Your letters, Feb. 23

February 21, 2014 

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    Please send letters of up to 300 words and guest columns of up to 600 words to editor@newsobserver.com. All submissions may be edited for space and clarity.

The wrong agenda

I am writing in comment to the article on solicitation (DN, Feb 12, bit.ly/1fe1gYF). My problem with any of that is the actual belief that this is something that our City Council would spend its time dealing with. Bad enough I can't go the local store and not be accosted by beggars looking for change or cigarettes.

Our city needs roads paved, Renewal for boarded-up buildings, and the proper help for the poor, NOT rules allowing them to approach cars. So much needs to be done in the area of Durham that I live in, and to see our City Council wasting its time on matters like this is ludicrous. Where is the mayor on this? The one who spoke in depth about the poverty in Durham in his State of the City address. No wonder this state can't afford to extend benefits to the unemployed when we are stuck paying too many salaries to an oversized and self-agenda-oriented government.

It’s time to get real and start worrying about the hard-working tax payers of the community. Provide job training to the unemployed and education to the poor. A hand up, not rules that promote being poor.

Kevin McCarthy

Durham

Another explanation?

The devil is in the details, and if one is to accept Mr. Wilson’s explanation of the events surrounding the death of Jesus Huerta then all of Mr. Wilson’s facts must be accurate.

The three glaring falsehoods in Mr. Wilson’s commentary (DN, Jan. 26, bit.ly/1oNm5hz) follow:

• The firearm that Mr. Wilson states killed Jesus Huerta was a “ .45 cal. Semi-automatic Colt Cobra pistol.” Colt never manufactured such a weapon. Colt did produce a .38 cal. Snub-nosed revolver that they marketed as the Colt Cobra. This revolver came in three calibers: .22, .38 and .38 Special and was produced, mainly for the police market due to this revolver’s small size and comfort of carry. Manufacture of the Cobra first series ended in 1973. Colt produced a second series until 1981. This is fact.

• The Durham police allowed to be published a photo of the pistol they believed to be the pistol that killed Jesus Huerta. It appeared to be a variant of the famous .45 Cal. Colt 1911. This is a big pistol! The standard 1911 is 8 5/8” long by 5 1/2” tall as measured from the base of the butt to the top of the slide. This semi-automatic is not very concealable. It is a heavy pistol. I have to say what was in the police photo looked like a toy. The finger guard was too small for a 1911. The only possibility of what the photo showed was a Star Model M Military pistol which was, in general, a copy of the Colt 1911, but with some variations.

• Mr. Wilson stated that there isn’t any possibility of any other explanation for the death of Jesus Huerta than the police explanation. Yes, there is Mr. Wilson. The possibility that police murdered Huerta with a throwaway gun. The .45 cal. Star Pistol costs $120, but it’s free if you grab it in the evidence room. Fiction, you say? The Durham police have killed several people in the past few years. In North Carolina, the Durham police are known by other police departments as “ trigger happy.”

What would be the motivation for the police to kill Huerta? I do not know. This is a job for the FBI if there ever was a reason for finding motivation.

Thomas Lockwood

Durham

Bob Wilson replies: Mr. Lockwood is correct about the .45 Colt Cobra – there isn't one. My mistake. Colt did make a .45 revolver called the King Cobra, which serves to illustrate the vast variety of handgun names and calibers.

As for Mr. Lockwood’s suggestion that the Durham police killed Jesus Huerta with a disposable pistol – that is the stuff of fantasy. It only plays into the hands of a violent subset who believe the police killed Huerta. No evidence supports Mr. Lockwood’s claims.

Offense offensive

Katelyn McCracken finds naming a dormitory after a pro-education former governor (Aycock) who also held some racist beliefs to be mentally offensive (DN, Feb. 19, bit.ly/1dIfb96). Yet, she has no problem attending a university bearing the name (Duke) of a person who made his fortune using slave labor in his tobacco fields as well as that of those that increased the fortune by poisoning people with tobacco products. Her offense to the lesser crime is in itself offensive.

Robert L. Porreca

Hillsborough

Not Common Core

Re Bob Wilson’s commentary (DN, Jan. 31, bit.ly/1aSpsju )

I think the News and Observer needs to clarify that the Common Core is not requiring students to attend summer reading camps or repeat third grade, create a reading portfolio, etc. As the newspaper has reported, (quite well and with detail), Read to Achieve is a part of the Excellent Public School Act passed by our legislators in Raleigh. Many states have adopted the Common Core, but not all states will retain students based on third grade test results. Perhaps it would be helpful for readers to see this article: http://bit.ly/1eOECqW

Amelia Tosti

Durham

The League’s work

On February 14 ninety-four years ago, the League of Women Voters was founded by Carrie Chapman Catt with the goal to secure the right to vote for women. After nearly 100 years, our work continues.

The right to vote is under attack and the League as a defender of our democracy fights to ensure all Americans can cast a ballot. The League is challenging the recent voter law in North Carolina that negatively impacts minorities, the elderly, and students by eliminating same-day registration, reducing the number of days for early voting, eliminating pre-registration of 16-and-17 year olds, and requiring a government-issued photo ID for the 2016 election.

Last year the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision which gutted key components of the monumental Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965, eliminating fundamental protections against racial discrimination in voting. In January 201, members of Congress introduced a bill designed to modernize the VRA. As we celebrate our 94th year, we call upon Congress to act quickly to pass the bipartisan bill to modernize the Voting Rights Act.

We urge citizens to work with the League and other non-partisan organizations to protect the constitutional right to vote.

For more information about the League of Women Voters, please visit lwvodc.org or contact Brenda.hyde2@gmail.com.

Brenda Rogers

President

League of Women Voters of Orange, Durham and Chatham Counties

Column disappoints

My family has always looked forward to reading The Durham News. We particularly enjoy the Wednesday edition that has a section on high school sports. Thus, it is disappointing to inform you that your paper will no longer be read in my home. Your choice to publish a column (“Bull City Burlesque” by Pierce Freelon) that espouses the “virtues” of a burlesque show was sad and a disservice to families and the community.

Robert H. Oakley

Durham

Missing Becky

I really miss Becky Heron. Like many others, I felt she was “family.”

Helping Becky and Duncan on Becky’s re-election campaigns felt like preparing for a family reunion lovingly anticipated.

Duncan's responsibility was to identify the leaves and branches on the family tree. Assisting Duncan, I made the phone calls, one by one, as he gave shape to Becky's venerable “endorsement ads.”

“Now you be sure to tell Becky….” seemed to be the way most of my phone calls to her supporters would draw to a close – ending with a personal anecdote, a bit of irony to share, a new wrinkle to an ongoing saga, or a bit of news – good or bad. These gleanings I shared with Becky, who relished receiving them; my respect for her growing just as I witnessed firsthand the bonds of trust which forged her unique kinships.

Becky Heron was a dependable leader to whom just about everyone felt a connection.

Becky's stellar reputation as an honest and earnest public servant gave each of us a warm feeling that she belonged to us.

Ethel Simonetti

Durham

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