'Politics as usual'

It is disingenuous to imply that those protesting the selection of Glenn McConnell as College of Charleston president are nothing more than idealistic students, liberal-minded faculty, or an issue-seeking NAACP.

Yet, in his Line by Line column, Edward Gilbreth dismisses these groups as "naysayers."

To do so misses the critical point that even though Glenn McConnell may turn out to be a successful president, the way in which he was appointed has left a veil of perceived manipulation over the search process itself.

Having had firsthand experience of how the reputable AGB search firm conducts presidential searches, I can attest to their extensive network of viable presidential candidates and their strenuous vetting process. It was surprising, to say the least, that the highly regarded College of Charleston apparently did not attract candidates more qualified and experienced than those chosen by the board of trustees for the final stage of interviews.

Since the search has been concluded and the appointment is a fait accompli, it seems that the point now is not whether Glenn McConnell was the most qualified candidate, but rather the manner in which he became a desirable candidate.

As with the recent "anointing" of state Sen. Paul Campbell as airport director (while retaining his senatorial position), so some perceive that Glenn McConnell was "maneuvered" into the presidential position through his own political standing and enduring connections within the state and in Charleston itself.

In the final analysis, legitimate and authentic opposing views by students, faculty, the NAACP, or any other entity cannot be dismissed out of hand. If nothing else, a liberal arts education teaches one to challenge conventional wisdom in an honest pursuit of truth.

To stifle such a search leads one to conclude that the presidential search was ultimately nothing more than "politics as usual."

George Matthews, Ph.D.

Linksland Road

Mount Pleasant

Affordable asset

Despite all of the negative coverage regarding the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), thousands of us in this state have benefited from the provision that insurance companies can no longer discriminate against individuals with prior conditions.

Individuals with cancer, heart disease and diabetes as well as many disabilities can no longer be denied coverage. My 43-year-old developmentally disabled (but physically able) son finally has affordable coverage.

As senior citizens we are relieved that we are saving $800 a month for our son's insurance. As the state of South Carolina does not allow adults with low incomes (he makes $6,000 a year with his part-time job) or the adult disabled to enroll in the Medicaid program, we had to go out of state to insure him at a cost of $1,100 per month. At the age of 73, we can finally afford to retire without having to worry about health insurance for our son.

Thanks to the volunteer navigators (under attack by the state Legislature) we have been able to insure our son in a platinum policy with his regular internist and hospital in Charleston for $310 per month. As residents of the state for over 30 years, paying at the highest tax rate, we assumed that there would be a safely net for our son when we retired.

The adult poor, disabled have no access to Medicaid in this state. Where is the so-called Christian community when the poorest of the poor and disabled are left without basic health care? We continue to elect politicians who care so little about this segment of our population.

South Carolina is No. 43 in the nation in life expectancy, highly correlated with the fact that our citizens most in need of health care are left without coverage.

In South Carolina, 1,300 people a year without coverage die from treatable diseases. Health care is a complicated issue but is a basic need covered by most third-world countries. South Carolina does not care for its citizens most in need of a hand up. This is reflected in statistic after statistic, yet our legislators appear to care only for their popularity and politicize everything - the party of "No" continues to say "No" to its most vulnerable citizens.

Sharon Hoffman, Ph.D.

Ginned Cotton Street

Charleston

Military funding

I certainly hope senior Army leadership pays heed to Gen. Les Eisner's statements.

Civilian and military leadership have a tendency to be too quick to find other uses for funds recovered during post-war lulls rather than ensuring that readiness stays in top form.

Time and time again we have had to rob from "Peter to pay Paul," which always leaves serious gaps in readiness. We need to pay attention to history lest we repeat it.

One does not have to look very far in the paper or pay attention to the news to know that there are many crises brewing worldwide that may require our involvement.

The military leadership has got to remain ready to support the civilian leadership when it calls for troops and ships.

We need to make certain that this same civilian leadership isn't blowing readiness money on some other pet project.

Write or call your congressman and senators when you think they are going astray.

Dayle Fish

MCPO U.S. Navy, (Retired)

Tall Sail Drive

Charleston

Support midwifery

Lauren Sausser's March 2 article, "Birth outcomes initiative, S.C. Medicaid focus on reducing C-Section," fails to mention the important role of midwives and birth centers in improving birth statistics in South Carolina.

We have three types of midwives in South Carolina and their numbers have grown impressively in the last 20 years. Certified Nurse Midwife, Certified Professional Midwife and Licensed Midwife are practitioners trained in prenatal care, labor, delivery, postpartum and newborn care. They are also trained in dealing with psycho-emotional conditions that accompany some pregnancies. They do not deliver babies in high-risk situations.

Everyone knows that the C-section rate in South Carolina is too high. We have given the medical model ample time (decades) to have a positive impact on birth outcomes, maternal and infant mortality and so on. It is time to change the conversation.

