Up with King

While sympathetic to some of the concerns raised in Mayor Joe Riley's June 15 op-ed, I think he and City Council have underestimated the positive impacts the redevelopment of upper King Street is having there and on the surrounding neighborhoods.

There is no question that property values in our East Side neighborhood have increased as upper King Street has turned into a viable entertainment district.

I think the mayor and the council have also overestimated the extent to which the build-out on upper King is complete. North of Cannon Street there are still vacant lots and boarded up buildings. Turn the corner onto Spring Street and you'll see more of the blight we've only recently seen disappear from upper King.

Please don't put the brakes on this process which is having such salutary effects, and please don't think that regulators and politicians are better at picking winners and losers than the marketplace.

With regard to "the Bourbon Street experience," let's remember that we start with a base of city services of much higher quality than New Orleans', and we have the advantage of a professional and non-corrupt police force.

Upper King is fun and lively and, yes, it will draw its share of knuckleheads.

But don't let the amorphous fears of "city planners" halt the uplift of upper King.

Let it continue, and let us enjoy it and prosper from it.

Dave Brumbaugh

Nassau Street

Charleston

Restaurant racket

Many thanks to Hanna Raskin for her article bringing to light how noisy local restaurants can get.

I appreciate her research and completely agree with her findings. With centralized bars and open kitchens, one would think that restaurant owners would lower the music volume. Sadly, this is not the case.

On a rare date night, my husband and I walked into one of the restaurants mentioned in Ms. Raskin's article, and due to the noise level we turned around and walked back out.

On other occasions my family and I often choose to eat outside to avoid the interior din, but the music hounds us there as well.

In the future, we'll settle for a quiet glass of wine at 4:30 on a Tuesday afternoon, as Ms. Raskin suggests, and head back home for dinner. My 14-year-old will be happy to oblige us with blaring Led Zeppelin or Siouxie and the Banshees, if we need musical accompaniment.

Hayden D. Shook

Regatta Road

Charleston

Free health care

Lately there has been plenty of flak going around about the Department of Veterans Affairs.

I had family members who served in World War I and in wars up through Iraq and Afghanistan. At one time or another we all ended up in the VA for something.

With all the lies, the secret lists, the manipulation of data, the deaths, the VA will never have any credibility again

The longevity of the VA's problems and complaints are heavily documented. For health care I generally use the other rip-off system known as Tricare.

Tricare was forced on active duty members and retirees before I retired from service. There was no choice.

It was much like getting deployed to Iraq for the next 1,000 years. Tricare replaced the guaranteed "free" health care for life system nixed by tricky lawyers and federal judges eons ago.

New recruits were promised "free" medical care for life for 20 years service.

Shortly after this grand deceit the courts massaged the data to let the U.S. government off the hook for not keeping its promises.

To me "free" normally means "free" except when it comes to veterans, then "free" means either a payment or additional requirements.

However, the entitlement crowd gets everything free and is constantly getting more with the almost monthly advent of new social engineering experiments.

So recruiters lied and over time millions of recruits signed up only to see Uncle Sam ignore its promises.

It's standard procedure for Washington. Ignoring things away or wishing them away is proven governmental psyops.

Wally Reddington Jr.

MSgt., U.S. Air Force (Ret.)

Durrell Court

Goose Creek

Protect the port

Charleston residents should thank their higher power every night for the wonderful port that is driving our economic engine to a higher revolution than ever dreamt.

It took a while to recover from the nastiness with our sister state to the south. The battles sent out waves of publicity which hampered our ship of state from sailing as smoothly as possible; too much noise for business investment.

Manufacturers risking an enormous amount of startup capital must have a nearly infallible ability to deliver goods worldwide.

Can we agree that the port must be protected?

We each enjoy the port's benefits. We each should feel some responsibility to ensure continued growth. The tongue, pen and Internet are powerful instruments. Please use them respectfully and judiciously when addressing this wonderful giving entity.

JOHN C. GODFREY

Kracke Street

Charleston