McMaster house fire (copy)

Firefighters check fire damage to the roof of a Columbia rental home owned by South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster on May 14. 

The article in The Post and Courier about recent fires in two of Gov. Henry McMaster’s rental houses in Columbia drew attention to overcrowding in violation of a city ordinance.

Twelve people fled to escape harm. The fires pointed to problems in enforcing the overcrowding ordinance. This set off a firestorm with us in Mount Pleasant, too.

We live in a neighborhood zoned for single-family dwellings, but a house in our area has been turned into the equivalent of a boarding house with many more than the three unrelated parties allowed by Mount Pleasant.

This leads to an excess of trash, automobiles and drifting secondary tobacco smoke, perhaps even an increased fire risk.

City officials say it is difficult to prove that more than the allowed number of unrelated parties are in the house. That must be true, especially if inspections are not done.

Furthermore, emails to Mount Pleasant Town Council members and the mayor have produced no responses.

So I wonder if the ordinance really matters. Is there a real danger to others? Is there a reason for the city ordinance? Are permits legally necessary to change a single-family home into a business, or are they just voluntary?

So far, the lack of response from town officials seems to say the ordinance is of no consequence. No one seems to be willing to enforce it.

If we or our neighbors in Mount Pleasant, like those in Gov. McMaster’s rental homes, must flee to escape harm, who would be willing to take responsibility then?

P. RICHARD GUNTER

MARGARITA STAUDT

Country Manor Drive

Mount Pleasant

Memorial Day flag display

Bright and early on Memorial Day, the Evening Exchange Club once again honored our service men and women with a display of American flags posted along Lockwood Drive, the western gateway to downtown Charleston.

We convey to them our appreciation for providing this patriotic gift. We look forward to it and cherish what it represents to us individually and to our great nation.

God bless America, our service men and women, and their families.

MARGARET M.R. EASTMAN

Harleston Place

Charleston

Proposed immigration law

President Donald Trump’s proposed immigration policy would favor merit immigration over the ideal of liberty embodied by our famous statue. Instead, we would only admit engineers or others with specific skills.

It has been said that “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” In May 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt refused to allow 937 Jewish refugees on the German ship St. Louis to disembark because they were “enemy aliens” and had no U.S. immigration visas. Later, 254 of them died in Nazi concentration camps.

Even more appalling, the United States did not allow the immigration of Jewish children while the United Kingdom welcomed 10,000 children under the Kindertransport program. Faced with intense criticism, FDR relented and opened the doors of our country after 1944. How many thousands of Jews could have been saved if that had happened earlier?

All this is documented by the historian David S. Wyman in his book “The Abandonment of the Jews.”

Do we need to wait for another book, “The Abandonment of the Latinos,” describing the suffering and murder of thousands of them in Latin America?

As for the new policy, it will be interesting to see if it is favorable to university graduates from any country or just Norway.

Jews have long memories, making the new policy more appalling in that it was engineered by Jared Kushner, our president’s son-in-law. Hopefully, it won’t be implemented.

ISAAC COHEN

Saturday Road

Mount Pleasant

Treatment of blacks

I read in the May 19 Post and Courier an interesting and informative article about local black residents who had been refused service at white-owned restaurants.

I had been up until 2 a.m., reading about lynchings in rural Mississippi in James Patterson’s book “Alex Cross’s Trial.”

It is one of his best. The story was mesmerizing and brought back memories of living in Columbus, Ga., and seeing the way blacks were treated.

Traveling through Alabama on a Greyhound bus, I saw blacks not allowed to drink from water fountains, and my parents refused to tell me why this was happening.

The book reminded me of a time when hate was prevalent all around us. I once saw on an old episode of “Gunsmoke” where an elderly man stated, “Hate destroys itself.” And it does.

Hanna Raskin did an excellent job on the article, and the stories by local residents had a huge impact on me.

JERI F. BURCH

Wescott Boulevard

Summerville

Panthers bill not advantageous

The May 13 Post and Courier commentary by Ted Pitts that explained the “Panthers Bill” had one “fact” concerning the team’s payroll that would bring millions to the state. The amount listed was $190 million from 150 jobs. That’s an average of $1.27 million per employee per year.

Is the team going to force the players and coaches to live and pay taxes in South Carolina, or is their support/training staff extremely well paid?

