Reader letters 4-4

Apr 03, 2014

Low wages, housing are serious issues in Haywood

To the editor:

A recent study by a Washington, D.C., based policy group has concluded Asheville offers some of the least affordable housing options in the nation. For those of us who reside in Western North Carolina, this does not arrive as shocking news. Waynesville is not far behind in the way of being completely unaffordable for locals.

The median household income in Waynesville is $28,000 with 15.5 percent of the population living below the poverty line.

Scroll any list of classified ads for rental properties in the area and it is insanely overpriced. Craigslist is filled with properties in Haywood County exceeding the $1,000 a month range. The wages paid in the area are not on par with the cost of living.

When the average hourly wage in the area is $7.75 to $10 an hour, there is no way for people to survive if they are expected to pay an exorbitant amount of rent.  In order for a person to afford a basic apartment, $13.83 is needed in hourly income that is almost double what most local employers are paying presently. That would equal $28,000 in income per for a full time worker but in Haywood County that is the average family income per family — not per worker. Many workers do have skills and college degrees but are offered lower wages than most entry-level positions pay in other parts of the country.

The high cost of living is driving out local people. Young people who do have education and skills, which could benefit the area and help grow the local economy, are choosing to move to cities such as Raleigh or Charlotte where they will not only receive more compensation but can afford to live comfortably.

This trend is a real problem for people. Retirees and the tourist-driven markets are forcing locals out of their homes. Housing prices need to be measured realistically. It is no wonder so many homes are sitting on the market.

Drive down any street in Waynesville and every sixth home is listed for sale. People cannot afford to live in this community with no living wage and no prospects for growth or opportunity.

Heather Hyatt



Let true public education be our legacy

To the editor:

Before the 1950s to 70s, it was segregation based on race; today, in North Carolina, it is rapidly becoming resegregation based on income, with race lurking in the background.

Contrary to what we hear from Raleigh, our once-praised public school system is being systematically gutted and transformed into a two-level system.

Level one will include schools that can pick and choose which students to admit, and equally exclude those not desired, usually those from families who cannot pay the added costs.

Level two will try, on what limited funded and underpaid staff can provide, to adequately educate the rest of our children. I am a grateful product of our public school system, and my wife worked for years in schools open to all.

Our daughters are public school graduates, and our two grandchildren are students in Haywood County.

Let’s keep our public schools equipped to be open to all of whatever class or color, giving to all adequately funded public education. What can we do to assure a truly public and adequate school system?

One, get the facts. A good place to state is to read the recent column in The Mountaineer by Assistant Superintendent Nolte.

Two, demand of our state government to adequate funds and policies for a truly adequate public school education.

Three vote, in spite of the obstacles erected by the recent legislature. Choosing persons willing to work for a top notch, genuinely public school system.

If we who care do noting, or not let our concerns be heard loud and clear, truly public and truly adequate education for our children and grandchildren will be a thing of the past.

R. Bruce Pate

Lake Junaluska

Mark Clasby’s work, illness

To the editor:

I have had the privilege of meeting Mark Clasby only once, but I have followed the news accounts of his work for over a decade.  Is there a man who has worked harder for the good of Haywood County?  I doubt it.

He has been incredibly productive.  Therefore, the news of his personal struggle with cancer (The Mountaineer, March 28, 31) brings another reminder of our impending mortality.

None of us gets out of this world alive; Scripture even refers to Christians as “the dead in Christ [who] shall rise first.” (I Thessalonians 4:16)

Mr. Clasby’s faith status is now clarified, and I rejoice for him.  When I met him, it occurred to me that he was a Christian-like man, as are many others.

That is the problem with impressions; looking at another person and assuming that they already have settled their eternal destiny in Christ, may well cause us to ignore the biblical mandate to ‘go, baptize and teach.’ (ref. John 28:19-20)

Their seeming relation to the Lord can be a distraction from the task-at-hand, and we may then be guilty of ignoring their one great need – preparation for the hereafter.

I am not advocating shoving Jesus ‘down someone’s throat,’ as that is impossible.

What is germane here, is the divine imperative to faithfully share the truth, and to do that, one must never assume eternal security as part of anyone’s life, simply because they present themselves as Christian-like.

We must present ourselves as Christ-like, and that can only be accomplished in those who are the fruit of His sacrifice.

We now have the testimony of Mr. Clasby’s conversion to Christ.  Retirement can’t be far away, and most will wish him well.

He has certainly earned a rest from his labors.

David A. Williams


Comments (4)
Posted by: Scott Lilly | Apr 03, 2014 17:59

Ms. Hyatt, your letter is well-supportive of your concluding sentence: "People cannot afford to live in this community with no living wage and no prospects for growth or opportunity."  I would suggest in part that some of the affordable housing in Hazelwood has become less affordable because of the requirement to carry flood insurance on any property with a mortgage as required by FEMA.  It is my semi-qualified opinion that the FEMA flood maps are too ambitious and the process to re-evaluate that condition has local and federal officials pointing their fingers at each other.  In addition to the flood insurance, any building permit in a flood zone incurs additional costs due to surveys, engineering, and construction methods.

Posted by: Scott Lilly | Apr 03, 2014 18:08

Mr. Pate, you ask, "What can we do to assure a truly public and adequate school system?" -- If a fantasy situation existed where all students had the $8,400/student that NC spends in their pocket and were able to choose what school they could attend, would they choose what's best for them?  And if today's average private school spends about $5,000/student would all schools have "plenty" of money per student if each student paid $3,000 more than what the average private school costs?  If we started with a blank slate and said this fantasy situation were possible, what would make it "fair"?  Making it illegal for any school to not accept a student?  Making it illegal to pass a student without passing whatever standardized tests are appropriate to consider passing a student to the next grade?  What is it about "public schools" that somehow have this magical power to do something or be something a private school can't be or do?

Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Apr 04, 2014 10:17

            Mr. Lilly;

            You are quite free to challenge any law that adversely affects you.           

             The answer to your response to Mr. Pate is quite simple. The North Carolina Constitution.



Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Apr 05, 2014 09:56

               One of the elephants in the room created by inappropriate action of mccrory, etc, is the flight of people not covered by the Medicare/caid expansion of other states. Because of the failure of mccrory, etc, there will be a huge loss to US N.C.ers. Not just in people needing immediate help but in employers realizing their employees are at a disadvantage.



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