Roots of the risks

Since when is it the fault of trees if speeders, drunk drivers, texters, and others careen off the road and lose their lives? That seems to be the conclusion the Department of Transportation has reached regarding thousands of trees along I-26.

Automobile accidents are caused principally by speeding and inattention, either singly or in combination. If you’re drunk or asleep or texting or applying makeup, you’re not paying attention. If you’re speeding on top of it, the problem is compounded.

Although it’s not charitable to say so, let’s think of the trees as nature’s way of culling the herd of drivers who shouldn’t be on the road anyway.

I say we should plant more of them.

Edmund LeRoy

Yeadon Avenue

Charleston

Insurance solution

A recent letter addressed solving the country’s financial situation by requiring politicians to pay for their own health insurance. They actually pay the same percentage of their health insurance that all civil service employees pay.

I know this is true because I worked on Capitol Hill for many years.

Further, every member of Congress has paid into Social Security since 1984. Their retirement for the most part is now 401K, again like many in this country.

Some of the longer serving members still have a retirement plan other then 401K, but they take less in their Social Security retirement as a result.

Cris Bernstein

Prestwick Court

Summerville

Governor’s options

It was with joy and disappointment that I read your Feb. 18 editorial advocating for allowing voters the option of giving the governor the power to appoint the Superintendent of Education.

You just didn’t go far enough. The governor should appoint all the constitutional officers except the attorney general.

At the national level we have a maximum of four choices: president, vice president, two senators and one congressman.

At the state level we have moved in the right direction by having the governor and lieutenant governor run jointly.

In the 2014 election we should vote to give the governor taking office in 2018 the authority to appoint constitutional officers with the exception of the attorney general. The attorney general, who might be called on to handle scandals involving elected or appointed officials, should remain independent.

We should continue to elect state legislators, but their scope of authority should be limited to state business and they should not attempt to meddle in the running of their counties.

The county should elect councilpersons. The county council should hire an administrator who hires and fires the clerk of court, treasurer, auditor, sheriff etc. In a county upstate the governor had to replace a county sheriff who misused his position for personal gain. This is not the job of the governor; it is the job of the county administrator.

With so many offices to fill it is almost impossible for a voter to do due diligence on every candidate, so many just vote for a name they recognize.

I have been thrilled and fascinated by your continuing in-depth series “Forgotten South Carolina,” and it was my hope that it would suggest eliminating some of these elected offices which should be filled by hired employees.

It is a change that would not cost a dime and would help to move South Carolina forward at a much faster pace.

John S. O’Brien Jr.

Pawleys Creekside Loop

Pawley’s Island

Slim pickings

What are we poor voters to do? With all the Republican Party candidates in the 1st District primary there are probably as many reasons not to vote for any particular one as there are candidates running.

After eliminating those with characteristics we can’t possibly support such as being too fat, speaks with (or doesn’t speak with) a Southern accent, doesn’t look into the camera, looks unprofessional in that rumpled suit or is a tad on the ugly side, we are left with considering their experience.

I don’t personally know all of the candidates, but of the four I do know or have met, three would serve us well in Washington.

Of those three one stands out above the rest. Mark Sanford is head and shoulders the best candidate we could possibly send to Washington to represent not only the 1st District, but the entire state.

So why doesn’t everyone see that? Because he made a couple of mistakes when he was governor.

To those unable to forgive Mark, I ask: If you are Christian, where is forgiveness in your heart? Only one sinless person has walked this Earth, and He is not a candidate.

Jim Gardner

Eagle Landing Boulevard

Hanahan

Concealed danger

I personally would not go into a restaurant that serves liquor and allows patrons to carry guns. The last place I would want to be is with a bunch of good ol’ boys who have had two or three beers and think that they have been disrespected.

Is the business supposed to ask each person who orders a drink if he is carrying a concealed weapon? If not, how is the restriction in this proposed bill to be enforced?

An average sized woman’s blood alcohol level is above the legal driving limit after two beers or drinks. The same holds true for an average size man after three beers or drinks. This means (among other things) that their judgment is impaired.

I can picture what would happen if a waiter/waitress refuses to serve a patron who had drunk enough and if the patron is armed. Or two armed drunks who feel the other drunk disrespected him.

Perhaps after the state Legislature has settled this important issue, members may find time to work on a more mundane item — like education funding.

Neal Gittleman

Park West Boulevard

Mount Pleasant

TIF waste

The Beach Company’s proposal to create a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district to build infrastructure for its development of Kiawah River Plantation (formerly Mullet Hall Plantation) is not in the best interest of the people of Johns Island or of Charleston County.

TIFs were created to help cities and towns reclaim blighted urban areas for the public good. Creating a TIF to provide infrastructure for a developer’s private community being built on unspoiled farmland, forests and wetlands is wrong.

Using Charleston County taxpayer funds allocated largely for education for this development is wrong.

To learn more about this proposed wrong, go to Johns Island Conservancy, JlCSC.org. To prevent this proposed wrong, contact the members of Charleston County Council.

Louise Bennett

Rosebank Farms

Johns Island

Convenience fees

I recently received a billing from the Charleston County treasurer for motor vehicle taxes that included a paragraph offering the option to pay online via a credit card with the caveat that doing so would entail what the treasurer terms a “convenience fee.”

The billing does not set forth the amount of the fee, you have to go to the treasurer’s website to learn that the fee charged is two-and-one-half percent of the tax being remitted.

In this day and age a small merchant can offer ACH payment processing at a cost of 20 to 30 cents per transaction, an absolute bargain compared to an average cost in excess of $1 to process a paper check or credit card merchant fees.

In this instance my only choices are to incur a two-and-one-half percent fee if I avail myself of the online payment option or, write a paper check and incur the cost of mailing a payment. Apart from the inconvenience to the taxpayer, there is also the issue of the treasurer’s office making no attempt to reduce the costs associated with processing paper checks.

With all due respect, an elected official, particularly one who is both an MBA and a CPA, ought to be capable of effecting 21st century payment systems.

Leonard T. Gantler

Plantation Lane

Mount Pleasant