DHA acted by the book
I'm writing on behalf of the Durham Housing Authority (DHA) to respond to your story regarding the criminal and civil cases against Larry Partée, a resident of the Preiss-Steele community ("Free movies or felonious activity?" Sept. 20.)
As your story correctly states, we cannot comment on the particulars of Partée's case, but I need to clarify several important factual errors in the story. I appreciate the opportunity to do this.
The DHA is required to refer any suspected illegal activity to the Durham Police Department, which is responsible for investigating and charging suspects in such cases. Decisions on prosecution are out of our hands.
The story describes the DHA being "hell-bent on ousting Partée." By definition, this is factually false. The term "hell-bent" is defined as "stubbornly or recklessly determined." The DHA has followed ordinary procedures and made ordinary referrals to law enforcement for review. We do this routinely and without malice both to comply with regulations to which we are bound and to benefit the remaining residents who live by the rules and deserve to be secure in their homes.
In the very next paragraph, reporter Lisa Sorg writes that "in the eyes of the DHA [Partée is] a dangerous felon--a copyright violator--who must be stopped." This is a baseless characterization that is not attributed to anyone in this organization. It is both false and inflammatory.
Your story states that Assistant District Attorney Doretta Walker has described this case at least two ways--"small potatoes" and "a big thing." Whether or not this case goes forward, it is a matter for the judicial system, not the housing authority.
Director of Corporate Communications, Durham Housing Authority
Ask the right questions
Godfrey Cheshire is spot on in his analysis of the etiology of the current war in Iraq ("We're defeating ourselves," cover story, Sept. 6). We have met the enemy and it is ourselves. Our methods of intervention have led to a far more dangerous world than just after 9/11. The current administration has exhibited innumerable instances of poor judgment and I fear more is yet to come.
However, given the current situation, I agree with President Bush that we cannot lose Iraq to the likes of bin Laden, as this would be the start of much bigger problems. Our jihad needs to be a sober evaluation of what winning or losing could mean. Does a victory demand democracy or a single unified Iraqi state? Is our relationship with Israel fair to the Palestinians? We should start this dialogue with anyone willing to talk to us and stop our unilateral arrogant imperialistic interventions.
In defense of Singapore
Ed Rickards' stern criticism of Duke and Duke lacrosse ("Beyond Buchanan Boulevard," Sept. 6) was justified and insightful in many ways, but then lost much credibility by his overly harsh criticism of Singapore, characterizing it as "one of the most repressive regimes on earth."
Are you kidding me? Have you ever been there? Have you ever been to any truly repressive countries? Saying this is a tremendous disservice and insult to millions of suffering souls in many countries eminently more repressive and brutal than Singapore, which is one of the least corrupt and one of the cleanest, safest, healthiest, most educated, diverse, modern, prosperous and, yes, freer (check out the Economist and U.S. State Department rankings) countries on the planet.
I'd add it is also one of the more amazing countries and, by the way, neutral. Rickards' characterization further ignores the cultural perspective of the people themselves, who are in fact very happy. Yes, they demand quite a commensurate amount of responsibility to go along with their freedoms and privileges--something both the United States and Duke could use more of!
A sinful situation
I'm an alumna of the Divinity School at Duke, and I think I would not be if I had known about the whites-only covenants on faculty housing ("Beyond Buchanan Boulevard," Sept. 6). As it is, I am embarrassed over the fact. This is a shameful and, in fact, sinful situation, and must be addressed. There are several groups with legitimate concern, who have it within their power to make themselves heard about it, including students and alumni. Can we accept the university officials' word that they are "doing everything legal"? I don't think so. I would like to see at least a local investigation into whether fair housing laws are indeed being upheld.