Apr 1, 2016 - Things to Do

Mailbag: 45 intense letters on House Bill 2, faith and our governor

charlotte-agenda-mailbag

charlotte-agenda-mailbag

This is part of an ongoing series titled Mailbag, items readers submit via email or our feedback form (not social media, everybody already sees that). We get a ton of feedback — this is not close to everything (it’s about 5%), but it’s a good sample.

General

“The agenda needs to go back to being a daily email about events and growth in Charlotte. No Jesus, no politics, no stupid op-eds that continue to spread misconception and stupidity. UNSUBSCRIBED.” – A

“I was feeling kind of disenchanted with your news topics… feeling that you were covering all the awesome development news (which I always love to read) but not covering any of the meaningful social issues going on in Charlotte. That’s why I was so happy to read your recent opinion pieces on why the HB2 law the state recently passed is wrong, as well as on racial profiling in Charlotte’s nightlife scene. Confidence in Axios Charlotte restored. :)” – D

In response to: I love the LGBT community and I support House Bill 2

“This issue makes a lot of people need to lay down and count to 10. What I find the most infuriating about this issue is how ignorant most of the citizens of Charlotte are the true complexities at hand. (I will only speak to one of those issues here.) I have spent the better part of the week trying to find objective sources to send to my loved ones, and it is damn near impossible. The repeated factual errors published in the Charlotte Observer has only fanned the flames. The crux of this issue is should not be over a f****** bathroom, blame the deterioration of the press for that circus. This “fight” should be a matter of LGBTQ citizens in North Carolina becoming a protected class. The protected classes that ARE outlined under HB2 are: Race, Religion, Color, National Origin, BIOLOGIAL Sex, and Handicap. (Notice a key something missing for our LGBTQ “Loved Ones?”) Why I had personally had to count to 10 after reading Ms. Garofalo’s Op-Ed, was her blatant refusal to address the main issue of “rights” at stake. In NC, LGBTQ is NOT a protected class. Most vulnerably under EEOC. This means that an individual could not be hired, or be fired for living a “sexually alternative lifestyle.” While I will give credit to Ms. Garofalo’s argument that Charlotte’s non discrimination ordinance was in ways an over reach of government into people’s business(es) [and let’s not even acknowledge how much worse the legislative’s branch passing HB2 is on that front]; IT DID MAKE LGBTQ a protected class, in our city, at least. HB2, she conveniently leaves out, makes it explicitly clear that LGBTQ citizens are NOT to be considered a protected class, now or ever. Sure, as Ms. Garolfalo states, a private business could choose not to discriminate, BUT, if an LGBTQ NC citizen WERE to lose their job for being gay in NC, thanks to HB2 they now lack any legal standing to seek reparations. “N.C. law prohibits bullying and harassing behavior against children on the basis of sexual identity. N.C. law also prohibits discrimination based on disability.” Says Ms. Garofalo. Yeah, well thank goodness our fellow citizens won’t be bullied in the unemployment line.” – A

“This article is genius!! Thank you for having the courage to speak up and not be afraid of the shamers. I absolutely support the LGBT community but where does the radicalism end? I believe the gays and lesbians are taking this over out of fear of discrimination and I get that but stop for a minute and recognize that not ONE transgender person has complained about it! The Civil Liberites Union can verify this!” – C

“This article is garbage. It starts with the I’m not racist, I have black friends premise. Then argues against progress because bigots could react to said progress negatively by attacking the LGBT community. As if this community already wasn’t subject to harm. So we shouldn’t undertake measures to ensure equality because it could upset the ingrained and established barriers in society? This line of reasoning sounds awfully similiar to arguments against civil rights and has has a very paternalistic slant whereby the majority tells the minority “we know what’s best for you and we’re going to take it nice and slow to get you on the same level” (when in realty they have no interest in upsetting the status quo, whether all at once or slowly over time). Finally, the let the free markets decide is such a cop out. The free market decides lots of things. We also step in as a community all the time when the free market doesn’t get things right. See civil rights act.” – P

“Everyone can have opinions. However, not everyone is entitled to a platform like Axios Charlotte to voice those opinions.”  – A

