Stern’s lasting gift The passing of Dr. Ted Stern reminds us of the value of future-thinking. Dr. Stern’s well-known habit of 100 push-ups a day was one of his futurethoughts, perhaps contributing to his 100 years of life.

In 1974 Dr. Stern finished his term as president the Rotary Club of Charleston with $9,000 of club money to invest.

Thinking only of long-term benefit, Dr. Stern argued for a public foundation unburdened by punishing taxes and the secrecy associated with private foundations.

By being public, as opposed to private, the administrative costs could be shared across the endowments of all future contributors. Lessons learned in grant-making by one endowment could inform others.

That $9,000 has grown to nearly $150,000,000 at Coastal Community Foundation, even while grant-making increases month by month. (This December $2,458,256 was given away.)

That is community money because Coastal Community Foundation is public.

However, it was Ted’s idea.

Who among us thinks 100 years ahead?

I can tell you this community will remember Ted, or at least his ideas, each month and every month for many hundreds of years.

George stevens

President and CEO

Coastal Community

Foundation

Rutledge Avenue

Charleston

Scary echoes

A letter writer recently criticized The Post and Courier’s editorial position deploring Israeli plans for expanded settlement on the West Bank.

The writer stated that the West Bank areas are, in truth, part of the state of Israel by law, by “right of conquest” and “by gift of the Almighty.”

Clearly, there are ongoing disputes regarding the legality of such settlements, with most, but by no means all, legal scholars arguing that such settlements are, in fact, illegal under international law.

It is, however, a bit chilling when the correspondent cites a “right of conquest” in support of such settlements. This assertion of “right of conquest,” coupled with his claim that Israeli ownership of the West Bank has divine authorization, recalls historical memories most of us would prefer to put behind us.

John G. Ives

Col. Vanderhorst Circle

Mount Pleasant

Pay your way

You don’t spend money you do not have.

Even kids are taught that at an early age. Surely adults, particularly our educated politicians, are well versed in this business law.

However, in 2006 then-Sen. Obama voted against raising the debt limit: “The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure.

“It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our government’s reckless fiscal policies.”

Do not be fooled. If the ceiling is not raised by the target date, it does not mean default, nor a government shutdown. It does not mean America will default on its bills.

What it does mean is the government will have to live within its means; ergo, the government can spend only what is collected until the ceiling is raised.

Any Econ 101 student, any general math student, any person with a checking account or even just intelligence knows you cannot spend more than you have in your checking account.

Or can you?

Government is big business.

Can we please have some business-savvy politicians address the issue?

Ernie Miller

Godber Street

Charleston

Mothers’ rights

All I know about the little girl Veronica, who is part of the Indian Child Welfare case, is what I have read in the newspaper.

What stands out to me is how everything trumps the rights of women.

When the biological father didn’t support the birth mother, he gave up all rights to that baby.

Our society is not doing a good job of teaching males responsibility for sex.

They have an opportunity to say no to sex and say to themselves,”I can’t afford to support a child for his life.”

If the burden falls on the female for babies, then the laws need to support them. I’m not seeing that.

In the case of baby Veronica, three females were let down by our judges, laws and politicians — the birth mom, adoptive mom and the little girl.

Alexis Reeder

Cliffwood Drive

Mount Pleasant

Wild hogs

A Jan. 15 article about wild hogs causing problems in West Ashley was interesting.

While taking an early morning run recently on the ripped-up Bees Ferry Road, I encountered a pair. The male was not happy.

Nor was I, because he was aggressive, but that is how he is. A running guy in his shrinking environment is not his friend.

Dogs can be the same but we like them.

In the article, Charles Ruth of the S.C. Department of Natural Resources was quoted as saying that the “cure” can often be more development. “The more concrete, the hogs are going to go away.”

Perhaps unwittingly, Mr. Ruth may have come up with the permanent solution. Keep on paving South Carolina until all manner of pesky animals have to move away to other states.

Birds can stay because the developers are certain to leave a few trees to provide us with pleasant foliage.

Unfortunately, Mr. Ruth’s position could be pretty much redundant at that point but there are other costs to progress, beyond chasing off the wildlife.

Michael Harrison

Indaba Way

Charleston

Cigarette butts

My late wife and I picked up trash at the Battery for years, including many cigarette butts on the ground. The trouble continues.

A billboard states, “Our state is not your ashtray.” Indeed, the Battery is not an ashtray.

I recently picked up 121 cigarette butts along with a lot of other trash.

Three days ago, I filled a plastic grocery bag with trash and a lot of butts.

When asked why I do it by one of the people at the Battery, I simply stated, “If not me, who? If not now, when?”

Prevention is the better way to go, so why not put a similar sign at the Battery? And maybe the phone number of the litter hotline: 1-877-7LITTER.

Marshall Heiden

Highway 162

Hollywood

Highway safety

We keep hearing how bad highway safety is in South Carolina. One thing that adds to the problem — South Carolina does not require trailers to have tail lights. Most states do.

I drive professionally so I’m on the roads a lot. A car or truck towing a trailer is very hard to see, especially if it doesn’t have tail lights. And of those very few that do have tail lights, about half don’t work.

South Carolina needs to require lights on trailers or ban them from high-speed roads.

Paul Krechman

Jasimine Court

Summerville

Teacher testing

Teacher evaluation testing seems so simple. But there are inherent difficulties with any productivity measurement.

Testing itself is an impetus to circumvent the process, and thereby skew results. In addition, there are other factors that give pause such as racial/sexual bias.

Of course there are other reasons to not base personnel decisions solely, or even preponderantly, on test scores.

Perhaps they could be used in conjunction with other subjective assessments, but I fail to see how test scores can even be compared, given the diverse populations.

Actually the time and effort would be better spent developing better student-parent/guardian participation, which is a more solid indicator of academic achievement.

John C. Godfrey

Kracke Street

Charleston