When it comes to growth issues, Raleigh City Council is part of the problem

·4 min read
Staff/News & Observer file photo

Raleigh growth

The writer is former chair of the Raleigh Planning Commission

In his Jan. 10 column, Ned Barnett argues that leaving growth management solutions to localities worsens the problems associated with rapid growth. An understatement for sure.

The Raleigh City Council majority is part of the problem as they are recklessly bent on approving density everywhere in the city. Their vote to allow higher densities in single-family neighborhoods beyond the two-family units already in place will make traffic worse.

It will also hasten tree loss, increase storm-water runoff and exacerbate parking problems in neighborhoods not built to accommodate higher density. Higher densities need to be focused along transit corridors, as in Charlotte.

What’s worse is that the Council majority is hiding behind the curtain of affordable housing. There is no significant presence of truly affordable housing in Raleigh. When it comes to managing growth, Council majority members are closing their eyes to future negative consequences. We’re well on the way to traffic hell.

Robert Mulder, Raleigh

Anita Jackson

Recent articles about Dr. Anita Jackson’s escapades raised many questions. Why was she paid over $540,000 for three contracts over two years? Who hired her at the Durham health department and were they cognizant of her checkered past, including Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s lawsuit against her for allegedly overcharging the insurer millions, settled out of court in 2009? What was the oversight role of our Durham County commissioners? And, what did the three contracts with Jackson produce for the citizens of Durham?

Who’s minding the public store? Durham taxpayers deserve answers — and better budget oversight at the county level.

Eugene Brown

Durham City Council, 2003-2015

Madison Cawthorn

Regarding “A misguided attempt to disqualify Madison Cawthorn” (Jan. 14 Editorial):

There may be little or no evidence that U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn aided or abetted the Jan. 6 insurrection, but there is evidence that he believes the 2020 election was stolen. If it was stolen from former President Trump, then it was also stolen from anyone else who ran for office in 2020, including Cawthorn. Too bad there are no penalties for hypocrisy.

Caroline Taylor, Pittsboro

Democracy

The editorial opposing the effort to disqualify Madison Cawthorn misses the big picture.

Consider the “death by a 1,000 cuts” nature of the Republican assault on our democracy. Cawthorn is one “cut.” But so are gerrymandering, voting rights laws that disenfranchise whole classes of citizens, and repeating the “Big Lie.” So is supporting groups that seek to overturn the legitimate practice of democracy.

Our democracy is under serious attack, in many ways on many fronts. This is not a Democratic or Republican partisan issue, though Republicans try to cast it that way because they are behind the vast majority of those attacks.

The danger to democracy is real. Everyone must stand up for fair democratic processes — fair redistricting, fair voter registration and access to polls, and the opportunity for the majority to govern. Is that too much to ask?

William Leaf, Cary

Cost of COVID

The COVID-19 pandemic has been with us for over two years and I have not seen in print or heard on broadcast news the real cost to an individual who is hospitalize with this disease. If a person receives hospital treatment for COVID, what is the average bill they are responsible for? If there were more in the news about this expense, one would hope more people might get vaccinated.

Fred Crouch, Wilmington

Gerrymandering

Everyone clamors over political gerrymandering — Democrats today and Republicans before them. Their uproar focuses on how difficult it makes for one side to be fairly represented when the statewide vote is almost 50/50.

That’s a problem for certain. But more importantly, political gerrymandering allows for more radicals (on both sides) and fewer moderates to get elected. Creating districts where only one party has a chance to win enables people like Madison Cawthorn and Marjorie Taylor Greene to get elected to Congress.

We need more districts with near equal representation to create opportunities for more moderates on both sides to get elected. It may be what’s necessary to save the country.

Mark Kinlaw, Holly Springs

No to NC drilling

The writer is senior campaign organizer at Oceana.

The U.S. Senate has an opportunity to permanently protect our coasts from offshore drilling in the Build Back Better Act. Drilling is bad for our climate and our economy.

Oil spills devastate small businesses and major industries that depend on clean coasts, such as fishing, tourism and recreation. More drilling means more carbon pollution which we can’t afford if we’re going to meet climate goals.

A report from Oceana showed that N.C.’s clean coast economy supports 62,000 jobs and approximately $3.1 billion in GDP. The Senate must permanently protect our coast from new offshore drilling in the Atlantic.

Randy Sturgill, Wilmington