Realizing that our esteemed Gov. Henry McMaster gave away the farm with the tax incentives demanded by the Panthers’ new owner, this incentive isn’t nearly as advantageous to our state as, say, Boeing, BMW, Volvo or many other manufacturing companies attracted here by tax incentives.

Given that Mr. Pitts is president and CEO of the S.C. Chamber of Commerce, perhaps he can shed some light on this ill-conceived tax revenue concession while barking at our legislators to, as he rightfully concludes, reform our noncompetitive tax system.

KEVIN HILDRETH

Law Lane

Mount Pleasant

Santee Cooper sale is wrong

As a lifelong resident of the Lowcountry, and someone who knows and understands the origins of Santee Cooper, the whole issue about the possible sale of the state-owned utility is perplexing.

I honestly do not think there are many politicians interested in understanding the financial pros and cons of a sale. These have been enumerated previously.

The evidence against a sale is so overwhelming that their concern seems to be the financial bonanza they would receive by privatization, pure and simple.

In the debate over its possible sale, I have drawn some new conclusions about politicians.

There are a number who I deeply admire and respect, but overall I am not impressed.

I have been disappointed in what I see as a “herd mentality.” Actions seem motivated by what everyone else is doing, or following the leader, no matter what.

I am disappointed by the paucity of research and digging for facts independently. Lobbyists sometimes appear to be the fact finders and providers for those individuals. And we all understand the motivation for most lobbyists.

What am I missing? May intelligent reasoning prevail. Wake up, South Carolinians. Help save Santee Cooper.

Citizens statewide should contact your political representatives and urge them to do the right thing.

In my opinion, considering the sale of Santee Cooper is asinine.

HARVEY OWENS

Cairnwell Pass

Goose Creek

History lesson

The May 20 Post and Courier letter “Beacon of principle” was wrong on Roman history.

Julius Caesar was not “removed from office,” he was assassinated by senators for trying to usurp the power of the Senate of the Roman Republic (a democracy) and install himself as emperor (a dictatorship).

The framers of the U.S. Constitution were very worried about tyranny in general, and tyranny of the majority in particular.

That’s why representation in the U.S. Senate is not based on population. The Electoral College was created for a different purpose.

RALPH WOOD

Colony Drive

Charleston

Dixie Plantation name change

Charleston’s charm is based on its beauty, but also on its interesting history. The same is true of Dixie Plantation.

Dixie Plantation, on a bluff overlooking the Stono River, has one of the most beautiful oak lanes in the Charleston area. It is unique with its salt and freshwater ponds.

It’s the site of one of the earliest churches in South Carolina, as well as a parsonage and a cemetery. It also has a long and interesting history. Like all histories, it has a mixture of good and bad. By changing the name from Dixie Plantation to Stono Preserve, the College of Charleston is destroying some of the interesting stories that are part of its history.

My husband was the manager there for 21 years, and our four sons grew up there. Our family loves Dixie Plantation. I am an alumna of the College of Charleston, but I must say that I think this a foolish move on the college’s part.

JEANNE STACY

Stono Plantation Drive

Hollywood

Congress, get something done

For many years our elected congressional representatives have done a great job of spending our money, for their personal benefit (salaries, free medical insurance, pension plans, expenses, etc.) and by passing legislation that continues to increase our debt.

It is time for us voters to demand results.

I suggest that they start by reviving the Simpson-Bowles plan that was first proposed in 2010.

This was a bipartisan deficit reduction plan that offered six steps on the best ways to fix the national debt.

If enacted, it would have reduced the debt by $3.8 trillion by 2020 and reduced the debt to GDP ratio to 60% by 2023 and to 40% by 2035.

It was never adopted and look what we have now. All we hear is that we have to spend more and more with no way to pay off the debt.

One suggestion is to start a zero-based budgeting plan. Instead of taking the current year’s expenditures and adding some percentage for next year’s budget, you start every department at zero and justify every position and program.

If this was done every three years or so, many expenses and positions would be eliminated.

I believe that waste and ineffective programs could be found in almost every department. I am sure that we would also find fraud in many cases of benefits being given to citizens and noncitizens.

So, by revisiting the Simpson-Bowles plan and implementing zero-based budgeting, we can start the path back to financial control.

