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Like a good neighbor
In reference to the article titled, "Bickering Over Bickett Place," authored by Linda Ray which appeared in your publication [March 20], we wish to set the record straight on several incorrect statements. We are not going to address all the inaccuracies in the article, however, the record must be set straight on the following:

Ms. Ray's question " ... how many builders are willing to go through the two year ordeal that White continues to weather?" The first word the neighborhood had of the proposed project was in June 2001, when we were notified via a letter from Mr. Charles Walker of Elam, Todd & d'Ambrosi of the proposed development. This was nine months ago, not 18 months as stated in your article. The notification had to be given as it was already on the Planning Commission's schedule to be heard. (Please note, Mr. Charles Walker of ETD sits on the Planning Commission.) Any "ordeal" has been of the developer's creation; we, as a neighborhood, have always been willing to work toward an amicable compromise. The developer states, "You can just look around here and see how many high-density developments there are." Ms. Ray, you have an open invitation to come to our neighborhood and show us any project that approaches the scale of this plan. There are none.

Mr. White said he did a lot of research before putting this project together. What research was done? Did you ask how he arrived at his $1 million that he claims is what he spent to put his project together? If you understood how the backyards of homes were cobbled together to create this lot, and done a simple review of the county real estate records, you would know the amount is half that! Fifteen minutes of research online would have refuted this claim.

Mr. White's comments, including, "These people don't know me, they don't know what it's like to not sleep at night, noy knowing if you'll make the interest payments," are for sympathy only. Mr. White's poor financial judgment is just that, poor financial judgment. We also make mortgage payments, and decisions on how best to handle our own personal finances, and live with our mistakes too. Mr. White could sleep better if he had used a different tack and approached the neighborhood before he drew up his site plan. That would have been a reasonable approach, one the neighborhood would have welcomed. Instead we were blindsided by the letter received last June stating the plan was already up for review by the Planning Commission.

Mr. White claims to have spent over $150,000 in architects' and planners' fees. I would seriously question what he has received for his money, as we, the neighborhood have yet to see a complete set of plans! Ms. Ray, did you see a complete set of plans? Did you look at any plans? We have requested, on numerous occasions, to see the rear elevations of these buildings. To date, none have been received.

If Mr. White truly does not want to be the villain as stated in your article, maybe he could be a true neighbor and work with us and develop a plan that fits in with the architectural footprints, circulation patterns, character and charm of our historical neighborhood. Additionally, Councilman Isley has always had an open invitation to visit the neighborhood and hear our concerns. To date he has not been to the neighborhood.

In conclusion, we are appalled at the lack of journalistic integrity exhibited in this article. Ms. Ray should have verified the facts that were given and delved deeper into all the issues concerning this infill development. This is not a "sprawl vs. infill" battle, this is about "smart infill" vs. "bad infill."

We trust the council will vote with a conscience, uphold the City Code and the Raleigh Comprehensive Plan and vote "NO" to the current Bickett Place proposal.
--KIM PEACOCK AND LAURA KLEBER, RALEIGH

Spiritual questions
Regarding the quote pubished in the Front Porch section of the latest issue [March 27], I would love to respond but I'm uncertain why you chose to print it. Are we to judge the fact that there are biblical absolutes? That homosexuality is categorized as a sin? That there are levels of sin? That there is such a place as hell? Or that there is even such a thing as sin?
--FRANK KOEHLER, RALEIGH

Sexist pants
In the caption below the picture of 2 Skinnee J's [Music Calendar, March 27] you first sexually objectify the band, "Check out the unit on the pleather pants guy!" Not satisfied with this crudeness, you then proceed to trivialize them, "When they look like this, does it matter what they sound like?"

Similar comments about female performers (Check out the rack on that babe! Who cares if they can play?) never appear in The Independent, in spite of the fact that they regularly promote their sexuality in far more blatant fashion than this band did. Indeed, you have been quick to criticize anyone in the community who displays such an "incorrect" attitude toward females.

This caption reveals more about the mindset at The Independent than you may have intended. It's clear that your much trumpeted commitment to social justice and gender equality is a sham. You've just chosen sides in the culture war. You are entitled to do that, of course, but your attempt to claim higher moral ground just makes you look hypocritical and self righteous. Actually, it makes you look a lot like George W. Bush.
--CLYDE FRAZIER, CHAPEL HILL

talk back
Got something to say about an Independent article? Send no more than 300 words to backtalk@indyweek.com; to P.O. Box 2690, Durham 27715; or fax 286-4274. Include your name, phone number and mailing address for verification; we cannot publish a letter without confirmation from the writer. We reserve the right to edit letters for length, style and clarity.

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