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Letters to the Editor 

Broadband bill means narrower choices

"Touch that dial" (Monitor, by Fiona Morgan, July 11) reveals the combined damage the Video Service Competition Act and the Local Government Fair Competition Act (HB 1587) have wreaked, and will wreak, on local communities. Nash County is probably the poster child of this damage, and demonstrates why the General Assembly needs to return broadband control to local governments.

Nash County is served by two cable companies—Time Warner Cable and Suddenlink—who refuse to compete. The Video Service Competition Act permitted Time Warner, under its new state cable franchise, to reduce its service area in Nash County and eliminate its obligation to serve areas characterized by low wealth, low-density housing—and any served by Suddenlink, thus eliminating the need to compete. That means the Video Service Competition Act led to no competition and less choice for Nash residents, not more choice and lower rates.

The state cable law also terminated the ability of the county, through its local cable franchise, to require the cable system be upgraded to provide high-speed Internet service. Now Time Warner tells the county its residents are too poor and its homes too far apart for the company to upgrade and provide broadband Internet service. If HB 1587 also passed, it would cripple the county's ability to fill this broadband void.

State law replaced the county's local cable franchise fees with 10 percent less state video tax revenue. This severely limited funding for local cable channels and removed the county's authority to prevent reckless damage to its rights-of-way by telecom companies.

The Video Service Competition Act deregulated a monopoly and gave consumers less choice, higher rates and no hope for improved customer service or access to advanced technology. Combined with HB 1587, an unbroken system will truly be "fixed" for the cable industry.

Bob Sepe

The writer is a consultant to Nash County.

Get the facts right

When I graduated from journalism school, all my professors subscribed to one basic rule: If a student got any facts wrong or misspelled a word, the paper received an automatic "F." The reason was simple: A reporter loses all credibility if they can't get the facts right.

In "Land transfer tax stalls" (by Fiona Morgan, July 18), the most important fact of all was dead wrong. A real estate transfer tax is paid for by the seller, not by the buyer. People should not have to pay a tax to the government for the "right" to sell their home or property.

Another basic rule taught in journalism school is to contact both sides of an issue. If you had taken the time to contact me or anyone from our organization, we could have helped you understand the facts correctly. Instead, you chose to quote the likes of state Reps. Paul Luebke and Jennifer Weiss and N.C. League of Municipalities Executive Director Ellis Hankins.

People wonder why we have had to purchase radio, TV and ad space to properly communicate our concerns about the N.C. Home Tax. Your story is a perfect answer to that question.

Tim Kent, Executive Vice President
N.C. Association of Realtors

What bugs Byron Woods?

In last Wednesday's review of De Sueños, the newest work from choreographer Paul Taylor, Byron Woods spends the better part of his article admonishing a lack of "character development" in Taylor's newest dance ("The sleep of reason," July 18).  But since when has character development become the touchstone of modern and contemporary dance? Woods' commentary would be better suited to a classical story-ballet or a 19th-century novel.  His witty stabs are framed by a forced and embarrassing aloofness to Taylor's idiom. Perhaps there is something more relevant that bugs Woods about De Sueños, and if so, I do hope he figures out what it is.

Dan Zafros
New York

The writer is an employee of Paul Taylor Dance Company.

Captivity: "R" for repulsive

Because I have always considered you a progressive newspaper of culture and ideas, I was surprised and disappointed to see an ad for Captivity in your film section (July 4). It was bad enough that I had to sit through a disgusting trailer for this torture porn film about a woman kept captive and tortured for no apparent reason, but that was in a corporate-owned multiplex. To see the Independent promoting this sort of anti-humanistic crap is demoralizing indeed. If it were a film about an animal being kept caged and in pain and fear, there's no way you would advertise such filth, but because it's a cute blond girl, it's OK? I suppose we can't keep films like this from being made or, incredibly, from being given an R rating, but are these the subjects and ideas that you want associated with the Independent?

Jennifer Prather

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