Lift up locally

It was with a sinking heart that I read your recent front page story (“Panhandlers stir complaints,” July 25) giving prominence to certain city business leaders complaining about panhandling, who referred explicitly to progress downtown being undermined by the “unacceptable activity” of people in need asking their fellow citizens for help.

This local piece followed on the heels of a New York Times article that used Winston-Salem as a prime example of stagnating mid-size cities struggling to close income gaps with larger cities — an article that included this telling quote from another local businessman: “The top talent is going to go to the coasts ... but there are plenty of smart people who will come here.”

I have lived in Winston-Salem for eight years, and there are plenty of talented, smart, diverse people born and raised in this city who could use the investment and support of local businesses, developers and elected officials to help improve their economic prospects. What if, instead of spending all this money and time on recruiting folks from outside Winston-Salem, these community leaders decided to focus financial and strategic efforts on improving education, training and job opportunities for the people who are already here — many of the same people who have been kept down by historical government and business policies that discriminated against them? Then, instead of becoming just another generic, rapidly gentrifying city, Winston-Salem could be known as the city that brings up all its citizens.

Now, that would truly be innovative.

Liz Noland

Winston-Salem

A Democratic scandal

Congratulations to the writer of the July 24 letter “The Democrats’ albatross,” who, after going back in time 50 years, finally found a Democratic scandal to compare to the daily scandal that we call “President Trump.”

I know conservatives have been fixated on Sen. Edward Kennedy and Mary Jo Kopechne ever since he drove them off a bridge and she died in 1969, and they’ve got a lot of conspiracy theories, as they often do, about what “really” happened.

What really happened is that the two were in a car that went off a bridge. Kennedy left the scene, but reported the accident the next morning. He was convicted of leaving the scene of the crime and was given a suspended sentence.

That’s what the letter writer calls “great lengths to cover up the circumstances.”

What else happened? Nobody really knows. Maybe alcohol was involved. Maybe there was an illicit romance. Maybe Kennedy was giving her a ride and was distracted and drove off the bridge. Nobody. Really. Knows.

But at least conservatives have a human tragedy they can turn to to say, “We’re not the only bad ones.”

Mark B. Howard

Winston-Salem

A real issue

The writer of the letter July 30 “Enough is enough” complains about all the letters “disparaging our president,” then asks, “What in the world has happened to dialogue about the real issues that are troubling our nation?”

Trump is a real issue troubling our nation. His divisive rhetoric, exemplified by childish name-calling and his crude attacks on American cities; his withdrawal of America from leadership positions on issues around the world; his weakening of environmental rules that protect lives; his gaslighting of America, exemplified by unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud (millions!) and conspiracies against him; and his refusal to act on climate change, which threatens our children’s future; all of these are very important issues troubling our nation, and they were all created by Trump.

If all we had to do was pay for his golf games, we might be safe. But his actions and inactions are a threat to the nation and the world.

Ricky S. Phillips

Winston-Salem

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