Divorce laws penalize women
As your "10 Smart Bills" article noted, there have been quite a few bills introduced this past session that would have created beneficial policy solutions to some of the problems currently facing many North Carolinians. Many of the bills listed in the article would have a positive impact on women and families in NC, increasing opportunities for greater economic self-sufficiency and better access to quality health care. We would also include HB867 on that list, which would have eliminated for domestic violence victims NC's already questionable requirement that couples be separated for one year prior to obtaining a divorce. Requiring abuse victims to stay legally tied to their abusers for an arbitrary period of time is not the way to support victims, and exposes them to further abuse, This bill seems like it should have had an easy and bipartisan pass through our legislature, yet it went nowhere.
We're again hearing talk this session from our legislators about women's rights and safety, and the protection of families. Much of this talk is coming from lawmakers who ram through bills to restrict abortion access, prevent families from accessing health care, and restrict our marriage choices; while a number of truly beneficial bills have been left to die in committee. Who are these legislators really protecting? Not the majority of North Carolinians.
Tara Romano, President, NC Women United
Durham: Focus less on cars
Hats off to the organizers of the recent Jane's Walk in downtown Durham ("Don't let it be Anywhere, U.S.A.", May 13). It is fitting to honor Jane Jacobs, who as a private citizen did so much to further the health and walkability of cities. And Curt Eshelman and Allen Wilcox (and many others) deserve our unending praise for creating Durham Central Park.
If Jacobs were alive today and visited Durham, what would she tell us? As the article mentions, she would talk about sidewalks and human scale and mixed use. But I think she would go much further and push us to seriously undo the damage of auto-focused planning. These are hard fixes that will take public sector leadership, not just responsible real estate development.
For example, how about returning all four of Durham's major one ways (Roxboro, Mangum, Duke, Gregson) and the Loop to two-way streets? That could transform block after block of the city. How about simply tearing out the Durham Freeway for a mile or two either side of downtown? Other major cities are doing just that, by creating beautiful boulevards and linear parks. Such ambitious projects undoubtedly will be tackled by future generations of forward-thinking Durhamites—and Jane Jacobs will be smiling.
Fred Broadwell, Durham