Letters to the editor

Kudos to Charter Hospital’s Dr. Kim Masters

A serious repercussion of Charter Hospital closing is the loss of Dr. Kim Masters, who has been Charter’s leading child psychiatrist for many years. For the last five years, Dr. Masters has served as our child’s psychiatrist during hospitalizations, and on an outpatient basis. He is one of the very few psychiatrists that accepts Medicaid, which foster and special-needs adoption families depend upon to pay for services.

Dr. Master’s impressive educational background and his extensive experience in the intensive setting of the psychiatric hospital makes him a valuable asset to our community. He is known across the country for his expertise. He is able to recognize and treat exceedingly severe emotional disorders in children, such as chronic post-traumatic stress disorder. This is a potentially disabling condition that can result from abuse and neglect.

Can we find a place for Dr. Masters in Western North Carolina, and in a setting where he can continue to care for our most fragile children? Would Mission/St. Joseph’s be willing to employ Dr. Masters, so that the many children that have been entrusted to his care are not now left scrambling to find another psychiatrist, and one who will accept Medicaid?

— Diane Bauknight


“Make sterility part of immigration policy” [Xpress, Letters, Nov. 22]?

Who is this moron?

— Patricia Wald

The sad prospect of another Bush presidency

With all the “unofficial” vote tabulations now piling up (i.e., those thousands of votes not locked out by Bush lackey, Katherine Harris), it is clear that Al Gore won the popular vote in Florida — as well as in the rest of the nation. The American people know it, and George W. Bush knows it. How else to explain his unwillingness to consent to a statewide recount that would settle the matter once and for all? So now we have the sad prospect of yet another ineffectual, one-term Bush presidency. Will we ever learn?

— Jeff Callahan
Summerville, SC

A short history of the Wal-Mart hearings

I have been working with a group of individuals who came together in May of this year because of the [proposed] … Super Wal-Mart at the Sayles Bleachery site. This group become know as CSD (Community Supported Development). It became clear, after being involved a short time and doing our own independent research, that Super Wal-Mart would not be a good neighbor. There were several reasons, but, in particular for the Sayles site, the environment was the biggest issue. Initially CSD focused on the Sayles site. However, it became apparent after much research on this particular out-of-town tenant — because that is generally what Wal-Mart is — that it would not be a good investment for our community. I encourage all citizens to do their own independent research, even those who say they want a Super Wal-Mart, before they continue to voice their opinion.

There are several good sites [about Wal-mart] on the Internet. One of the most popular is www.sprawlbusters.com. This site will give all a good lesson on what monopoly retail wants to look like.

The first community forum that the citizens in south Asheville had was on Aug. 15; there were between 75-80 concerned residents from the area that attended. The purpose of this meeting was to get the folks organized and educated. Several of the staff from [the city’s] Planning and Zoning [Department], as well as the traffic engineer and city engineer, attended this meeting. The staff came with Wal-Mart’s plans to present. It is important to understand that our city staff was using a traffic study that was done by the developer paid for by Wal-Mart; this was not an independent study. When questioned, the response was that these were licensed engineers, and if we had problems with the study, then it would be up to us as individuals to find the resources to refute it.

There were also other neighborhood meetings that city staff attended and, again, they brought Wal-Mart’s plans to present to the residents. Because the hearing would be quasi-judicial, all correspondence addressing this project was directed to Planning and Zoning, because this was the responsible department to put the package together for City Council. At all of these neighborhood meetings, it was highly encouraged for letters to be sent to the Asheville Citizen-Times.

When City Council met to decide the date for the public hearing on the Gerber property, the decision was made initially to have the hearing where Council normally meets because of a perceived lack of citizen concern — i.e. letters, faxes, phone calls, and e-mails. Because the community engaged in response to this issue, it was decided that the public hearing would be held at Stephens-Lee Community Center. I think that it is important to note here that Charles Worley suggested that, since City Council forums are now televised, the public could just watch the hearing. In my opinion, this shows total disregard for the public’s only chance to have their voices heard on this project. I wonder if sometimes our elected officials forget they are making decisions for the health, safety and welfare of many? It is important to remember that the director of Planning & Zoning [was quoted] in an article in the Citizen-Times [as saying] that, in his opinion, this supercenter would be an asset for this neighborhood — after knowing that four of the five roads surrounding this project are currently out of compliance, which means they are already overloaded to capacity. So let’s just allow development that would have generated thousands of more cars in this particular area. According to Scott Shuford, this is “smart growth.”

