As ministers, we work day-in and day-out to meet our community’s needs. We are blessed to live and worship in Berkeley County. Our experiences confirm to us that strong families, strong values and a strong education are cornerstones for a contributing citizen of the future.

That’s why we support the Berkeley School Improvement Referendum.

Our children are being held back by out-of-date facilities. Classrooms are overcrowded. Many students are crammed into trailers. Our school campuses are not as safe as they need to be. And inadequate facilities prevent our students from benefiting from high tech learning that they’ll need to get good jobs in today’s competitive job environment.

The School Improvement Referendum will not only result in significant improvements to 29 schools throughout Berkeley County. It will also enable five new schools to be built in underserved areas.

Some students now must ride a bus for an hour each way to and from school. Students from Cainhoy get on the bus at 5:30 a.m. to travel to Hanahan High School.

The School Improvement Referendum would provide our kids with safer schools, smaller class sizes, less need for trailers, more high tech learning and the better teaching that comes from working in better facilities.

On Election Day, we urge you to join us in voting YES for the School Improvement Referendum. It’s at the end of the ballot, so even if you vote straight party ticket, you’ve got to look for it. Please find it, and vote YES.

Rev. Richard Harkness

Pastor, Moncks Corner A.M.E. Church

Main Street

Moncks Corner

This letter was also signed by: Bishop Johnie Johnson, Rev. Leonard Griffin, Minister Kenny Johnson, Rev. Stephen L. Love, Rev. Joe McNeil, Rev. Virginia Stafford, Rev. Mae Taylor.

Hourly workers at Boeing may believe they have a right to a voice on the job. They may believe they have the right to fair treatment in matters of pay, promotion and discipline. But these rights, along with many others that are prized by U.S. citizens, often vanish the moment a person enters the workplace as an employee.

In the absence of collective bargaining and a union contract, the list of guaranteed protections for workers is very short.

Federal law protects workers in South Carolina and every other state from discrimination at work on the basis of race, sex, creed, color and national origin. Federal laws also provide for a minimum wage, overtime pay after 40 hours and certain protections in the event of a family illness or military service.

Non-union hourly workers at Boeing, like most American workers, are at-will employees. They are not guaranteed vacation time, medical insurance, sick leave, a minimum number of hours or a fair hearing if they face discipline. The terms and conditions of a non-union job are routinely defined by the company in a handbook that the company can change with or without notice to the employee.

Under a union contract, however, workers and their representatives can negotiate terms in addition to the minimum provided by law. This includes retirement benefits, a schedule of pay raises, a fair system of bidding for shifts, vacations and promotion opportunities. A benefit under a union contract is that the employer is required to show just cause for proposed discipline.

Despite howls of protest from anti-union politicians and pundits, the fact remains that employees in a non-union workplace can legally be denied the basic rights of assembly and self-determination.

It is not surprising that South Carolina workers at Boeing are interested in finding out more about the thoroughly American rights available to them only with a union contract. And when they call on the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) we will be there to answer their questions.

Tommy Mayfield

Grand Lodge Representative

IAMAW

E. Lamar Boulevard

Arlington, Texas

While Romney’s agenda has created a fuss, Obama talks a lot but says nothing. Obama has stated he would increase taxes on those making $200,000 or more. Beyond repeating “the rich should pay their fair share,” he hasn’t offered a single new idea.

Obama’s strategy has been to “kill Romney,” divide and distract, and run out the clock. The president hasn’t revealed anything new for a second term; his first term, however, contains plenty of clues. He would see victory in November as a mandate for more spending. Since taxing the “rich” does not solve the debt, everyone can expect higher taxes.

Obama has refused to consider any meaningful changes to Social Security or Medicare. Without reform, and given his appetite for more social spending, deficits will continue to grow.

Driven by ObamaCare and more government regulations/spending, government power will morph into a monster bent on controlling our lives. Limits our founders placed on federal power are being dismantled.

I once voted Democratic. However, that party died in 2008; born again, it’s now ruled by statists, radicals and socialists/Marxists. Despite a terrific beating in the midterms, Obama moved further left. Is this a man, and a party, that want to meet Republicans in a spirit of compromise? Was ObamaCare passed with compromise? No. It was rammed through Congress without one Republican vote.

What kind of nation do we want to become? This election is a choice between a society driven by individual freedom and self-reliance and one driven by statism and government-dependency. For the sake of our children and our nation, I choose freedom.

Bill Bissette

Short Street

Charleston

Our committee has been criticized for giving misinformation, which is strange because all of our information has been gathered from the Berkeley County School District itself.

Our sole purpose has been to tell the voters what the other side is avoiding:

1) The district claims a tax increase of 11 cents per day, but actually it is a 36 percent tax increase on the school bond portion of your tax bill. 2) The district claims that we are growing by over 1,000 students per year, but from 1999 to 2012 our population went from 26,003 students to 28,980, or an average of 223 students per year.

3) The superintendent and school board claim Cane Bay Middle cost less than $20 million, when it actually cost at least $22.5 million.

Further, Cane Bay Middle has a capacity of 900 students and opened two months ago with only 415 students.

4) With passage of this bond issue, our debt obligations on buildings in Berkeley County will be over $1 billion.

5) The district claims all these projects can be done for $198 million (a tax increase of $350.6 million with interest) but have quietly stated that it will cost at least $42 million more to get it done.

Yes, we need a few new schools and some renovations, but we do not need 29 renovations that include some just to replace carpet. Why would we finance carpet for 23 years? It’s irresponsible. It’s poor leadership.

Josh Whitley

Co-Chairman

Berkeley Citizens for

Sustainable Education

Daniel Island Drive

Daniel Island

It is absolutely astounding to me that anyone with even half a working brain could align him or herself with the party of science deniers.

From the delicate dance of sperm and egg to the vastness of interstellar space; from the evolution of species to the origins of our Earth; from the facts of climate change to the value of environmental protection; they have it woefully wrong.

Their willful denial of the most basic facts of modern science and their pursuit of an agenda based on myth and misconception will doom our country both economically and strategically.

Don’t be afraid to use your brain on Nov. 6.

George H. Steele

Whippoorwill Farm Road

Johns Island