“I disagree with the author but I’m glad she had the courage to put her thoughts out there. I’m disappointed in the mean spirited tone of most of the Facebook comments. I guess that’s social media, but I would expect more from the CA community. Tell the author I said thanks for sharing her reasons for supporting HB2. I hope the reaction doesn’t suppress future counterpoint articles.” – M

“Here’s the thing about discrimination, and I’m going to put this in all capitals because it doesn’t seem to translate well through the masses: YOU DON’T GET TO DECIDE WHAT IS OR IS NOT DISCRIMINATORY FOR ANOTHER GROUP. There it is. Let’s continue forward with that enlightening new piece of knowledge. ‘Every women and child in the state of North Carolina has the right to safety and privacy.’ Not so fun fact, men get raped too. Men are preyed upon too. Think getting people to rally around a woman who’s been sexually assaulted is difficult? Apparently, it’s even more difficult for a man. But, referring to the character in your situation being a child, none of that matters because if she’s above the age of 7, she cannot go into the men’s bathroom with her father. Why? Well, because HB2 makes that illegal as well. But maybe the concerns of sexual assault are more important to others. Well, given our inferior status within this country, many of us have already accepted that we will be sexually assaulted, harassed, etc. and that the law will side with our abuser. To anyone joining the female community, you wouldn’t want to give any hopeful new member the illusion of it being any other way, now would you? But, what I’m curious about is: who cares? Honestly, as long as a handful of select idiots don’t take advantage of being able to use any bathroom, who really cares? Is this a religious thing? Is it a majority not understanding the minds of minorities? Because, now we can get to the fun facts, everyone poops. Caring about where they do so seems pointless and don’t we have bigger things to worry about? Like maybe how the UN condemned the treatment of women in our country or the structure of our current economy that makes life harder for minorities.So, from one straight white woman to another: in this situation, your opinion doesn’t count. Just like my stepdad’s opinion didn’t count when I was choosing birth control outside of insurance concerns. If the transgender community feels like they’re being discriminated against, do your research and stand with them because although this doesn’t affect you and shouldn’t even be a problem, apparently we need to use our privilege to earn some basic human rights for everyone.And your 360 business owners are going to suffer the economic backlash when revenue sources realize the stupidity of this law and back out of our state.” – C

“I appreciated Heather Garofalo’s effort to make a nuanced (and civil) point about HB2, but I came away with a question… Are we maybe overplaying this whole bathroom fear thing? Do people truly think that sex offenders would’ve automatically started rushing into public bathrooms across town to take advantage of defenseless people, had the ordinance been passed? I suppose it’s possible, but I don’t know… I just really find it hard to believe. The other day, I was in a grocery store restroom. As I washed my hands, a little boy, probably eight years old, came trotting in without an adult. It was just him and me. Were I a horrid person, I would’ve had a prime chance to strike (instead, I got out of there as quickly as possible). No ordinance could or would prevent a situation like that, and while I understand the bathroom argument in regards to the HB2 situation, I just don’t buy the fear and hype. Keep up the great work.” – R

“I cannot believe that the Axios Charlotte published the garbage article today called ‘I love the LGBT community and I support House Bill 2.’ This article is incredibly insulting to the LGBT community. The fact that this, presumably straight, white woman is trying to tell us that law is a good thing because it EMPOWERS individuals to create their own non discrimination policies is so out of touch i cannot even believe it. This law explicitly prevents cities from passing laws to protect LGBT individuals. It is a law passed with nothing but animus and the fact that this woman is trying to spin it as a positive thing that the LGBT community should be thankful for is so disgusting I cannot even believe it. I understand that Op-Eds are people’s opinions, but that does not mean that you have to publish any garbage article that comes through your mailbox. You just lost a daily reader.” – A

“Today you posted an article called ‘I love the LGBT community and I support House Bill 2’ by Heather Garofalo. A quick search of her name yields this result: ‘Charlotte business owner Heather Garofalo encouraged lawmakers to outlaw local anti-discrimination ordinances, saying they threaten her religious right to choose not to serve LGBT customers. “Business owners like myself, we would be forced to check our deepest-held beliefs at the door or suffer fines of $500, jail time, lawsuits,” Garofalo said. “I am asking for a right to provide for my family.” Read more at here. She “loves” the LGBT community but would refuse to serve them in her business? What a joke. Take this garbage down.” – R