Mr. Worley, the lone Council member to vote for the project, made the statement that the traffic was not the problem but the people were. Well, since he agrees there is a problem, maybe he will be proactive [in supporting] better public transportation for south Asheville.

The final point that I would like to make is that I had the opportunity to have a conversation with Virgil L. Smith on Tuesday, Nov. 7, at Spring Valley Middle School, where I was handing out flyers to let voters know about this important, upcoming public hearing. … He informed me he is the president and publisher of the Citizen-Times, and suggested that I send an op-ed directly to him. I wrote a letter and e-mailed it to him on Friday, Nov. 11. While I am aware of the time constraints, I guess I assumed too much in expecting that a local newspaper would respond to a community concern instead of national elections that all media outlets are covering. There were many letters sent to the Citizen-Times in opposition to this development and only a few were printed, which just makes one wonder about media blackout.

I would like to close by saying democracy was in action on Nov. 14 when many concerned citizens took time out of their busy lives to attend this public hearing and speak with courage against a multinational corporation that is worth billions.

— Darcel Eddins

Check refund/return policies before buying

Many local retailers have a “no-cash-refund” policy. The signs announcing this policy can be very small. Your receipt might be stamped with the “no-cash-refund” policy, but by that time it’s too late. Look for the signs and ask the sales clerk if you are not sure. If they have a “no-cash-refund” policy, just make sure that what you get is satisfactory. Once the sale is made, it’s final. You may be able to get a store credit, but many people find this unsatisfactory.

Many online shopping sites have a 30-day return policy. The 30 days starts from the time the goods are shipped, and the goods must be received by the seller within 30 days of the shipping date. If you order an item as a Christmas present, the 30 days does not begin when the present is opened, but begins when the item is shipped. If it is shipped more than 30 days before Christmas, the 30-day return time has expired before the gift is even opened. All you can do is check the item as soon as it arrives. If it’s electronic, try it out to make sure it works and then wrap it back up. After the 30-day return period, you may still have a warranty period with the manufacturer. In order to return the item to the manufacturer, the original sales receipt will be required.

Many online ordering sites will not allow you to return an item to a physical store. If you buy it online, you will have to ship it back to the distribution center. Read the warranty and return policy on the Internet site.

Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas!

— Paul D. King

Disgusted with Bush

What a state of affairs. And what an example of everything that is disgusting and revolting George Bush has displayed in the aftermath of the election. It is now clear that Bush will do anything to win the presidency. His short speech this afternoon (Wednesday, Nov. 22) reflected such incredible dishonesty and lack of character that I am frankly concerned for our country should he win the presidency.

I am disgusted. If he wins, which at this point I hope he does not, he will not get my vote in the next election.

Bush already faces the disdain — indeed the ire — of at least half the electorate, all Democrats, as well as a considerable number of Republicans who are coming to realize the kind of man he is. Bush will stop at nothing, even the loss of confidence of the electorate, to gain the presidency. He dishonors himself, the American people and the position of president. In this fashion, he is indeed far worse than Clinton.

At the time Congress was in full support of the Vietnam War, according to Sen. John Kerry, George Bush not only used family influence to obtain a National Guard appointment over thousands of previous applicants, he actually failed to show up for Guard duty for the last 14 months of his tour. I initially felt this was unlikely, but given the testimony of Bush’s National Guard commander, I feel sure [it is true].

A prediction: If Bush prevails, he will face strong reluctance from Congress to work with him on any program. Washington will come to a virtual standstill. Anger and dissent will be the order of the day. I can’t blame them.

(With thanks to Gil Kempenich. [Letters, Nov. 22, “Disgusted with Gore”])

— Irma Max
Black Mountain

“Smart growth” threatens small farmers and their junkyard recycling programs

Beware of elitists in environmentalist clothing! I am one of the few progressives in the Leicester/Buncombe anti-zoning coalition, and I see any likely land-use regulation as a serious threat to the working class. A few Greenpeace-type pipe dreams address working-class issues, but “smart growth” is elitism, pure and simple. I don’t understand how you can get away with your “defense of farmland” posturing, when most farmers oppose you. We farmers drive old cars and trucks, so we need to be able to walk to the junkyard when our cars break down. This requires a junkyard in every neighborhood, which is really a recycling program and would be stamped out ruthlessly by “smart growth.” Also, many struggling farmers are making ends meet by dealing in used parts part-time. So we are threatened when small junkyards are threatened.

