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Bleh, Blah, and Meh

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We've got quite the smorgasbord of commentary this week. Let's begin with Erik Kengaard, who writes in response to a story on the seven hundred thousand North Carolinians who live in deep poverty.

"According to LBJ," he writes, "there should no longer be people in poverty, nor anyone dependent on means-tested welfare: 'The days of the dole in our country are numbered. Our American answer to poverty is not to make the poor more secure in their poverty but to reach down and to help them lift themselves out of the ruts of poverty and move with the large majority along the high road of hope and prosperity.' What happened?"

That's a good question.

On our report about the state being willing to throw more than a billion dollars at Toyota to locate a manufacturing plant here, which quoted from a News & Observer story, Alan Ferguson writes in with a correction: "Actually there was a significant error in the N&O story, which has now been corrected. It's in the last line, the '$100,000' to be paid by Randolph County. The actual number was $100,000,000. Yes, that's right, the taxpayers of Randolph County were being asked to finance one hundred million dollars of the project. In other words, the real number is one thousand times worse."

On last week's feature about efforts to reform Durham's cash-bail system, @scottklair tweets: "Bondsman have a very strong industry lobby. The political influence of money always results in a 'compromise' paid in damage done to other peoples' lives." Adds @quinn_kirlew: "Bail should be based on how much is valuable to the individual, not what a judge deems sufficient."

Next up, a pair of comments on our story about the placement of a possible soccer field in Durham. Ron Asher argues that the location, off Hoover Road in east Durham, is suboptimal: "A new park and more soccer fields would be wonderful. However, the location is really not great for those who would prefer to walk, bike, or take public transportation there. We could really use one more centrally located in the downtown."

Durham451 disagrees: "This is a good site for soccer near neighborhoods that need recreation facilities and that's also easily accessible from U.S. 70. The next site Durham Parks & Rec should look at for playing fields, trails, and bike paths is the little-used Hillandale golf course. That would be a great, centrally located place for more soccer fields and other recreational uses. It would get far more use by a wider population than it does now."

On Michael Venutolo-Mantovani's profiles of NASCAR racers Kyle Busch and Ryan Blaney—by the way, did you know we have a sports blog now? It's quite fun—Sophie Kopsar writes: "I will take Kyle Busch over the narcissistic, attention-seeking Ryan Blaney any day of the week and twice on race day. Blaney will do anything to suck up, to be 'popular.' However, he doesn't put nearly that much effort into winning races, so he will always be the popular nice guy without a championship. Between his huge fan base, which the media tends to ignore, and his huge 'hate base,' Kyle Busch is NASCAR's most valuable asset. Kyle garners more fan interest than bland Jimmie Johnson with his seven championships and far more than the crop of alleged young stars that NASCAR is churning out, who all have the racing prowess to match their personalities—bleh, blah, and meh."

Finally, Mark Neill responds to a letter last week arguing that, because of automation, money spent on new highways or light rail is a waste: "Computer-driven vehicles? Really? We've been saying that for the last thirty years. And even if that managed to come to fruition, in tandem with the Uber/Lyft personal transportation-as-a-service, they're still vehicles. On the roads. Which are already getting overcrowded. How does the advent of autonomous vehicles alleviate traffic density?

"Raleigh isn't yet dense enough to have a population that survives on public transportation and TaaS, nor does it have the public transportation infrastructure to even make that possible right now."

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