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Expensive Visions

Wonder of wonders, David Walters admits the "light rail" has opponents!! ("Full of Sound and Fury," Feb. 18) You bet there are opponents of this Choo-choo boo-boo. Even Tommy Tomlinson, in today's Observer (Feb. 20), points out that light rail is so expensive the fares will have to be paid in doubloons, and in financial terms, there's no way it will ever justify the cost.

If, in fact, there is a demand for the "villages" that Walters suggests there is, the free market will respond to that demand. Since there has been no open debate on light rail, citizens can depend on Tara Servatius for the truth concerning light rail. Tara's articles show her expertise in digging up the facts, and separating those facts from the fiction of the "visionaries."

Beware of those whose "visions" cannot be supported by an honest cost/benefit analysis. By the way, has anyone noticed how many folks are claiming to have "visions" these days? I highly recommend reason over "visions" for all purposes.

-- Suzanne Stallings, Charlotte

Evil, Rich, and White

The whole premise of this article ("The Evil Rich," by Tara Servatius, Feb. 11) is asinine. We are supposed to believe that people making over $100,000 per year are not rich and therefore not evil. Money is the root of all evil. Does anyone seriously believe that people at the poverty level and below think $100,000 per year is not rich? I don't even care how they got the money, i.e., inheritance, hard work, etc. The fact remains that they have it and the more of it they have, the less of them that have it. Our whole country is one huge financial caste system built up from the ground like a pyramid.

My main concern is the underdog and the #1 underdog in this country is the black man...period. I wonder how many of these so-called "not so rich" people are black or minorities. I'll bet my left ear it's less than one percent. The majority of people can't afford to save and don't have the know-how to invest skillfully if they had money to save. Ms. Servatius makes it sound as if these not-so-rich people were just born knowing how to do this. I guess Ms. Servatius would have us all shed a tear over the Johnsons losing their summer home in Maine while the homeless freeze to death in the street. It's easy to praise the people that have what you want.

-- George Thompson, Charlotte

Loud Dog Night

Early this morning, 2am to be precise, I lay awake in bed listening to the dogs in my neighborhood barking their guts out and contemplating the number one item on your Top Neighbor Annoyances list ("The List Issue," Feb. 11): neighbors who can't or won't get their friggin dogs to stop barking (which is annoying any time of the day, not just 2am). This is a genuine urban problem. Has Creative Loafing entertained doing a cover story on this issue? You could interview dog owners and ask them why the fuck they will not shut up their dogs. Ask City Council members if there are ordinances pertaining to dog noise, and if not, why not. City Council can consider an ordinance about parking cars in the front yard -- why not an ordinance concerning dog noise? Interview the big bosses at The Bank. Maybe if The Bank is against barking dogs, City Council will get onboard. At any rate, you can't kill the dogs and you can't kill the owners. What's a sleepless person to do at 2am? I guess read a book until the friggin dogs quiet down and then go back to sleep.

-- Doug DeGood, Charlotte

Northern Exposure

Recently in Creative Loafing, Linda Vespa wrote a list titled "Why I Miss the North" (Feb. 11). She really did overlook some things. First, there's the majestic view of Newark from I-95. The silhouettes of all those smoke stacks sure do look pretty at sunset.

When you go back, Ms. Vespa, do you ever make it to the Puerto Rican Pride Parade? Aside from the massive sexual assault on women, it looks like fun for almost everybody.

Yes, the northern city can be unforgettable... the taste of the tap water, the smell of the subway, the drivers, the unlimited accessibility of pharmaceuticals, the $8 tolls, those friendly-sounding accents, gangs, graffiti. And as an added plus, Hillary Clinton could be your Senator, should you decide to return to that area. I can see why you still love to call it "home." Hell, I'm packed already just thinkin' about it.

-- Lloyd Dobber, Kannapolis

Editor's Note: For the record, Linda Vespa also wrote a list called "Why I'm Glad To Be A Transplanted Northerner."

Valuable Info

I found Tara Servatius' expose of Parsons Brinckerhoff and Parsons Transportation in your January 29, 2003, online edition most informative and well-researched. I have been doing research for Transportation Involves Everyone (TIE), a non-profit transportation-related environmental organization in California, regarding the California High Speed Rail Authority's apparent no-bid consulting contract with Parsons Brinckerhoff. The long-awaited and very expensive Draft Environmental Report, several years in the making, was released last week and appears to a number of reviewers to be a flawed document. My task has been tracking the legislative authority for the current Rail Authority as well as other projects that Parsons Brinckerhoff has been involved with that have higher than estimated cost overruns. Ms. Servatius' excellent article has already answered a few of my questions and provided our organization with a wonderful source of additional information.

-- Trudy Williams, CA

Job Offer

After reading Quinn Cotton's "Teacher Wussdays" (Feb. 4), I was sure it was a feeble attempt at sarcasm by a reporter wannabe. I had to read it again to realize that this frustrated reporter really does think that teachers have it made. Wouldn't a real reporter do some "investigative" work and look into this educational pork-barrel if it really exists? I welcome you to come to my school and substitute for a day or two. You might have a different outlook. We will even pay you the exorbitant sum of $52 day and you can eat all the popcorn you want.

-- Jerry Brown, Principal, Bishop Spaugh Community Academy, Charlotte

You Try Teaching

As a teacher, I was offended by "Teacher Wussdays," along with many of my colleagues. Have you ever worked as a teacher? If not, then you do not have the credibility to write this article. I have never been a doctor, therefore, cannot comment about their work. If you have never been a teacher, you also do not have that right. There are numerous things I could correct you about in your article, but I do not have the time. I do think, however, you should spend a considerable amount of time in a classroom (at least one full week) and then see how you feel about our profession. It's a completely different story when you experience it first hand.

-- Anne Walko, Charlotte

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