It is not fair for the rich tourist industry to expect struggling small farmers to make our farms look like paintings at our expense. Struggling small farms don’t look like the paintings! Small farmers have always been at the forefront of recycling and reuse, and for the past 50 years, the resulting images have been a symbol of class prejudice.

I believe you are evil and will fight you to the bitter end. You will never get a consensus out of me.

— Alan Ditmore

WNCW management should step down in the interest of true public radio

Thank you for the informative articles of the last couple of weeks focusing on the turmoil at WNCW [Nov. 15, “Broadcast static”; Nov. 22, “WNCW rumbles continue”].

As a listener, I have been concerned for quite some time about that “public” radio station. Having written to both the station’s management and Dr. [Willard] Lewis, [president of] Isothermal Community College, many times, I have never gotten a single response. And to think we donated CDs that may have been tossed out. It makes me ill thinking that other struggling musicians attempting to get their music heard may also have had their work put into trash bags, along with other items kind individuals had donated to raise funds for the station. Just for the record, I read many of the ads for the referenced [Mountain Oasis Music] Festival and all of the ads I saw had the WNCW name attached. I could not help but wonder how they could put on such a profit-making event. Nowhere did I see the name of the entertainment company who in fact, it turns out, was behind the festival. …

We support other truly public radio and TV stations, and not one of them fills their program guide with advertisements from companies such as Hardee’s, as WNCW continues to do. And all the other stations allow free community-calendar listings, which WNCW does not. Ironically, WNCW management canceled Cecil Bothwell’s Duck Soup commentary when he dared to hint that WNCW was in fact a commercial station, and Cecil Bothwell was one of the best commentators I have ever heard. Now this year, management axed All Things Considered, which I used to listen to each afternoon. When I wrote to them about both of the above decisions — expressing how sad it was that listener input was not solicited, since our donations support the station — I was not even given the courtesy of a reply.

The time has come for WNCW management to step down, so that we can be free to enjoy our local “public” radio station. Otherwise, I fear we will lose the talents of not only Cecil Bothwell, but perhaps Marshall Ballew (voted best radio announcer of the year), Linda Osbon and who knows how many others. By allowing WNCW to be a true public-radio station, we will all win in the end: Staff will be happy under new management, and perhaps we, the listeners, will be able to enjoy All Things Considered and Duck Soup again.

— Sally MacMillan

WNCW’s priorities not in order

Regarding the article about public-radio station WNCW [Nov. 15, “Broadcast static”], program director Mark Keefe “explains that WNCW has built-in problems in running localized public-service announcements that would appeal to the majority of its listeners, since it covers a five-state area.” Funny, that doesn’t seem to be a concern in running “localized” (and paid) concert information. Kinda lets you see where the priorities are, doesn’t it?

— Ronald Beam

Public input deleted at WNCW

As a member of “Public Radio Station WNCW,” my attempts to communicate with station management [regarding] program changes were deleted!

Having supported the station (during both spring and fall fund drives) as a volunteer, member and (occasionally) a premium provider, I felt that my inquiries were both appropriate and appreciated. Because my comments were questioning decisions made arbitrarily by current management, my inquiries were conveniently deleted. Upon one occasion, I called to express my concern with management’s decision to drop the 8-9 a.m. Morning Edition. I was told that I could “watch TV for news like everyone else.”

I have been an avid supporter of public radio since the inception of WNCW, until my efforts to be “heard” were rudely ignored. Ms. Davis is wrong when she [was reported as noting that] none of the people who started the station were still there [Xpress, Nov. 15, “Broadcast static”]. There is no wonder that the station has taken a “wrong turn!” The only reason that I still listen to the station now is because of Marshall Ballew, Bill Buchynski and Charles Benedict, who were there from the beginning and were instrumental in making the station great.

During the last two years, the program format has taken a turn toward what I consider to be “commercial” in nature. When I voiced my opinion, I was either ignored or deleted. As a means of making my point, I chose not to renew my membership during the last year. Futhermore, I chose not to give a matching set of four hand-woven baskets (modestly valued at $200), fearing that Ms. Davis would throw them in the dumpster if not immediately pledged for.

I love radio. I really love WNCW! I can’t wait to support the station in the future!

— Leon Milligan

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