Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

What Would Walter Cronkite Say?

Posted March 12, 2007

During WRAL's Save Our Sounds campaign I had the pleasure of spending a Saturday with legendary CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite. He offered many pearls of wisdom that day as we flew by plane and helicopter across the coastal estuaries of NC. When asked what North Carolinians could do to help bring about needed changes to the environment Cronkite said the old fashioned approach is still best: write your senators and representatives in Congress. I asked Walter "but do they really read those letters?" He answered: "They may not read those letters but they COUNT them." In other words if you can muster a major letter writing campaign volume really does matter.

If opponents of the Navy's plan to build a landing strip next to the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge want to get their way they had better start writing letters. Governor Easley has written the Navy asking that it reconsider its plan to build in Washington and Beaufort counties and consider alternative sites. But US Senators Elizabeth Dole and Richard Burr are uncommitted on the issue despite years of study. The feeling is that if Dole, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, were to tell the Navy she is against the Pocosin Lakes site then the Navy would look elsewhere. Burr has disappointed many eastern NC residents by stating that he doesn't feel it is his position to tell the Navy what to do.

Having seen the beauty and grandeur of the Pocosin Lakes area with its majestic snowgeese and trumpeting tundra swans I am amazed that the Navy continues to push forward. Pocosin site opponents view this as a lose-lose situation now. The birds will create a danger for the Navy planes and their pilots. An environmental treasure could be destroyed. Why not put that landing strip on a safer and more desirable alternative site? That's what a lot of people are asking.

I haven't talked with Walter Cronkite lately but I am sure he would have some straightforward advice on this issue: Write Senators Dole and Burr and get your friends and neighbors to write. Write until the right decision is made.


Please with your account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • Synthesizer Mar 13, 2007

    I agree with Walter Cronkite much of the time. I think we would do well to get him as president.

    I don't think that the traditional method of effecting political change is working. It does not result in a world that has levels of noise or other pollution or rates of taking of natural resources that are in accord with the will of the people. At least, I don't think it does. I don't see any prospect for a breakthrough that would result in a change in behavior of our elected officials that would bring about such agreement between the will of the people and actual conditions in the world. If it is the best way, we are in trouble.

    We need to start voting ONLY for people who stand for the principles that we believe in. One of these principles is that government derives its powers from the people. Since no person has the power and authority to initiate use of force against another person, it is not possible for government to have this power.


  • Synthesizer Mar 13, 2007

    We need to shift our attention and allegiance toward the libertarian and green political traditions and away from the Republican or Democratic, which promote policies that violate the principle mentioned above.

    Libertarian and green together would likely result in policies that require that polluters pay the people when damage is done to that which we all own in common. We would all share the proceeds of pollution fees and fees charged to those who take natural resource wealth for profit. Grinding poverty would be eliminated, and all corporations / industries / government departments would have incentive to reduce their environmental impacts.

    We need to shift our attention and allegi

  • lucky22 Mar 13, 2007

    I for one will be sending letters to Washington,DC. What the Navy is proposing to do is unthinkable. Please everyone write.

  • drnc Mar 12, 2007

    I'm sure John Edwards would be happy to sue the Navy or, at the very least, write some letters threatening to sue.

  • CestLaVie Mar 12, 2007

    I agree with all of the comments here, and everyone has voiced great opinions. But, the point to this blog was to get us to voice our opinions to the legislators in Washington, so please do that in addition to voicing them here. Make your opinion part of the count AGAINST this issue by stopping right now and telling Senators Dole ( and Burr ( what you think. Together, we can do this. I intend to, right now.

  • Lion-Heart Mar 12, 2007

    Sorry, but I'm really disturbed by this. Where is WRAL on this issue? Don't see you people saying anything about this vocally and I really thought you should be the voice of the people of North Carolina! So say something! Dole and Burr? Thought you people at WRAL had some stomach, come on and fight this!It is wrong to destroy things the way the way the Navy is wanting!
    Just because the people in power agree does not make this right.
    Thanks for letting me voice my opinion.

  • bruiser Mar 12, 2007

    Why, oh why, are we destroying this Earth a little at a time? Just because it's the "Navy" does not give them the right to come in, kill these birds that were there years before they even thought of landing here, and taking more land that is precious. Dole and Burr need to stand up and tell them "no more". Find someplace else to land their jets!

  • Lion-Heart Mar 12, 2007

    Just wanted to add a few more things. First off, if anyone has ever seen one of these snow geese, they are huge and very beautiful water fowl. If a plane hits one of them in flight, you can kiss that plane goodbye. This, in fact, has already occurred with at least one plane crashing in Washington county in the past. Ask the Navy or anyone else about the incident. That said, and I will repeat my statement, this is NOT a real military issue but one of Virginia trying to push their pollution noise South to North Carolina I'm sorry, but to force a noise issue to us because of trying to increase local Virginia growth is totally wrong. The people in Virginia need to handle this issue themselves. I love my state and I love the area near Roper. I've heard statements about noise and even poison being used to keep the waterfowl away. I'm sorry, but if this is the way we need to accomplish things from a military viewpoint, as a former officer in the Army, it's just wrong.

  • moogies Mar 12, 2007

    I agree the Navy should look into using Navy craft for the practice on planes take offs. Why should they be allowed to destroy more precious land just because they can bully their way into a situation. I cannot believe the attitude of Dole and Burr, especially Mr. Burr. Does he not realize that his voice should be that of the people he serves? Sounds as if he needs to be replaced no later than the next election!

  • Riverracer Mar 12, 2007

    I live in this area, and I have tried to keep a neutral position on the OLF. But when I heard what they were going to do to the birds, I quickly became an active supporter of NO-OLF. That is criminal.




Meet the Author
Bill Leslie