As a grandfather of three, I am worried about the impact of COVID-19 on their education and health. Your July 5 editorial, “Open schools correctly,” points out that it is so important to open the schools correctly. Educators at the local, state and federal levels are working tirelessly to come up with workable solutions depending on the twists and turns of COVID-19, funding availability and the impact on students, teachers, bus drivers, parents and guardians. Unfortunately, those decisions have to be made in the context of a state that has dramatically turned against quality education for all.
The Public School Forum highlights troubling disparities in the investment made for our students. The average amount spent per student by the 10 highest counties was $3,305. The amount spent per student by the 10 lowest counties was $782. This incredible gap has only widened since 1987, when the N.C. Supreme Court declared that all students are entitled to receive a “sound basic education.”
Many serious school problems lie squarely at the door of our state government. That is why it is time for new leadership. In N.C. Senate District 31, I support Terri LeGrand, who is endorsed by the N.C. Association of Educators. She is a product of public schools, as are her two daughters. Terri will work to ensure that our schools are fully-funded, that our teachers are paid as the professionals that they are, that our schools are provided the improvements needed, and that our students have the services they deserve to succeed.
On July 17, J.B. asked AskSAM about burying power lines. Besides no power outages, there is another important reason for underground lines: Livability in a hot summer.
Just as the maples had grown tall enough to form a canopy and turn Allistair Road into an avenue, Duke Energy had them amputated or cut in half and even cut down. Many trees along the roads of New Sherwood underwent the same mutilation. Where it used to be pleasant to walk in the shade, it is now too hot.
Power lines need to go underground and trees need to be cared for. In the meantime, let’s plant trees, especially if you live at the side of the road without power lines.
The rule of law
We are constantly being bombarded with outrage and indignation over the president’s supposed disrespect for the rule of law. Yet the facts remain that:
Despite his own outraged rhetoric, he has consistently abided by lower-court injunctions against his policies, injunctions that have invariably been overturned by higher courts.
Unlike the Obama administration, he has not pushed federal guidelines on colleges that deny the accused their Sixth Amendment rights to confront their accusers — guidelines ultimately found to be unconstitutional.
He has not proposed barring “Orthodox Catholics” from holding federal judgeships as did Democratic Sens. Diane Feinstein and Dick Durbin during Amy Barrett’s confirmation hearing — a position that clearly violates Article VI of the Constitution’s prohibition against any sort of religious test for office.
He has not proposed denying churches tax-exempt status if they do not agree with gay marriage, as Beto O’Rourke did during the Democratic debates — a clear violation of both the First and 14th amendments. Yet, it was received with rapturous applause from the audience and acquiescence from all the other candidates.
Actions should speak louder than words. Based upon their actions, who is the bigger threat to the rule of law and the Constitution: President Trump or the Democrats?
David A. Gellatly
Still stood tall
Farewell, Rep. John Lewis. Thank you for your leadership. You are and will always be a great leader. Your work is done. You leave behind strong words to learn from on how to do the right thing, and you took a lot of guff from people who did not have a caring heart and you still stood tall.
You walked with another great leader, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Together you made a path. You made our country what it should be: a place of truth, justice, hope and peace, where we work out problems that may surface in negative ways. That takes courage and that is what makes leaders stand out.
May your strong voice be heard in generations to come and may we all keep remembering you in our days to come. John Lewis, rest in peace, and we thank you for being a great man.
A coordinated effort
How are we doing?
Remembering how horrible things were in Italy just three months ago, I got to thinking about how the United States is doing relative to Italy.
The United States has had more new COVID-19 cases in the past four days than Italy has had in the last four months. We are up to 77,000 new cases per day now and we are projected to have 100,000 new cases per day if we continue to take no further actions.
Contrast that with Italy, where cases are declining and are at record lows. The majority of our new cases are in states where actions to mitigate the spread of the virus were, and continue to be, lax. The contrast between those countries and U.S. states that have taken bold actions and those that didn’t is irrefutable evidence that our country has botched our response to the virus. Those countries that took early, bold actions to contain the virus are now safely reopening their economies with no spikes in new cases while we are struggling with massive increases in cases and deaths on a daily basis.
We needed a coordinated nationwide effort to control this epidemic and the Trump administration failed us. Our continuing lack of effective actions will cause further massive harm to our economy and multitudes of unnecessary deaths.
Hugh M. Parker
OK, folks, it’s time for the latest contest favorite: “What could Donald Trump Possibly Have Done Worse?”
Now remember, these obvious accomplishments don’t count: Waiting many weeks to act as deaths increased … and increased: check! Making the states, with frozen annual budgets, bid against each other for overpriced medical supplies: check! Ignoring or criticizing scientists while making up treatments and statistics: check! Disregarding any national system of testing, contact tracing and financial aid to our states, because campaigning always comes first: check! Serving as Influencer No. 1 for the health-threatening “no-mask” look: check!
But hey; get extra credit for explaining his unprepared rush to stick every child back in hazardous schools — again funded by local taxes.
And are there entries that won’t be accepted? Sure: working frantically to eliminate your family’s affordable health care, because that’s party policy.
So enter now: Describe what you think could really have been worse! Winners are eligible for a safe, fun “What Could Have Been” family vacation in New Zealand, Greece or South Korea!
The pandemic that we are experiencing is a warning! It is a warning that we need to make a number of changes in our society. Here is a partial list of some of the things that need to change:
- We need to use science to understand what we need to do with this pandemic. For now, science tells us that we need to wear masks, wash our hands and use social distancing.
- We need to recognize that our climate is changing. For example, we need to understand and accept policies to address climate change, like adding a fee (returned to citizens) for adding carbon to the atmosphere. This will act to reduce the carbon that is causing so many problems for our world.
- We absolutely need to change national and state leaders who deny science and climate change. For example, we cannot establish good policies without good leaders.
The list goes on: We need solar panels and electric cars. We cannot control the pandemic until we use science and good policies to make changes that are needed.
Please help us to make these changes. We need your help!
We hope that by Labor Day we will have COVID-19 under control and can begin reopening our schools and economy. We know that our schools’ and local and state governments’ finances will be strained at a time when government will be called upon to do more. We know that many small businesses will never reopen and many workers will be unemployed indefinitely. With North Carolina unemployment benefits capped at $350 per week for 12 weeks and thousands without health insurance, many workers face significant challenges.
With less than four months to the election, we all should be examining candidates and their platforms to develop informed opinions on who can best lead us back to economic health and best provide for our children and fellow citizens.
Terri LeGrand, a candidate for Senate District 31, will receive my vote. I have examined her website (www.TerriLeGrand.org) and heard her speak. She is people-centered and knows we must invest more in our schools and teachers. She recognizes that job training and re-training are critical to putting people back to work and attracting new businesses. Terri advocates for expanded Medicaid to bring as much as $400 million in federal dollars into the state and help 400,000-600,000 people without health insurance receive care. Terri views these issues as nonpartisan and has pledged to work across party lines on behalf of all North Carolinians.
Terri LeGrand is the leader we need to send to Raleigh on Nov. 3 to represent District 31.
Kenneth R. Ostberg
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