March 1 letters
Where does Clampitt stand on the issues?
To the editor:
The following is my take on the town hall.
Rep. Clampitt’s town hall was a case study in evasion. When repeatedly asked where he stood on a particular issue, he repeatedly avoided answering the questions.
A typical example was when he was asked about whether he supported the repeal of HB2 – an unenforceable law with huge negative economic consequences for North Carolina.
He responded by saying that there was a bill being prepared, but since he had not yet read it he could not say whether he would vote for it. The question was not about a particular bill, but where he stood on the issue. Time and time again he sidestepped answering a direct question.
Much of the two hours was spent on such evasion or on the representative lecturing the voters on how bills are prepared and how the legislature works. The most charitable explanation for this might be that since this is his first experience in the legislature, he wanted to share what he was learning.
A more critical assessment might be that he wanted to show that he knew more than the voters.
About half a dozen sheriff’s deputies stationed at the Old Courthouse maintained the decorum during the town hall. Too bad they had not been assigned to the town halls a few years ago when the Tea Party folks made disruption and shouting an art form at town halls.
The bottom line is as follows. If the objective was to give the representative an ear full of the concerns of the voters, the town hall could be considered a success.
If you went to the town hall hoping to learn where the representative stood on the issues, it was a two-hour waste of time.
Divided society spells trouble
To the editor:
The constant and continuing state of division across the country is solving nothing. Society is functioning but is constantly wary of what’s going to happen next.
The tranquility of a people working more or less together is waning and being replaced by fearful, baseless separation.
This insidious “us” and “them” mentality is all too easy to adopt and must be recognized as a harmful and potentially dangerous disease. A necessary and vital first step, and a somewhat tricky one, is for each of us to acknowledge that divisiveness helps none of us.
As none of us has the only or the necessarily correct answer, we all must strive for a way to communicate differing opinions peacefully. The healing powers of reason, common sense, and human dignity are always available to help and guide us.
We must to be strong enough and smart enough to recognize their strength and allow them to direct our thoughts and actions. Don’t succumb to the temptation of irrational, reactive emotions.
Don’t forget Pigeon Center
To the editor:
It is encouraging to read of renewed efforts to repurpose Canton’s Reynolds School into a new community center.
Mr. McDowell and his wife, Gladys Knight are to be congratulated for leading these efforts and we wish them great success.
On the other hand, I hope you will excuse my selfishness in pointing out that there is another remnant of the Haywood County segregated public school system that has already been repurposed into a successful community center.
The Pigeon Community Center currently provides services such as Changemakers for Racial Understanding, Lift Every Voice Oral History Project, Summer Enrichment Camp for Children, After School Tutoring, Senior Dinners, emergency food pantry, and more.
I refer, of course, to the Pigeon Community Multicultural Development Center housed in the 1950s era Pigeon Street Elementary School at 450 Pigeon St. in Waynesville.
The building is currently owned by Haywood County and leased to the center. With gracious assistance from Haywood County Commissioners, much progress has been made in bringing the facility up to acceptable mechanical and sanitary standards for multiple uses.
We had hoped by now to be able to achieve a long-time desire to accept ownership of the building. Again, Haywood County facilitated the ownership process.
We somehow manage to provide for the many programs that greatly benefit the community, and we are grateful for our numerous donors and sponsors who partner with us in providing these programs.
Unfortunately, we have been unable to achieve a reserve of operational funding to sustain ownership. We don’t want to take anything away from the fledgling Reynolds project.
We are confident that there is sufficient need and support for both community centers and we simply ask that when financial support is being considered, equal thought be given to both locations.