Viewpoint

Open minded, so long as it agrees with your views?

From Charles Jeter, town commissioner for Huntersville:

I read with interest David Walters' article in the Aug. 19 Observer about urban planning. What surprised me most about your article was the following statement…

“I can never accept that. Nor should my students. It's a simplistic and dogmatic view that leaves Charlotte under-prepared for the future. Tomorrow's architects and planners will need all their skill and energy to meet unforeseen crises and exploit new opportunities. The very least I can teach them is to have an open mind.”

Based on the reading on this, I have never seen someone contradict himself so dramatically in the same paragraph. To tell your students that they should “never accept” the concept of free market design and development (which is what you describe in the previous paragraph) and then make the statement that you intend to teach them to have an open mind is baffling. I am not sure how you rationalize these conflicting statements, but I guess you assume that by keeping an open mind you actually mean agreeing with your personal philosophy. You preach against a dogma that you disagree with and urge the absolute acceptance of another equally inflexible dogma that you advocate for. The hypocrisy in your statement is amazing.

As a local elected official, I make votes every month on developments for commercial and residential development. I can only hope that when elected officials at all levels of government speak about having an open mind on issues, that they don't use your definition as a model. Keeping an open mind means not entering into any decision with any preconceived concepts or dogma. Your idea would be to replace one extreme dogma with another. I certainly hope your students will see the folly of their professor while attending your class. Otherwise they will run into significant problems when presenting dogmatic ideas and concepts to the future leaders of our community who continue to actually have an open mind.

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