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We Need More Than Light Rail

I enjoy David Walters' columns for their depth and passionate arguments, and I have very often agreed with him on various issues. I have to say, though, that the recent column on the transit system ("Truths About Transit," Nov. 12) was disappointing. I essentially agree that Charlotte needs a great public transportation system and at first I was enthusiastic about light rail. I admit, however, that recent criticisms of the city's plans for light rail lead me to suspect that CTA is going to screw it up -- not to mention that the whole thing will take too long to build. The original purpose of the system, easing traffic congestion and providing for citizens' convenience, seems to have morphed into some wide-ranging land-use plan that, even if successful, will do very little or nothing to help the average joe's commute time. I had hoped Mr. Walters could clarify some of this, but his recent arguments do not address some of the real issues that have been brought up; instead, all we get is the same warm-and-fuzzy vision of a future happy city blessed with high-density housing and light rail to accommodate it. I'm not necessarily against the plan as it stands, but even if the light rail system is successfully implemented and it does all the things its supporters say it will, regular Charlotteans will still be left with a desperate need for an answer to our over-dependence on cars. I've seen in other cities what a good bus system (combined with light rail that actually makes some turns here and there!) can do. And what's being planned here ain't it.

-- Paul M. Salakias, Charlotte

Bah, Indeed

I am sick of Hollywood movie fare ("Bah, Humbug!," by Matt Brunson, Nov. 5). Santa Billy Bob Thornton, dead frontiersmen protecting real estate, and a list of classmate-killing firearms sanctioned by the NRA are pretty dark, depressing, and even contradicting any time of the year. What will the film community present to us in the spring? Maybe an Alcoholics Anonymous-sanctioned tavern tour, an AAA-sanctioned aggressive driving course, an Asian restaurateurs-sanctioned recipe book for preparing cat and dog, and a Planned Parenthood-sanctioned list of knitting needles and coat hangers.

The quest for finding shocking topics of such conflicting nature is really pushing the limits of our intelligence, but maybe many in society who actually make these offerings profitable for the studios do not know any better. Misery does love company, so it only makes sense that many are driven by their depression and ignorance to find that which is familiar. It is always easier to lower the bar than raise the standard. Just ask Howard Stern.

-- Joe Schmidt, Huntersville

Good Job, Tara

In the past I have often found great fault with the political and electoral analysis of Tara Servatius. However, being neck deep in the intrigue and roller-coaster ride that characterized the 2003 municipal elections, I must credit Tara with being on top of her game with her fairly balanced pre- and post-election analysis. Good job, Ms. Servatius, and you still owe me a lunch from 2001!

-- Dan McCorkle, Campaign Manager, Susan Burgess For City Council At Large

Israel Redux
In response to Ira Chase ("Why Blame Israel?," Letters, Nov. 12):

#1 You claim that Israel became a nation in 1312 BCE; if this is true why all the celebration about 1948?

#2 You claim that Jews have been in Palestine since 1272 BCE, but you cannot prove that the people we call Jews today are related to those people who were there at the time. In fact most of the Jews of today are Ashkenazi or Khazars (not of Abraham).

#3 You whitewash the expulsion of the Palestinians from their land by stating "68 percent left without seeing an Israeli soldier"; what about the 32 percent that did see an Israeli soldier -- what happened to them? (Many were raped or tortured or killed, and are to this day.)

#4 You point out that Jews were forced to flee from Arab lands. When will someone ask, "Why have the Jews been thrown out of so many countries?"

#5 You say that the number of Palestinians that fled Palestine in 1948 is about the same as the number of Jews that came from all Arab lands to replace them. What is the point here?

#6 You say that Jewish refugees were "absorbed into Israel." Israel has a very restrictive immigration policy, only Jews can become a citizen with full rights there, but I guess what is good for them is not good for the USA.

#7 You say that the PLO charter calls for the destruction of the state of Israel but did you know the Israelis claim the land from the west bank to Iraq and part of Jordan and part of Syria? (This is what they call a deal breaker.)

-- Robert D. Ross, Charlotte

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