After reading Ron Brinson's Jan. 7 column I need to respond. It's been a little more than a year since I was mayor, and I can now express my opinion as a private citizen and not as an elected official. That person has always been a conservative but also a realist.

Being a conservative, a moderate or a liberal has nothing to do with the deplorable condition our roads/bridges are in.

When I talk to some of my most conservative friends, they also believe we need to increase our gas tax. The same is true for both my moderate and liberal friends and, yes, I have both.

So what's the problem? Is there not an elected person in this state who will step up? Leadership doesn't always win friends, but it is why you were elected.

If you need to defend yourself for supporting a tax increase, then so be it. Our roads and bridges are dangerous, and our citizens deserve better.

The vast majority of South Carolinians want our roads and bridges repaired. Widening I-26, I-85 and I-95 is imperative.

If we can't extend I-526, let's use that money now - not wait another year to do something.

Let's quit saying maybe next year. The time is now. Someone, please step up.

Billy Swails

Hobcaw Drive

Mount Pleasant

In response to Sen. Ernest Hollings' Jan. 9 letter "Limits of freedoms": I seldom agree with the senator, but I do respect him for his forthrightness. Two points he made should be addressed.

He states that the terrorism in France was caused by the magazine running a cartoon of Muhammad and the same could happen in the United States if a cartoon making fun of Jesus Christ was run.

Hello. There are cartoons like that published every day in this country, and I cannot remember a Christian group killing people over that.

Let me add that if it did happen, Christians would be the first to reject it and bring the perpetrators to justice, which does not seem to be the reaction in a vast segment of the Muslim population.

He states that freedom of the press should be restricted against cartoons making fun of religion.

On one hand I will agree with that, but exactly who in this society or government is going to be the judge on that call?

No, freedom means freedom. Publishing cartoons is not the same as yelling "Fire!" in a theater.

Ron Davis

Grove Street

Charleston

It seems like many Americans have a distorted understanding of what rights are these days.

They have these outdated and ridiculous notions that these rights are constitutionally guaranteed to all American citizens, and the federal government has some duty or mandate to protect those rights.

Rights are just what the government gives us if it wants to, when it wants to, to whichever citizens it deems worthy. States and even local governments can choose which citizens have them.

Some people even have this idea that a constitutional amendment is how rights are altered or doled out to favored citizens, when obviously it can be done at any government level as easily as passing a law or regulation.

Constitutional rights are just the equivalent of a state drivers license and if we taught this in school more Americans would understand this simple truth.

Obviously our schools are failing our children terribly for so large a minority to have such a blatantly false understanding of what rights really are.

Thomas C. Mobley

Johnsville Road

Smoaks

Now that The Post and Courier has published details about the Charleston County School District diversity consultant Kevin Clayton's role in the interrogation and poor decision making surrounding the Academic Magnet football team and coach, I would hope that the Charleston County School Board does not extend his contract.

Internal emails show Mr. Clayton was the architect of the ill-fated decision to fire the coach. His advice led to a new level of divisiveness on the very issue he was paid $50,000 to work on.

Mr. Clayton should be expected to have the best perspective on how to use the events in a positive way. Instead, Mr. Clayton harmed the goals of diversity. Yet he has the guts to ask for an extension.

Why on earth should he get one?

Jay Seibels

Broad Street

Charleston

"The Last Beach," by Orrin Pilkey and Andrew Cooper, (Duke University Press, 2014) should be required reading for Post and Courier columnist Brian Hicks ("Common sense needed to save Folly," Dec. 7) and maybe the Army Corps of Engineers, even though that august body has seemed positively sclerotic in failing to change its inclinations even in light of its own experience.

You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time.

But you can't fool Mother Nature - although you can spend a lot of your own and other people's money in repeated efforts to disprove that adage.

I'll be glad to lend out my copy of "The Last Beach" to any of them who might live on high ground.

Philip Snead

North Edgewater Drive

Charleston

With the possibility of the new driverless cars appearing on our streets and highways, who gets the ticket for speeding or running a stop sign?

The steering wheel or the passenger?

Dennis L. Compton

Filly Court

North Charleston