Who's divisive?

I am a 1976 graduate of The Citadel with long family ties to Charleston.

I find Charleston County Councilman Henry Darby's June 7 column divisive and blatantly biased. He states, "Any symbol which is divisive should be removed."

Why doesn't he also call for the razing of buildings like the Exchange Building and the Old Slave Mart, where Africans were sold into slavery?

What about Middleton, Magnolia and Boone Hall plantations, which charge for admittance and were built on the back of slave labor?

The City of Charleston owns the Old Slave Mart, and I am sure that "government tax dollars" are used to maintain the building.

While some of these other locations are privately owned and operated, because of their historical significance, they receive tax dollars directly or indirectly through government-funded grants.

I doubt that Mr. Darby or Council Chairman Teddie Pryor will find anyone who will agree that slavery and the oppression of African-Americans in the past was right. It was part of the life and history of the United States and many other countries.

Their focus on the flag at The Citadel's Summerall Chapel, which is seen by far fewer people than the Exchange Building, Old Slave Mart, Middleton, Magnolia and Boone Hall plantations, is purely self-aggrandizing.

I'm not sure why when it was time for Charleston County Council members to release funds legally owed to The Citadel it kowtowed to Mr. Darby's call for holding this money hostage.

I find their actions to give any credence to Mr. Darby's demand by turning Charleston County government decisions over to the state attorney general spineless. If the state government is going to make a decision for our County Council, why should the body exist?

Glenn Sojourner

Wespanee Place Court


Job strategy

There has been considerable debate among local mayoral candidates about whether to more actively work to attract new business and industry into Goose Creek, Moncks Corner and Summerville.

Obviously, many South Carolinians still have mixed emotions about companies that swooped in but ultimately left our community.

One such example is Porsche, the German automotive manufacturer credited with engineering and producing one of the world's most iconic and desired sports cars. Porsche maintained a U.S. destination and body repair factory here in Charleston for years, then closed and moved elsewhere.

I've been a classic Porsche 911 restoration buff for seven years now, patronizing custom metal, paint, mechanical, and upholstery shops throughout our local region. Some area shops are capable of working on German vehicles expertly, yet many are not. Two local craftsmen who worked for the former Porsche facility here were Jay and Steve Zerbst. The Zerbst brothers decided not to leave town with the company. They decided to stay and establish Carolina Custom Paint & Body in Moncks Corner, armed with the German work ethic, training and industry contacts they had acquired.

Other shops such as Nostalgia Garage and European Road Racing have long experience restoring fine automobiles. In fact, I've seen more and more standout Trident Tech graduates working in numerous shops, based on their innate skills, military training and exposure to modern manufacturing and technology education.

It seems that Goose Creek, Moncks Corner, Summerville, and even North Charleston are diamonds in the rough waiting to be polished and rebranded, perhaps as a classic and luxury car restoration haven capable of competing with South Florida and even Southern California. If local leaders, citizens, and business owners can come together, decide on which micro-industries to develop more seriously, and then convey a more cohesive community message both regionally and nationally, businesses and industry and jobs will come to S.C. towns and benefit their residents more sustainably.

Baron C. Hanson

RedBaron Strategy

PR Advisors

Market Street


Good care

With all of the criticism regarding the Veterans Administration, I want to express a positive note regarding my experiences at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Hospital.

I can't say enough good things about the wonderful doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and technicians there. They are very professional and caring people. My primary care doctor, Dr. Del Rosario, spends enough time with me to explain and answer all my questions in regard to my treatment for the extensive physical problems I have. And, if I need treatment, the wait for an appointment is about the same as it would be in the private sector.

When the hospital was built, there wasn't the population in the area that there is now, so it does take time to find a parking space.

But if parking is your only complaint, consider yourself very lucky.

I thank them for the fine efforts in keeping me as healthy as I can be.

Robert Orenstein

Wainwright Manor


Let down by VA

Now that numerous deaths due to delays in health care from the Department of Veterans Affairs have come to light, everyone is outraged.

Considering that I have been dealing with VA incompetence for 45 years, I have little confidence in anything Obama or his government has to say.

