Letters to the Editor: For Folly Beach and Charleston, its all about the money
I read a June 3 letter to the editor on the cruise ship industry, and I sympathize with the writer’s frustration. I could have written a very similar letter about my home, Folly Beach.
He and his neighbors are trying to get a handle on the human traffic around their homes and maintain the character of their city.
They are speaking out, organizing, and doing all they can to preserve their environment. For this they are accused of an anti-business attitude and being called “snobs.”
All they are asking for is a say in decisions being made that affect their daily lives.
I’m afraid they’re fighting a losing battle. The Port Authority is a “for profit” state entity that is free by their “enabling legislation” to do pretty much whatever they deem necessary to make money.
I’m not anti-business or anti-port. I retired from there. The Port provides a lot of jobs for folks here and all over the state. But they really don’t care what people may think of their means or methods of accomplishing that goal.
I wouldn’t be too hard on Mayor Joe Riley either. He knows this and he’s just being pragmatic. He has no more power over the Port than the writer does.
The sad thing is what we are losing. There is or was an almost sacredness to the old areas on the peninsula that people respected and a decorum that was observed by folks who wandered through the neighborhoods admiring the gardens and beautiful old homes.
With the explosion of condos downtown and now the cruise ship business, it’ll probably never be the same again.
It is similar to what’s happened to Folly Beach. Every weekend in the summer we are overrun by crowds heading out to spend a day at the beach.
Most of us who live here don’t have a problem with that. The beach belongs to everyone. Many of these are families but there are also a lot of disrespectful, rowdy people who view Folly Beach as one big frat party.
Years ago people could take their kids down to the beach, kick back and watch them play in the surf.
Occasionally there were loud radios but they weren’t playing vulgar obscenity-laced songs. People drank but for the most part they behaved themselves and if the cops had to “remind” them where they were they didn’t challenge the officers or call them names. It’s not that way any more. Some of the people I know who have kids take them to “Beach Walker” county park instead.
Folly Beach also once had a certain sacredness to it. Something that was to be protected and preserved. But now on a typical weekend it can take an hour or more in traffic to get from James Island to Folly and if it rains all these people try to leave at once and it can take as long just to get off the island.
And out here, as in Charleston, it’s all about the money. Business people have built or opened more shops, restaurants, and bars than the island people can support so they do whatever it takes (“festivals of the month”) to bring in as many people as they can .
There is nothing wrong with making money except when you do it at the expense of others.
Our city government seems to be more concerned about business owners’ profitability than residents’ livability. Except, of course, at election time. Then every candidate promises to “maintain the Folly we all love.”
I’m afraid that train left the station a long time ago.
I hope the letter writer has better luck with the powers he’s dealing with.
East Hudson Avenue