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Letters to the Editor

Changing terminology

When your paper described the displacement of numerous tenants by the Independent's offices because of the higher rents ("Eyes on the Prizery," by Kate Dobbs Ariail, Jan. 17), the article's subtitle called it "a palimpsest of urban evolution."

Several years ago, when describing the same evolution in property values and rents when Bob Schmitz Properties renovated dilapidated buildings, the article was titled "Kicked Out" (Dec. 1, 1993). The tone of each article was reflected in the title, one describing a natural, positive, economic evolution and the other a greed-driven, insensitive displacement. Has the Independent's perspective matured or simply its point of view changed?

Bob Schmitz

Eat locally

As a chef and restaurant owner committed to serving local, sustainably raised food, I read "A good kind of government pork" (Eat & Drink, by Sheryl Cornett, Jan. 24) with great interest. When we opened Lantern in 2002, there were very few options for locally raised meat, but thankfully, today there are many more. Along with many other Triangle restaurants, including Crook's Corner, Magnolia Grill, Elaine's on Franklin, Enoteca Vin, Starlu and Zely & Ritz, Lantern buys pork from N.C. Choices growers such as Cane Creek Farm, Ficklecreek Farm and Elysian Fields Farm. Once our customers taste pork from pigs raised humanely on pasture outside confinement, they don't go back to factory-raised pork.

North Carolina currently loses about three family farms every day. N.C. Choices is doing the hard work of supporting independent, small family farms that are challenging the model of factory pork production in North Carolina. If these farmers are given the help they need to bring their meats and produce to our tables, they will prosper and feed our local economies; we will have access to delicious, sustainably raised foods free of hormones, pesticides and chemical fertilizers; and more of the farmland that we cherish will be preserved.

Andrea Reusing
Chapel Hill

Correction on pork story

On behalf on N.C. Choices, I want to thank the Independent for its profile "A good kind of government pork" (Eat & Drink, by Sheryl Cornett, Jan. 24). The positive queries since publication have been tremendous.

I wrote incorrectly that North Carolina produces 40 percent of our nation's pork supply. While it is true that our state is second only to Iowa in the number of hogs raised for slaughter, the state produces approximately 16 percent of the nation's hogs. I apologize to the Independent and its readers for my mistake.

Jennifer Curtis, Project Manager, N.C. Choices

Secret exposed racist politics

How the racist system works often goes unreported. But your reporter, Mosi Secret, did a fine job of describing the disturbing phenomenon of white "Independents" coming out of the woodwork to run against two well-qualified black sheriff candidates who were elected in their counties' Democratic primaries last May ("Three N.C. counties elect first black sheriffs," Dec. 13, 2006). Secret focused on the white candidate who suddenly emerged in Vance County, the son-in-law of Jim Crawford, a powerful Democrat in the N.C. House of Representatives. George Hoyle effectively renounced his Democratic Party membership shortly after a veteran black State Highway Patrol officer won the sheriff's primary, which should have meant an easy, uncontested election in November. Crawford, however, did not distance himself from this crude attempt to destroy the newly forged black-white alliance that is strengthening the new Democratic party. On the contrary, Crawford threw his considerable weight behind his son-in-law, exacerbating the party's racial fault lines. The black voters saw quickly what was happening and helped save the victory for the black candidate.

Secret's article was the only major media to expose Crawford's betrayal, and it may have helped Joe Hackney become the speaker of the N.C. House. When 66 Democrats picked Hackney, it was a hard-fought race. On the first ballot, Hackney had 24 votes, Dan Blue had 17, and Crawford 14. After the two lowest candidates were eliminated, Hackney and Blue both had gained only two votes each, whereas Crawford picked up seven, eliminating Blue, the only African American left. Crawford's contempt for the will of the biracial Vance Democratic Party came back to haunt him. Blue's supporters split 15 for Hackney and only three for Crawford, handing Hackney a 41-24 victory. Crawford not only betrayed the party's will by helping his son-in-law run as an independent, but also betrayed the Democrat's most loyal members—African Americans who play by the rules and who work their way up in the party and in their counties. When his betrayal was exposed, thanks to Secret, we all won.

AL McSurely
Chapel Hill

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