The high-tech medical model has failed to improve birth statistics in our state.

South Carolina could lead the nation at something positive by becoming the first state to adopt the Midwives Model of Care TM. Other modern industrialized nations use midwives for maternity care and have better outcomes at a lower cost.

Support midwifery in South Carolina. Join the South Carolina Birth Coalition at scbirthcoalition.org. We are working to keep all options open for choice of care provider in the out-of-hospital setting.

Jack Brinton

Charles Town Road

Leesville

Gratifying stories

Last year Charleston Tells Storytelling Festival was held at Wragg Square March 8-9, and The Post and Courier published a very nice story.

I feel that the article was helpful to the Charleston County Public Library (CCPL) in the festival's inaugural year.

This year I decided I would help sponsor the fledgling festival. In late February and early March I scanned The Post and Courier expecting to see another story about the upcoming festival. All I found was a very small mention in the Charleston Scene.

I attended the festival Friday night, Saturday morning and Saturday evening. There was a good-sized audience there all of those times but there were seats that could have been filled.

We, as a country, are at a crossroads. On one hand, we love our electronic devices for the ability to communicate with people all over the world and get instant information and stories by pressing a few buttons.

On the other hand, we complain that our children don't talk to us or others nearly as much because of them.

I spent countless hours talking to people about the festival and storytelling. I was surprised that so many people don't really know what a storytelling festival is all about.

They all agreed it was wonderful to sit on their grandfather's lap and listen to his stories about his life as a child, or mine, who told me about the "old country."

In an age when people are communicating less and less and where our listening skills have been reduced to a series of sound bites, we need more storytelling. We need more human-to-human communication, not phone-to-phone.

We are doing our children and our ancestors a great disservice by not getting the word out about "talking and listening."

Charleston County Public Library staff did a wonderful job putting on a class-act storytelling festival. I truly believe this festival will flourish and become a permanent and important festival for Charleston and all who hear about it. It would be wonderful if the Post and Courier would do a bit more through the printed word, to get the word out.

More sponsorships would also help the CCPL continue to bring world-class storytellers to our "world class city."

Michael Kaynard

Kaynard Photography

Camerton Street

Charleston

Risky change

On one of the rare occasions when my work takes me to downtown Charleston I was greeted with the mess that is Ashley River Bridge traffic.

While watching the snarl of traffic weaving and jockeying for position in four lanes, I was struck by the shortsightedness and stupidity of the decision to close one of the lanes and reopen it for bicycle and pedestrian traffic.

While I am all for alternative means of transportation and the safety that needs to be provided for that kind of transportation, you cannot create something out of nothing without affecting a very congested traffic pattern.

Let's face it - the Ashley River bridge is not the Ravenel Bridge where an alternative lane was specifically created for bicycle and pedestrian traffic.

More thought needs to be put into creating a safe and separate lane for bicyclists and walkers that will not further hamper the flow of traffic through Charleston during rush hour.

Steven A. McLees

Ashley Villa Circle

Charleston

Losing strategy

Before the debate about the Northwestern University football team being qualified to become unionized, here are a few items to consider if you think they have a hard lot today. (Northwestern, in Evanston, Ill., is my own beloved alma mater - Class of 1957.)

1) Tuition, room, and board at Northwestern last year, according to requests I get for alumni contributions, was about $55,000 a year - unless one has a football or some other sports scholarship.

Even as legacies, we couldn't afford to send our grandchildren there. Doesn't that seem a rather generous "salary" for 18- to 22-year-olds with mainly athletic skills?

2) The perks don't end with scholarships, either, not at Northwestern or any other major university. They get preferential hiring by local businesses and alumni-owned companies, during and usually long after graduation. At some schools they receive other gifts under the table and under the noses of the NCAA.

3) They get hero status on campus far beyond what any brighter kid will get for academic achievement. That is just human nature, of course, but another undeniable advantage..

There is more to this story, too, and I am sure many other alums from other colleges and universities could have much to add.

Douglas D. Larion

Harbor Oaks Drive

Charleston

Share the sacrifice

I received an article from Military.com titled "Generals Say Troops Understand Need For Pay Cuts."

At the same time, on the front page of The New York Times, is an article about how our commander in chief is in agreement with NATO about increasing the number of troops as a show of force against Russia.

How do we do this?

On one hand, we tell members of the military that in order to have the equipment and training to do your job properly, you have to take a cut in pay.

And on the other hand, we are giving you more commitments to protect the world.

How about the commander in chief and the Congress all taking a 10 percent pay cut if they want to save money?

Don't take it away from the men and women we send into harm's way to keep us free.

SID BUSCH

U.S. Navy (Retired)

Bridgecreek Drive

Goose Creek