Letters to the editor: May 1

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 1, 2022

Landis using drone to spy on citizens

 On Saturday, April 23, between 8 p.m. and midnight, the Landis Police Department hosted a multi-agency traffic enforcement event in the areas of US Highway 29 at Sheltie Lane and North Chapel Street at Landis Oak Way.

During this traffic enforcement operation, aka checkpoint, the new drone that the Landis Department of Safety acquired through a contentious divided vote, with Mayor Smith being the cheerleading tie breaker, was deployed. Both the town of Landis and Department of Public Safety Facebook pages posted pictures of night images and thermal images taken from the drone, boasting of its use.

The citizens of the town were told by Director Lechette that the drone would be used “for fire personnel to better assess potential hazards before entering the scene. The drone also could be used during town events and for missing persons cases.”

I do not remember hearing during that meeting that the drone would be used to spy on town citizens. That is exactly what happened on Saturday, April 23. The chief lied about the use of the drone, which unfortunately is nothing new for Landis, as we are accustomed to lies and malfeasance by those that are in power. Maybe I do not know the whole story, maybe there was a fire, or a missing child during this exercise. I could not inquire through the town’s Facebook page, as the town has disabled comments.

I have lived in Landis for over 12 years and I thought the town was turning a corner and getting better. The police officers already wear tactical vests that look like they are in a war zone, even though the town of Landis is very safe. Now they are using thermal imaging drones to spy on their citizens.

— Michael Venters


Would Russia invade if Ukraine had nuclear weapons?

Does anyone believe Russia would be invading the Ukraine if the Ukraine had nukes? I doubt it. Yet up until 1994 the Ukraine did have nukes. However thanks to some Nuclear Proliferation Treaty in 1994, the Ukraine as well as a couple other countries were convinced to get rid of them. They were convinced because they were led to believe that other countries, including the U.S., would come to their aid if ever needed. I imagine a few dollars helped them to be convinced too.

Talk about a total betrayal against your own country. The fact that the government would give up their country’s ability to defend itself is insane (and treasonous). Let’s not forget the Ukraine borders a country that was just humiliated by the end of the Cold War four years earlier. Did the Ukraine leaders think this country (Russia), would go softly into that good night? A country with nukes? Only a bunch of naive, lucrative liberals from the west would think like that. Yet the Ukraine bought it.

We are all admiring the will and tenacity the Ukraine is displaying in their fight against Russia. But the deck is stacked against them. Russia may have miscalculated early, but they will adjust.

For any country to give up its ability to defend itself for some symbolic, goodwill gesture is about as stupid as a country giving up its energy independence. Nothing good can come of it.

— Allan Gilmour


Cook has strong relationship with law enforcement

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Brandy Cook since her days as an assistant district attorney.

District Attorney Cook has always had a strong working relationship with law enforcement officers and has always been accessible and knowledgeable.

She has worked to reduce the time officers have to spend in court so that they are available for call for service within the community.

Cook has worked through a pandemic resulting in courts being shut down and continues to work to reduce the backlog of cases that resulted from this shutdown. She is tough on crime and repeat offenders and works closely with local agencies, local task forces, federal task forces, federal agencies and federal prosecutors with the transfer of eligible offenders to the federal court system.

This is just a few of the reasons I support the re-election of District Attorney Brandy Cook.

— Mike Morgan


Caskey is good for Rowan

During my years as a sworn law enforcement officer since the ’70s, full time and reserve, I have seen five sheriffs in office and not all have been good for Rowan.

Sheriff Auten has done a remarkable job the past 12 years and deserves his 30-year retirement. Over the past eight years I’ve enjoyed meals with Mike Caskey frequently.

Mike prays before every meal and always has improvements for Rowan County in his conversation. His past nine years as a county commissioner allowed him to assist in making Rowan a better place.

As sheriff of Rowan County, Mike will continue to improve the county that will make the citizens proud. He is assigned to the toughest section in Charlotte as a policeman with the city. His leadership there is an asset but his heart and family is in Rowan, where he lives and his children attend school.

Mike serves on multiple boards in Rowan, mostly because he volunteered for them and not assigned as a commissioner. He attends so many events but never complains because it’s his choice, not his job. I have been a state veteran advocate for the past 38 years and a combat veteran and I appreciate those who serve. Mike has served in both the Army Reserve and currently in the National Guard. His friendly personality is refreshing but don’t let that fool you. Mike is tough on crime and will demand his deputies respect everyone they serve. His visions for the sheriff department will enhance an already well run office and Mike’s master degree will handle the administrative side as well.

Any candidate seeking to become sheriff deserves respect. It’s a job that demands discipline, integrity, common sense and intelligence. I believe Mike Caskey has all these and more. He is my close friend but more importantly, I hope he will be my next sheriff, because he can handle the job and will do it well.

