We begin this week with Seth Bramson, who expresses consternation with recent comments in opposition to the Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit Project: “I am absolutely astounded to see the nonsensical, vitriolic, and totally-without-basis-in-truth-or-fact opposition to light rail.
“First, buses are absolutely not the answer. Second, there is no such thing as ‘bus rapid transit,’ and, third, dozens of cities (and states) in this country are realizing the foolishness of abandoning their streetcar and/or interurban electric railway systems, in most cases having been corrupted into doing so by General Motors and the still very much in existence conspiracy of auto manufacturers, tire and rubber companies, gas and oil companies, and road builders.
“The answer is truly simple: Stop acting like damn fools, realize and recognize how terrific light rail has been for Charlotte (and New Orleans and Los Angeles and Portland and Seattle and Salt Lake City and the Twin Cities and Denver and Sacramento and on and on almost infinitum), and become aware of the fact that light rail is far, far superior to pollution-spewing, environmentally damaging, noisy, and far more expensive (once all costs are laid out properly) rubber-tired, ecologically disastrous buses.
“Come out of the nineteenth century and get with the future, folks, for the future of American transit must be built around rail transit.”
Last week, Durham’s city council established a Racial Equity Task Force to examine and help undo institutional racism, ensuring that no one is left behind as the city grows. Commenter Pixel Support says the task force is “nothing more than a public show by the mayor and city council to pretend to do something about racial disparities. If they were honest with themselves, it’s not about freeways that were built seventy years ago. ‘Institutional racism’ is not the problem here. One would hope that it doesn’t take a bunch of task force time and a lot of money to figure that out.
“It really sounds like they’re complaining about the economic development boom in Durham (which is crazy). Despite what the editors at The Atlantic believe, gentrification is not a bad thingit revitalizes run-down areas.
“I hope I can save the task force money and time by saying that the problem with black economic development nationwide (as well as in Durham) is not institutional racism, but a problem is with black culture. Convince black women to have kids in a stable home instead of 77 percent out of wedlock and you’ll suddenly have a new generation of stable kids who have access to all of the opportunities of the world. Fix the black family and you’ll fix the economic disparity.”
In last week’s paper, Sarah Willets reported on the Durham County jail’s Inmate Welfare Fund, which charges inmatesmost of whom are there awaiting trial, many because they can’t afford bailextra on commissary items to fund things like blankets and sheets that critics say the county should pay for anyway.
Commenter Mike Moore doesn’t see the problem: “These people are already being a burden on the rest of us by being engaging in behaviors that put them in jail. Why should they not be assessed to some degree for their own support? Jail is an easy place to avoid.”
To which M 1 counters: “The other week, I witnessed the Durham Police Department unlawfully arrest a group of young black men with absolutely no evidence against them and with the entire neighborhood explaining to the police how they’d made a mistake. Where do you think these young men ended up? In the Durham County jail. Jail is not an easy place to avoid when you’re poor, black, and targeted for unlawful arrest.”
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