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Plus: Bowling for Columbine; greening your hot water; mountaintop removal

Re: Elections '09 candidates 

Voller for Visionary

When I served on the Durham City Council, we regularly had interactions with Raleigh, Wake County, Orange County, Chapel Hill and Hillsborough. Pittsboro was not on anyone's radar screen in those days. Mayor Randy Voller has made Pittsboro a regional presence and player. He understands that Pittsboro's success is dependent upon the future of the region and that Pittsboro can, and should, be an active partner in shaping that future. Pittsboro has the opportunity to adopt the best of the Triangle, leave the rest and lead in new areas. We need Randy to continue not only as mayor of Pittsboro, but as the regional leader and visionary he has demonstrated himself to be.

Charles "Chuck" Grubb
Former Member, Durham City Council


Citizen Cook

We've been residents of Carrboro for 22 years and have known Sharon Cook and her family (Bill, Sharon's husband, and three children) since they moved here 12 years ago.

Sharon has worn many hats and has always been extremely active in our neighborhood and in a wide range of local civic organizations/ groups.

As a parent she has been a dedicated volunteer within the Chapel Hill School system, Orange County Girl Scouts and Orange County Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts.

Sharon has been a member and volunteer in many civic activities. She has served on the Carrboro Planning Board since March 2007 and for one term was the Planning Board's representative to the Greenways Commission. Focus groups she has participated in include: Chapel Hill Transit Eubanks & Rogers Roads Route and Carolina North "Don't Get Stuck in Traffic." She participated in the Carrboro Northern Study Area Small Area Plan Implementation Review Committee community forums and meeting. This is a small sampling of Sharon's involvement in our community.

Sharon steps up and gets involved when she sees a need. She has experience with the many facets of our local government. We need Sharon on the Carrboro Board of Alderman—please give her your vote!

Kaye and Terry Barker
Carrboro


Cary's House of Lords

It's election season in Cary, and I'm sorry to see the same old arrogant, condescending and self-important Council "Critters" want to keep their jobs. What was the slogan used to dethrone former Mayor Lord McAlister? "McAlister lied, and good trees died." Well folks, the current crop of council "lords" were just as responsible for the overdevelopment of Cary as his lordship.

Watching Cary turn into the D.C. and/or Atlanta Metro bedroom community is not my idea of a high quality of life. So we moved to a little place out in the country. We left more than a year ago, yet our house in Cary still sits vacant, waiting for a buyer. The local "real snake" agents tell us the biggest problem in Cary is too much inventory, especially new homes and not enough buyers. Perhaps if the council "lords" had looked out for existing taxpayers instead of developers, things would be different.

I keep an eye on local events, since I still have to pay taxes on my vacant home. Don't think for one minute that intelligent voters will be fooled by this year's "zero budget" put out by the council "lords." Golden rule in politics: Don't raise taxes until after you are elected.

And what about public schools, reassignment due to growth and mandatory year-round schools? Who approved all that growth? For years I have watched these same council "lords" pay nothing more than lip service to angry Cary parents. "It's not my job" is their cry, yet they have the political means to make changes if they so desired; i.e., an independent Cary or Western Wake school district would be a win/ win for all residents.

The only way that Cary will change for the betterment of all is to get rid of the current council "lords." Vote them out!

Mike Dodson
Semora, N.C.


Skewed view of mayoral candidates

Joe Schwartz says Mark Kleinschmidt "fairly or unfairly ... has been labeled by his opponents as antibusiness" ("Insiders and outliers," Sept. 30). Schwartz's recent Indy article about Franklin Street highlighted Councilman Mark Kleinschmidt's comment, "We need to see the whole of the community, not just those who are looking for another Disneyfied college town" ("Finding the pulse of Franklin Street," Sept. 16). Is Greenbridge, Rosemary Village or Michael Brader-Araje's Franklin Street building renovation "Disneyfied"? Is this not clear contempt for the business part of the community?

Kleinschmidt cited traffic worries to vote against the Starbucks at Eastgate, but the cleanup of a defunct gas station has been accompanied by an elegant road renovation that has improved traffic flow through Eastgate. Does Kleinschmidt's opposing vote show good judgment?

Would sensible people call six years of deliberation about parking Lot 5 revitalization, at a town cost of three-quarters of a million dollars with no change yet during Kleinschmidt's eight years, "the town's deliberate pace on business?"