— Rodney Cress


Jenkins a solid, conservative choice

If you’re looking for a solid constitutional conservative Republican that is not afraid of some hard work, Brad Jenkins is the right representative for N.C. House district 83.

He is the only veteran, he is a true conservative, a local pastor of a growing church and a father of five children. These aspects give him advantages to many groups of people.

He wants to make a better America for his children, and other families, so that they will not have to go through the struggles that we are facing today. He has devoted many countless hours door knocking and attending events in order to listen to the true concerns of the people face to face in the different communities.

He isn’t another politician, but a real servant to the citizens.

I will personally be voting for Jenkins because I have witnessed him selflessly serve him community for several years and has made a huge difference. He has volunteered with several organizations and at multiple events and continues to work with members of the community on a daily basis. So don’t forget to go vote Brad Jenkins, someone who truly cares and will strive to make a positive change. He definitely has my vote!

— Jacqueline Belliveau

China Grove

Support 3 current commissioners

I am enthusiastically supporting Greg Edds, Judy Klusman and Jim Greene to be the Republican nominees for the three seats on the Rowan County Commission. Greg, Judy and Jim have done outstanding work. I remember when I spoke to Judy during her first campaign and she said she was running because Rowan County had become the “hole in the donut” when it came to growth compared to all the counties around us. Greg recognized that our young people are leaving and not coming back because of the lack of opportunity here.

Well Greg, Judy and Jim have done what they said they would do. It’s important to note how rare that is for politicians in this day and age. There are lots of promises made, but very few are kept. Greg, Judy and Jim inherited a county commission that had been aggressively unfriendly to people and companies that wanted to come to Rowan County. Since “EKG” took over, the statistics are staggering for what they have done. Here are just a few:

• Lowered our county property tax rate and yet Rowan’s tax base has exploded by $2.2 billion, an 18.8% increase.

• Rowan County’s bond rating upgraded to AA+, the second highest rating available

• Annual sales tax revenues have grown from $17.2 million to $32.2 million, an 87.2% increase

• Median household income has risen from $44,862 to $52,051, a 16% increase

• Increased public safety funding by 58%

The bottom line is Greg, Judy and Jim are a cohesive, highly productive group. They have more than earned the opportunity to continue doing the good work that they have been doing. Unfortunately they are having to engage in a primary fight with perennial candidate Mike Julian and newcomer Angie Spillman. Angie is reading directly from the Jim Sides playbook that resulted in Rowan County being the “hole in the donut.” We cannot let all of the good work “EKG” have done be washed away by narrow-minded, backwards-looking policies.

— Greg Shields


Budd’s absences raise questions

I will begin this letter by clarifying that I am a registered Democrat and therefore will not be voting in the Republican primary. However, I hope unaffiliated and Republican voters have been paying attention to Rep. Ted Budd’s repeated absences from the North Carolina Senate Republican primary debates.

This past Tuesday’s debate was the fourth since February in which Budd has declined to participate. Apparently he thinks that being endorsed by the former, twice-impeached president is all the voters need to know in order to earn their votes. Sadly, according to polls,  he may be correct.  One has to wonder what this says about our current political culture when a candidate is so smug as to think he is above the need to debate important issues with his opponents in order for the voters to make an informed decision.

— Diane Labovitz


Law enforcement officer backs Cook

I have worked as both a state and local law enforcement officer with Rowan County District Attorney Brandy Cook. During the past 11 years, I have been involved with violent crime and drug investigations that she successfully prosecuted in Rowan County.

I can say without hesitation that her integrity and work ethic are beyond question. I can also say with certainty that she has never lost focus on the victims that she represents in court and that she has never yielded to attorneys who represent defendants.

Cook has always been accessible to law enforcement officers. On many occasions, I have had a question to which I needed an answer or an opinion as soon as possible. She has always been willing to do research and to provide me with information as soon as possible regardless of the day or the hour.

She has been a partner with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Gun Screening Program and Project Safe Neighborhood Program in Rowan County. These programs assist law enforcement in targeting repeat offenders for firearm, drug and violent crime offenses. As an investigator assigned to these initiatives, I rely on Cook’s knowledge of the state court system and her ability to work with federal prosecutors to ensure that habitual violators are prosecuted in the appropriate jurisdiction and to the fullest extent of the law.

Cook’s decisions and prosecutions have made a positive difference for the safety of the citizens of Rowan County.

— Sam Gregory


Hannold top choice for sheriff

There are many good candidates running for sheriff this year. I had the opportunity to work with several of them over the years.

I have known Greg Hannold since the beginning of his career and worked with him at Spencer Police Department, Rowan Sheriff’s Office and RCCC, as a law enforcement instructor. He has always been dedicated to his profession and to the people that he serves.

I believe that his experience, education and management skills makes him the right person to lead the Rowan Sheriff’s Office into the future.

