Letters to the Editor
This is in response to the lovely letter about a man’s wallet being returned, and his heartfelt thank you.
Now, the opposite.
On Oct. 8, I stopped by the Piggly Wiggly on Johns Island. I had my last $50 to take me through until Friday, Oct. 12. I purchased one piece of fried chicken and a small ambrosia salad for my dinner.
When I reached the register I realized I had dropped my money along the way. I retraced by steps. It had only been about a minute or less — my $50 was gone.
I went to the service desk and the very nice lady made an announcement, but no one came forth with the money they had found.
This is not a plea for money. This is just that people should think about others. The person who found the money had to still be in the Pig that day and heard the announcement over the speakers.
I’ll be fine. It’s just a big let- down.
I saved my tears for my ride home.
An ID problem
In the Oct. 13 Post and Courier a letter writer posed a very good question. In six years of reading the daily I have never seen any reporting on this issue: “How is it more difficult to get a photo ID than it is to vote?”
The answer is, it’s not, so long as the documents you present to the S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles all have exactly the same name on them.
The Homeland Security Act of 2007 intended to address the perceived problem of terrorists gaining access to legitimate IDs here in the U.S. That legislation mandated tightening documentation requirements for both state and federally issued IDs.
The unintended consequence has been that legal, law-abiding citizens have been denied photo IDs because their documents did not have exactly the same names on them.
This happened to both my mother (then a septuagenarian) and my wife when they moved to different states and applied for driver’s licenses.
The irony is that both were returning to states in which they had lived for decades, raised children, lived long lives and had careers. In the case of my wife, her family has been in South Carolina since the 1680s.
In the end, they both had to hire lawyers and drive to the state capital to “prove” they were legitimate citizens and get driver’s licenses.
The problem is more common with women than men due to name changes from marriages.
The problem is also common among the poor rural and urban populations who, for one reason or another, mostly legitimate, cannot meet the new requirements. They most assuredly cannot afford to hire lawyers as we had to do.
No tax exemption
Under current law, the Rev. Kevin Baird and his colleagues in Pulpit Freedom Sunday are perfectly free to endorse partisan political candidates from the pulpit.
In doing so, however, they are also compelled to withdraw their congregations from the warm blanket of tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. This is just and proper for the following reasons:
First, the principal benefit of tax-exempt status is that donors to qualified organizations can, subject to broad limits, deduct the amounts of their gifts before they compute their individual tax obligations.
The purpose of the deduction is to encourage “charitable” giving. But the law clearly distinguishes between charitable activity and partisan politics, and in this instance, the position of Pulpit Freedom Sunday would extend the deduction beyond the bounds of charity.
In effect, our tax system would subsidize partisan political activity.
Second, the benefits of itemized deductions accrue largely to persons of high income. Rev. Baird’s position presents yet another instance where persons of wealth have an opportunity to participate in the political process in a way that is not available to persons of lesser means.
Let’s hope there is no change in the status quo.
In an Oct. 8 column, “New Clemson University architecture center design sure to stir the pot,” Robert Behre betrays his lack of objectivity in the debate over whether the proposal is appropriate for Charleston. He says the city’s “recent architecture often has played it safe,” suggesting that civic design should be a game of dares.
He quotes without challenge the architect’s assertion that he has been “excruciatingly specific” in relating the design to Charleston’s texture, scale and details, when Mr. Behre’s own description of the design and the illustration that accompanies his article demonstrate the contrary.
Behre claims to see no disjunction between the proposed design and the clear meaning of the city’s regulations, which say that designs “not in harmony with the prevailing character of Charleston, or which are obviously incongruous with this character” should be turned down.
Architecture in Charleston should return to design that evolves into the future by embracing the best practices of the past, and that produces buildings that are easily loved by citizens.
This is what made the city beautiful, and it is not an impossible standard, even today. Charleston rejected Clemson’s earlier proposal for failing that standard.
It should reject this one, too, and urge Clemson to propose an appropriate design, or go away.
Mr. Brussat is the architecture critic for the Providence (R.I.) Journal.