“You are probably going to receive a number of responses to your op-ed, but I thought I would chime in just to point out a few facts. First off, you should probably provide some substantial back-up for that 70% claim. And 360 businesses is not a stellar fact considering many companies on the Fortune 500 have vocally condemned this bill. Secondly, this point: “Every women and child in the state of North Carolina…sets her up with a false hope…” is a poor point when you begin by saying you love the LGBT community. A transgender who identifies as male should be referred to as “him” and saying that he will have false hope even if the law protected him from discrimination when using the bathroom is fueling the anti-LGBT fire. So, you may have friends and family in the LGBT community, but you do not actually support them. Also – side note – it should be “Every woman and child”. Thirdly, allowing a transgender to use the bathroom of their identification in no way opens up the public to sexual predators. Sexual predators break the law regardless of what bathroom people are using. This is a poor argument that has been debunked by multiple sources. Connecticut, Hawaii, Colorado, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont all have laws protecting the community from discrimination in a public settings (allowing transgenders to use the bathroom of their identity) and no cases of sexual harassment due to transgenders going to the bathroom have been reported. If a sexual predator wants to attack someone in a bathroom, the bathroom sign isn’t going to stop them… We should probably be more focused on protecting all people from any type of sexual assault regardless of location. On a side note – this bill has potential to harm the economy. Large businesses are more hesitant to move here or expand in North Carolina if they cannot attract the desired outside customers or talent they need in this state. Yes, the bill allows those companies to open their bathrooms to transgenders, but that does not mean that all companies are going to act the same, making it difficult for a transgender to comfortably live in our state. Moreover, there is a potential for customers and talent to not even consider a business in North Carolina due to our state’s bigoted laws, and companies are unwilling to take that risk. They’re just people. Let them piss where they’re comfortable.” – K

“When you travel thru Europe most of the restrooms are not men’s or woman’s but a private door with a maybe 3’x3’ unisex space with a toilet and incredibly small sink. Most are nasty… floor and seat wet, if it even has a seat… It would be incredibly difficult to take a small child in with you and have them come out ‘germ’ free. But in this country I somewhat enjoy the 1 person restrooms…. But frankly I’m terribly uncomfortable with the restrooms with stalls and agree with McCrory. My 8 and 9 year old grandchildren are innocent and not really wanting to know the differences between a boys anatomy and a girls yet. I don’t want the first place they learn it to be a public restroom with a transvestite or much worse a pervert. What is fine for adults is not necessarily fine for children. I have gay friends, and the ones with children are not that gung ho about this bill either. Equal rights is fine, but not at the cost of the innocence of our children. Some of the stalls are not big enough for both me and my grandchild and they stand outside to hold my stall door closed. It only takes an instant to see something that they’re not prepared for at a tender age. I’m already a tad uncomfortable when I pull over to a rest area on the side of the road and there are few people around, about a male walking in on me while in the restroom alone. Now I’m even more uncomfortable since any cameras at the rest area won’t show anything out of the unusual since anyone could go into lady’s rooms and vice versa if the law is reversed. Just some different viewpoints I have that I’m not hearing a great deal of in the media.” – K

In response to: Charlotte club preemptively tells black customer they don’t serve Hennessy

“Nice way to imply the racist angle on the hennessey “article”… no mention of the other brands not served being a stereotype. Right up there with the lazy Mexican statue and the ultra white guilt CIAA articles.” – A

“I’m pretty sure Sharetha was sent that email because of her name. There is a lot of profiling at the EpiCentre. On 3 separate occasions last year, I have been denied entrance to Alive After Five because of what I was wearing. The first time was because I had on camouflage shorts, the second time because I had on a white v neck Polo shirt and the third time was because I had a plain white v neck shirt. On all 3 occasions, I tried a different entrance and the other security guards did not even mention what I was wearing. When I walk in, I see white patrons dressed just like me. Maybe you can do a piece on what the official dress code is for Alive After Five, because it’s about to kick off very soon. I would like to know.” – C

“Oh.em.ghee!!! I can’t believe they responded with that. Smh….and then the questions they asked her about date and event type she already answered in her first email inquiry to them. It’s like they didn’t even read her email… just looked at her name. Smh…. On the flip side I get the same reaction sometimes when they see my name via email and I show up and I’m black…married to a white guy. Hahahahaha I bust all stereotypes and minds.” – A

