3/12 Letters: Raleigh must do more on housing if it really wants to attract Amazon | News & Observer

Regarding “NC awaits call as Amazon officials visit potential HQ2 sites” (Mar. 8): Amazon’s announcement that Raleigh is a top 20 finalist for their HQ2 has everyone excited. Who could blame Amazon for keeping Raleigh in mind? We continue to hit all of the top accolades. Our geographic location is optimal. The quality of life is wonderful. Academia is top-quality. Although we expend tremendous effort to attract industry and jobs, we aren’t growing our housing stock fast enough to keep up with the demand.

Municipalities and a NIMBY (Not in My Backyard) attitude are making it even more difficult to meet the demand for more housing. As an example of supply suppression, local elected bodies are constantly quarrelling about new residential developments, and it now routinely takes two years or more to receive the required approvals to build a project. A simple way to create more supply and to help address the affordability issue, at no expense to the taxpayer, is to encourage the building of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs).

However, the Raleigh City Council continues to debate this, having buried the idea in one of its committees with no action to date. The current number of homes for sale is at the lowest point it has ever been. Home prices and rents are soaring to new heights due to the lack of supply. Our elected leaders have spent so much time focused on the details that they have lost the high-level vision required to manage the growth from which we all benefit.

We will continue to grow. If we want our housing to remain affordable and especially if we want Amazon to come here, we all have to be ready to say, “Yes in My Backyard!”

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Jacob C. Rogers


Triangle Community Coalition

Learning Cherokee

I appreciated “Cherokees rejoice; NC tribe’s tongue spoken at Oscars” (Mar. 8) about Wes Studi’s use of the Cherokee language. Native languages are an essential part of preserving indigenous cultures and of understanding how the ancestors of modern Indians intellectually constructed their worlds.

Over a decade ago, UNC recognized the importance of teaching the Cherokee language and arranged to have classes, team-taught by a linguist and native speaker beamed in from Western Carolina University. These classes were so successful that UNC’s American Studies Department recruited Ben Frey, a citizen of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians who holds a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, to join the faculty. Professor Frey offers a sequence of three Cherokee language courses for undergraduates and holds a Friday afternoon Cherokee coffee hour that is open to the public.

UNC’s commitment to Native people extends to the American Indian Studies Program, which offers a major and a minor; the American Indian Center, which fosters scholarly research and relations with the state’s Indian tribes and the Research Laboratories of Archeology, which houses and studies priceless artifacts. Furthermore, Graduate School initiatives have attracted an impressive cohort of Native students to UNC.

I am so proud that UNC is all the people’s university.

Theda Perdue

Chapel Hill

Guns in schools

Regarding “We should eliminate gun-free zones” (Mar. 9): School systems that decide to authorize staff to carry concealed firearms need to develop comprehensive policies and practices with appropriate record keeping. The purpose is to assure that only authorized individuals carry concealed firearms. They must be trained, understand policies, procedures, responsibilities and obligations.

Schools need to manage the authorization process, initial and ongoing training. Schools need to provide weapons, equipment and ammunition at no cost. Rules of engagement must be clearly defined and explained to all. A process to manage, counsel and investigate any incident where a a weapon is displayed or discharged must be developed and in place. Schools and authorized individuals will need liability insurance for the inevitable lawsuits that occur after every critical incident.

Schools should also ask for a partnership with National Rifle Association. For example, ask the the NRA to provide in-person Carry Guard 3-day Training, tailored to specific requirements for schools, at no cost to schools or participants. To paraphrase the course description, it’s training for those who know it takes more than a weapon to be well-armed and who understand that carrying every day requires discipline, education and a respectful appreciation of the magnitude of drawing the weapon from the holster.

David Lipton


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