I recently had the good fortune to visit two historic port cities: Athens, Greece, and Istanbul, Turkey. The experience showed me that it is quite possible to dock passenger as well as cargo ships at the same location — away from the historic districts — without detracting from the cruise or the historic district.
The historic district in Athens was a 30-minute cab ride from the port in Piraeus, and the historic area in Istanbul was another easy cab ride from the docks.
My friends and fellow passengers didn’t think twice about having to travel a short distance from the docks to the historic districts. In fact, we were relieved to find that these valuable and irreplaceable historic cities were protected from the aesthetic and environmental effects that we are not protected from in Charleston.
My experience cruising to globally important historic ports only reinforces that we should not park cruise ships in front of our own historic port city. A visit to historic Charleston is worth a short cab or trolley ride from a more remote terminal location.
I’m a firm believer that texting while driving should be banned, but let’s not stop there. Driving with headphones, donning makeup, putting a small child on your lap to steer, using a touch-screen navigation system that comes with many new cars, reading flashing billboards, using Bluetooth, virtually every distraction you can think of should be banned. I see these things happening every single day.
One may be pulled over by police for suspicion of not having his seat belt buckled, yet one is allowed to ride a motorcycle without a helmet and carry as many passengers in the bed of a truck as can fit. It makes me wonder why government thinks it knows best.
Government in this country is the most mismanaged entity of its size in the history of humankind, yet we allow it to make countless laws to control us under the guise of protecting us from ourselves.
Obamacare epitomizes what a Nanny State we’ve become. Let’s face it — you can’t fix stupid. Grow up, America. Let’s vote every member of Congress out.
Old Brickyard Road
It’s about time the General Assembly stopped kicking the ethics reform can down the road. When I was executive director of the State Ethics Commission, we annually proposed legislative changes. In the aftermath of Lost Trust, the commission proposed legislation to provide for disclosure of financial interests — not amounts, but disclosure of financial involvement by the candidate, officeholder, and members of his immediate family.
The commission also proposed that it receive the financial and campaign disclosure reports of legislators and candidates. The commission, then and, I assume, now, can conduct cursory audits of those disclosures for completeness and accuracy.
The proposal also provided for receipt and investigation of complaints against legislators and candidates, with referral to the appropriate ethics committee for final disposition to comply with the constitutional mandate that the General Assembly judge the qualifications of its members.
Those proposals were met with the same arguments being put forth now. And the ethics law remains virtually unchanged. It allowed former Sen. Robert Ford to continue his free-wheeling campaign- fund expenditures.
The Senate Ethics Committee’s action does not show effective oversight; it is only a long-delayed response to the senator’s activities.
Gary R. Baker
Counts Ferry Road
The Dorchester County Council has attempted numerous times to impose an additional 1 percent tax. It has tried this in general elections and off-year elections. Each time, its efforts have resulted in failure. It even tried the gimmick “Vote Yes For Lower Taxes,” believing the electorate would surely cave this time.
However, it did not realize the sophistication of the voters, who were able to see straight through this scheme. As a result, the measure suffered a resounding two-to-one defeat. To bring an issue forward on a ballot requires a huge expense of taxpayers’ money. It begs the question: “When will they learn?”
Perhaps at the next election cycle, each council member will have that question answered for him.
Muirfield Village Court
On Nov. 6, you ran an article about a Public Broadcasting System reporter joining the Al Jazeera team. Smart move. Now all the reporter has to change is his mailing address.
Will the Public Service Commission (enabler of SCE&G and non-friend of the public) ever be held accountable for the disservice it has done to us in agreeing to all those utility increases, totaling of 23 rate increases in just eight years with a 47 percent increase in costs? People attend hearings before the PSC contesting SCE&G’s over-the-top rate increases.
Indeed, thousands of people statewide, myself included, went to meetings to testify and complain. What for? SCE&G still got its rate increases, albeit smaller increases than had been requested.
It’s always a lower amount than requested, I guess, to say, “Well, you’re only going to have to pay a 4 percent increase instead of, say, an 8 percent increase.” However, these regular rate increases have put a real hurting on the average family.
Why is this allowed to go on and on with no accountability? Where are our legislators, our city and county representatives? Who is ever going to speak up for John Q. Public? Certainly not the PSC (not in public service to me).
I read an article that made it quite clear: Businesses are doing great, but the economy as a whole is not. Don’t businesses know that if they don’t hire people, people can’t buy stuff, even stuff that is necessary, like electricity? I wanted to make a sign saying “Zero jobs, zero pay, zero purchases, zero growth.” It’s quite simple, yet people who have plenty are oblivious to their fellow citizens. I wonder what their conscience tells them, or maybe they just tuck that old conscience away.
W. Liberty Meadows Drive
It was a wonderful Wednesday night to attend the Charleston Concert Association’s recital by baritone Nathan Gunn, accompanied by his wife, pianist Julie Gunn, at the Sottile Theater. Our seats were in the last row of the balcony. The first usher did not know where our seats were located. Then things spiraled downward. Three ushers talked during the performance. A lady got up during the performance, and not one usher prevented the door from slamming directly behind our seats.
A male usher from downstairs came up after the intermission and began talking with the others while Nathan Gunn was singing.
I am always inspired to read how Charleston is a polite city. These ushers failed to meet those standards.
Olympia Fields Lane
Respect for dead
I want to thank the community of Summerville for its show of respect as John McMillan’s funeral procession passed through town.
John was a longtime resident of Summerville, where he raised two children and lived with his wife of 54 years until he passed in late October.
As family friends, my wife and I attended the service and followed the family to Summerville Memorial Gardens. It was on the trip through town that I was so impressed.
Cars stopped, and the community waited for the procession to make its way through. No cars moved until everyone had passed by. In today’s busy world it was refreshing to see such a display of respect by not one but all in traffic that day.
It was nice to see that Summerville still holds onto its values.