LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Gerrymandering and central library

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Gerrymandering and central library
August 31
04:00 2017

Gerrymandering –all kinds – is bad for all of us

To the Editor:

Racial and political gerrymandering is a serious problem in many states, but to such an egregious degree in North Carolina that the Supreme Court had to step in and order our legislators to re-draw the legislative district maps. 

The newly proposed  maps were presented on Tuesday, Aug. 22, at seven locations around the state.  Hundreds of people showed up at the public hearings hosted by the N.C. General Assembly. 

Not surprisingly, since the same consultant who drew the current illegal maps was hired again, the new maps continue extreme partisan gerrymandering. About 90 percent of the districts clearly favor one party, creating safe seats with little or no partisan competition. Was it just coincidence that in all seven locations people were crammed into tiny rooms and overflow crowds were put into rooms with inadequate sound, or was this an attempt to make it as difficult as possible for people to speak, knowing that the majority were there to voice opposition to the proposed maps?

Racial and partisan gerrymandering has to stop. Now. It is a faulty, misguided political construct that de-legitimizes our votes, creates unbalanced legislatures, and results in white-power rule. 

Instead of drawing maps that perpetuate a bad system, our legislators should be calling for an independent, non-partisan commission to re-draw districts.

Lois Roewade, Pfafftown

Everyone should check out new Central Library, opening today

To the Editor:

At long last, the new Central Library opens Aug. 31 [today]. People have been watching the construction over the past several years, and it’s amazing to see this modern, welcoming, building in the place of what had become a crowded, out-of-date building.

Hundreds of people in Forsyth County worked on passing the library bonds in 2010. The bond referendum was for $40 million, and $28 million was allocated for either renovation or new construction at Central Library.

Funds also were allocated for new libraries in Clemmons and Kernersville and for improvements at other branches, including Carver School Road, East Winston Heritage Center, Rural Hall, Walkertown, and Southside branches.

While the new Central Library is at the same location, it’s an entirely new library, and it’s for everyone.

Even before you enter the building, you see the reading garden with its public art sculpture. Then as you come in, you see the café, where people can sit and relax in a welcoming environment.

Thought to be one of the most technologically advanced libraries in the State, it’s also open and airy and spacious.

The Children’s Room on the main floor is exciting and offers young children special technology and the chance to enjoy performances, story time, and to create art and crafts, as well as read and learn in more traditional ways. Teens have their own area, Teen Central, and the latest technology, plus a demonstration island, a gaming center, computers, books and music.

People with a creative bent will enjoy the Makerspace, where they can use high-tech digital technology, 3D printing, and do crafts such as quilting and woodworking. And everyone will make use of the new Computer Lab in expanded space and with twice as many state-of-the-art computers for doing job searches, homework, or other research.

Many people do not realize that the library has an extensive art collection, which is distributed throughout the building. Art tours will be available. The North Carolina Room, always popular with historians and researchers, has expanded facilities and areas to explore the library’s unique collection of books, archives, maps and genealogy materials. On the third floor, an open terrace provides views to the mountains and opportunities for gatherings.

Libraries are for everyone and are some of the most diverse public spaces in our community. As our community continues to work on ensuring that all of our children are performing at grade level and graduate from high school with a clear plan for their futures, libraries are essential parts of our education system.

Thanks to the voters in Forsyth County, we now have a new Central Library that we can use and be proud of. Soon new libraries at Kernersville and Clemmons will be built. Each of our libraries serves our community, and we are so fortunate to have them. Everyone should check them out.

Wanda Brown, Winston-Salem

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