To highlight the more serious problems that cost me dearly when seeking help at the VA, in 1969 after I got out of the Marine Corps, spending almost a year in the hospital from wounds received in Vietnam, I went to the VA with pneumonia. I was sent home with a bottle of antibiotics and almost died. When I saw my doctor again, he apologized, saying he should have hospitalized me.

In 1987 I went to the VA in extreme back pain and was sent home with muscle relaxers.

I lost the feeling in my left leg from hip to toes ending up partially paralyzed to date.

In 1999 I went to the VA in Augusta, Ga., with a lump on my left thigh. My doctor told me if it got worse to come back.

When I went to the emergency room a doctor lanced it. I was sent to a surgeon for a biopsy but never got one because I didn't have anyone to bring me back and forth for the operation.

I later learned that I had a deadly cancer. A large section of my left thigh was removed. I fought the VA for a year trying to get them to pay the 20 percent that Medicare didn't cover.

I taped a conversation with a VA veteran's representative that contradicted everything I was told and sent it to Washington. I got a call from the administrator apologizing for the misunderstanding. I was reimbursed.

Gregory J. Topliff

Glenwood Drive


Boating safety

Thank you for your recent article calling attention to safe boating. I have taken the following directly from the South Carolina Handbook of Boating Laws and Responsibilities:

1) You may not operate a boat or personal water craft in excess of "idle speed" within 50 feet of a moored or anchored boat, a wharf, pier, or dock, a person in the water

2) Operating in excess of "idle speed" within 100 yards of the Atlantic coastline is prohibited.

3) You must maintain "idle speed" when in the vicinity of a boat flashing a blue light.

4) Vessel operators are responsible for any damage caused by their wake.

Lawrence Lucas

Hobcaw Bluff Drive

Mount Pleasant

Sidewalk hazard

Early on May 17, while walking along Meeting Street gazing up at Charleston's splendid architecture instead of looking down where I was walking, I tripped, fell heavily and gashed my forehead.

A lady out walking rang 911 and a young man driving by stopped to offer assistance and both stayed until the paramedics arrived.

I was told I was one of many victims of Charleston's footpaths. At Roper St. Francis emergency the staff was very professional and provided expert care.

In 40 years of international traveling it was my first accident. It was my last day in the United States. I received some stitches and was able to begin my long journey home to Australia.

Back in Sydney the stitches were removed a week later (Dr. Bianco's fine needlework was complimented) and three weeks down the track my grazed hands and knees are back to normal and the dark bruising on my face has almost gone.

Please allow me to express my gratitude to the residents, paramedics and emergency staff for their attention and assistance. Charleston is a wonderful city which I hope to visit again.

Joy Hughes

Cowles Road

Mosman, New South Wales


Negative legacy

President Obama, who is very attuned to his mark on history, has the following legacy: Fast and Furious, Obamacare, IRS, Benghazi, Syria, Crimea and now Bergdahl.

I hope in the time he has left as president that nothing else is added.

Pat Kilroy

Milton Drive

Goose Creek

Wrong message

I see where the current administration of Charleston and this newspaper's editorial staff want to "Lighten the tourism load."

Well, if they want to permanently kill off tourism in our city they've certainly chosen the correct way to do so.

When word gets around - and it will - that visitors are no longer welcome here because they're a burden to residents, we will see a dramatic reduction of people wanting to come here and enjoy the fun, the many attractions and living history previously offered.

Along with the reduction of visitors will be a major reduction of tourist dollars, resulting in jobs lost and businesses struggling. We're just recovering from the worst recession since the Great Depression of 1929.

Do we really want to go there again?

Nan H. Hahn

Seiberling Road

North Charleston

Heed Hollings

I have great respect for our distinguished former U.S. Sen. Ernest F. Hollings.

In his Monday column, "Understanding Washington's wheeling-dealing lobbying game," Sen. Hollings writes, "Lobbyists with the money have taken control of the Congress." Limiting spending in elections appears to be part of the solution, but without a balanced budget amendment, limited spending on elections will not fix the sorry predicament Democrats, Republicans and the irresponsible electorate have gotten us in.

Sen. Hollings is to be commended for attempting to educate the public on how the political game is played in Washington.

I hope and pray that responsible voters, if a majority can still be found in America, will heed the words of our former senator.

Kenneth R. Cook

Fort Royal Avenue