He is the only candidate that has worked his way through the ranks and into a management position in the department. He has the knowledge and ability to run the department in a professional manner and will serve the citizens fairly and efficiently as Sheriff. Elect Greg Hannold sheriff of Rowan County.

— Steve Schenk

Surfside Beach

Editor’s note: Schenk retired as chief deputy

Support for three in Kannapolis

I had the privilege of serving on Kannapolis City Council for 20 years. During our revitalization process, there were times when cooperation with other governing bodies were critical to our progress. It was so comforting knowing we had the support of the Cabarrus County Commission as a partner. If not for Lynn Shue, Blake Kiger and Diane Honeycutt, we could not have achieved the dynamic and growing city center you find in Kannapolis today.

Knowing this group, I heartily recommend Lynn and Blake along with newcomer Alan Thompson for election to the county commission. They understand that what occurs in Kannapolis provides positive results in the entire county. They are forward looking in their deliberations and will provide the leadership that is needed to continue moving us forward. Use progress as your guide when you go to cast your ballot.

I know you will join me in support of Lynn, Blake, and Alan to assist us in having the best county in North Carolina!

— Roger Haas


Editor’s note: Haas is a former Kannapolis City Council member.

Saleeby would be great asset

I am writing this letter to introduce you to my friend Rebecca Saleeby, candidate for clerk of Superior Court of Rowan County.

I have had the privilege of working with Rebecca over a number of years, and she has been a great asset to the clerks of Superior Court and their staff. She brings the experience and knowledge needed for the office  due to her years of service in different capacities for the state of North Carolina.

She has been extensively involved in all facets of the clerk of Superior Court’s office during her career. She has helped roll out numerous new programs, served on different teams and has been involved in training within and outside of the Administrative Office of the Courts.

She has always been willing to help in whatever capacity needed. This includes being on the support staff with AOC help desk for all 100 counties within North Carolina, making visits to all the clerk of courts offices within her assigned region to see how the numerous programs were working  and helping file or do data entry work especially if a county was behind and had requested help.

Rebecca Saleeby has always been a woman of her word and had a heart of service for the people of North Carolina. She will be a wonderful asset to the people of Rowan County as clerk of Superior Court and will work hard representing Rowan County and providing feedback to the state of North Carolina.

— Kay Sherrill


Retired prosecutor backs Cook

As a retired career prosecutor, with over 30 years of experience, I have observed and worked with many district attorneys throughout the state of North Carolina. I have seen that the best combine not only great skill as a trial attorney but are equally skilled as an administrator.

A district attorney’s job is not just as a courtroom litigator, but someone who can organize, manage, supervise and lead by example a diverse staff of attorneys, victim/witness coordinators, investigators, etc.

A district attorney must have an effective working relationship with the judges, attorneys, law enforcement, court clerks, etc. of his or her district in order to be successful.

A district attorney must have the courage to make the tough calls. It is his or her responsibility and ethical duty to seek Justice, not just a conviction, even when that decision might not be in his or her best interest politically. In other words, a district attorney must be tough on crime, but fair and just, and he or she must lead those in the office by example.

Brandy Cook, district attorney for Rowan County, is all that and more. An excellent litigator, administrator, and leader who is not afraid to make the right call even if it is unpopular or difficult. I worked for District Attorney Brandy Cook and she is the epitome of being tough on crime while never forgetting her obligation to seek justice.

Rowan County is extremely blessed to have someone of her caliber as their district attorney.

I strongly urge the citizens of Rowan County to re-elect Brandy Cook as their district attorney.

— Gregory Butler


Saleeby most qualified

Rebecca Saleeby is running for the office of Rowan County Clerk of Superior Court. I have known Saleeby for many years and I hope you will consider voting for her in the upcoming primary election.

Her opponent is a very nice man and an experienced Rowan County magistrate, as is Rebecca, (she was a Rowan County magistrate for seven years). Both candidates are registered Republicans. So, why Saleeby? The answer is qualifications and actual clerk experience.

The office that the candidates are seeking to hold (and that we will be casting ballots for), is clerk of Superior Court. Hands down, Saleeby is the most experienced and most qualified person for the job.

Rebecca started working at the Rowan County clerk’s office when she was 18. Now, three decades (and two college degrees) later, she retired as a supervisor with the Administrative Office of the Courts.

I have no doubt that her opponent could be trained to be a fine clerk, but Rebecca is already a trained and accomplished clerk who spent the last 15 years training county clerks across the state.

If Rebecca is elected, she will be able to “hit the ground running” on day one.

She knows this job already. She will not have to spend the first year learning the job, as her opponent said he would, in a recent forum. Rebecca will spend her first year improving customer service, training staff and preparing the office for the new online system.

As a voter, I am grateful to have the choice between two respected, hardworking Rowan County candidates. Both have social media sites where voters can get more information. I hope you will take the time to learn more about Rebecca.

I think you will agree, she is the most qualified candidate for the job.

— Karyn Pennington

China Grove