In Raleigh, vision versus nitpicking

I am a third-generation resident and business owner in Raleigh’s South Park neighborhood. My grandfather, Calvin Lightner, whom you mention in the article (“Great White Hope,” April 11) and my late father, Clarence Lightner, both had strong roots in the South Park community.

In reading your coverage over the disagreements between Passage Home and CAC leaders, I have to admit some of the comments made by Ms. Lonnette Williams seemed quite the opposite of my experiences. I, for the most part, do not participate with my local CAC for this precise reason. They tend to be overly protective of the community, yet seldom do they advance ideas or programs which bring solutions to the problems facing this community. For the most part, lately Ms. Williams’ CAC is nothing more than a sounding board for disgruntled people.

One of the paradoxes I’ve found in my 50-plus years of community work is that we in the black community, more often than not, lack the resources and connections to effect community improvements and positive change. When someone who is not black steps up to try to lend a hand in affecting change and improvements, they are often criticized as being overbearing and paternalistic, or worse.

I have observed the work of Mrs. Tedrow and Passage Home in Southeast Raleigh for a long time. One of the things I’ve noticed is that over the years, Tedrow and Passage Home have been very supportive of programs and initiatives I have advocated. On the other hand, Ms. Williams has yet to step up and support anything I’m involved with.

You can read into this letter anything you wish, but for my druthers I would much prefer to work with people that have a vision of what needs to happen to improve our community. Mrs. Tedrow has the vision and commitment; Ms. Williams has the squawk box.

Bruce E. Lightner, Raleigh

Not Just Wings: not shabby, but notable

Reading Lisa Sorg’s article about the plans for the new police building was a review of unfortunate facts that we seem to have little hope of changing (“Main Street Blues,” April 29). For me the losses are Supergraphic, Honeygirl Meadery, and what she calls “the shabby hut of Not Just Wings.” Maybe not the small building, which was typical of a type of older, local carry-out business, but the hot dogs were great, and on my bike rides through that area at night to events at the Meadery and Supergraphic, Not Just Wings was my light house.

It was reassuring to see some light and activity right there, but it also pleased me that at least this one quirky older place had survived. Dozens of inexpensive local carry-out places have disappeared since I moved here in the ’90s. We have the food trucks, I suppose, but they tend to be a lot more expensive, and it’s not like they are really around unless there’s some kind of event.

Sorg and the INDY missed an opportunity to show some regard for the loss of one of the last examples of this type of establishment. Perhaps the lapse was due to thinking architecturally: I admit it wasn’t much to look at.

Mary Yordy, Durham