Curb this problem
Some thirty-odd years ago, we moved into the neighborhood that Journal columnist Scott Sexton wrote about on Aug. 31 (“Fears of encroachment”). It was a friendly and diverse residential neighborhood until investors began buying houses to rent to Wake Forest University students.
I am saddened to see on Polo Road stately old red brick houses with interesting architecture and huge mature shade trees bulldozed and replaced by little houses built, as Sexton noted, 10 yards apart, with impervious surface surrounding small patches of grass.
The 10-acre plot that Sexton discussed was a wonderful habitat for deer and foxes, songbirds and hawks. It is now mostly impervious surface housing more than 160 students (with their 160 cars).
Some cities have found ways to curb this problem of residential neighborhoods being turned into campus housing. For example, a Berkeley, Calif., neighborhood group successfully brought suit to compel the University of California at Berkeley to cap its student enrollment at 2020-21 levels. In that case, an Alameda County Superior Court judge ordered UC-Berkeley to reduce its head count by 3,050 students.
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Let’s give thoughtful consideration to how the always-expanding university student enrollment affects our city’s problems of homelessness, environmental degradation, loss of tree canopy and our need for affordable housing.
Cult and concern
When you’re more upset over poor college students getting a break than by the leader of your party stealing and carelessly handling top secret government documents, you’re in a cult.
Congratulations. I’ve spent 30 years reading the paper and doing all the puzzles, and now you’ve now made me stop. You might think about your readers before making willy-nilly changes that no one asked for.
For the record, the Cryptoquote in the Sept. 13 paper would have been, “Happily we bask in this warm September sun, which illuminates all creatures.” That’s from Henry David Thoreau.
To add to the Journal’s summary of the tragic war in Afghanistan (“A sad anniversary,” Sept. 6), let’s not forget former President Trump’s disastrous, unconditional capitulation to the Taliban in the Doha Agreement, February 2020, which excluded the Afghan government, strengthened the Taliban’s hand and all but halted U.S./allied military action (reportedly in the agreement’s classified annexes). Trump was rushing to get troops home before the November 2020 election; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo let everyone know. He told the enemy we were on a timetable. No concern for dire warnings from military advisers, the Afghan people or U.S. interests. Nothing mattered to Trump but himself.
Constant airstrikes had kept the Taliban out of Kabul and on the defensive, but after Doha, there were only two (as far as I can tell from publicly available records). For an entire year, then, until President Biden got into office, the Taliban were given free rein to take the country over, thanks to Trump’s pathological narcissism.
It was also Trump, along with political adviser Stephen Miller, who blocked Special Immigrant Visas for Afghan allies for four years (according to Pence aide Olivia Troyes), in spite of urgent calls by the Pentagon to expedite them.
When U.S. troops left, mistakes were made that we should learn from. But the biggest lesson of all is a warning about the former president himself. While Trump was still in office, journalist Andrew Quilty prophesied a “Vietnam-like catastrophe” in Afghanistan resulting from his irresponsible decisions. Caveat emptor.
Look, I wake up and read the paper. I spend my working day at a computer — I don't have time or inclination to look at a screen where ads jump around and scream at me.
Every comic I like, you cut (“Changes coming to your Journal,” Sept. 13). No Mutts!