Remove trees

My son and I were relieved when we read about the S.C. Department of Transportation’s plan to cut trees in the median of I-26. We live on Daniel Island, and my son goes to Pinewood Preparatory School in Summerville.

We take the Jedburg exit off I-26, and we have both witnessed and read about horrible accidents along that tree-lined stretch of interstate.

For years we have wondered why the DOT has not cut down the trees as it is obvious that when a vehicle hits a batch of trees, the trees are going to win. When my son heard about the DOT’s plan, he exclaimed, “Finally. What took them so long?”

But then I read the Feb. 20 article titled “Highway official says keep the trees,” in which Jim Rozier says that “bad drivers, not trees, cause wrecks on that stretch of I-26.” While that is certainly true, those trees kill people whose lives could be spared if the median were clear.

I urge the DOT to move forward with the removal of those trees. How could Mr. Rozier or anyone else believe that trees are more beautiful than a human life?

Cynthia Hubbard

Cochran Street

Daniel Island

Where’s money?

In a March 1 letter to the editor, Sen. Robert Ford talks about S.C. State University “moving forward” and said millions of taxpayer dollars that were supposed to go to the school’s Transportation Center were not “swept under the rug,” thanks to the efforts of his good friend, board member Maurice Washington.

That is all well and good, but all I have ever read about when it comes to funny money dealings, revolves around a Porsche and some land purchase. I still have one question: Where are the millions of dollars?

Seymour Rosenthal

Waterfront Drive

Mount Pleasant

It was my idea

A Jan. 31 front-page article asks, “How many public officials does it take to change a traffic light? The answer, apparently, is three.”

The real question is, how many years does it take?

The article explains that Charleston County Councilman Joe Qualey pitched an idea to the City of Charleston to extend the green light at Maybank Highway and River Road intersection to alleviate traffic. Wow. What a great idea.

On Nov. 18, 2008, I wrote a letter to the editor titled “Fix traffic now” that had three suggestions for that intersection: 1) Place signs on the Stono Bridge that say “Form Two Lanes — Alternate Merge Ahead.” (These signs were finally erected two years after my letter appeared but have since been removed).

2) Create a right-hand turn lane at the intersection from the Hess driveway forward, allowing those vehicles to immediately get out of the main thoroughfare. (This was finally done last year in anticipation of the PGA Golf Tournament at Kiawah.) 3) Extend the green light time for those coming off the bridge to get through that intersection.

Here we are almost five years later, and this idea is now being pitched to the city.

Use some of our tax dollars, and come up with the mere half mile of pavement it will take to create the second lane off of the bridge (as I also suggested five years ago).

Or should we perhaps wait another five years for y’all to figure that one out, too?

After all, the bridge has needed this lane since it was built 10 years ago.

Nicholas J. Clekis

River Road

Charleston

Concealed arms

When an individual or group opposes something, it muddies the waters with what-ifs, since actual facts don’t play well with their opposition. A good case is the bill that would allow folks with concealed weapons to be in places that serve alcohol.

Opponents can come up with nothing better than a “possibility” of a shootout between equally inebriated individuals settling a disagreement. Never mind that states that allow concealed carry in drinking establishments have never experienced a single case of “draw-down.”

This leads me to believe that either opponents are drawing on what they might do in a similar situation or that we folks of South Carolina are of a much lower caliber (no pun intended) mindset than all the illustrious folks in the states where no issues have evolved.

I want everyone around me armed at all times, regardless of location or activity.

Larry D. Petersime

McCrystal Circle

Moncks Corner

Narrow thinking

Thank you for your extraordinary series on our “Forgotten South Carolina.”

Reporter Doug Pardue’s disturbing stories about the fundamental, hard life struggles of so many people in this state certainly puts into perspective our local daily squabbles about cruise ships, the Episcopal Church and I-526.

Since I moved here decades ago, Republicans have run this sorry state. “Forgotten South Carolina” reflects the narrow thinking of our single-minded Republican politicians who rave and rant ad nauseum about cutting taxes.

Gov. Nikki Haley refuses federal funds to expand Medicaid for the poor and to help public schools, thus sending our share of federal taxes to other states.

I can’t think of any Republican officeholder or political candidate (including the current crowd of congressional aspirants) who has shown any notable interest in trying to help all the state’s poor, except for Dr. Oscar Lovelace (candidate for governor in 2006), and he lost. So I guess voters share responsibility for the forgotten, too.

Few of the white, Republican-lite Democratic candidates are any better, but since they almost never win, they are inconsequential. And it is a mystery why the Republican-appointed S.C. Supreme Court is taking years to decide if the state’s children have a constitutional right to a decent public education.

I just don’t get it. Don’t 93 percent of South Carolinians call themselves Christian? Don’t basic Christian principles call for being your brothers’ keeper and loving your neighbors as yourself? Doesn’t that include people who don’t live in your own political neighborhood?

Sharon Fratepietro

George Street

Charleston

The real McCoy

All of the candidates in the 1st Congressional District race are promising to cut spending, reduce the deficit and reduce waste. This is what is needed in Washington.

However, another concern for the people of the Lowcountry from Beaufort to Myrtle Beach is what support will candidates provide for the people at home?

Our beaches are eroding, and we are vulnerable to storms and earthquakes.

As I look at the victims of Hurricane Sandy I see that little or no support has been given to this area from the federal level.

Should any of our coastal areas be stricken by another hurricane such as Hugo or by an earthquake, we will need immediate support from our representative in Washington.

Peter McCoy is a James Islander who has done a great job in the state Legislature and is sensitive to the needs of the Lowcountry.

He shows a lot of passion for our coastal areas and has already gone to Washington to help with re-nourishing our beaches.

We will be able to depend on him to support needs back home as well as to look out for our best interest in Washington.

Leonard Blank

Councilman

Town of James Island

Relyea Avenue

James Island

A stupid deal

New U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said all Americans retain the right to be stupid.

The sequester will make government employees give up one day a week in salary so our nation can cut $84 billion.

Mr. Kerry traveled to the Middle East and promised the freedom fighters of Syria $160 million in aid.

The State Department is smart enough to make us look stupid overseas.

Dennis L. Compton

Filly Court

North Charleston