Your letters, Feb. 9: Ninth Street parking, Becky and Brenda ...

February 7, 2014 

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Restoring the sense of wonder

I enjoyed Robert Wallace’s recent newspaper column titled “All The Boys Loved Brenda” (DN, Jan. 22,

In the early part of the column he talked about growing up in the ’60s and ’70s when we all could enjoy the freedom of unencumbered play that seems lost to the current generation of kids. As he so well put it, today’s kids are missing out on the “sense of wonder” we got from the world around us.

His terminology resonated with me because I recently heard a talk by Barry Van Deman, the president of Durham’s Museum of Life and Science, in which his main theme was trying to restore the “sense of wonder” that is ever excluded from today's childhood experience. In the talk, he, similar to Wallace, recounted how he and his friends would constantly be drawn to explore a nearby “jungle” (actually just a few vacant lots near his home in Chicago) and the constant adventures they would dream up. Unfortunately, if he had a “Brenda” as part of the group, he didn’t mention it!

The Museum of Life and Science, located on 84 acres of land in Durham, has lready extended science into multiple outdoor exhibits and areas, but is embarking on two new outdoor project areas, one of which is Hideaway Woods ( This area, with the assistance of about 20 local experts in education and science, has been designed to capture that experience of imaginative free play that so rarely exists in our neighborhoods today. Construction on this new area will start this month.

Thanks again for Wallace’s astute insight on the “sense of wonder” that today's kids are in danger of losing.

Larry M. Crane


Hazard Canon and Becky Heron

The thing I remember that reveals Becky Heron’s strength the best is an incident that happened many years ago. In the late ’80s or even the early ’90s, there was a fellow named Hazard Cannon (what a name!) who owned or managed a bunch of apartments in the Brogden Heights neighborhood.

He was an old-school conservative and got riled up about the trend towards liberalism in Durham politics. He opposed the merger of the city and county school systems. For a year or two, he became distinctly noisy and critical of Durham’s leading liberal lights, Becky included. He began to make sizeable campaign contributions. He sent out his own mailings in which he criticized certain candidates and endorsed others – a sort of one-man PAC. His appeal was visceral and he developed a following.

As part of his campaign, Cannon threw a huge party for anyone who wanted to come. His followers flocked to it. He sort of challenged all candidates and elected officials to come. The liberals stayed away. I stayed away. was the kind of guy who might take advantage of a gathering to badmouth those with whom he disagreed.

Becky, however, went to the party and even danced with the guy. He was charmed by her refusal to be afraid of him and wound up respecting her. He may have even supported her. It wouldn’t surprise me.

That is Becky. Unafraid. A representative of the whole community – never surrounding herself only with those with whom she agreed. Ready to party with the opposition without surrendering her principles.

This is how Becky went from losing her first electoral bid to becoming the candidate that needed no PAC endorsement or big campaign contributions to win. Her connection with the citizens was direct, one-on-one, not through any PAC or organization. Sincere, open, honest, unafraid, principled, willing to take a chance, trustworthy, hardworking. Always a known quantity. That’s why liberals voted for her and that’s why conservatives voted for her.

Hazard Cannon was quite a character. He died in 2001. So was Becky.

Tom Miller


Slow, painful blow

I suppose people shopping at Harris Teeter would pay to grocery shop (along with the other new chain stores going up there)? I bet not.

What kind of special arrangement do the big chain stores get in return to business they are expected to bring into that area? They somehow will acquire enough space for their customers to park for free while the small business owners' customers have to pay $1/hr (which is an outrageous price), probably.

People can park for free while they grocery shop at Whole Foods two blocks away from Harris Teeter. Imagine eating at one of the restuarants and having to send someone out to feed the meter to avoid getting a ticket.

If the city is panting to make money off of Ninth Street clients why don’t they charge customers in other ZIP codes of the city to pay while they eat and shop?

The City Council will effectively be causing the demise of Ninth Street shops and restuarants when competitors get free parking. Durham will lose the quaint charm those shopkeepers have given to the city for many years. Requiring paid parking will force many of them out of business. That will be a slow, painful blow to them after they have served Durham so well for so long. Shame on City Council members if they approve parking meters for Ninth Street.

Evelyn Meade


Paying to park

As someone who lives in the Ninth Street neighborhood and who loves the local businesses there, I often stop off and get a pound of coffee, a small present for someone, a new book or the like on my way to work.

Had I to pay for the opportunity and or scramble for change or a dollar bill I probably wouldn't stop there. But my kind of kind of small-scale shopping is the life blood of local businesses and the entrepreneurship America boasts.

Don’t charge a parking fee!

Tolly Boatwright


Bad for business

There must be some solution other than paid parking on Ninth Street. Discouraging shoppers at this über Durham hot spot seems like the worst strategy ever for the local business economy.

Laura Boyes


Kinnaird criticism unwarranted

Re: Sam Eberts’ commentary “Ike (not Kinnaird) was right,” (DN. Jan. 24,

Well ... I could brag that my daddy (b.1892) served in both WWI and WWII ... but that wouldn’t prompt me to attack Ellie Kinnaird for her peaceful, humanistic views. In fact, ever since I moved here in 1982 to work as a psychologist in the UNC medical center, I have greatly admired her. So I wonder how long Mr. Eberts has lived here and what he’s contributed to our community during the decades that Ellie served as mayor of Carrboro then as our state senator, completing a law degree along the way, the better to enhance her skills and since retiring, continues to be a an active, concerned citizen and writer.

Meanwhile, our over-aggressive Military-Industrial Complex has done far more than protect us: what with Ike directing its first steps into the Vietnam quagmire, then plotting the Cuban invasion and handing it off to a young Kennedy under whom it became known as the Bay of Pigs Disaster ... and led to the Cuban Missile Crisis. Then there was the overthrow of democratically elected governments from Guatemala to Iran (to protect American business interests) and the forerunner to our own 9/11: the 9/11/73 Kissinger-Nixon instigated Chilean coup ... as Duke Professor Ariel Dorfman (who was serving in the Chilean government at the time) reminded us here at UNC the Monday after. And not to forget the Cheney-Bush-Rumsfield-MIC juggarnaut that drove us into Afghanistan and Iraq.

Jean Ranc

Chapel Hill

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