Letters to the Editor

Labels like ‘panhandler’ dehumanize people in need

‘Panhandlers’ are people too

In response to “Police trying new approach to an old problem...” (April 23):

Kudos to CMPD for their compassionate approach to panhandlers. Partnering with local agencies is a model worthy of support and imitation. However, the persistent use of the word “panhandlers” in the article detracted from a positive story. Describing people only as a nuisance or with a term that casts aspersions on their entire character is unhelpful, unfair and most certainly unkind.

The person asking you for something is many things – just like you are. We don’t have to like the request, but let’s put that source of discomfort where it belongs – on us.

How about a pledge to call one another by name? Or when in doubt use words like: people, humans, someone in need, brother, sister, child of God.

Reverend Derek Macleod, Charlotte

Judge McCullough is a man of integrity

In response to “Cooper appoints Charlotte Democrat to court” (April 25):

Hats off to Judge Doug McCullough for his magnanimous gesture to preserve a two-party system and the integrity of the state Court of Appeals. Is there nothing the Republican legislators won’t do to try to seal off any opportunity for Democrats to have a say in the future of our state? I’m no Democrat; however I changed from life-long Republican to independent because of my disgust with Republican heavy-handed tactics.

Curt Heinz, Charlotte

How to handle disobedience?

In response to “American tries to learn from United's mistakes in incident” (April 22 charlotteobserver.com):

Clearly the flight attendant in last week’s altercations with passengers did not demonstrate the kind of traits an airline should expect of its employees, but this brings about a far more important question: How should any company, organization, or even police officer react when someone does not follow the rules?

Strollers are generally not allowed on any airline for safety reasons. An announcement is made about gate-checking strollers; yet this woman still brought the stroller on board. The flight attendant’s actions may have gone too far, but how should this be handled? Should the airline ignore the rule? Should the pilot calmly make an announcement that the aircraft will not leave until the stroller is gate-checked, leaving it to the passengers to duke it out among themselves? I understand the anger over what we saw on the video, but please, offer a suggestion as to how to deal with someone who does not follow the rules.

John Gary, Charlotte

N.C. bill threatens environment

In response to “N.C. Senate bill would eliminate shoreline protection rules” (April 26):

Sen. Andy Wells of Hickory and his Republican cronies have come up with a new “back door” way to get around sensible environmental regulations and eliminate protective barriers for our streams, lakes, and rivers by calling these regulations “taking without compensation.”

I have almost 300 feet of road frontage in Union County with a 40-foot right of way that I cannot use. All N.C. property owners with road frontage are subject to the same “taking without compensation.”

I would like to put trees and plants there as a buffer between my house and the road, but it would endanger the safety of everyone who uses the road, just like Wells’s bill will endanger our streams, lakes, and rivers.

If these Republicans are so concerned about this injustice, they should just remove these areas from the property tax rolls and compensate the counties for the lost property tax revenue.

Dave Ballenger, Monroe

Who should protect the environment?

In response to “Support science, but not with tax money” (April 26 Forum):

I was floored to read Alan Dockery’s assertion that the government should stay out of environmentalism. I guess he doesn’t remember the Love Canal or the Cuyahoga River catching fire. When faced with doing the right thing vs. the almighty dollar, it’s clear that most businessmen and industrialists (our president included) would rather keep an extra dollar in their pocket than leave clean air and water to our descendants. I can’t force you to not pollute, but it’s the government’s job to regulate your ability to pour oil down the storm drain and prosecute you if you do. To say government should stay out of the environment is just letting the fox in the hen house.

Charlie Fortanbary ,