New talent needed

While we cherish the fact that Jake Knotts is no longer plaguing our Statehouse with his presence, I am upset with the fact that he was the only incumbent state senator to lose in last week’s election.

Although I speak of no member in particular, I think it is an essential duty of the people of South Carolina to fight political careerism, national, state and local.

Politics is not a career. It’s a duty. We need someone in our Statehouse like U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., who fights to end parochialism, careerism and political injustice. We need to impose term limits to get new blood in.

Once politicians don’t have to worry about re-election, then hopefully they will fight for what is right and not what will get them money from special interest groups for re-election.

As Thomas Jefferson said, “A politician looks forward only to the next election. A statesmen looks forward to the next generation.”

Let’s get more statesmen in the House and Senate and fewer politicians.

Tejbir S. Dhindsa

Pignatelli Crescent

Mount Pleasant

‘Sore winner’

Leonard Pitts Jr., in his Nov. 12 column, has given readers a crash course in the meaning of the German word “Schadenfreude,” which means finding malicious joy in the misfortunes of others.

Instead of applauding his presidential candidate’s victory, he chooses to spew contempt and fury at the opposition party.

We’re all familiar with the term “sore loser.”

With this vitriolic column Pitts has become the classic poster child of a “sore winner.”

BILL WALKER

Marshall Boulevard

Sullivan’s Island

Hometown edge

Although Mayor Keith Summey and I are not always on the same side of important issues, I commend him for his selection of Eddie Driggers as North Charleston police chief.

I would commend Mayor Summey even if Driggers were not the nephew of my late brother’s widow and even if my heart had not been touched by a talk Chaplain Driggers gave at my church.

Eddie Driggers is the best person for the job, and the fact that he is homegrown should not be held against him. As the mayor said, it would have been irresponsible to use limited public funds to conduct a nationwide search.

In the 1990s, Dr. Barbara Dilligard was not selected as superintendent of the Charleston County School District. Then deputy superintendent and eminently qualified for the top job, she was passed over for someone “from off.”

Arguably, more than her race or her gender, it was the chance circumstance of Dr. Dilligard having been born and raised in the Lowcountry that made her unacceptable to the board. That superintendent “from off” did not remain very long.

Why is it that more often than not in Charleston and throughout our state, the first plan to fill a high-level position is a nationwide search? Regardless of the cost and regardless of qualified applicants within an arm’s search.

Mayor Summey showed courage to avoid a nationwide search, and in doing so set an example worthy of emulation by others responsible for filling such vacancies.

The James Island Public Service District Commission, in selecting its current district manager, chose someone who has lived on James Island since childhood. In this position, Robert Wise has served our community as commendably as I am sure Eddie Driggers in his new position will serve his.

Eugene Platt

Senior Commissioner

JI Public Service District

Gilmore Court

Charleston

The Greek lesson

NPR’s Jonna Kakissis reported on Nov. 8 that Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras responded to the austerity measures imposed on his people, their riotous reactions, and the danger of Greece departing the European Union.

Their debt is 190 percent of GNP and they have ignored the rising national debt to sustain their growing socialist policies over the last decade.

The Prime Minister said through an interpreter, “Some want to take Greece to a place where no one wants to go, ... addicted to an outdated socialist model. We must get rid of the bureaucracy and this culture of dependency.”

Fellow Americans, no matter what our religious, personal, racial, sexual or commercial interest, Greece is our future unless we acknowledge that truth.

Soon.

Moultrie D. Plowden

Wade Hampton Avenue

Walterboro

Unions work

A Nov. 8 letter by Elaine Morgan, CEO of the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce, uses half-truths to unfairly malign unions. Ms. Morgan uses examples of industries that she argues have been hurt by unions.

Let us start with the steel industry. China has repeatedly and illegally dumped subpar steel in this country, hurting our economy and our workers. The United Steel Workers spent millions to push the U.S. government to enforce the laws. By doing this it helped union and non-union workers across the industry.

Unions have done the same with the tire industry as well as the paper sector, which is very important to our state and the tri-county.

Ms. Morgan mentions the auto industry. Ford, which had one of the largest union concentrations, weathered the economic storm by making good management and business decisions.

By contrast, GM, where labor accounted for less than 10 percent of the cost of a vehicle, made bad management decisions. I am sure Chrysler was similar.

Ms. Morgan wrote that South Carolina is doing better than Michigan, California and Wisconsin.

South Carolina is actually 42nd among states in wages. California is 10th, Wisconsin is 21st and Michigan is 34th. Our unemployment picture is better than California’s at 10.2 percent and Michigan’s at 9.3 percent. Our rate, 9.1 percent, is really great. Makes me proud.

Wisconsin is 7.3 percent.

Let us look at Boeing: In South Carolina it is cheaper to build a plane due to the workforce being paid less.

Is the plane from South Carolina cheaper that the one from Washington state? It is not, but Boeing can put more profit in its pocket. We have companies in the Lowcountry making record profits and still wanting to take away or reduce employee benefits.

We see more profit (including bigger tax breaks) in business today but also more being taken from the workers, who are persuaded that it is better for everyone when companies make more and more while workers make less.

Unions are needed.

David Shelley

Belvedere Venue

Hanahan

Back to basics?

Now that the election is over and Gov. Nikki Haley has no chance for continued national recognition or a position in Washington, perhaps she can start concentrating on the proper governing of our state.

Bud Hay

Romney Street

Charleston

One way to help

In his concession speech, Mitt Romney made a plea for bipartisanship.

He could set an example by telling President Obama where to find the 12 million jobs that Romney promised to deliver if elected.

Neal Lowe

Prestwick Court

Summerville

Students at risk

I am concerned that the city of Charleston is putting the convenience of drivers ahead of the safety of students at the College of Charleston by planning to turn Coming and St. Philip into two-way streets south of Calhoun.

With more than 12,000 pedestrians on an urban campus, the foot traffic on these streets is massive.

If city officials cannot produce a study demonstrating that injuries and deaths will not increase as a result of this decision, I would not be surprised if they will need to answer for their decision to a distraught parent.

Bob Podolsky

College of Charleston

Deerwood Drive

Charleston