Obamacare folly

The Obama administration requested from all major networks a prime-time slot to cover the results of the first open enrollment for Obamacare. Independent of each other, the networks declined the request in favor of protecting their lost advertising revenue.

As a result, the president gathered members of his administration and members of Congress to be his audience in the Rose Garden.

He stated that, as of midnight March 31, 2014, 7.1 million people signed up for health care. This was greeted with applause as Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Dick Durbin and others patted each other on the back and shook each other's hand. That was the beginning of the April Fool's joke. What the president did not do was look inside the numbers and tell America what actually happened.

How many of the 7.1 million made the first payment? How many had health insurance prior to Obamacare? How many of the 7.1 million signed up for Obamacare to replace coverage they lost because of this law?

The devil is in the details. You can fool some of the people some of the time but not all of the people all the time.

Ed Gilligan

Marsh Hawk Lane

Kiawah Island

Sad sailing sign

After reading the April 11 article on Charleston Race Week by Tommy Braswell, one is to wonder if the professional sailors who participated knew that the tall ship Spirit of South Carolina is sitting in dry dock in Georgia. The Charleston sailing community should bow their heads in shame that they do not support the Spirit.

Thousands upon thousands of kids were able to learn about the sea and waterways. The city's budget is in excess of $170 million. It does not make sense that the city cannot support the Spirit.

Thousands of people donated their hard-earned money, and volunteers spent their free time building the Spirit.

Poor management of the Spirit Foundation was the problem. With so many people belonging to yacht clubs, you would think that the Spirit, which builds a great foundation for our kids to enjoy and learn, would have support.

If Race Week participants understood this, would they still have a warm feeling about the Charleston sailing community? With things like this happening, Charleston will never be a real sailing destination.

David Coe

W. Capers Road

James Island

Ecological health

Thank you for your April 2 editorial "The oceans as garbage dumps." As you rightly point out, "Humanity shares the world's waters, just as we share its land and air. And if we don't take care to preserve the ecological health of all three, [South Carolina] will also share grim consequences."

The vast majority of garbage you referenced is plastic, made from fossil fuels. Unlike plant-based plastics, they do not biodegrade.

But the oceans face even greater challenges than garbage. They also face acidification (which is increasingly toxic to our seafoods) due to rising carbon dioxide levels.

In addition, the oceans are warming as a result of the greenhouse effects of carbon dioxide produced by burning fossil fuels. And then there are oil spills from deep ocean oil rigs and pipeline leaks that seep into our water.

We must find ways to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.

Such changes can happen. They require a revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend. This legislation places a fee on fossil fuels when they enter our economy, and the money collected is returned to all U.S. citizens equally. Businesses and individuals are encouraged to seek ways to do business that use alternatives.

Countries that do not charge an equivalent fee must pay that fee upon importation; countries that charge the fee can import freely.

I urge Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott as well as Rep. Mark Sanford to support a revenue neutral carbon fee and dividend. We need all people worldwide to act to preserve our land, air and oceans.

Claire Cortright

Citizens' Climate Lobby

Garas Shevchen Road

Glen Spey, N.Y.

Potholes

The SCDOT must enjoy repairing potholes in the rain. Last week I witnessed an SCDOT crew repairing, once again, some of the continuous potholes on Harbor View Road. These particular potholes have been with us for at least a year despite many attempts at repair.

You'd think by now someone would think to use a hot patch repair method versus a cold patch with dirt on top.

SCDOT lacks good judgment on how to spend our money.

JAMES THORNAL

Burnett Drive

James Island

Job training

I thought the April 6 article "S.C. experts fear growth of job gap" was going to be about education, but it actually touted government financed "job training" in our high schools and colleges.

The contributors to the article -a senior vice president of the Charleston Chamber of Commerce, a S.C. state representative, a top Boeing executive, the president of Trident Technical College and the S.C. Superintendent of Education - all chipped in to downplay the value of education in favor of "job-training."

They say our schools should:

1) Focus on "skills and talent," not "knowledge," and "eliminate unnecessary [math and language] programs."

2) Use government education funding to produce "workers with technical training" for industry.

3) Structure college "degrees to match jobs."

Are they kidding? Job-training is a life-long process, not a goal.

High schools are supposed to produce academic graduates with good comprehensive skills in reading and writing and a functional understanding of math and science. With that they can choose to get a job or go to college.

If we cut students' academic education in favor of job training, we diminish their choices. That would be a betrayal beyond understanding.

TERRY W. RYAN

Captiva Row

Charleston

Filling the gap

In recent weeks, important steps have been taken toward bridging the gap for higher education degrees. With regional employment expected to grow nearly 50 percent faster than the U.S. rate in the next five years, it is necessary to define a mechanism that can produce degrees needed by our region's employers.

Thanks to the hard work of elected representatives - particularly Jim Merrill and Leon Stavrinakis - volunteers and committee members, the evolution is unfolding. There is now a bill before legislators that permits a mechanism for creating new, market-driven, advanced degrees in our community.

The conversation is focused on the real issue: Charleston area businesses are not able to hire local talent for many of their most rewarding and challenging jobs.

The S.C. House of Representatives may be poised to approve legislation to allow this region to create important degrees that will broaden the existing University of Charleston, which is already attached to the College of Charleston. It has been amended to protect the structure, brand and unique identity of both the C of C and MUSC. We hope the Senate will follow suit.

For business leaders, this is welcome news. Our goals are to start producing locally trained talent needed by local companies to deliver on promises we've made businesses that move here, and to knit together our improving K-12 STEM education and higher degrees.

The Chamber worked closely with these two legislators and the two educational institutions for the past several months, providing them with detailed information on the jobs employers are having the most difficulty filling and the degrees of highest immediate need for our region's businesses. If enacted, this legislation will be a win for employers and future regional growth prospects.

As chairman of the Chamber's board of directors, I speak for our entire board when I say we are enthusiastic about this advancement toward developing a framework that will create the opportunity to fill the gap.

CHRISTOPHER B. FRASER

Chairman, Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce

Leeds Avenue

North Charleston