Schwartz is right that "Czajkowski does not come from traditional Chapel Hill political circles," that "he's breaking a powerful incumbent bloc." The final skewed Indy description says "Czajkowski is ... running to reform a group of which he is a member." Many plan to actually give the whole community representatives with more sensible views also on Town Council.

Lynne Kane
Chapel Hill


Moore implications

I wanted to correct an implication in your Capitalism film review ("Michael Moore's good cause has an iffy messenger," Sept. 30): Bowling for Columbine was not advocating for stricter gun laws. The section of the film where Moore goes to Canada basically talks about the fact that gun laws, and the availability of guns, doesn't seem to be a factor in rates of gun violence.

Shahed Sharif
Durham


Hot water solutions

Several of the items in "In and out of hot water" were a surprise to me (Living Green, Sept. 30). I acknowledge the water loss as one waits for the draw-through of hot water, but I find it hard to imagine a home that has 40 gallons of standing cold water between the hot water tank and the faucet/ showerhead. The wasted water equates to the capacity of the standing water in the pipe; if that happens to be 10 gallons, then 10 gallons would be wasted. If the showerhead has a 10-gallon-per-minute flow rate, hot water will flow after one minute; if a 5-gallon-per-minute flow rate, then two minutes.

If one is concerned by this wasted water, put a bucket under the showerhead and then pour this water into the toilet after using it.

Then the issue with "standby loss." It is true, but why did your article not talk about solar water heating? These are also subject to the standby loss, but given our climate in mid-North Carolina, a tank of hot water can be heated so cheaply by solar energy, and purpose-built solar hot water tanks are well lagged, that these are a great option for anyone with a clear view of the southern sky. You do not necessarily need a south-facing roof.

When you also consider the current tax credits, both federal (30 percent) and state (35 percent), and the return on investment in around five years, one can do this without replumbing the home and heat water for around $1 a month.

Darrell Edgley
Durham
www.nearto.us


More hot water

There's a glaring error in Steve Luxton's article about tankless water heaters ("In and out of hot water," Sept. 30). They have no impact whatsoever on the water wasted while waiting for your shower to run hot—this is entirely a function of the distance from the hot water supply (tankless or otherwise) to the point of use, and the size of the pipe connecting the two. Typical losses, by the way, are in the region of one or two gallons, not 30 or 40, which is a bathtub-full. If your shower takes forever to heat up, don't expect a tankless heater to fix it.

The article is correct about standby energy loss, which a tankless heater more or less eliminates. This can also be substantially reduced, for much less cost, with a properly insulated tank. But then, some tankless heater users have actually reported an increase in energy and water use. There's nothing like the limitations of a single tank of hot water to keep your teenage kids from taking a three-hour shower.

And finally there's the issue of fuel choice. Although electric tankless heaters are available, unless you enjoy tepid showers you'll need a natural gas- or propane-fired unit. These are not renewable fuels and never can be. Renewable sources for electrical generation, on the other hand, are available and growing quickly. With the article's concluding reference to Consumer Reports, it suggests that tankless heaters, though more expensive, are automatically the 'greenest' choice. Not so.

James Morgan
Carrboro


Top o' the mountain

I am a student at Trinity High School in Louisville, Ky. I strongly agree with what the Independent Weekly represents about mountaintop removal ("Michael O'Connell's Mountain Top Removal raised awareness of coal mining practices," July 16, 2008, and "Filming efforts to save the Appalachians in Mountain Top Removal," March 19, 2008). I was first introduced to the campaign at a concert I attended for mountaintop removal awareness. Musicians Ben Sollee and Daniel Martin Moore, who are actively taking part in this campaign here in Kentucky, really stressed the importance of the situation to me.

In places such as West Virginia, where taking off the tops of mountains just for coal and oil all got started, mountaintop removal has really put the people living in these areas in a lot of danger. Breathing in toxic chemicals all day could potentially kill all those families surrounded by these coal mines. Removing tops of mountains is also completely obscene and almost unbearable to look at. To take something so beautiful and natural and destroy it is cruel and unneeded.

Andrew Aschbacher
Louisville, Ky.

  • Plus: Bowling for Columbine; greening your hot water; mountaintop removal

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