readers write - November 2009

Pols mugged mall

Without a doubt Charlotte-Mecklenburg elected leaders, past and present, contributed to the demise of Eastland Mall (cover story, October). Development goes unchecked. Look at any map and you’ll see where low-income or affordable housing has been directed to the east and west sides of Charlotte. You will be hard-pressed to find the like around SouthPark, which has greatly benefited from City Hall protection. I, too, remember the celebration and experience Eastland offered, but it was a matter of time before politics killed the mall.

F.E. Prophet, Kannapolis

Realtors’ retort

I take issue with columnist G.D. Gearino’s statement in the October issue that real-estate brokerage is an obsolete field in today’s society. There are 37,500 Realtors in North Carolina who obviously feel otherwise, as they help people every day navigate the myriad steps required to buy or sell a home or property. On my desk, I have a list of nearly 200 typical actions, research steps, procedures, processes and review stages that take place before, during and after a successful real-estate transaction. Further, Realtors adhere to a stringent, enforceable code of ethics that promotes the fair, ethical and honest treatment of all involved parties. Purchasing a home is one of the most important decisions an indi-vidual or family will ever make. Throughout this complicated — and often stressful process — it brings peace of mind to have a knowledgeable Realtor with you. It also makes good business sense knowing that someone who knows the market is negotiating on your behalf. Just as it’s prudent to trust a complex tax issue to a CPA or a complex legal issue to an attorney, it’s prudent to trust the complexities of buying or selling a home to a Realtor.

Sandra L. O’Connor, president North Carolina Association of Realtors, Greensboro


Most of what Mr. Gearino wrote is 100% correct — even No. 4. However, it is based on a false premise: that everyone is as skilled as he in technology, has the inquiring mind of a journalist/ novelist and, last but not least, has the time to do the investigations he has done. Unfortunately, we live in a fast-paced world, and most people do not have the luxury of time, many do not have the skills, and most do not have any knowledge of real estate or laws of their state or locality. So for the time being, about 98% of the buying public is stuck with people like me.

Douglas B. Carson, Realtor, Charlotte

Up Front’s look back

I enjoyed your column (Up Front, October). The days of pulling border tape, cutting rubylith and waxing down copy are long gone from offset printing. Hardly anyone remembers molten lead. Digital has made it easier but has certainly done away with the craftsmanship of putting ink on paper. I’ve been in the printing business since the early ’70s and toyed with the idea of having “Printer” on my gravestone, as does Benjamin Franklin. But I’m not as proud of the title anymore.

Rick Winstead, president Key Printing Inc., Nashville


Bravo ... well said. I am sure you will get many negative comments on your last line, but brother, I couldn’t have said it better. Your words get the point across in a very visual way that any fool could understand.

Randy Lindsay, service center director Averitt Express Inc., Asheville

Too short-sighted

Indignation on CEO pay, indeed (“A Say on Pay,” September). How about indignation at a magazine that bills itself as a “business” magazine that slams executive pay based on a one-year evaluation? Who in their right mind would evaluate a CEO on the performance of a business over one year — or even two? Forbes had an analysis of executive compensation in the Sept. 7 issue that looked at a five-year window and ranked CEOs based on share price gain plus reinvested dividends over that period. Ken Lewis was second, earning the most for his stockholders over that five-year period — why would Bank of America not continue to compensate him well? Kinda blows your story- line. I would also point out that comparisons of year-to-year compensation are absurd when one-time bonuses (Lorillard’s Martin Orlowsky) and option grants (’s Doug Lebda and Hanes- brands’ Richard Noll) have such a big — but very short-term — effect. Your writers should be trying to achieve intelligent evaluation of business and looking at the bigger picture, not just myopic headline fabricating. All that does is encourage the Congress to mischief such as Sarbanes-Oxley.

Walter J. Sperko Sperko Engineering Services Inc., Greensboro

‘Allege’ means just that and no more

I am Randy Parton’s attorney and want to point out a blatant misstatement in the article about Rick Watson (cover story, September). The article said: “Dismissing the suit, Superior Court Judge John R. Jolly Jr. ruled that [Roanoke Rapids businessman Jim] Garrett had no legal standing because the city was acting within its authority. Garrett, however, points out that the judge’s order included a factual background that supported critics’ claims. It refers to Watson’s dual roles with the partnership and as a part owner in a management company with Parton. ‘Watson was grossly negligent and committed fraud, and the boards of directors of the [Northeast commission and partnership] were grossly negligent in allowing Watson and others to aid and advise the City in moving the theater project forward,’ the order says.” The order from Judge Jolly does not make any factual finding as reported in your story. It reads, “Among other things, the Amended Complaint alleges …” (emphasis added), and one of the allegations cited is the legal conclusion about Watson that your article reports. What your story did was take an allegation from Mr. Garrett and turn it into a factual finding from Judge Jolly, which is completely in error. I’d think your magazine would print a correction for this error.

Nick Ellis, Poyner Spruill LLP, Rocky Mount (We stand corrected. The editors)


Send your letters to or to Editor, BNC, 5605 77 Center Drive, Suite 101, Charlotte, N.C. 28217.