Stop ‘big box’ tract There is evidence that we in Mount Pleasant are not getting forthright government, and it will severely damage our beloved town if we allow it to continue.

At the March 13 Town Council meeting, town administrator Eric DeMoura stated that council voted 8–0 last July to repeal the requirement for a minimum of 50 acres to build a commercial building of 70,000 square feet or greater. He stated that this ordinance was actually duplicated in another part of the zoning code; “therefore, there is an active ordinance that is in direct conflict with council actions taken last July.”

It seems that the rezoning for the Gregg tract “big box” development was withdrawn, not because the developer wanted to address our concerns, but to give the Town of Mount Pleasant time to pave the way (please pardon the pun) for that development on a 39-acre tract.

We citizens have the opportunity to correct this wrong by speaking at the Planning Commission meeting at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 18.

The repeal of this ordinance could mean a huge turning point for our town. Big box stores are not sustainable, nor are they conducive to connecting and supporting our unique communities and local businesses. Mass impervious surfaces greatly increase the risk for flooding of surrounding homes and pollution of our beloved estuaries.

The Gregg tract and other future Mount Pleasant development could be showcases and catalysts for the entire nation: Something that helps define our community instead of a single-use, walled-off, unsustainable dinosaur. Something we can walk or bike to and be proud to have nearby. Some suggestions include a public library, multi-generational housing, a community center, a grade school or an assisted living center. These developments should include lots of green space and increased capacity stormwater ponds, all connected to surrounding communities with sidewalks and bike paths.

At the March Town Council meeting, Mayor Billy Swails closed his State of the Town Address as follows: “History will judge us on our ability to manage growth and development in a manner that preserves our quality of life and our history. To be successful in this endeavor, we will work together like never before with one purpose, to build a great community that endures for generations.”

It is our duty to make sure that our government does exactly that. Big box stores do not fulfill that goal. See you on April 18.

LEA McDOWELL CLOYD Lauda Drive

Mount Pleasant James Island pride

As a resident of James Island, I wanted to pass along some information to City of Charleston residents, especially those who recently voted Mayor Joe Riley in for a “last” term.

In the mail a few days back I received a card from the city proclaiming my pending fate as a forever Town of James Island resident if I elected to vote in favor of the town’s re-establishment in the upcoming April 24 referendum and if the motion carries.

I was warned that the city would suspend any future effort to challenge the town’s existence and I would be stuck with the proclaimed poor and duplicitous services of the James Island Public Service District and the Charleston County Sheriff’s Department. To this devastating news I proclaimed, “Hallelujah.” In fact I sang three Hallelujah choruses.

It has finally come to this, City of Charleston people: Riley has spent untold dollars and man-hours to repeatedly challenge the will of the residents of James Island.

Small town or not, with or without perceived poor services, we have prevailed in our quest for self-rule and independence from the Broad Street regime.

I now ask you, City of Charleston residents: How many more truly worthwhile expenditures of your tax dollars could have been made if the town’s independence had been recognized and accepted by Riley and Co. after the first favorable vote years ago?

The only thing now left to be seen, regarding the card that proclaimed the new town wouldn’t be challenged again, is if Riley is as good as his word.

I’m proud to be a James Islander.

Bud Corriher Quail Drive James Island

‘Knee-jerkers’ The attacks on Nikki Haley are all too familiar and another example of the abuse of our democratic system. Politics lately is dominated by knee-jerkers of both parties and knee-jerkers in the press. Everyone can identify a knee-jerker. You drop a word or line and you get a programed response — a knee-jerk response.

The response is absolutely predictable and largely lacking in substance. They have an absolute First Amendment right to spout their knee-jerk response. It always ends any meaningful dialogue. It ends rational dialogue nationwide when reported, even fanned, by the media.

Some examples of knee-jerk test words are “green,” “rich,” “contraception,” “Hillary Clinton,” “Sarah Palin” and now “Nikki Haley.” Knee-jerkers seem to go over the top when faced with an intelligent woman with a potentially powerful political future.

They keep the information, energy and focus of the country on issues to which they guarantee there will be no solution. They displace real dialogue, constructive dialogue and action. The minds and media attention of the country should be focused on the Mideast situation, the national debt, the role of banks in the economy and a joint deep-water container port with Georgia in Jasper county among other issues.

Nikki Haley and Sarah Palin are Republicans. So am I. Hillary Clinton is a Democrat. I have agreements and disagreements with the positions and actions taken by all three — however, addressing the differences meaningfully is impossible.

