MONCKS CORNER — Local governments are in their budget phases for next year, and the funding request from Berkeley County Clerk of Court Mary Brown last week was enough to spark a heart attack.
Brown made a very unusual request, asking for an allocation of $75 million.
That’s about 10 times what she normally gets — and more than $10 million above the county’s current operating budget.
Brown wasn’t asking for more staplers or copy paper. She wanted something else: a new county courthouse, top-to-bottom.
“We are out of space and out of courtrooms,” she said.
Berkeley County Council members said they are aware of deficiencies and issues at the current California Avenue site in Moncks Corner, but there are currently no plans to replace it.
“I don’t expect to get the money overnight, but we need to start the conversation,” Brown said. “We’ve got a problem and we need to do something.”
The courthouse hasn’t seen a major update since 1990.
U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford is supporting traditional term limits, but not for himself this time around.
The Mount Pleasant Republican congressman has pledged to sign onto any bill establishing term limits for members of Congress — three terms in the House and two in the Senate — but it’s not something he plans to abide by.
Instead, Sanford is looking at a 12-year tenure this time around.
So why sign a pledge to sponsor term-limit legislation but not adhere to it?
It could be because he knows Congress isn’t going to take up the issue anytime soon. But in any case, Sanford said he wasn’t concerned about appearances.
“I think that all the things you can be criticized for in politics, you will, and the best you can do is do the best with what you got,” Sanford said.
The first time he served in Congress, in the 1990s, Sanford promised to retire after six years. Which he did, before running for governor.
Whatever his plans, the president of U.S. Term Limits sent out a press release last week praising Sanford for promising to support term legislation.
“It took courage for Sanford to take such a principled stance and to make this issue a key part of his campaign,” USTL president Philip Blumel said.
Politics has become so competitive in the Internet age that it’s not uncommon for one candidate to buy website addresses in the name of an opponent — then have that page link to their own.
That’s what has happened in a Charleston County Council race.
In the West Ashley District 7 battle, Republican John Steinberger’s campaign web page pops up linked to at least three variations of the name of GOP primary opponent Brantley Moody, including the site voteformoody.com.
Reached last week, Steinberger was unapologetic for using the tactic.
“That’s just something people do in campaigns,” he said, adding, “it’s a smart thing to do.”
Moody, meanwhile, said the stunt is what makes people fed up with politics. He pointed to “candidates and their supporters trying to trick the voting public.”
Two other Republicans are in the District 7 primary field: Chris Cannon and Paul Gangarosa.
The union that’s trying to organize workers at the Boeing assembly plant in North Charleston last week endorsed Democrat Thomas Dixon in this year’s U.S. Senate race against Republican incumbent Tim Scott.
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers is in its second attempt at trying to organize at the plant.
“Despite living in a right-to-work state, (Dixon) has consistently advocated for a fair wage for all workers and the right to organize for unions,” a media statement said last week.
Scott, meanwhile, went in the opposite political direction last week, advocating legislation to exempt the Internal Revenue Service from requiring its employees to participate in collective bargaining and labor organizing.
Scott says mandatory unionization at the IRS promotes the type of partisanship that led to the 2013 revelations that the agency had intentionally mishandled applications for conservative nonprofits seeking tax-exempt status, including those in South Carolina. That controversy led to congressional probes, countless pieces of legislation and calls for the commissioner’s impeachment.
“Over 200 IRS employees do solely union work,” Scott said. “There is so much union activity at the IRS, it was estimated in 2011 that its IRS employees spent more than 600,000 hours of official time on union duty only, costing $27 million of taxpayer money.”
Brenda Rindge, Emma Dumain and Schuyler Kropf contributed to this report.