Letters to the editor – Friday (9-23-11)

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 23, 2011

Raises for Tillis’ staff symbol of arrogance
I attended the town hall meeting with Speaker of the N.C. House Thom Tillis, and I asked what I thought was a very relevant question. As we business owners continue to sacrifice to keep people employed, why is it unrealistic of us to expect a comparable level of sacrifice from those in government?
Speaker Tillis gave his staff a 27 percent pay increase in June amidst all the layoffs and cutbacks. I think this was irresponsible and told him so. He claimed the people were doing a good job and deserved the raise or else they would go somewhere else. When I contested this point he cut me off and threatened to have me escorted out. I would like to finish my point without his interruptions.
Small business owners have sacrificed and taken pay cuts to keep employees working. Why is it not reasonable to expect our governmental leaders to do the same? Has anyone in government taken a pay cut? The 27 percent raise he gave his staff was our money, not his. I think this is an excellent example of the incredible arrogance of our elected leaders. People all over the country have had their salaries reduced or lost their jobs, so how in the world can he justify taking his chief of staff from $120,000 a year to $150,000 after six months on the job? To me this really illustrates the disparity between the populace and those in government. I am a taxpayer and as such I think he should at least have given me the opportunity to respond without the condescension. I guess it boils down to this: While he stands there in his nice suit preaching fiscal responsibility, sacrifice and job creation, it is people like me, in blue jeans, that are actually doing it.
— Nathaniel M. Hammer
Let’s stick to the facts
In a Sept. 17 letter, Dean Naujoks, who heads the Yadkin Riverkeeper organization, argued in support of Stanly County commissioners’ refusal to drop their lawsuit against Alcoa’s water quality certification in exchange for Clean Tech Silicon and Bar bringing 200 to 500 highly paid jobs to Badin. He claimed that Alcoa had polluted the river system with PCBs for years — a claim that is not supported by any reference to facts — and that “Clean Tech Silicon and Bar LLC does not really exist.” I wondered why he would take such an approach. So I looked for it, and found that Clean Tech Silicon and Bar LLC was chartered as a Delaware corporation on 8-09-2011. The Delaware Secretary of State says it does exist. So which is “truth”?
I then googled “Dean Naujoks” and found that in late October 2009, Naujoks sounded the alarm that a fish kill on High Rock Lake was the result of a Thomasville sewage spill that had “made its way downstream and settled into the sediment near the High Rock dam. Then something . . . disturbed the water and churned up the sewage, which formed algae that robbed the water of oxygen and killed the fish.” Oh, really? On Oct. 27, 2009, the Post published the scientific findings of the Division of Water Quality, which found “no evidence that waste had contaminated the water. Susan Massengale said changes in weather or temperature can cause a natural decline in the dissolved oxygen levels that fish in the shallow, nearly enclosed cove simply could not escape.” So which was “truth”?
I believe the riverkeeper would be better-served by some fact checking — to avoid a subsequent “truthin’ ” by simple evidence that any lay person with Internet access can verify. As between Alcoa and the state takeover proposal, I’ll choose Alcoa over bureaucratic predation any day of the week!
— Jon Morris
Thanks for caring
On Thursday, Sept. 15, Rowan Vocational Opportunities, Inc. was touched in an extraordinary way. Due to the United Way’s Day of Caring, volunteers stopped by and graced us with love and support. With the desire to continue to improve our program and facility, the Catawba College football team, along with the Salisbury Kiwanis, spread mulch around our facility. To some, this may seem like a simple task; however, at Rowan Vocational Opportunities, we take great pride in honoring those who come and support our program through service. We would like to make a joyful noise in saying thanks!
— Theo Chunn
Chun is the information technology coordinator for Rowan Vocational Opportunities, Inc.