“What exactly was the purpose behind this article today? ‘Charlotte club preemptively tells black customer they don’t serve Hennessy’. An absolute complete waste of time to read. If you guys start publishing every little thing that someone thinks is happening due to race then you are 100% losing my readership. Does this mean you will write an article if a 28 year old white female complains to you about getting harassed by African American men walking down the street uptown? Or if an entire neighborhood complains about all of the African American teenagers trolling through their streets and breaking in cars/stealing packages?” – D

“I’ll start by saying I generally like your articles over the others at CA because they’re often topics that are forward thinking and have the potential to better the city or they bring to light issues that rarely get discussed because of how sensitive the nature of the topics are. In an era where everyone’s offended by everything, I’m sure this article will generate a lot of negative feelings towards Bubble, which, for the record, you couldn’t pay me to go into. I just don’t have any issue with what they wrote in that email. I DO have an issue with the fact that you singled out Hennessey in the title of the article when it was one of three liquors they listed, among many other specifics. I seems almost as presumptuous to assume they wrote that they only play EDM because they wanted to specify that they don’t play hip hop or rap music.” – A

“I wanted to let you know I reached out to Bubble Charlotte after reading your article today. I am a Diversity Consultant and offered a complimentary training for their staff. I am hoping they take advantage of the offer. Diversity can be tough but well worth the effort. Love reading the Agenda everyday…” – B

“I think this thing might be blown a little out of proportion. I think the restaurant is obligated to inform a party if they don’t carry a popular drink. Publicly accusing someone of being racist without proof isn’t what we need right now in America, it increases tension.” – B

“This story is not racism nor meaningful journalism. Bubble provided information about their services and identified a tequila, cognac, and vodka brand they don’t offer or carry for bottle service. Big deal!?! I would find this information useful. Having been someone who has ordered a tequila and vodka brand for bottle service in the past, it’s nice to know they may not offer or carry your preferred name brand. Get over yourself; but I’m white, and been denied from Bubble in the past for wearing sneakers so what do I know.” – A

“Thanks for your expose on Bubbles. I certainly understand, and appreciate, the issue that Sharetha brings to your attention. However, I think you missed an opportunity to show what Paul Harvey would have phrased, ‘the rest of the story.’ Sharetha made her needs abundantly clear with her initial request for information. The club did not read her email thoroughly or chose to ignore it. How many in your party? She indicated a group of 14. (that answers the question, right?) Is this a special occasion? She had already indicated a Bachelorette Party. (I think that qualifies) Bubbles has bigger problems than suspected racism.” – A

In response to: House Bill 2 and the importance of being wrong

“Just wanted to let you know that I loved your article and agree with you wholeheartedly. I am gay and get very angry at those who oppose LGBTQ anti-discriminatory legislation, but I also realize that, like you said, those who oppose such legislation are speaking their “truth” as well – what they feel is right based on their upbringing, background, exposure, etc, basically all of the experiences they’ve had in their lifetimes that led them to believe the way they do. Finger-pointing, hating, and polarization isn’t going to solve anything. Those things are only going to continue to widen the bridge between different groups. Also, I think it took a lot for you to admit what you said in your interview response. Of course we all have said and done things when we were young that we now look back on and shake our heads in disbelief. I remember in high school that my family belonged to a country club that didn’t allow African-Americans at the time, if you can believe that (and it was in the 80s). As a high school senior, I was in charge of putting together a year-end social for a club that I was in and wanted to hold the party there. The country club had recently changed it’s policy on admittance. Needless to say, the African Americans in the club were opposed, so I said, ‘It’s ok, they allow blacks now.’ UGH!!!! I think about that often and wonder how I didn’t get beat up.” – C

“I just want to reach out and say I enjoyed your article and agree with you on trying to create the environment that people can be wrong and learn. I was speaking with one of my team members on Monday about this and how we can create a environment at one of our locations on a weekly basis. After the discussion we decided to begin it with our vision team because on it we have all walks of life. We are going to start it there and then expand it outward in our locations with the hope of creating and environment that brings us together as people and not separates us. It is very important and needs to happen. I will let you know how it goes. Have a great day.” – W

