On May 8, 2012, the citizens of North Carolina will vote on an amendment to the state constitution titled the Defense of Marriage Act, providing that "marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be recognized in the state." The board of the Community Church of Chapel Hill, Unitarian Universalist, goes on record in the strongest possible opposition to this amendment.
Amending the defining document of the state is a serious matter. What is proposed is denial of a right of citizenship—and a human right—to thousands of our citizens. Implications of such laws have been well documented. They can include denial of such rights as that to be with one's life partner at a time of serious illness as well as a great many other restrictions. In 1964, with the Civil Rights Act, our nation's law rose above a history of discrimination on the basis of race. We must not now enshrine discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in our state constitution.
We stand with other churches committed to human rights and with all those concerned with justice. We urge all who share such concerns to vote against this amendment.
Board of Directors
Community Church of Chapel Hill, Unitarian Universalist
Re: Sales tax increases
Now that the sales tax increases that you supported have been approved (Indy Endorsements, Oct. 19), can we assume that you will keep us informed about how the money is spent? The transit tax supports a 20-year plan, with expenditures over $600,000,000, that depends on state and federal capital contributions along with support from Wake and Orange counties. The federal government has already said that ridership projections are too sparse to warrant funding. If they don't change their minds, and if the state does not subsidize, will you see to it that we get our tax money back?
If the rail projects are undertaken, will you report fully on cost overruns and on the operating subsidies that every such project has entailed?
Will you make sure that the money from the education tax, which the county is not obligated to spend on education, is actually spent on education, and that in addition it does not merely free up other education revenue to be spent elsewhere?
Re: Sanitation Two
Town of Chapel Hill administration is unable to discuss the terminations of former employees Kerry Bigelow and Clyde Clark (per your cover story of Nov. 2) due to pending lawsuits. Reflecting our communications principles of openness and participation, we published all documentation with regard to this matter on our website.
Within these posted online documents, Town Manager Roger L. Stancil has stated the following:
"The Town of Chapel Hill does not tolerate discrimination, harassment and other forms of mistreatment within its workforce or in its relationships with residents and visitors. The Town has an established policy for addressing allegations of such serious incidents based on our commitment to respect for those involved.
"The Town of Chapel Hill does not interfere with the right of our employees to organize. We recognize that right and support it with such efforts as dues deduction from paychecks for those who choose that option and provision of space for employee organization news postings in Town facilities. We have an ongoing expectation and practice of involving employees in decisions that affect them.
"I want you and our residents to know that allegations or indications of employee misconduct are uncommon in our organization, but when they do occur, we take them seriously. Such matters are investigated thoroughly and fairly in the best interests of all of our employees and the public we serve."
The website was made available to writer Anna Blackshaw in response to questions for her story about Mr. Clark and Mr. Bigelow. The Town of Chapel Hill would like to make this information available also to your readers.
Public Information Officer
Town of Chapel Hill
Excellent article ("The Republican war on reality," Nov. 9). Sounds like Mr. Weiler has perhaps read The Authoritarians by psychologist Bob Altemeyer. This book really delves into what makes conservative, right-wing types tick. These damaged minds and warped personalities are truly authoritarian to the core. For the vast majority of them, it's not that they desire to rule over people themselves, but instead are what Dr. Altemeyer calls "authoritarian followers." As he says in the book, rather than seeing them as the popular metaphor of gullible sheep that are easily led, they should really be viewed as army ants on the march. This book will make so many puzzling mysteries about conservatives clear. It's available for free online and is well worth the read. Both informative and terrifying, you can find it here.