The death recently of a bicyclist on Folly Road was another senseless tragedy. Why are we not trying to solve this problem?

Years ago when I was a commissioner for Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission, we installed the first phase of bike paths on both sides of Folly Road beginning at Folly Beach.

I pushed very hard for bike paths, but when it came time to implement the plan, I objected to building these bike paths as an extension of the pavement.

I wanted to see bike paths with some separation (maybe six feet) from the road as I have seen in other areas. Obviously, I was outvoted.

Vertical markers indicating the path limits could help in some areas. Etch the bike path separation line or consider moving the bike paths to the shoulder. Add more bikeway signage.

One of the best safety options at this time for bicyclists is to ride facing traffic. At least then you can see who is trying to run you down.

I hope that County Council or our County Legislative Delegation will attempt to solve this issue.

Edwin S. Taylor Greenbriar Lane

Charleston

With all the carjackings, robberies, murders and home invasions, some Democrats want to change our “Stand Your Ground” state law.

I guess they don’t want criminals to get hurt. They might not get to vote, but they would have an ID picture.

Robert Koon Phyllis Street North Charleston

I suspect many independent voters, like me, would welcome the presidential candidates engaging in a meaningful debate on the economy.

Recently I watched a Republican senator on Fox News excoriate the president on his “job killing, big government policies.” The senator said that small businesses are suffering from intrusive government policies.

I consulted independent sources on the Internet — The Associated Press and US News & World Report. I learned that growth in small business jobs outpaced medium and large businesses. Also, small businesses were not moving jobs overseas as large businesses were.

The Fox Business Network website reported that since the recession officially ended in June 2009, the private sector added 2.8 million jobs, and the public sector lost 584,000 jobs. Following all previous recessions, the public sector added jobs, meaning their income was not available to the private sector.

On the other hand, generous public sector pension plans negotiated by unions result in higher taxes with little return for the taxpayer.

The Obama policies certainly favor the traditional Democratic constituency of labor unions and higher taxes for the wealthy.

I concluded that the Democratic position was clearer than the Republican (which is not the same as saying their policies are better), and that Republican talking points take us, the voters, for idiots.

There should be a counter position to the Democrats’. It should be factual and honest and should clearly state why it is to be preferred.

We cannot be an informed electorate unless the pabulum of Republican talking points is replaced by substantive analysis.

Richard H. Gross Oak Marsh Drive

Mount Pleasant

Let us be thankful for gays and abortion, for without the two, Americans would have nothing to be concerned about.

They say that your immediate thoughts are your truest thoughts, so here are mine on gay marriage.

By being denied marriage, gays are legally not allowed to suffer with everyone else.

Until recently, gays were denied open service in the military, not allowed to suffer with everyone else.

My point is simple: When do we consider marriage sacred? The Western, heterosexual world has made a mockery of marriage for centuries.

Why not let two poor dears who love one another suffer with everyone else?

Allen Harken Oak Branch Drive

John’s Island

The tribute to Robert Smalls is appropriate in providing a balanced perspective of the Civil War sesquicentennial, but it should not be used to distort Charleston’s significant military history.

Several recent articles in the newspaper alluded to Smalls’ role in providing “vital” information about Confederate defenses to the federal South Atlantic Squadron besieging the city in May of 1862. This is exaggeration.

Within a year of Small’s escape with the CSS Planter, battles on the Stono River and at the mouth of Charleston Harbor resulted in two of the most humiliating defeats in U.S. Navy history — the capture of the USS Isaac B. Smith on Jan. 30, 1863, and the disastrous ironclad attack of April 7, 1863.

In both cases, the defenses proved far more powerful than the attackers anticipated. The Isaac Smith was the only federal ship ever captured by land batteries in the Civil War, and in the 1863 battle, where nine ironclads tried to run the gantlet past forts Sumter and Moultrie into Charleston Harbor, five were put out of action, and the one piloted by Smalls, the USS Keokuk, was sunk after being hit 90 times in one hour by Confederate guns.

In an official letter to the Navy Department after the ironclad defeat, the commander of the South Atlantic Squadron, Adm. Samuel DuPont stated emphatically that no vital information had previously been gained, writing “until the 8th of April [1863], the harbor and defenses of Charleston were to us a sealed book.”

These facts do not diminish Robert Smalls as an historic figure worthy of recognition for his daring escape with the Planter and for his role after the war. But when political correctness creates historical inaccuracy, the story goes too far.

Michael Trouche Marsh Court Lane

Mount Pleasant

What does it take to get Charleston County Council to listen to residents affected by one of the most contentious rezoning issues on James Island? We elect councilmen to represent us.

Councilmen Herbert Sass, A.V. Rawl, Elliott Summey and Teddie Pryor voted to approve a rezoning request despite a petition of almost 100 neighbors in opposition.

The town of James Island rezoned the corner of Maybank Highway and Woodland Shores Road from residential to commercial PUD. After that, the town was dissolved.

Now we are at County Council with one more vote to go (May 22) on rezoning the property from commercial PUD to less restrictive community commercial. Although more than 30 residents showed up for the last two meetings to voice their opposition, those councilmen felt that they knew what was better for our neighborhood than those of us who live here. No one spoke in favor of this zoning request at the time.

A community commercial designation on Woodland Shores opens the door for the domino effect as adjacent residents apply to rezone their homes as the neighborhood is degraded. All our property values decrease and this historic area’s livability is forever changed.

We plead to our councilmen to listen to us, represent us and vote “no” to this commercial rezoning request.

Ruth Yack Carol Street Charleston

In a recent “Thought for Today,” Adm. Hyman George Rickover was quoted as follows: “Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.”

One wonders what the “father of America’s nuclear Navy” would have had to say about the minds of people who can’t get enough of “reality” shows?

H.J. Beaujon, Ph.D Cessna Avenue

Charleston