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Mass Transit Not A Real Priority
Regarding David Walters's latest ("The Janus Factor," Dec. 15), I wonder why light rail is the best cure for what ails us. (I do believe Mr. Walters is correct in his analysis of our sprawl and its problems.)

We have never had a top-notch bus system. Every day I drive past muddy spots on the side of the road, right next to traffic; no kiosk, no shelter, no sidewalk, and a sign: "Bus Stop." Basically a mud pit people are to stand in waiting in the rain for the bus, getting splashed by passing cars if they don't scramble up a brier-covered, trash-littered embankment.

Charlotte lacks the foresight to put emission controls on the smoky diesels that power the buses. And from what I've gathered, a good system needs more buses, extended schedules and routes, and perhaps a security plan put in place before later hours of service are offered -- if they ever are.

It's as if Charlotte is saying, "We never really committed to mass transit at all. So now let's commit to a different kind of mass transit." With the same organization in charge, and even less public will to finance it all?

I suspect all the problems with the bus system could be fixed a lot cheaper than with a shiny new half-billion or billion dollar train set designed, I suspect, to distract the public from the past and present abject failures of CATS and Charlotte's leaders.

-- Russell Newsom, Charlotte

OCD Article Helpful
A friend of mine who knows I have OCD passed along Timothy C. Davis' recent article entitled "Just Like Starting Over (And Over, And Over)" (Dec. 1).

I found it to be extremely well-written. This is a disorder that is debilitating and misunderstood (if even acknowledged or known) by the masses.

One thing I noticed the article didn't touch on was the "obsessions" such as bad, intrusive, repetitive thoughts. These thoughts are what makes the "O" in OCD so horrible. While the compulsions are also terrible, they are often intended as a way to "dispel" the bad thoughts (i.e., "if I do this, then this won't happen"). Of course, they never do dispel the obsession, but only make them worse, no matter how often they are nonsensically repeated.

Unfortunately, the "bad thoughts" aspect of OCD, since it cannot easily be explained to anyone who doesn't have it, is hardly ever mentioned. I've never seen it mentioned on the Oprah Specials, 20/20 or the myriad special television reports and shows focused on OCD. In fact, most of what are called obsessions, such as many of Monk's actions, are actually compulsions, not obsessions.

Also, as a resource, the OC Foundation in Yale, Connecticut, is excellent. (www.ocfoundation.org). And thank you again for your excellent article. If only one OCD sufferer who does not even know they have it now takes action to find help, you've saved a life.

-- Bob Burg, Jupiter, FL

Rare Occurrence
I thoroughly enjoyed John Sugg's article ("I am a Christian, too," Nov. 24). Lately, it's been so rare to read Christ's teaching coming from Christians. I hope that Bush's Christ is as kind, loving and forgiving as the one I read about in the Bible.

-- Mark Kelch, San Antonio, TX

Of Public Art & Pilgrims
Whether it inspires or not, "public art" is yet one more thing that is not the role of a just government. Individuals have the right to create or purchase art all day, but no one has a right TO art. A valid right is something that doesn't in its implementation violate any right of another individual. A right to art presupposes someone else will be forced to provide art, because art doesn't fall from the sky. Never mind that if subsidies were a valid government function, it's discriminatory to subsidize only certain vocations.

Legitimate government roles include preventing others from playing Robin Hood with your property, so the very body charged with punishing theft should hardly be party to theft itself. It's not a government role to redistribute anything, for any purpose. Our rights are equal, including our rights to our property.

All armchair philanthropists who rely on government force to achieve their high-minded visions should get off their butts and establish or contribute to private sector nonprofit organizations that act locally. This is the only way they can retain any moral high ground.

Each new thing that becomes the role of government to provide ensures that eventually everything will be provided by government -- but at that point there will be no more producers, and the system can do nothing but collapse. The Pilgrims understood this, why can't we?

-- Derrick Gilliland, Chair, Libertarian Party of Union County

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  • On Saturday, Oct. 21, hundreds gathered at Camp North End on Statesville Avenue for Charlotte's first black alternative music festival. We captured some of the bands in action on stage, but mostly we surveyed the grounds as fans, families, vendors and more lounged around the sprawling, colorful Camp North End site. It was a great day of music, food, fun, and sweet, autumn sunshine. (Photos by Mark Kemp)
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