Letters to the Editor for Wednesday, July 17
I was delighted to see the editorial “Don’t drill off the coast of S.C.,” which advocated for preserving our pristine beaches by preventing drilling off the coast. You rightly acknowledged the direct connection between the health and resiliency of our environment and economic prosperity, but you missed the connection from the feature ‘South battling the tide’ in the same paper. Yes, we will have pristine beaches due to no drilling off the coast, but will they all be underwater?
It is misguided to scold President Obama for his shortsightedness on the Keystone XL pipeline that would, if built, carry tar sands oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico and for policies to reduce our dependence on coal.
Both the tar sands oil and coal are leading causes of greenhouse gases, resulting in climate change and sea level rise.
Is it OK that we save our coast from drilling platforms and then promote ravaging huge tracks of tundra and pristine northern landscapes to scrape some tar out of the ground or remove mountain- tops in Appalachia to quench our thirst for coal?
In addition to sea level rise, we will also be paying more in health care costs, public roads and other infrastructure to bring these energy sources to market.
How shortsighted is the South Carolina Association of Taxpayers to support any of these measures?
What is needed are policies that promote environmental protection, robust economies and communities where people are empowered to take control of the their futures.
Let’s invest in renewable energy like solar, wind and tidal power; restoring fisheries, oyster beds and water quality; and promoting community businesses, education and poverty alleviation.
Let’s stop this fragmented and disconnected thinking and begin working on a vision for the future based on harnessing renewable energies that will secure the Lowcountry’s economic future for generations to come.
Restore the Earth
I’ll never be accused of being a math whiz even though I can do simple multiplication in my head and I can make change for a dollar without a calculator. But when you start adding all those zeros that mean billions or trillions, I tend to get a little confused.
It seems to me that before all the discussion about an Affordable Health Care Act we had a not-so-perfect, but reasonable, opportunity for some level of health coverage that suited an individual’s needs and purse.
However, the president and career politicians decided to sweeten the political pot by making such sweeping changes to the system that no one can figure out what the future holds regarding medical care. If our legislators truly believed AHA was such a good plan, they would not have exempted themselves or granted even one single waiver; they would have been the first ones to step up and sign up.
Yet they will spend exorbitant amounts of our money on their plan for enforcement and management that includes astronomical amounts of paperwork, fines, taxes, thousands of new federal employees, IRS bully tactics, commercials and teaching moments.
Wouldn’t it have been simpler to take the funds being used for enforcement and instead purchase a premium insurance policy for everyone in the country?
Recently it was announced that a portion of the bill relating to businesses will be pushed off until 2015 because they have “heard the people’s concerns.” In reality what they heard was their poll numbers hitting bottom. Lawmakers are counting on voters having short memories during the mid-term elections. But what happens in 2015 will impact the 2016 presidential elections.
Let the fun begin. Maybe we’ll get to watch as some life-long politicians come home and live in the world they created.
I am a white male transplant from Missouri.
I guess in Florida I could harass any young black kid to provoke a natural reaction — shoot the kid and have no culpability?
Or, if I were a white mother who was tired of caring for my infant daughter, I could kill the kid, dump her in a vacant lot and not worry about any consequence for my action?
That’s quite a “justice” system they have down there in Florida.
Winged Foot Court
Once again the beach-going day-trippers are creating huge traffic jams on the Isle of Palms connector and holding Isle of Palms residents captive on the weekends.
One cannot blame the beach goers for coming to our beautiful beaches, but the city council could do something to organize the flow of traffic on Palm Boulevard. Council has proposed some changes but none of them addresses the bike traffic.
So, here’s a suggestion to help the flow of traffic and generate some revenue for the city coffers:
■ Pave the ocean side of Palm Boulevard from 21st Street to 41st Street all the way to the property line. Make this a one-way bike lane to 41st Street. Return would be on Waterway Boulevard. This would help traffic move faster and would help with planning and expenses of the Battery-to-Beach proposal.
■ On the side away from the ocean, create parallel parking spaces between the palm trees. There are 150 palm trees between 21st Street and 41st Street, and could easily accommodate three or more parking spaces between each pair. That’s 450 parking spaces.
These spaces can be created using railroad ties. The ties could be removed each October and installed each May.
The city should charge $5 a day, $20 a week and $100 a season for parking fees. Stickers to be placed on the rear window of each car, could be sold by roving patrols of city employees in golf carts.
