Save island’s trees

James Island formed our first town to get out from under the boot of Joe Riley. We had seen the City of Charleston usurp the Dill Sisters’ land — a forest bequeathed to us as a wildlife preserve — and level much of it to build a Walmart, Kmart, two apartment complexes, a gated community and row upon row of tract homes.

That’s one reason our first tree ordinance, championed by Leonard Blank and Joe Qualey in 2003, protected all trees, except pines, with a diameter of 12 inches and up. At the time, it was the most impressive tree ordinance in Charleston County.

Blank explained, “We’re trying to curb density and maintain the character of James Island.”

Fast forward to 2013, and we’ve sunk not just to the city’s level but lower. Like the city, we don’t classify any tree under 24 inches as a grand tree. Unlike the city, we protect only a single species — oaks.

Two weeks ago, James Island Town Council members Sam Kernodle, Mary Beth Berry, and Troy Mullinax passed an 18-inch compromise, protecting all species except pines, sweetgum and tallow. This compromise was designed as a stay-of-execution until the town’s tree workshop can be held in September. There is no fairer middle ground between 12 and 24 inches than 18. A tree with a diameter of 18 inches is 56 inches around, and that is hardly small.

Mayor Bill Woolsey seeks to diminish our voices, but this was no “last minute” idea. It was first discussed by our planning commission back in April. In May, eight citizens spoke out to support it, and in June, another dozen followed. During this time, not one person has spoken in favor of a 24-inch limit.

In the end, Woolsey, and ironically Leonard Blank, refused to compromise. But they would do well to remember that developers aren’t the only ones who vote. The citizens of James Island deserve more. We don’t have downtown’s abundance of historic homes. Our history lives in our trees. They shape our identity. They tell us we are home.

The compromise to protect all major hardwoods at 18 inches is up for its second and final reading July 18 at 7 p.m. Please come and speak up for our island’s trees.

ROBIN WELCH

Stone Post Road

James Island

A scary whiff

For the first time a CNN poll indicates that more than half of the public believes President Barack Obama is dishonest and untrustworthy. Revelations of National Security Agency surveillance techniques and the Internal Revenue Service and Benghazi scandals are now increasingly receiving more scrutiny and dismay.

For years, as a community organizer, Obama taught and practiced Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals.” Dedicating his work to Satan, Alinsky taught that there is only one moral rule in life: There are no rules. The president apparently sees the world as a political event governed by Alinsky’s rules.

From the very beginning, the administration’s Benghazi story has had the stench of Alinsky. Now we know the truth. Three State Department professionals, testifying under oath to Congress, have blown the cover from the lies and the evil perpetrated on the American people by Obama and his henchmen. The story told by then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice was a lie.

With a well-prepared script, she went on Sunday talk shows saying that the attack on our diplomatic facility was due to an obscure video, not terrorism. We also know that a special operations team ready and eager to intervene in the attack was ordered to stand down. According to recent testimony by the Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, they were in Bosnia (only hours by plane to Benghazi).

The order sealed the fate of four brave Americans who were killed in the attack. It’s obvious that a U.S. military response would signal that al-Qaida was alive and well.

With the election only weeks away, it’s clear that the order to stand down was an attempt to play down the attack. With American lives in jeopardy, can you think of anything more despicable?

Alinsky would be proud.

Bill Bissette

Short Street

Charleston

A losing battle

I wonder why taxpayers have to pay $20 million to place sand on Folly Beach when one hurricane passing by will just move the sand back into the ocean.

Mother Nature wins every time the Army Corps of Engineers try to beat her.

Dennis L. Compton

Filly Court

North Charleston

Wake up

President Obama and his administration are a well-oiled political machine. They have been able to make their opponents look bad at will, they have enjoyed a friendly press and for the most part, their first four years was scandal free. I think all of that speaks volumes for their discipline.

They seem to have gotten passes on: the Black Panther voter intimidation incident, “Fast and Furious,” the killing of Border Agent Brian Terry and the mass murder at Fort Hood, Texas, by radicalized U.S. Army Maj. Malik Nadal.

We watched the Benghazi massacre on TV and its subsequent cover-up. Many of us felt the sting of the IRS as they targeted the Tea Party and other conservative groups.

We saw the Second Amendment being trashed as the Department of Justice secretly taped and investigated journalists gathering news.

In fact, the U. S. attorney general claimed no knowledge of the taping until it was pointed out that he signed off on it.

This administration has also gotten away with monitoring our emails and our phone records and it has used drones to spy on our citizens.

Where is the outrage concerning these incidents? The Constitution is being trashed, and no one seems to care.

Now there’s whistle-blower Edward Snowden (or a national traitor, depending on whom you ask), who is telling the world all of our dirty little secrets. Government officials are furious at him. And once again, we gullible Americans trust our government to do the right thing. The rest of the world doesn’t trust us, and now we are a laughing stock because we can’t even catch this guy.

Are we as a country so polarized that we can’t see the forest for the trees?

Charlie Lybrand

Register of Mesne Conveyance

Cloudmont Drive

Hollywood

Keep the faith

I read the June 27 article, “Local Episcopalians start over ... .” This was the most pathetic piece of propaganda I have read. First, the diocese of South Carolina did not leave the Episcopal Church (TEC). The 49 parishes of the diocese of South Carolina were literally left holding the Bible when TEC chose social theology over the gospel.

Secondly, many members of the diocese of South Carolina also had to leave their church. For example, St. Thomas Episcopal Church in North Charleston was split and the conservative faction had to leave and worship in a warehouse.

Why are there no crocodile tears for them?

TEC piously prays for unity. What they are really praying for, in my opinion, is that TEC will confiscate the 49 parishes worth more than $500 million dollars.

The Post and Courier just cannot print enough good things about TEC. Yes, some liberal bishops sent a letter to cheer up those members remaining in TEC. Where was the article about the fact that hundreds of dioceses in the worldwide Anglican Communion are cheering for the diocese of South Carolina?

Let me remind everyone that TEC is trying to keep 30,000 members of the diocese of South Carolina from worshipping in their churches that go back to the 1680s.

William McIntosh III

Anson Street

Charleston

Poor word choice

I was deeply saddened by The Rev. Joseph Darby’s statement in his recent column titled “Voting Rights Act still needed” that describes those with whom he disagrees as “successors of cockroaches.”

This type of inflammatory rhetoric hardly lends itself to open and honest debate.

Ladson F. Mills III

Mayfair Lane

Johns Island