was going to get the plan rammed through council, he refused to even confer with us and said he was going back to his original plan and would not talk to us about it anymore. That was foiled by appeal and supposed arbitration.
If he would truly work with the neighborhood for a plan that enhances instead of being detrimental, we would be very easy to get along with. His hostility and evasiveness caused the increased assertiveness of the neighborhood association.
The house he is talking about tearing down is his mother's house. She bought the Sunrise property solely for use in this project. It is not Michael White's primary residence. He stays there only when in town to attend a neighborhood meeting or a City Council meeting. His primary residence, which he shares with his wife, is in Wrightsville Beach. The fact that his last project failed should give a clue that his research and preparation are not as good as he says. If you want to know the whole story talk to the association and look at the area involved. If he in fact bought and renovated houses in this area, he is enjoying the benefits and he made a tidy profit in selling them. There are a number of people who want to retire to a smaller home with a bit of yard, who buy these smaller homes and bungalows. Feel sorry for Michael White? Not in your lifetime. He put himself in this position out of greed, not desire for betterment of the area.
--PATTIE B. KLINE, RALEIGH
Clinton crushes credibility
The notion that Greta van Susteren's face lift might "kill her off as a credible news woman" is laughable [Melinda Ruley, "Pretty Women," March 13]. Cognitive dissonance killed off any credibility van Susteren may have had long ago. This former prosecutor was not just unwilling, but literally unable to face the fact that the chief law enforcement officer of the land perjured himself in a court of law, and she continues to this day to defend his actions.
This problem is endemic in the American Left. If reality does not conform to your world view, you simply deny the existence of reality and press on. It's terrifying.
--JIM PHILLIPS, CARY
In last week's Dish issue, the article, "No Picnic in the Park," misidentified a restaurant at the corner of Carpenter Fletcher Road and South Alston Avenue. The restaurant is called Eat, not Arnie's Place. Arnie's Place is the neighboring bar referred to in the article.
Got something to say about an Independent article? Send no more than 300 words to firstname.lastname@example.org; to P.O. Box 2690, Durham 27715; or fax 286-4274. Include your name, phone number and mailing address for verification; we cannot publish a letter without confirmation from the writer. We reserve the right to edit letters for length, style and clarity.