ROGER STEEL

Marsh Hen Drive

Seabrook Island

Flooding solution options

Are you kidding me? A bill to have the VA help fund flooding solutions in downtown Charleston?

I have a better idea. Let’s put a surcharge on each heart patient treated by Roper St. Francis and for each baby born at MUSC to help pay for remedying flooding on the Charleston peninsula.

The backlog of veterans benefit claims that I can find is at worst 250,000 and at best 85,000.

As I see it, this is the VA’s sole reason for existing — to diminish this backlog. Responding to a shakedown by Rep. Joe Cunningham is not the VA’s responsibility.

Get a weekly recap of South Carolina opinion and analysis from The Post and Courier in your inbox on Monday evenings.


Until the backlog of claims is addressed, this shouldn’t be the congressman’s tack either.

While funding is needed to help address flooding, putting another load on the backs of our veterans is not the right path.

DAYLE FISH

Retired Navy

Tall Sail Drive

Charleston

Speak up for bullied students

On May 1, thousands of educators from across the state journeyed to Columbia for a rally to shine a light on teacher pay and better working conditions.

While this was a great step in the right direction, there are many other issues affecting our children that should not be overlooked.

While the issue of bullying (physical or cyber) is being talked about, it remains a clear and present danger to those affected by it.

Many students live in fear every day with thoughts of being bullied, some to the point of considering suicide or some other form of destructive behavior.

Bullying has claimed many innocent lives and will continue to unless teachers, parents, leaders and others decide that it is time to rally for our children’s well-being.

BRIAN KIZER

McAlhany Road

Reevesville

Cultural rot bears fruit

It’s clear the folks who demanded separation of church and state are largely responsible for the violence in our schools and throughout society.

Congress has a chaplain. The Supreme Court has the Ten Commandments and the president takes the oath of office with his hand on a Bible.

Clearly the founders didn’t envision an America in which school children would get no Christian training.

To understand America, a child needs to understand Christianity.

When Martin Luther King Jr. spoke to

the Birmingham congregation of the 16th Street Baptist Church after the 1963 bombing and reminded them to “love your enemies,” he was quoting Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.

We are bearing the fruits of a judicial and cultural rot that has permeated American society for many decades. “You will know them by their fruits” is as true now as it ever has been.

All American schools should vigorously teach respect for life and peaceful coexistence, the foundation of Christianity.

Those who are opposed bear much of the responsibility for the violence in today’s society.

GARY H. KNIGHT

Old State Road

Holly Hill

Dems’  impeachment threat

The old expression that “there is dissension in the ranks” applies to the discord coming from our Democratic elected officials.

Democrats have made it their mission to block, undermine and thwart President Donald Trump at every turn, trying to stop him from keeping his promise to make America great again.

In doing so, they have dishonored their oaths of office and turned into a bunch of mean-spirited malcontents who have nothing more to offer Americans other than their hate for Trump.

This makes me wonder if the 24 Democrats running for president all go to the same psychiatrist. Not one of the bunch could run a lawn service business, let alone the country.

They all come across as egomaniacal narcissists who want to turn our country into a third-world debtor nation.

When the Dems learned that the Mueller report concluded there was no Trump-Russian collusion, they seized upon its evidence of obstruction of justice.

Even though those claims can’t be proven, they scream for impeachment. And now they allege there was a cover-up with no evidence to support that claim.

GREGORY J. TOPLIFF

Glenwood Drive

Warrenville

Detained children have rights

How did we go from “bring me your tired, your poor, your hungry” to detaining children at the border?

I’m deeply concerned by the new legislation introduced by our own Sen. Lindsey Graham called the Secure and Protect Act of 2019.

This legislation calls for children who arrive at the southern border to be held in federal custody for up to 100 days.

This is not an issue about the border. This is an issue about the rights of children. South Carolinians from all political parties need to come together to protect the rights of children.

I consider myself to be very conservative and I voted for Graham. These children have already been through so much, and no one wins when we decide to not do right by the most vulnerable. Please reach out to your lawmakers to get this bill stopped.

HEATHER BLACKWELL

Hulon Lane

West Columbia

We're improving out commenting experience.

We’ve temporarily removed comments from articles while we work on a new and better commenting experience. In the meantime, subscribers are encouraged to join the conversation at our Post and Courier Subscribers group on Facebook.