Changes needed

We would like to thank The Post and Courier for shining a spotlight on the immense cost of domestic violence in the series "Till Death Do Us Part." As a state, we have for far too long turned away from the silent population that lives in fear of violence from those they love.

Rather than seeing victims and offenders as being part of our communities, they are stereotyped as either helpless or beyond help.

By doing this we not only protect ourselves from acknowledging that either could be a family member, church member, friend or colleague, we miss the opportunity to intervene in stopping the cycle of violence that takes place behind closed doors.

When we refuse to see how close domestic violence is to each of us, we also fail to hold accountable those who can make change through the passage and enforcement of reasonable laws that could help provide meaningful protections to victims and hold abusers accountable for their behavior in significant ways.

Our hope is that this investigation will begin a meaningful conversation that will effect essential change throughout our social fabric and criminal justice system to make South Carolina a safer place for everyone.

Sara Barber

Executive Director

S.C. Coalition Against

Domestic Violence

and Sexual Assault

Middleburg Drive

Columbia

Happy Landing

It was encouraging to read that revenues and attendance at S.C. state parks are at record levels, enabling the park system to cover 90 percent of operating expenses.

A very important part of this success story at Charles Towne Landing State Historic Park is the support of over 70 volunteers as well as the Friends of Charles Towne Landing and similar non-profit groups at many of our state parks.

Among other projects, the locally based group of Friends sponsors four 5K races (the Landing Series) each year, attracting hundreds of adults and children. Over the past two years these events have raised over $20,000 to support operating expenses at the landing.

In addition, the Garden Club of Charleston has added to the attractiveness and appeal of the landing by planting flowers and shrubs around the Legare Waring house. Many of the majestic oaks have been designated as historic trees throughout the park.

The Garden Club of South Carolina has embarked on a state-wide project to beautify the landing's small "pocket" gardens and help preserve the many acres of historic and valuable camellias.

In addition to their regular duties of operating the park, Manager Rob Powell and his staff support all these activities and sponsor fund-raising projects like Family Movie Nights, Buddy Bream Fishing Tournaments and historic re-enactments.

It should be clear that the key to sustaining and preserving S.C. state parks not only is the work of dedicated staffs, but also the support they receive from private groups and an appreciative public.

Gary Nichols

President

Board of Directors

Friends of Charles Towne

Landing State Historic Park

Cecilia Drive

Charleston

Taxing credibility

In reference to the Aug. 18 editorial "Dump S.C. income tax," I must contradict several key points.

David Schwartz bases his argument on a questionable study by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a group he erroneously refers to as "nonpartisan." ALEC, as this corporate-financed, ultra-conservative group is called, is hardly nonpartisan.

Guest speakers for their latest annual meeting included Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain and our very own Jim DeMint, to name but a few of their "nonpartisan" speakers.

ALEC, along with deep-pocketed corporations, writes legislative bills that are passed to their members, who are also members of Congress. They then submit these bills as their own.

Common Cause, a nonpartisan group created to hold elected officials accountable, states: "ALEC is one of the biggest threats to democracy Americans face today."

I also question the assertion that South Carolina has the highest tax rate in the Southeast.

The 2013 Tax Business Climate Index, states that South Carolina ranks 36th (with No. 1 being the most tax friendly). However, North Carolina, which I would certainly consider a part of the Southeast, is ranked a much higher 44th.

Inferior infrastructure, poor roads, and an under-funded education system hinder our ability to attract new business at least as much as our tax policies.

While everyone likes the idea of paying less in taxes, I am happy to pay 7 percent, if these funds were used to address our infrastructure, roads and schools.

Mr. Schwartz equates having more money with a better life.

I believe that well-funded local and state governments are necessary to provide safe roads and bridges, clean water, a solid education system, adequate and fair law enforcement, and protection of our natural resources. I think that these things are at least as important to our happiness, well-being and future as having a few extra dollars in our wallets.

Bobbie Rose

Bennett Street

Charleston

Familiar shape

Oh dear, oh dear. I've tried to like the proposed Clemson Architecture Center building. I really have.

But the photo in the Aug. 24 paper confirms my fears:

It looks just like three of my plastic filing cabinet "bins" from Walmart.

It made me laugh - but not in a good way.

Nancy Stockton

Fenwick Drive

Charleston

Growing pains

I'd like to commend David Slade for his balanced and insightful coverage of the debates surrounding higher density developments in the Charleston suburbs.

However, as one of the residents quoted in the article, I would like the opportunity to correct a statement attributed to me.

While many of us are opposed to the heights and densities that the town of Mount Pleasant is trying to encourage on Coleman Boulevard, of all places, none of us wants to see suburban sprawl spread into Awendaw and the Francis Marion National Forest.

It's just that there are more appropriate and practical places for the town to grow "up."

Jimmy Bagwell

William Street

Mount Pleasant