Valuable time, energy and brain power is diverted to address knee-jerkers whose personal attacks and incorrect blogs are repeated and promoted by the media.

Enough. Time for the rational members of both parties, of neither party, and of the press to wrest control from the knee-jerkers. Speak up, rational citizens. Object to the behavior of knee-jerkers. Object to the time and space they get from the media.

The women they are working so hard to keep out of power couldn’t do a worse job than the jerks are doing now.

Loe Anne Kimball Pino Pinehurst Avenue

Summerville Plain as daily There is a great deal of commentary and talk of the need for transparency in our state and federal governments.

It is refreshing to know The Post and Courier is transparent in its editorial beliefs and true causes.

The Post and Courier makes it very clear where it stands through its choice of articles published, letters, editorials, and guest editorials. The Post and Courier:

1) Opposes cruise ships calling Charleston.

2) Opposes the much-needed completion of the I-526 loop in Charleston.

3) Stands against Gov. Nikki Haley and opposes almost every thing she says or does.

4) Has an axe to grind against The Citadel and continually looks for ways to publish negative articles and continue repeating the same articles over and over as if it were new news.

Everyone has a bias about something. I think it is good that The Post and Courier is transparent in its.

ames F. Rhinebeck Banbury Road

Charleston Proliferating pleas

For better or for worse, plea bargaining is an integral part of our judiciary system. In the opinion of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia it’s obviously for worse.

The outspoken justice has characterized the process as “a necessary evil” and “a somewhat embarrassing adjunct to our criminal justice system.”

In 2009, according to a startling Justice Department report, 97 percent of federal convictions and 94 percent of state convictions were obtained by a guilty plea (Associated Press, March 21 Post and Courier).

Although it’s a hugely significant component of the judiciary system, plea bargaining has not been well regulated. A recent Supreme Court ruling addresses some current concerns.

To wit: Criminal defense lawyers must now apprise their clients of all plea-bargain offers, whether or not they believe their clients ought to accept those offers, Furthermore, the counselors must provide their clients with first-rate advice on whether or not to accept a plea bargain. They are required to do this during every phase of legal proceedings.

And I thought attorneys did all that without having to be told. Silly me.

H.J. BEAUJON, Ph.D. Cessna Avenue

Charleston Not again I was interested in the April 9 Post and Courier article quoting North Charleston’s fine mayor, Keith Summey, suggesting a “stimulus” solution to the Pinehaven Shopping Center/Ship Watch Square eyesore.

Unfortunately, his remarks reminded me of South Charleston Mayor Joe Riley and the silky smooth pitch he made for his outrageously expensive Crosstown tree-farm boondoggle, wasting lots of our federal taxpayer stimulus.

Mayor Summey, let South Charleston’s mayor go south on his own. No Democrat ever met a stimulus he couldn’t find some way to spend.

“Inventory shrinkage” killed business in Shipwatch Square. Additional “stimulus”’ will only “stimulate” a shipwreck the second time around.

Mr. Mayor, if something must be done, may I suggest planting trees.

Heyward White Commonwealth Circle

Hanahan Flags come back It has come to my attention that my old client, The Beach Company, has been under considerable fire from both patriots and veterans for removing the two flags flying outside the Chucktown Tavern.

As the Beach Company’s architect, while working with the architects-of-record, LS3P Associates, Ltd., I designed a good portion of Majestic Square, and submitted to the city all the components of the building’s exterior. Included in those submittals were the design and location for four flagpoles in front of the recessed section of the north facade and the required encroachment permits.

The city staff of the Board of Architectural Review ruled against the poles actually having flags on them and approved only non-specific banners with no writing or symbolism. The red and green banners were hung to comply with the city’s mandate.

Not long ago, the Chucktown Tavern took down two of those banners and hung an American flag on one and the flag of the POW support organization on the other, all without the knowledge or permission of The Beach Company. To maintain compliance with the city’s original mandate in 2000, the Beach Company removed the two flags and replaced them with the two original banners, per the original ruling.

The matter became more complicated when subsequently the city stated it had no objection to the flags, stating there was an ordinance now in place exempting non-commercial flags. This ordinance was a clear contradiction to the city’s own previous ruling of December 2000.

Thus, the reinstallation of the American and POW flags should be taken not as a rebuke of The Beach Company’s removal action, but rather of the city’s lack of familiarity with the project’s history. Thus, the reinstallation could be seen as a positive step in recovering from the confusion resulting from the city’s own seemingly contradictory policies.

SAMUEL S. LOGAN III Architect

Sans Souci Street Charleston