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Going Postal 

Letter to the Editor

"Choice" Is Just A Compromise
While I enjoyed the article Tara Servatius wrote entitled, "What Would MLK Do?" (Apr. 23), I take exception to the following:

"White conservatives, meanwhile, are now attempting to undermine the very system they fought for, or at least appeared to fight for. County Commissioner Bill James and school board member Larry Gauvreau knew darn well that school choice would require an obscene amount of busing -- former school superintendent Eric Smith told them so, in detail. Now they feign shocked outrage over the cost of busing these kids to the schools they said they wanted parents to be able to choose."

I never said that the choice plan was "the very system" I fought for. I fought for NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOLS.

"Choice" (as defined by CMS) is just their backdoor way of injecting race into the mix. Is "choice" a neighborhood schools plan? No. 75% choose a neighborhood school, 25% of CMS students don't opt for that. That 25% costs a lot more than just 25% of the budget because they are scattered around Mecklenburg. It is highly inefficient and in a time of austerity is something we can't afford.

Smith and Pughsley never disclosed the cost to the public of the "obscene amount of busing." They asked for money for teacher benefits and Bright Beginnings and the classroom and secretly diverted that money to buy buses that they knew would be controversial. It is hard to see how "white conservatives" could approve of such an "obscene amount of busing" when CMS went to such great lengths to hide it.

The bottom line is that CMS and liberals lost the court case. Instead of building a true neighborhood schools plan, they concocted a busing scheme called "choice." It only takes a lot of money if the real goal is diversity, not education. While it may be unpopular to say, "diversity" is not a constitutional right and has nothing to do with educational achievement.

I suspect that MLK would be most distressed to know that after 30-plus years of liberal, enlightened "leadership," black kids are still flunking and dropping out in massive numbers. In the past, CMS moved the black kids around from school to school so that the "average" would never show how badly by race these kids were doing and no one school would get a bad name. Now that there is a concentration of black under-performing kids in their neighborhood schools, CMS realizes that they can't hide how badly these kids have been doing anymore and are preparing the public for a 60% school failure rate.

No one wants to talk about "why" these kids are not learning because no one wants to solve the problem. I think MLK would want to talk about that and want to fix it, even if Charlotte's black leadership and enlightened liberals don't.

-- County Commissioner Bill James, Matthews

Turn Off Your MTV
Bravo to Creative Loafing and Sam Boykin for publicizing the fact that MTV ceased to be about music around four or five years ago ("Drivel, Sex and Marketing," Apr. 23). I'm approaching the older end of their target audience, but I'm still in awe at some of the relentless garbage they put on air. I think the teenagers of Charlotte would do themselves a world of good by simply turning off their televisions and finding other outlets for entertainment -- once people unplug from the TRLs and "Real" Worlds of TV, a lot of the media moguls' power is stripped from them. Don't let them tell you how to dress or what to listen to; MTV represents a very marginalized and manufactured part of American culture. So let Britney shake her ass, let Avril blurt out lyrics that she "co-authored," let Korn dance around and yell while flashing their Puma (or Adidas) logos -- no one is buying it anymore. And that's why MTV and others like them are truly sad; when everything including culture is linked to revenue, it's not about the music anymore.

-- Justin Mullis, Matthews

Sanctity Of The Home
Normally I agree with Tara Servatius. However, I disagree with her column on the Strattons ("Who Stole the Stratton Kids?," Apr. 9) for two reasons: The inviolability and sanctity of the home is the basis of our democratic republic. It is a basis of our freedom. To be sure, there are parents who abuse and neglect their children, but in a free society we should have factual proof as well as an open court trial with due process: this includes a warrant from a sitting judge. Shame on the NC General Assembly for voting no on this most fundamental right of a parent, or anyone in the privacy of the home.

Secondly, the secrecy adhered to by DSS and the legal system should be abolished in child custody cases. Error and corruption thrive in secrecy, especially as pertains to governmental bureaucracies. The phrase "to protect the children" is being used to allow government to reach its indiscriminate, meddling tentacles further into the home.

Tara Servatius' contention that all the governmental agencies and courts agreed to parental rights termination means only that they crossed their I's and dotted their T's. The error was in the whole tyrannical process.

The Strattons, being poor and resentful of the DSS and wishing to raise their children according to their beliefs, were swept off the banks of a turgid bureaucratic river like so much flotsam, and carried inexorably over the legal dam. If it can happen to them, it can happen to you.

-- Richard C. Alexander, Charlotte

Israel's Butchery
Ira Chase questions a previous letter writer's assertion that "Israel murders children regularly" ("Writer Was Anti-Semitic," Letters, Apr. 16). Here are the facts:

A Knight Ridder wire story published March 14 of this year quoted an internal Israeli army report as finding that of 365 Palestinians "who had nothing to do with terrorist activity" killed since Sept. 29, 2000, 130 were children. That's more than one child killed every week, as admitted by the Israeli military.

The independent website www.whowillsavethechildren.org, sponsored by organizations including Jews for Justice in Palestine and Israel, paints an even more gruesome picture: 419 Palestinian children killed. That's one child killed by Israel every other day.

Since the extremist Israeli lobby can't debate the facts with respect to Israel's butchery, they're reduced to squawking "anti-Semite" at anyone who dares challenge the murderous results of Israel's violent 36-year occupation. Disgusting.

-- Charles Held, Charlotte

The Facts of Death
I wonder where Ms. Smallman of Charlotte is getting her "facts" concerning the death of Rachel Corrie, since almost every statement she made in her letter ("Working for Peace," Apr. 16) was factually incorrect.

She proposes that Rachel Corrie sat in front of the bulldozer and could not be seen by the driver. This version comes directly from the Israeli military, but goes against several eyewitness accounts and photographs taken at the time as the scene unfolded. Pictures and accounts can be found on www.palsolidarity.org.

She states that Rachel was attempting to save the home of a "convicted terrorist." This is a bald-faced lie that even the Israeli government hasn't put forth. The house that Rachel died for belongs to a Palestinian physician who has no ties whatsoever to suspected "terrorists," past "terrorist" acts, future "terrorist" acts, weapons or tunnels. The family was given only a few minutes to exit the house when the bulldozers arrived and Rachel began her stand. The doctor and his children remained in the house at the time for their protection.

There won't be an end to violence in the region or lasting peace until there is justice, which includes the end to the illegal occupation of Palestinian territories. Rachel understood this; apparently some others do not.

-- Edith Garwood, Concord

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