I am writing in response to your Sept. 18 article about local candidates running for public office ("Durham mayor and council: Bell and Davis"). My candidacy for mayor is not about being "prime time." Instead it is about motivating less engaged Durham citizens to take an active role in improving our policies.
I've gone through enough primetime experiences to be ready for any challenge. In the role of business consultant, I have advised and strategized for institutions of all sizes. I'm running for mayor of Durham, not just because of my belief in what I can offer the Bull City, but also my belief in the valuable perspective citizens can offer Durham, all people—from the well-established to the homeless.
This leads me to the misperception of my stance on the panhandling ordinance. I always carry change (money) in my pocket for those needing help, but I explain to them if they want real change (to make a difference) they should become involved in guiding our policies. Your piece made it seem like I was describing buying votes and this has never been the case. I know what it is to really need help and if elected to city council I will devise solutions to fix this issue for the long haul as opposed to my short-term solution of carrying change.
Please, in the future, know that I am open to being asked questions, and I am especially open to clarifying my stances. Though I may not be "prime time" on the station you are tuned in to, let's not throw out the idea of my candidacy to all your readers. Besides, some of your readers might want to tune in to a different station—one sensitive to the needs and valuable input of all citizens.
Michael Valentine, Durham
Actions speak louder than words. Your Sept. 25 article ("DENR rejects federal funding for water testing") is yet another example of how lawmakers are caving to pressure from private out-of-state drilling interests to allow fracking at the expense of North Carolina residents. DENR's statement that it intends to require testing of groundwater in advance of drilling carries no weight until it is solidified by a ruling.
The actions of DENR and the governor's office, coupled with actual water contamination from fracking in other states, make it clear that allowing this form of dirty drilling is not the right move for N.C. I urge DENR and the Gov. Pat McCrory to enact a permanent ban on fracking to protect North Carolina's water forever.
Danny Fry, Durham