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Letters to the editor — Tuesday (1-7-2014)

It’s a new year, and last year’s crows are coming home to roost. Let’s see what they look like, at least for now.
Chairman Side’s spokesman, Commissioner Pierce, admitted that any site, other than 329 S. Main St., will also have acquisition costs, not to mention higher construction costs. What this boils down to is that our county commissioners, confronted two years ago with a free piece of land in downtown Salisbury and some of the lowest construction costs in recent history, choose to say “no, thanks.” They won’t, or can’t, even explain why they turned down free land. All their objections have been met, including a “No Further Action Required” letter which Mr. Pierce demanded. The only conclusion one can draw is that these four simply want to hurt the downtown businesses as much as they can.
Over the weekend, the Sides-Pierce partnership finally admitted that they hadn’t even thought to arrange financing when they handed the deal of a lifetime to the Namdar group. Prudent business people routinely arrange financing before they make a major acquisition. But not our commissioners. Of course, their experience managing large businesses is nil. The only commissioner with that experience voted against the deal. The prospective lenders in this deal must be licking their chops as these fish swim into their nets.
As icing on the cake, we have the repair and rehabilitation costs, estimated at $11.5 million-plus. Chairman Sides and spokesman Pierce seem to be planning to kick that one down the road past another election cycle. Maybe we’ll all forget about it. At least until the tax increase Mr. Sides admitted was coming shows up. By then it will be “necessary improvements” or “unavoidable maintenance” or some other excuse for more money wasted. What none of these financial geniuses will ever admit is that we could have built a brand new building for less than the $15 million this one will cost.
Remember all this when your new tax bills show up in years to come. Happy new year!
— Jack Burke
Salisbury

A little after 4 Saturday afternoon as Mitzi Lanier and I were walking a 10K Salisbury walk sponsored by the Rowan Roamers, I stumbled on uneven sidewalk and fell on South Jackson Street immediately before reaching West Horah Street. I split my left knee and slammed the left side of my face against the sidewalk.
I couldn’t get up, and Mitzi (who weighs less than 100 pounds) would have been unable to pull me up. I heard many cars driving by, but not one offered to help. A man riding a bicycle turned around and helped Mitzi lift me. He said his name was Benjamin Simpson, and he deserves public acknowledgement. We surely appreciated his assistance!
— Elaine C. Howle
China Grove

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