“I read CLT Agenda every morning as one of my over coffee rituals, I have heard many conversations, read many articles and seen more than enough newscast to be so frustrated over the wrong of HB2. Your article was one of the most articulate and well explained article as to why HB2 is wrong. Discrimination is wrong period, no matter what race, sex, religion or individual we are discussing. It’s a shame that discrimination still exist and such hurt could be placed on any individual.” – D

“If the bathroom part had been left out, does any of this happen? I think it passes if that’s left out. I think the whole idea of some pervy shmervy dude dressing up for the sole purpose of trying to take advantage of a woman in a vulnerable place. At the same time, when you hear someone say ‘we have to protect our children’ as a reason for being against this legislation, do you reflect back on folks saying ‘we gotta protect our white women’ for the reasons against de-segregation? Personally, my protest has been to pee outside until this whole issue goes away. I got a fairly wooded backyard.” – B

“Where was the outrage in 2015 when Charlotte City Council voted against the nondiscrimination/sexual orientation ordinance? I find it to be intolerant of the NCAA, NBA, and corporations to threaten to move their business to other states because House Bill 2 seeks to take us back to the norm as of a couple of weeks ago. A bigger question: why can’t the nondiscrimination and sexual orientation issues be voted on separately? It seems most people are all for nondiscrimination, but that is completely different from allowing biological men into the restroom with women and young girls. With a little common sense, can’t we separate the issues?” – I

“I am opposed to the HB2 bill and enjoyed how she expanded beyond its overt discrimination to describe how it impacts all of us and challenge the reciprocated intolerance towards those who support it. We cannot grow as individuals or a community if we consider our own beliefs to be infallible, unfriend and unfollow those we disagree with, and meet others’ perspectives without a desire for understanding. The repeal of HB2 is important, and it needs to be repealed soon, but those of us who support equality should not consider that the end goal. We need to repeal discriminatory laws, but we also need to change the hearts and minds of those who support them. Perhaps we would even see our own beliefs evolve and mature as part of that process.” – M

“Excellent piece on HB2 and being wrong, Katie. Your example of your college interview and bringing that back around at the end was well done. I also appreciate your understanding of how we learn from our being wrong and not to tear down others who disagree with us. Good lesson for these hard times.” – S

“With your stated goal of becoming the ‘most human city’ in the world, it seems odd that you would not cover HB2 more adamantly. Rampant discrimination and injustice is happening right this minute, and you’ve written two stories on the subject. You are lucky enough to have a voice and the ear of the millennial audience in Charlotte. Use it. Take a stand and ask people to do the same. If you are trying to create a city of well informed young people, you are playing to the lowest common denominator by focusing on ramen and restaurants and not the bigots who are making decisions on behalf of the state. Even if you don’t take a stand, you can provide up to the minute information to your followers, and maybe, just maybe, they’ll use that information to take action. Charlotte and your readers deserve better.” – D

In response to: Charlotte doctors may decide to take their empathy elsewhere

“I oppose HB2. Strongly. But what a stretch to say that it will affect doctors’ choices of residency and practice. If that’s the case, then we live in a sad society in Charlotte. What’s next? Charlotte’s network of PGA tour players may leave? Food truck chefs? Semi-retired pet shop owners? One-legged pottery and craft enthusiasts?” – A

“Thanks for sharing the op-ed pieces in response to the HB2. The one posted this morning by Kyle Roedersheimer especially struck me – I never would have considered this effect. It is so important for citizens to realize this is much more than a bathroom issue, and the trickle down effects can be horribly detrimental to the state on many levels. Thanks for keeping the conversation going, hopefully in the right direction.” – A

In response to: The (near) reunification of Mecklenburg County

“Re: the Chiaverini redistricting article. He makes the point that ‘Contorting lines on a map may sound relatively benign, but the reality is that those lines are often devised to create safe regions for a political party or to silence minority racial groups.’ This is true as far as it goes, but what interests me about this debate is that many ignore that the old District 12 blatantly isolated black people. District 12 is 51% black, 35% white. District 9, which represents the rest of Charlotte, is 13% black, 77% white. Charlotte is 35% black, 45% white. Clearly neither district accurately represents the racial diversity of our city. The new districts largely make sense from a strictly geographic standpoint. Isn’t this the direction our society is trying to go? A direction where congressional districts are made so that the interests of CHARLOTTE are united, instead of the interests of black or white people across a 70-mile stretch? I’m much more interested in having my representative representing Charlotte, not someone four counties away who happens to have the same color skin as me. I appreciate Mr. Chiaverini for making this point, and I wish more people engaging in this debate would get on board.” – A

