Letters for Feb. 20, 2008


On development and legislation

Thanks to Jordan Green for a great article on the history of the exemption of Greensboro from the Protest Petition [“A rezoning chronicle: How Greensboro lost the protest petition”; Feb. 13, 2008; by Jordan Green]. I will be on top of this issue till I see it pass as a bill in the state legislature. That seems to be the only way it is going to happen. Soon there will be a blog on this issue; I will keep you informed. Great article keep up the good work at YES! Weekly.

Keith Brown

High Point

TV guys square off


I’ve enjoyed getting to know you, over the years, and appreciate your work. But I have to say, I was a bit surprised by your column on a “Woman’s right to choose is now at stake” [Feb. 13, 2008; by Jim Longworth]. Not so much that you don’t believe abortion is a public policy issue – we could discuss that, too, but that’s not what this note is about.

It appears, from reading the column, that you were a bit surprised that Roe v. Wade created the three-and-a-half decade firestorm it has.

Every time the American body politic is having a communal debate over an issue about which it feels passionately and that debate is cut short by the courts, this is what happens.

You mentioned slavery in your column – after Dred Scott (1857) cut short America’s bitter debate on slavery, we got “the recent unpleasantness” that some refer to as the Civil War.

The point simply is, America has to hash these things out politically. When they are ended abruptly, by judicial fiat, the side that feels its side of the argument was prematurely muted will not simply go away.


Bob Buckley

Bob Buckley is an anchor and senior reporter for WGHP News.

Longworth replies:

Dear Bob

Thanks so much for your feedback and concern. I was being a bit sarcastic when I said I didn’t “understand” why such a private issue had been such a public policy hot button. Certainly I understand why; it’s just that I don’t think old white male politicians should legislate or regulate what a woman does with her body with regards to what is now a legal medical procedure. No one thinks that late-term abortions are acceptable, but the debate seems to center on when life actually begins, and I do not think that is an issue we as a nation will ever agree upon.

Like many people I believe that too many births are aborted, and that makes me sad. Still, I also believe that a woman’s right to choose is important. I find it interesting that of all the negative e-mails I have received, not one has come from a woman, and I think that should tell us something.

Imagine a female-controlled legislature or judiciary telling men that having a vasectomy is a crime because doing so prevents the “beginning of life” for millions of babies. I know the two procedures are different, but it still goes to my point about one gender trying to control another’s reproductive rights.

Any way, thanks again for your feedback.


Jim Longworth

For dog lovers

Lauren’s article really spoke to me [“Local Vocal: Hard choices”; Feb. 13, 2008; by Lauren McRae]. My dog, Shana, is my love and I can’t imagine what life would be without her. Thanks so much for a great article. I look forward to many more from Lauren.

Sylvia Curtis


Totally mental

It would have been useful to have some more information on what the candidates stated re: mental health reform matters [“Dems for Lt. Gov. struggle to differentiate themselves”; Feb. 13, 2008; by Amy Kingsley]. It will not work just throwing money at “community services.” probably another name for Community Support Services (CSS: in DHHS NC lingo).

CSS is a useful medium for upgrading skills for people with mental health challenges. However, companies cannot function under endless post-payment reviews which cause mental health providers to spend time doing paperwork in order to make the point that yes, indeed, the person with the serious mental health issue, would have/did profit from CSS. Such paperwork does not pay; it takes mental health providers away from seeing clients.

Moreover, the recent choices by Dempsey Benton, head of NC DHHS, in order to assist him, in some manner, guiding past the potholes which were fallen into at every opportunity by former DHHS NC Secretary Carmen Hooker Odom, does not include any mental health providers.

This, again, will not work. Providers need to be able to voice their concerns.

Marsha V. Hammond