Opinion Roundup: Coming to terms with flooding issues
Posted August 29
Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017 -- A roundup of opinion, commentary and analysis on the case for why rising sea levels can't be ignored, the legislature's moves to approve new district maps, the discussion of what's next in the Confederate statue debate and more.
ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
We can’t ignore rising waters (Wilmington Star-News) -- With rapid development continuing along the North Carolina coast and sea levels predicted to rise, flooding is an issue we’ve got to come to terms with. Unfortunately, we expect that to continue to be difficult in an environment in which politicians and other interests undermine -- or at best, ignore -- what scientists are telling us. We understand that climate scientists and geologists and demographers can’t flawlessly predict the future. But they can, based on the best knowledge and data they have, provide a scientific and systematic evaluation of problems we are likely to face. It will, of course, remain up to politicians to decide if they want to act on that information.
TRISTA TALTON: GenX Response: Stored Water Disposal Set (Coastal Review analysis) -- About 50 million gallons of treated drinking water stored in the Upper Peedee Aquifer will soon be pumped back into the Cape Fear River. The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority said it plans to begin withdrawing the water from the aquifer around Sept. 10. Preliminary testing of water shows scant traces of the chemical GenX, a contaminant for which federal regulatory standards have yet to be developed. The pump-out is part of the authority’s latest moves to respond to the GenX contamination, in addition to a nearly $65,000 contract with UNC-Wilmington announced Monday to study unregulated compounds and chemicals in the water supply.
People of Texas need America's help (Greensboro News & Record) -- Some are wading through waist-deep water, clutching children, a family pet or a few possessions. Some are climbing on to anything that floats. Others are still awaiting rescue.
Helping our Texas friends (Winston-Salem Journal) -- The news images we’ve seen of the flooding brought on by Hurricane Harvey in the Houston area are chillingly reminiscent of 1999’s Hurricane Floyd in our own state. Then, the rest of the nation reached out to our sisters and brothers in Eastern North Carolina. Now, we’re returning the favor.
POLITICS & POLICY
EMILY BAZELON: New Front in the Gerrymandering Wars: Democracy vs. Math (New York Times analysis) -- Sophisticated computer modeling has taken district manipulation to new extremes. To fix this, courts might have to learn how to run the numbers themselves.
MATTHEW BURNS: High court weighs voting maps, government power struggle (WRAL-TV analysis) -- The North Carolina Supreme Court heard arguments in two cases involving the other two branches of state government.
TRAVIS FAIN: Republicans move map lines for Dem senator's home, send map to House (WRAL-TV analysis) -- The state Senate approved its new map without support from any of the chamber's 15 Democrats.
RUSTY JACOBS: NC Legislature Passes New District Maps (WUNC-FM analysis) -- North Carolina’s Republican-led General Assembly has approved a set of legislative district maps to replace the 2011 plans thrown out by the courts for being illegal racial gerrymanders. The problem, many critics say, is the new maps are just as bad.
MICHAEL STEEL: Dean Smith statue in the U.S. Capitol? He beats who’s there now (Charlotte Observer column) -- Dean Smith would be a fitting person to honor with a U.S. Capitol statue over Confederate veteran Zeb Vance.
D.G. MARTIN: Here is one way President Trump could address the monuments issue (Winston-Salem Journal column) -- Is there some way to help President Trump recover from the damage caused by his comments relating to events in Charlottesville and the future of Confederate monuments? Perhaps he could issue a statement of his position following the model of the classic “If-by-Whiskey” speech given by Noah Sweat, a Mississippi legislator, in 1952 on the controversial question of legalizing the sale of liquor. In that speech, Sweat passionately and convincingly argued two opposing sides of a serious issue.
ROGER CHESLEY: What's next? Relocating the monuments shouldn't be the only goal for people of conscience (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot column) -- We have an opportunity to improve our community — from social justice to mentoring to racial understanding.
Hasten, don’t hinder, Civil War center (Fayetteville Observer) -- That Walt Handelsman cartoon we ran on this page a week ago sums up what happened in Charlottesville and in venues across the nation as Americans struggle with our big inventory of Civil War monuments. The cartoon showed Uncle Sam casting an anxious eye back at a monument inscribed, “United States Civil War, 1861 - ” No, it’s really not over yet, 156 years after it began. And many of us can’t even agree on the issues that drove it.
Relics of oppression can’t stand any longer (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- To some Asheville City Council members, that means to remove all the monuments. “They must come down,” said Keith Young, the only African-American on the council. The mayor is among those not yet prepared to go that far. However Pack Square evolves, it should be so as to reflect the history of Buncombe County’s people, all of them. And that’s why all of them should be consulted.
ANDREW DUNN: 6 biggest issues in this fall’s local election (Charlotte Agenda analysis) -- Charlotte’s top mayoral candidates will be on stage this evening at the Charlotte Agenda’s Mayoral Forum to discuss their visions for the city. It’s too late to snag a ticket, but you can still follow along with a livestream on the Agenda’s social media accounts. Here are some of the issues that are sure to come up in the mayor’s race and in the campaigns for Charlotte’s 11 city council seats.
WILLIAM McGURN: Steve Bannon’s Revenge (Wall Street Journal column) -- In Steve Bannon’s phone call with Robert Kuttner, he referred to the KKK, Nazi and white identity marchers as “a collection of clowns.” But he also appreciates that the anti-Trump movement isn’t helped when it is revealed that the woman who toppled a Confederate statue in North Carolina is a member of the Workers World Party that backs North Korea.
GINA KOLATA: Widespread DNA testing sheds light on ancestry, But services have limitations, results uncertain (New York Times analysis) -- Human beings share more than 99.9 percent of their DNA; what makes us different is vanishingly insignificant in terms of genetics. If testing “tells me I’m 95 percent Ashkenazi Jewish and 5 percent Korean, is that really different from 100 percent Ashkenazi Jewish and zero percent Korean?” Jonathan Marks, an anthropology professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, wondered in The Wirecutter.
Asheville native, Olympic swimmer Mary Montgomery dies at 60 (Asheville Citizen-Times Obit) -- Olympic swimmer and Asheville native Mary C. Montgomery, 60, died Aug. 24. Montgomery, the youngest of five children born to Wayne and Betsy Montgomery, was a world-class swimmer, having set nearly 50 records. At age 15, she competed in the 1972 Munich Olympics where she finished in sixth place.