I would like to comment on two editorials on the Town of James Island’s tree regulations that have appeared in The Post and Courier.
The town defines grand trees as any oak species with a 24 inches or greater diameter. Charleston County and the cities of Charleston and North Charleston use the 24-inch limit. Mount Pleasant defines “historic trees” using the same standard.
Your June 1 editorial compared the town’s definition of grand trees with protected trees in other jurisdictions. The James Island Planning Commission recommended that protected trees be defined as any tree of 8 inches or greater, with regulations similar to those in the county and the City of Charleston.
Limiting the definition of grand trees to oaks is unusual. To prepare for a workshop on tree regulation, town staff is gathering information on rules in other jurisdictions, native trees of James Island and the town’s undeveloped parcels.
The day before the June 20 meeting, council received an email from Councilman Sam Kernodle proposing to define grand trees as all trees other than pines 18 inches or greater in diameter. Earlier that day, I received an email from Nix 526 asking its supporters to contact council in support of this proposal. I received 19 emails from town residents and 20 from others. The emails and 25 supporters at the meeting were less than 1 percent of the town’s 8,954 voters. Councilman Leonard Blank, chair of the Land Use Committee and former chair of the James Island Planning Commission, joined me in voting against the amendment. Councilmen Kernodle and Troy Mullinax and Councilwoman Mary Beth Berry voted in favor.
The vote to allow the Harbor View Road project cited in the June 22 editorial was also 3-2. Kernodle and Berry voted to block the project. Mullinax joined Blank and me to allow the project to go forward.
The grand tree definition is very serious because it applies to over 4,000 homeowners, subjecting them to fines for cutting down trees in their yard.
Asking for permission requires paying a fee and appearing before the Board of Zoning Appeals.
A major change in town policy should never occur by last-minute amendment at the behest of a handful of town voters.
James Island Mayor
A June 23 editorial criticized the Berkeley County School Board for not allowing a citizen to address a relevant topic at a meeting.
A very foundation of our government is freedom of speech; its significance to the success of this nation cannot be underestimated.
The father of our country, George Washington once said, “If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”
Elected officials at every level of government in this nation should respect the right of citizens to express their viewpoints.
As our nation’s Independence Day approaches, I urge citizens to reflect upon our democracy and the many freedoms we possess. Our government is the ultimate success story; however, its continued success depends upon the willingness of its citizens to defend our freedoms. I applaud the editorial board for defending our freedom of speech.
REP. Eddy Southard
Berkeley County, District 100
It didn’t surprise me when a sanctimonious June 10 letter writer claimed he preferred the old big-time capitalist Republican Party before it morphed into a bunch of gun-toting, survivalist homophobes, and addressed his letter from the white, middle-class sanctuary of Mount Pleasant.
The National Security Agency chief briefed Congress recently on the NSA’s spying program. The good general talked about connecting the dots. The connected dots of the Special Ops chopper shot down in Afghanistan, the Benghazi fiasco and the Boston bombing are only a few of the dots. “Trust us,” they say. Seriously? Why?
America, we are not doing this and we are not doing that with your data, and we have procedures and mechanisms in place to protect your freedoms and liberties and to keep you safe.
Really? You can’t even keep tabs on rogue people in your ranks, let alone keep people safe. It’s funny how you have plenty of time to spy on common citizens but can’t pry your own moles out of the woodwork.
Try to spend more time on “real” intel. How many more Snowdens are you going to let slip through the cracks? Do us a favor: Don’t go after Snowden. Hire the Mossad. We don’t want you arresting some Chinese grandmother by mistake. Happy hunting.
Wally Reddington Jr.
MSgt., U.S. Air Force
It is just incredible to me that this country and its citizens are being held political hostages by the control of the community of illegal immigrants in this country.
The future political landscape depends on which party gets the illegal population’s influence.
That is tantamount to blackmail at its highest level. We will bend to the demands of this group or else they will back the political party that gives them the most at taxpayers’ expense.
I challenge anyone to go “south of the border” illegally. You have no rights — you go straight to jail and stay there. But here you are rewarded gifts and perks from the American people and afforded the right to determine policy that governs this country.
What is wrong with the proper immigration path that so many people have used? The decay of our country is in full bloom, and our children will never see the prosperity seen by previous generations. That is just sad.
Many consider the immigration bill currently in Congress a “good” bill, but when a senator tried to amend it so that border enforcement must come before any other part of the bill would go into effect, it was defeated.
What does that tell you about the enforcement that will come?
Recently, the Congressional Budget Office reported that if the immigration bill passes, illegal immigration will continue at 75 percent of current level. Close the border — first.
If this stands, we as a people will get what we deserve — a country that is bankrupt and unrecognizable as the America we have known.
On July 4, at 9:30 a.m., Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr.; Tony Youmans, director of the Old Exchange Building; and Michael Coker, assistant director of the Old Exchange Building; along with members of the Washington Light Infantry, will read aloud the Declaration of Independence.
The reading will take pace at the Old Exchange Building at the end of Broad Street. Such a reading of the Declaration of Independence has not occurred in the city for quite some time, and we are proud to start the tradition again.
This historical document is our nation’s most cherished symbol of liberty.
After the reading, we are inviting all to parade with us to the graveyard of St. Philip’s Church, to the grave of Edward Rutledge, one of the original signers of the Declaration of Independence, where a wreath will be placed.
Please come and celebrate this most important event in the history of the United States of America.
Henry I. Siegling
Major General, S.C.
Washington Light Infantry