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Everyone needs a pat on the back sometimes, especially when she deserves it, and even if she asks for it. So, Tara, here's to you: the hardest working reporter in Charlotte, and a fine writer. Thanks. P.S. Notice that the last publication you wrote for folded soon after you quit? That should tell you something...

As for David Walters' leaving CL ("Hasta la Vista, Baby, November 20), it's a big loss for Charlotte. While I didn't agree with every single tactic he suggested, the gestalt of his beliefs, and passion for making Charlotte a sane, liveable city were what counted most. Thank you, Mr. Walters.

--Russ Newsom, Charlotte

Smart Growth Questioned
"Hasta la Vista" indeed to David Walters. I don't read his column much, but the problem I have always had with his ideas, as much as I can make them out, is that they are based on so-called "smart growth," the buzz-word he uses to summarize his approach to "urban planning." I would add to his buzz-word the acronym "WASP-ish smart growth" to more fully describe the drift of his apparent thinking -- in that his ideas on "urbanness" seem to revolve around the right people doing the right business buying the right things in the right stores in the right places.

What he ignores, or maybe is ignorant of, is that there are ecological limits to growth. All populations have limits. These limits are set by the environment -- its "carrying capacity" as it is called: the population a given environment can hold without permanent degradation of life-support capabilities. Walters and others of his smart bent seem always to have a technical solution for hard ecological problems. In this case, however, I think Nature will finally win. "When" might be the unknown, but the outcome is certain.

What might ultimately limit our growth? Will it be lack of water, soil, air, space, or maybe the onset of nasty diseases? Or will it be the peculiar social ills that accompany the exponential growth of biologically social populations such as humans? Increases in murder, assault, robbery, and a general uncontrollable surge in violent crimes of all type, are all end results of overcrowding within, especially, human social populations.

The only escape from the "sprawliness" and its accompanying pollution is living within the limits set by our environment. Endless growth, smart variety or dumb, is not a long-term option. But David's eminent absence from the public forum and the loss of his waspish advice, is at least a small ecological step, I guess, in the right direction.

--Joseph Fail, Jr., Charlotte

Unchecked Powers
Lucy Perkins' grasp of politics in general and the recent election in particular is underwhelming ("Mandate Schmandate," November 27). There are many, many people who are qualified to call Rush Limbaugh a "pompous windbag" but Ms. Perkins is not among them.

I am neither Democrat nor Republican and I am no fan of Limbaugh's. I consider myself a Classic Liberal of the 17th and 18th century type. Today's definitions of Liberal and Conservative are so far removed from their beginning definitions, I am amazed that intelligent people use them at all. Most of the individuals who refer to themselves by those two terms don't have a clue as to their true meanings nor do they have a set of mutual principles they share with others of the same label.

As a matter of fact, of the three political parties, the Libertarian Party is the only one with a published Statement of Principles that has remained basically the same since 1971. Ask any Democrat or Republican for a written statement of their principles and you will get a blank stare. They will never put anything like that in writing because then they can be held accountable.

An example: Almost all Republicans and many Democrats were against FDR's New Deal Liberalism, especially the Social Security part. They claimed it was Socialism. Today all politicians of all parties, except the Libertarian Party, whole-heartedly support Social Security and the Democrats accuse the Republicans, falsely, every two years, for wanting to hurt Social Security, and it has worked for fifty years.

Ms. Perkins refers to the new Republican powers as being "unchecked," and wonders how we should deal with them. She failed to mention the very negative actions of this past year's "unchecked" Democrat-controlled senate. With their little bit of power they fought almost every proposal by the Republicans including judge appointments and the budget. They were as partisan as they could be.

I am not at all pleased with the direction the Republicans are heading with my personal freedoms and my privacy so I am counting on the Democrats to do whatever is necessary to stop them ... and they do have the power to do that. It takes 60 Senators for the Republicans or the Democrats to be "unchecked."

--Charles Blackwell, York, SC

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