Every year, in AP Environmental Science, Dr. Stone has his students write letters to legislators and party leaders.
Stone said, “With the midterm elections coming up, I wanted to emphasize that [the students] write to local leaders in the first half of the year.”
One of those local leaders is Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane. Last Friday, October 10, Nancy McFarlane came to visit Leesville Road High School. All of Stone’s three APES classes, as well as Ms. Dotson’s Anatomy, attended the meeting in the auditorium.
McFarlane and city council member Bonner Gaylord answered questions on part of the students.
Questions ranged from the cities environmental policy, plans for better mass transportation, the recent array of teenage car accidents to police brutality, to name of few. Overall, the meeting had a light air and there was plenty of laughter and joking among the crowd and McFarlane and Gaylord.
On environmental issues, McFarlane talked primarily about the acquisition of the Dorothea Dix property and the plans to convert it into a park. Additionally, in the matter of fracking, McFarlane said, “The state is structuring it so local government doesn’t have much say.”
McFarlane emphasized that while Raleigh does not have large natural gas deposits, fracking in neighboring cities can have great effect in Raleigh.
On mass transportation, McFarlane said, “Your generation doesn’t want to depend on a car to get everywhere.” The Transit Authority of Durham, Wake and Orange County currently has plans to build a larger infrastructure of public transit.
Both Durham and Orange County have already began moving with the plans, however, Raleigh’s General Assembly has not passed the plan, which would require a one-half cent increase in sales taxes to voters.
On recent car accidents, Gaylord said, “The DOT designed roads too fast and gets people in-and-out as quick as possible. That’s why there’s fewer fatalities downtown.” The issue was related to mass transportation, through the council’s goal to create more “walkable” cities.
Ferguson is one of the most controversial hot-button topics on the political agenda today, thusly police brutality, and what Raleigh was doing to stop it, was brought up. McFarlane is an evasive response, McFarlane describe Raleigh as having community police, where the police and the citizens know each other.
McFarlane said, “The police force needs to be more diverse. The police force should look like, come from, and know the community.” McFarlane also described
Writing physical letters to politicians can be a great way to get in contact with them.
Grant Hall, junior, said, “It’s like [McFarlane] said, ‘a letter means a whole lot more than an email. I get 300 a day and I can’t possibly check them all’. I actually just got a letter back from Neal Hunt as well.”
Stone mentioned that other local politicians had contacted him about coming to Leesville.