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Letters to the editor – Monday (5-5-08)

‘Stepford Wives’ view of cities
I have been comparing Salisbury’s Vision 2020 to that of some other cities using forced annexation to “grow” their cities into “vibrant” cities. Shades of “The Stepford Wives”! The sameness of such material makes me wonder if city leaders really believe they are governing. Don’t they realize the League of Municipalities has all the power?
The league has been around for a long time, knows government subsidies and funding and gets plenty of it. The problem is, the league is forcing our state to write bad checks for things like bike trails, greenways and other enhancements that the state shouldn’t be paying for in the first place.
In the league’s emergency rally of July 17, 2002, Mayor Susan Kluttz and City Manager Dave Treme were called to Raleigh to lobby the Legislature. The purpose: to secure the funds previously coming to municipalities which might be held in order to balance the North Carolina budget.
Due to the league’s lobbying to kill the Local Government Fair Competition Act, which places restraints on municipalities’ plans to provide fiber optics to cities, House Bill No. 1587 sits in the Senate’s Commission on Rules and Operations, where it has been since July 26, 2007! Because of similar lobbying, Sen. Andrew Brock’s bill calling for citizens to have a vote before annexation has remained in the Senate’s Ways and Means Committee since February 2007.
The “Thinking Ahead” group, with the league’s Ellis Hankins, is heavily involved with lobbying the Transportation Improvement Program, DOT and Powell Bill funds, 75 percent of which are based on a city’s population. We can thank the league, Governor Easley, Lyndo Tippett and Marc Basnight for the shortage of funds for the Yadkin River Bridge.
In The Elected Leaders Academy, the league, in partnership with the UNC School of Government, educates newly elected folks to carry out “The Stepford Wives Plan” of city government.
ó Marie Howell
Salisbury
Fast-track jobs
In response to Steve Arey’s May 1 letter on vo-tech schools:
I, too, like Michael Cobb, attended a vo-tech school in Pennsylvania ó Franklin County Vocational Technical School , located in Chambersburg, Pa. We had three weeks regular classes at the high school and then three weeks at the vo-tech School. I took a three-year machine shop course. To be able to stay in the class, you had to keep your grades up. You would be surprised at how hard students will work to do this if the course they’re taking is something they really want to do.
I’m very thankful to have been given the opportunity to attend such a school. Vocationalntechnical education started the road to my present career position, which is working for a NASCAR Cup race team. So if we don’t try it, I guess we’ll never know if it will improve anything.
ó Rob Fisher
Concord
Fisher is the manager of the R&D Department for Gillett Evernham Engines.

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