Misguided amendments

EDITOR: The StarNews editorial board has demonstrated to the electorate the danger to North Carolina’s constitutional form of government these new amendments passed by the General Assembly would bring if approved by voters this November. Several of them will fundamentally change our state checks and balance system among the legislature, governor, and courts. It is a power-grab by the majority in the legislature.

What the average citizen and voter should keep in mind when voting on these amendments is the idea that power corrupts, but absolute power corrupts absolutely! I suggest we all vote "NO" on these amendments that are attempts to fundamentally change the way government works in North Carolina.

Carole Ellis, Wilmington

What freebies?

EDITOR: You do readers a disservice by printing false information even in an opinion letter. A simple Google search would reveal that a recent letter writer’s assertion that illegal aliens receive welfare benefits is generally false.

Now, if they have a child born in the USA they may be eligible for benefits for that child. Or if they came on certain verifiable refugee programs there are some benefits available there. But most border jumpers wish to lie low and avoid government notice. I have heard many not only pay income tax, but more than they might owe, since nonpayment of taxes is a sure way to get deported via the IRS.

If the writer knows of a current welfare fraud situation, I urge him to report it. If he knows where the "freebies" are, I'd like to know that too. And President Obama had ample criticism in 2014 when so many unaccompanied minors jumped the border. There are no easy solutions.

But again, shame on the editorial staff for publishing a letter that does not reflect facts.

Mary Ellen Cole, Leland

Stick to facts

EDITOR: I'd like to set the record straight regarding a letter of June 29 ("Stop the Giveaways to Illegal Immigrants").

The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, or “IIRIRA.” was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Clinton. This legislated that not only would undocumented immigrants not receive welfare, but legal immigrants wouldn’t get benefits such as food stamps, Medicaid or money for child assistance until they’ve lived here at least five years and even seven years after their arrival.

Here’s a list of benefits undocumented immigrants expressly do not receive: Children’s Health Insurance (CHIP); Disability, aka Supplemental Security Income (SSI); Food stamps, aka The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); Health insurance, aka insurance via the Affordable Care Act (ACA); Medicaid; Medicare; Social Security.

Those who rail against immigration would do well to learn the facts regarding the situation.

John Allen, Southport

Editor’s note: While we are not making a judgment on whether or not illegal immigrants should receive them, some taxpayer-funded programs do serve undocumented immigrants -- school meal programs, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), Head Start, and various in-kind emergency services. Undocumented immigrants also are eligible for Emergency Medicaid, have a legal right to attend K-12 public school and, by federal law, cannot be turned away from hospital emergency rooms.

Try 'smart growth'

EDITOR: We are told that growth of our area is inevitable and the corresponding increase in traffic is something “we will have to get used to.” There are, however, alternatives. We need to look to smart-growth principles of not just adding more and bigger roads -- we need mass transit options, separate bike lanes, complete sidewalks, and less sprawl.

Why would we not require all developers to install sidewalks? Why can’t we provide easier and more efficient public transportation? Chapel Hill provides free bus service to alleviate traffic. Surely that is one solution that is less expensive than building new roads and interchanges. Encourage infill development and reuse of abandoned buildings to avoid sprawl and so many strip centers and curb cuts. Require new developments to offset their infrastructure burdens not just with turn lanes but with mass transit buy-in.

Proactive planning to relieve our dependence on traditional fossil-fuel, one car/one driver is critical for our health, safety and sanity at endless stoplights.

Donna Ray, Wilmington