Each day would be a different color sticker.
The current parking at the S-curve, opposite the church, could then be turned into a drive-up kiosk for sticker purchase. The revenue generated from sticker sales and traffic/parking violators could be used to offset additional manpower costs.
This idea still does not resolve traffic congestion on the connector but it could provide better traffic flow on Palm Boulevard as well as enhanced revenues for the city.
D. A. Simanaitis
Waterway Island Drive
Isle of Palms
Government Executive magazine recently published an article pointing out that furlough of employees of the Department of Defense organizations funded by working capital, such as SPAWAR, will have zero impact on the federal budget deficit.
Why? SPAWAR is similar to a private sector company in that it charges the Navy, Air Force, Marines and our allies around the globe a fee for services rendered. No work, no pay.
In a letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, 31 bipartisan members of Congress pointed out that fact. Unfortunately, none of the S.C. congressional delegation signed the letter.
Maybe our congressional delegation likes the idea of bashing overpaid government workers.
But the bottom line is that government workers are a significant part of their constituency and the impact of the furlough will be significant on thousands of families as well as the local economy.
Less income means less business for local merchants. Less income means cancellation of donations through the Combined Federal Campaign to local charities. The Lowcountry will suffer over ideology, not facts.
None of our congressional delegation is taking a pay cut. None will share the pain.
Former Rep. Arthur Ravenel used to say, “I be for you and you be for me.” Unfortunately, the days of Arthur Ravenel, Mendel Rivers, Strom Thurmond and Fritz Hollings are long gone. We now have a congressional delegation whose motto is, “I be for me and you be for me.”
Glen Abby Drive
The ideal, responsible government works alongside individuals, businesses and other groups toward the greater good and shows a legitimate concern for the average citizen, not for votes, but out of civic and moral obligation.
Recently though, there have been many issues that Congress has left unresolved that should make the average citizen wonder if we have the right leadership in Washington.
One that will strike a chord with many of my generation is the increase in the student loan interest rate from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent.
Before anyone calls me a freeloader, I have been paying my bills off since completing my Peace Corps service, but being underemployed makes it very difficult.
However, the fact that both parties could not pass a bill, especially while the economy is still struggling, shows that they care more about fundraising and getting paid with our tax dollars then helping us little people.
North Pinebark Lane
Day at the beach
Having recently enjoyed a surpassingly beautiful day at Beachwalker Park on Cap’n Sam’s Spit, and then July 8 seeing the newspaper photo of dolphins strand-snacking there, I can’t fathom how anyone who has been there, or has read about it, isn’t outraged by plans afoot to develop it with a bunch of high-end homes that will be under water before long.
Day at the beach
Why would any rational developer put money into a site so vulnerable in the first place?
Why would any bank with a moral compass finance it? Why would any flood insurance underwriter touch it with a 10-foot pole?
Inevitably, development on Cap’n Sam’s spit will threaten the ecology, spoil the view from Seabrook Island, and create a maintenance-cost “wild card” for Kiawah HOA members.
Moreover, it will jeopardize an irreplaceable public beach at a time when public access to beaches in the state is already pretty scarce.
The Cap’n Sam’s site is spectacular. How could a bulldozer improve on what’s there?
And let’s remember this inconvenient fact: The weight of scientific evidence about climate change indicates that it will be just a matter of time before homes close to sea level go underwater, hurricanes notwithstanding.
That is one reason the trend in zoning and conservation regulations at all levels is to put an end to construction, even rebuilding, too near a beachfront.
And also, why flood insurance is growing scarcer and more pricey, and the federal government’s bailout funds for coastal flood damage are so overextended.
Smart lawyers may be finessing some of these regulations for now.
Maybe they’re planning to diversify into water damage remediation.
Who’s watching the store?
Oyster Bay Drive
‘Piece of nostalgia’
The Northbridge Exxon on Sam Rittenberg Boulevard is one of the last full-service gas stations left in the Charleston area.
‘Piece of nostalgia’
We’ve been using the station for over 30 years and have always met with great service and personable employees. For customers who choose not to pump their own gas, this is a great convenience.
It is a comfort to know that if I ever encounter a car problem, such as recently when my car wouldn’t start, they will go out of their way to come to my rescue.
The mechanics on duty are competent, knowledgeable, and more than helpful. So, if you are ever in the area, be sure to stop by and give this little piece of nostalgia a visit.