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Letters for June 13, 2007

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Greensboro needs protest petition

I wanted to comment to you that I really enjoyed reading your article on Greensboro development [“Greensboro’s development game”; by Jordan Green; May 30, 2007]. I live in High Point but do most of business in Greensboro. To see the way developers have been turning neighborhoods all around Greensboro into this game with “Zoning Stud Isaacson” at the top along with TREBIC giving the cash flow to the politicians, you have to shake your head with some of this development. Lately neighbors have been fighting back especially seeing the way the Westridge Road area of Greensboro fights back the proposed town homes there. We in our development in High Point had a real big run in with the Blue Ridge Companies over some properties off of Highway 68. The best thing that High Point has in their zoning laws is something called a “protest petition.” This gives property owners directly harmed by developers a fighting chance to make sure that the city council is having to make a 3/4th majority to pass the zoning change if the petition is valid. You can see the rules for the protest petition on High Point website under planning department. Also, [columnist] Ogi [Overman] knows all about our plight in High Point. It was such a great read to see just how much Mr. Isaacson passes through council, I wish Greensboro had a protest petition. Thanks for the great article, and have a great day.

Keith BrownHigh Point

Free market fallacy

Jordan Green’s May 30 article on “Greensboro’s development game” was an excellent look at the factors that help shape local development. Most decisions involve balancing private property rights with the needs of the community. During my time on the city’s planning board, I’ve often heard a developer’s request supported by the contention that the “free market” will find the “best and highest” use for a given property. This may sound meaningful, but it’s nonsense. A free market will allow whatever makes money for someone, regardless of the cost to others, and as a community we have rejected this notion. For instance, the free market would give us homes lining the shores of our city lakes; but as a community we’ve decided a better and higher use for lakeside property is to leave it undeveloped to protect our drinking water supply. The free market would give us porn shops next to high schools, but as a community we’ve decided this is not in our best interests and so don’t allow it. We need the city council to see that development is done in a way that serves the values and needs of our entire community.

Joel LandauGreensboro, NC

The writer is on the City Planning Board and is a candidate for Greensboro City Council at-large.

Formula for good investigative

journalism

Hey, Scoop,

I’m so impressed with your reporting [“Funding irregularity by local homeless group is the target of a federal probe”; by Jordan Green; June 6, 2007]. You make mockery of the N&R’s claim that investigative reporting is just sooooo expensive when all it really takes is commitment, some good sources, and a free rein from the corner office. Oh yeah, and an excellent reporter.

Elizabeth Wheaton

Ramseur

Bad Chinese food

While your article on melamine in feed/food ingredients from China was quite good [“A billion red Chinese can be wrong”; June 6, 2007; by Brian Clarey] it was incomplete in that it does not report the fact that melamine is not the only item that is used to adulterate protein meal exports from China – in recent months we have seen many cases of Chinese protein meal products being blended with ammonium sulphate in order to increase the protein in a poor quality product.

Perhaps ammonium sulphate is not as dangerous as melamine or perhaps no one in the USA has noticed it. We have found it in Chinese protein meal in South Africa, Egypt, Kuwait, Jordan and Turkey – so expect that it is in the products shipped to the USA too.

Recently we have found that Chinese exports of corn gluten meal – a valued feed ingredient also used in pet food – rather than being a pure 60 percent protein corn by-product is actually made with low priced vegetable matter: some wheat bran, lots of ammonium sulphate and some yellow colouring.

So the matter is much broader than some melamine.

Wayne BaconEdinburgh, Scotland

The writer is president of Hammersmith Marketing, Ltd., which specializes in protein meals for the feed industry.

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