The opportunity to establish a gold standard is rare. Yet South Carolina has that chance right now. By enacting new, strong legislative ethics laws, we could correct a fundamental problem in our state and become a national example of the power of nonpartisan commitment to doing the right thing.

The problem is apparent. South Carolina didn’t need the Center for Public Integrity to tell us that we are one of the six worst states in the nation when it comes to legislative ethics. Most of us knew that just from keeping up with the local news.

Now, finally, ethics reform is center stage in our General Assembly. H.3945, which is a relatively strong piece of legislation, is on the Senate calendar and is waiting to be debated.

The economic disclosure requirements are sound, and a reasonable level of transparency for ethics investigations makes this bill the best foundation for ethics reform we can expect right now.

Time is running out. This bill should be brought to the floor and passed by the Senate without being weakened.

It is urgent that the voters of South Carolina contact their legislators and let them know that strong ethics reform — specifically H.3945 as it is now written – is important and must be passed.

Patricia G. Wolman

Audubon Place

Mount Pleasant

Melinda H. Hamilton

Parrot Creek Way

Charleston

Co-presidents

Charleston Branch

American Association

of University Women

Tony Keck may “lead” the Department of Health and Human Services, but what is his alternate vision for health care in South Carolina?

The May 19 front-page feature (Tony Keck a lightning rod for health care) mentions not one constructive alternative to Medicaid expansion, not one overall vision for improving health care for South Carolina in general, from Keck or Gov. Nikki Haley.

Rather we are regaled repeatedly with their “opposition to President Obama’s national health care program.” So counterproductive has been this opposition that you report that the only substantive health care legislation to reach a floor debate in this session was intentionally not submitted for review by Keck.

Apparently the Haley administration wants to preside over the incremental erosion of public health in the state, and to advance this goal produces nothing but criticism of any program that might have a chance to help.

What grand vision does Keck offer on public health? Only that “the 340,000 ... eligible under the expansion plan won’t become healthier by getting Medicaid cards.”

Two years after passage of the Affordable Care Act, South Carolinians get only official silence from Keck and Gov. Haley about how they might become healthier.

Philip Snead

North Edgewater Drive

Charleston

“Live with integrity and speak with honesty and take responsibility and demand accountability.”

This is a quote from President Obama’s May 24 address to the graduates at the U.S. Naval Academy. It seems that no one could benefit more from taking that advice than the president himself.

Let’s hope he was listening to his own speech.

James L. Ratledge

Parkdale Drive

Charleston

For years, I have lived in the vicinity of two elementary schools. Recently, as I was attempting to enter the street from my driveway, I was stopped by a large group of children and adults walking single file along the shoulder of my street, which has no sidewalk. Not unusual, although streets with sidewalks are used more often.

It would have been appropriate for one of the adults to halt the group long enough for me to enter the street, but it did not happen, and I was delayed no more than five minutes.

However, immediately after I pulled into the street, they proceeded to cross to the other side, not in the crosswalk, but 15 to 20 feet short of it. This would have been an ideal opportunity to point out the purpose of crosswalks.

There is more.

I turned right on Main Street and proceeded toward the traffic light to an incredible sight. This same group was crossing Main Street, but not waiting for the light. One of the adults was standing in the middle of the street halting traffic so that this group could stream against the green light.

What a message of entitlement to impart to young children.

Harriet S. Little

Joyce Lane

Summerville

I was pleased to find an article about college foundations divesting from the Fossil Fuel industry in the May 23 paper.

As part of a 21-year-old fee- only investment firm, we believe it is important for people to match their personal values with their financial life.

In the 1970s many learned of the term “divesting” as a way to stop the oppressive and unjust apartheid regime in South Africa.

After that experience, social investors learned that their dollars — whether in a bank, in a retirement account, or a college foundation — have real power.

Today a new generation is learning this and steering its efforts towards building a better planet.

For those of us who work to save the environment and who love the natural surroundings Charleston offers, it is hard to support an industry that advocates for off-shore drilling (and the spills that come with it). Why profit from an industry that is destroying our planet when there are other alternatives?

I hope this is the beginning of an awakening for Charlestonians and alumni of local colleges to begin to divest from the fossil fuel industry so that our grandchildren can enjoy the planet as we have.

Brady Quirk-Garvan

Tovey Road

Charleston

Confession. I like Obama. But under no circumstances do I believe he is qualified to run our country. Instead of dramatically reducing taxes to jump-start our ailing economy, he did everything in his power to increase them.

Instead of bringing Americans together by asking all of us to join hands and forget our differences, he used class warfare to create an unprecedented divide between Americans.

Instead of accepting that our country is in peril due to historical deficits, he willfully adds to.

Is it any wonder that our economy is staggering?

I believe that Obama’s likability is the sole reason that he survived re-election.

His record was deplorable, and his flawed ideology could not have been more transparent.

Replacing him should have been a no brainer, but astoundingly, Americans chose to keep him in office.

The end result of his first term was no catastrophic. The United States (as the sick patient) may not be able to weather the next few years without a complete collapse.

Robert Dodenhoff

Yacht Harbor Court

Isle of Palms

I am concerned about traffic along the Savannah Highway corridor between Sam Rittenberg Boulevard and Main Road. I have observed that several members of my family, when they drive, are unhappy due to the large amount of traffic and, sometimes, due to wrecks.

We have to leave earlier to get to and from school, scouts, sports, etc. The result is that I have less time to do homework, play and watch television before bedtime.

Most of the traffic appears to get on Savannah Highway at Sam Rittenberg and get off at Main Road. One can conclude that the majority are trying to get to Johns Island.

Therefore it seems to me that the obvious solution is to finish I-526 to Johns Island.

J. REED ELKIN

12 years old

Boy Scout Troop 50

Shillings Way

Ravenel