“While I agree that gerrymandering needs to be eradicated, and that it would be a great thing for Mecklenburg County to be united in one congressional district, this unification is most likely not possible. The average congressional district has just over 700,000 constituents, with the Montana-at-large district being the largest at just over 900,000. Mecklenburg county is at about 1,034,000 residents. So yes, uniting Mecklenburg into one congressional district would be great, but a congressional district of that size would be unprecedented.” – J

In response to Andrew’s newsletter intro on March 28

“Not loving today’s intro. You are allowed to love whoever you want and proclaim it on your own time. Using a sponsor and member supported platform to say ‘I love Jesus’ is disturbing. Saying that in the South has deep implications. This city is homogeneous enough that you probably didn’t offend too many, but I still find it an insensitive and unnecessary statement to include in the intro. If you want to tell YOUR story put it in an article.” – A

“Thanks for your honest intro in today’s email newsletter. I’m guessing you’ll get a lot of messages in response to your comment about not being sure how to have a relationship with God. You asked some good questions, and I think a big part of faith is wrestling with those and stepping out and saying you’ll believe something even when you don’t 100% get it. That’s incredibly annoying for most of us, but I think God will always have some element of mystery. At least on this side of heaven. It’s just how He works. As far as the relationship part goes, I do think you can develop that, even while still having doubts or tests of your faith. In fact, God seems to give us those tough moments so that we’ll turn to Him more and ask the hard questions. And I think having a relationship with God just means trying to learn more about Him, and follow His guiding, and spend time in His presence. Just like a relationship with a person. Annnyhow, here are some suggested actions: – If you don’t already, start to read the Bible every day. A study Bible is really helpful, like this one, because it explains a lot of the confusing messages in Scripture. Reading more about God and His character and how He’s interacted with people over time can help you learn how to interact with Him yourself. – Pray every day. You can pray throughout the day, and a lot of people do, but also take time for designated prayer. Sit somewhere quiet and just tell God what you’re thinking. Ask Him what He thinks. See what you get. Some people say they hear God’s audible voice. I hear Him in my gut. – Journal. Some people don’t like journaling, but you’re a writer, so I’m guessing you do. If I’m wrestling with something, or want to know God more in some way, I just start writing. By getting my thoughts down, and asking questions on paper, I actually think God leads me to some answers, which helps me learn more about Him and feel closer to Him. – Talk to your pastor. Pastors are usually pretty wise, caring people with good advice. Ask your pastor how he interacts with God, and what advice he has for you.” – M

“I have an issue with today’s newsletter, particularly this line from the opening paragraph: ‘…that’s what respectable people do on Easter — they go to church.’ This is a remarkably foolish statement. Respectful Christians may go to church on Easter, but those of another (or no) faith should not be implicitly smeared as dishonorable heathens because they don’t attend Easter services. Charlotte may be the city of churches, but I thought the Agenda was intended as a news source for all its citizens. What is even more disappointing is that it is clear you didn’t even stop to think that not all of your audience was Christian; instead, you assumed that everyone reading this was just like you and fell somewhere on the narrow spectrum from weekly worshiper to ‘Chreaster.’ By all means, do features on local churches and don’t hide your faith, but you must realize that insulting your differently- or non-believing readers isn’t good for your brand.” – J

“Your intro this morning was so inappropriate that it infuriated me. It will probably ruin my day since the first thing I did this morning was read the Agenda (like I do every morning). Specifically, ‘…because thats what respectable people do on Easter – they go to church. Obviously that makes you think about just where you fall in that range.” Is that really the message CA wants to send out? So what about our Jewish/Muslim/Buddhist/Agnostic/Atheist/etc brothers and sisters? What about people who don’t fit along the spectrum of church only on Easter and those that attend every week? What about the people for whom church and jesus aren’t part of their lives? Are they not respectable people? Am I less of a human in your eyes because I don’t share your beliefs?” – S

