Letters to the Editor

Voice of the People - March 30, 2008

Candidate should explain platform

Your article about the two competing Republican candidates for S.C. House District 45 was both interesting and confusing. When your reporter asked about school vouchers, etc., Deborah Long simply parroted state Rep. Mick Mulvaney, by stating that she agrees with his current position. She really didn't give any response. Bruce Miller, at least, gave his thoughts and although I may not completely agree with what he said, he did take a position.

I'm more inclined to look for a candidate who will be willing to speak his thoughts, instead of one who is trying to be safe, by stating her agreement with a very popular representative.

Evette Lopez

Rock Hill

Residents near airport need more information

While the news about the proposed Airport Overlay District has garnered some terrific news coverage, it is clear that this is not a well understood issue. Rather than rush to conclusions, we all need to ask more questions about the impacts of the zoning change and the difference to be expected in noise volumes.

Before the county enacts a policy that has profound economic impact on an entire region, about 500 homeowners within the half-mile and two-mile noise bands around the airport need to know the answers to basic questions:

• What is the current ambient noise level within each proposed overlay? A consultant, using a software program, modeled the noise bands for the county. Anyone who has followed Mapquest driving directions recognizes the limitations of a software program. Noise-based zoning policies should be predicated on actual noise-level monitoring at different times and locations in each overlay. After we fully understand the actual noise levels, help us understand how much the noise will increase.

• What are the complaint procedures for aircraft that seem to be particularly noisy? As the agency that regulates air transportation, the Federal Aviation Administration provides guidance on ground-level noise from aircraft. While that agency has civil complaint procedures, will the city of Rock Hill have its own complaint procedure? Does the city or county have a noise ordinance that applies to proposed noise bands?

• How can airport neighbors ensure that their homes are best equipped for noise? Some houses are built with materials that absorb outside sound better than others. Within the affected noise bands, are any grants or programs available to help homeowners adequately buffer and insulate homes?

• Why is a proposed "noise nuisance" disclosure necessary on home sales? According to our city and county leaders, the anticipated noise level within the quarter-mile and half-mile noise bands around the airport is between 55 and 60 decibels. Rustling leaves make a 30-decibel sound. A person talking, at normal volume, is between 50 and 65 decibels. A passenger car traveling 30 mph is about 65 decibels. A rock concert registers between 110 and 140 decibels. Including a nuisance disclosure in a sales contract about ambient noise that's analogous to neighbors talking in my yard seems absurd.

There are far more questions that should be addressed. About 500 homeowners live within the defined noise bands and are affected by the proposed changes. We knew where we were buying, and we should not work to stop progress. Our greater concern should be about due process and ensuring that our government enacts good policy that further enhances quality of life.

Before we can support growth, we need answers.

R. Carter Langston

Rock Hill

Rev. Wright's sermons can't be justified

There are those who say that the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's comments were taken out of context. I say there is no context in which such racist hate-speech is acceptable, especially from the pulpit. And how can one excuse taking the Lord's name in vain in the process of damning this country?

No, Barack Obama is not responsible for the words of his pastor. However, he must be held accountable for his continued support of Wright and the church that obviously has condoned his tirades for years. I would not want a president of the United States to associate with a guy like Wright for 20 minutes, much less 20 years. And for Obama to subject his young children to such rhetoric is unconscionable.

Wendy Merrick

Rock Hill

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