“I’m Catholic but didn’t go to church yesterday – does that make me not respectable? How would a Muslim or Jew interpret that? As Hemingway said, ‘write drunk, edit sober’ — maybe write editorially and edit like a journalist with a varied readership. Just trying to keep ya honest.” – L

“I read your newsletter every day, I usually really enjoy it but today I was offended. I like your publication enough to reach out and tell you – instead of just ignoring it or unsubscribing. Today’s newsletter from Andrew included this line ‘…to the guy who only shows up once a year because that’s what respectable people do on Easter — they go to church.’ Ouch. Are you implying that if someone does not go to church on Easter they are not respectable? What about people who participate in religions other than Christianity? Are they not deserving of your respect? Charlotte is a diverse city of many religious and non-religious people. Christianity is just one type of faith and belief. I feel it’s unfortunately small-minded of you to make such a sweeping statement.” – A

In response to: 4 things I’ve learned being a young woman in business

“You know what I find sexy and attractive? A good looking man in a well tailored suit. You know what men wear to work? Suits! You know what doesn’t distract me from functioning in society and doing my job? Men in suits! You know why? Because I’m an evolved human being capable of treating other people like fellow human beings instead of like sex toys. But let’s say, for instance, I was incapable of doing my job in the presence of a man in a suit. Should the man in the suit be told to dress differently? Should the man in the suit stop being so distracting? Should the man in the suit un-sexify himself in some way to better accommodate me and my unwelcome gaze and uncontrollable sexual impulses? Definitely not! On the contrary, I should probably stop being such a creep and just do my job and stop blaming my failure to do so on the existence of someone I find attractive. So let’s frame this another way… You know what some men find sexy and attractive? Boobs! You know what women have attached to their bodies at all times (even when they’re working)? Boobs! You know what men consistently use as a reason to demean, belittle and shame women in the workplace? The fact that they have boobs! I don’t disagree that there are (and in most cases should be) generally accepted dress codes in the workplace. They prevent Bob over there from wearing his jorts and flip flops to the quarterly update and that’s just great for everyone. Some places of business even have official dress codes. That’s fine. Setting forth official or unspoken dress codes is completely fine if that’s just the professional standard. But setting forth gender-specific dress codes that imply that women need to make themselves less sexually desirable so that the men in their office can do their jobs is not ok. If you are so distracted by my existence that you can’t do your job, the problem is with you not me.” – A

In response to: Smart cards are coming to Charlotte transit

“YAY for Smartcards for CATS!!! This is a fabulous development! We really need to normalize riding the bus for the young middle class in Charlotte. All the cool things happening with transit (like greenways, biking, and the lightrail) work together with our basic form of public transit which around here is the bus. Now, any update on those long-shot funds for an app that would tell us when the next bus was pulling around the corner…” – A

In response to: Can Pat McCrory’s relationship with his hometown ever be repaired?

“Nice article! It is really sad how establishment handlers can manipulate career minded politicians… like our dear old Pat M.; he has fallen into same trap just like so many before him. Term limits… if only! Hope to see you or one of your crew at tonite’s event: TDOV Rally. We need all the help we can get.” – I

In response to: Charlotte Observer publisher Ann Caulkins is right and I hope McClatchy listens to her

“Too many newspapers, the Observer included, long ago abandoned their commitment to quality journalism and got stuck in an endless cycle of groupthink and risk aversion. It’s not just the folks from the parent company who are guilty of this — the senior editors at the Observer long ago turned the paper into a civic cheerleader and toady for large corporate advertisers. The Observer hasn’t been a good paper for decades. I’m not just picking on it, either. With a few notable examples — The New York Times being the most notable — you don’t get much beyond surface reporting and a general smiley face at large metro dailies. Until newspapers can figure out how to wed traditional journalism with the 21st Century digital obsession with SEO and page views, the best business model is to just turn papers into non-profit entities that get funds through grants and public contributions. This way papers are not beholden to advertisers and can actually practice real journalism, with deep reporting and an eye on investigative and enterprise pieces. I’d love to see a thriving local paper covering important issues and developments. I’m not seeing that with the Observer, which is why I get most of my local news off the Web (thanks, Agenda!) and the rest through subscriptions to the NYT and Economist.” – V

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