Letters to the Editor 12/31

  • Monday, January 14, 2013

Gun control The U.S. Supreme Court recently affirmed our Constitutional right to possess firearms, and many states allow for concealed weapons. However, assault weapons, including large clips of ammunition should not be allowed. We also need to close the gun show loophole by demanding a waiting period and background check. All background checks need to become much more comprehensive to eliminate unstable people from obtaining guns. There is another very important part of this issue and that is the continuous, excessive gun violence on TV and in the movies. Every day we see on TV massive amounts of gunfire which surely has an impact on our children and young adults. The schools need to do more in profiling their youngsters and providing help to those who need it. A policeman in every school is not the answer. Finally, I think that the ATF could gain some useful insight from the NRA to put together meaningful and effective legislation to present to Congress. We need action now. -Phil Siegrist
Mount Pleasant
  Education grants Melanie Balog in her recent Post and Courier column (“Zais needs to change grant tune,” Dec. 13) brags about the recent award of a federal education grant to the Charleston County School District, and chastises South Carolina State Schools Superintendant Dr. Mick Zais for refusing to “dance to Washington’s tune on education.” As she correctly points out, Dr. Zais has resisted such grants because they are awarded (as “free government money” usually does) with strings attached. She further wrote that Dr. Zais “….was transparent about it during his campaign and his position hasn’t changed…” Since many elected officials can’t be counted on to stay true to the policies and positions that got them elected, I find his steadfastness rather refreshing. Balog quotes Charleston County School District Superintendant Dr. Nancy McGinley. “If we turn down the federal money being offered in these grants, that money is going to other states.” In other words, if we don’t elbow our way to the government trough, others will get to eat what’s “rightfully ours.” I’m wondering, is it also CCSD administration’s attitude, regarding its budget, that “we’d better spend it all this year or they’ll cut our budget next year?” That many in the Charleston County education establishment have no love lost on Dr. Zais is certainly no secret. In late March of this year, as reported in The Post and Courier (“Federal education secretary to visit Charleston,” March 26), there was a “roundtable” discussion on education reform with a “small, hand picked group of students, teachers and community leaders.” Topping the attendees were Arn Duncan, DOE Secretary, Dr. McGinley, U.S. Rep. James Clyburn and other local officials. Dr. Zais, to my understanding, didn’t attend. Perhaps he wasn’t invited since he doesn’t see things quite the way these people do. And, by the way, neither was the public invited, who pay taxes and, as these officials need to constantly be reminded, are the actual customers of the CCSD. So much for CCSD administration transparency. Regardless, it looks like Sec. Duncan has finally rewarded his new best friends - CCSD officials and others - with his federal grant in gratitude for their Lowcountry hospitality last March. Shrimp and grits and collards must work wonders. It isn’t the bureaucrats’ spending on fancy programs, expensive schools and faddish “things” that lead children to learn. It’s the committed teachers, along with involved parents and grandparents, working as teams in safe, secure and comfortable settings with tools kids actually need to acquire skills to be competitive in the 21st century, nothing more. While some people seem to enjoy beating up on Dr. Zais because he opposes grants, I wonder if CCSD’s recent grant will make any measureable difference in overall student skills, performance-to-grade expectations and graduation rates. True, an increase in our local taxes wasn’t required to fund whatever things that the recent grant is supposed to buy. But let’s be aware that federal grants are funded by everyone in and outside of South Carolina who pays federal income taxes. We are all footing the bill for every grant that’s passed out, and we should demand assurance that we’ll get what we’re paying for. The well-worn phrase, “There is no such thing as a free lunch,” matters little to bureaucrats. -Mike Schwartz
Mount Pleasant
  Disgusted with Congress You bet I am! What will it take to get the Congress to grow up, stop the partisan bickering and listen to the American people who elected them? We need to balance the federal budget and stop spending money we don’t have. We need to pay off our $13 trillion debt and not just the interest. We need to extend unemployment benefits to those in need. We need to protect Social Security, Medicare and Medigap programs and provide for those who need it. There are promises to keep. How to do it? Raise everyone’s taxes. Not popular but necessary to get our country moving again in a proper direction. Everyone has benefited, and now is the time to pay up. -Gwen Siegrist
Mount Pleasant
  Safe learning environment After reading another non schooler letter, “One Big OOPS (out-of-Propertion School),” to the editor in a recent issue of the Moultrie News, I couldn’t decide if I should even take the time to address it and the other several letters that have been written in the past three plus years. Non-schoolers: it is over, and Sullivan’s Island Elementary School is going to be built on its original site, and we will be moving in fall semester 2014. While our nation mourns over Sandy Hook Elementary School, I feel as a community we need to shed light on how the residents of the Isle of Palms and Mount Pleasant have the opportunity to be educated in an outstanding performing elementary school. I realize the letter was most probably written way before the horrific event took place in Connecticut. I have three children attending Sullivan’s Island Elementary School with one being in the first grade. As a community, we have such an unbelievable opportunity to come together and create a safe learning environment for our children. A special thank you to the Town of Mount Pleasant for placing an officer in all of the elementary schools for the safety of our children, teachers and staff. My fifth grader said he was so happy to see an officer when he got out of the car Dec. 17. As a mother of four, it is comforting to know my children feel safe everyday they leave home and walk through the doors of SIES and Laing Middle School. Thank you Mrs. Price, Mr. Whitehair, Officer Gaillard, Ms. Johnston, Mrs. Seabrook and Ms. Washington and all the teachers for keeping the students of Laing Middle School safe. Thank you Mrs. King, staff, parents, and teachers of SIES for keeping our students safe. Thank you to all the officers who gave their time in all the elementary schools last week. Your presence was more appreciated then you can ever imagine in the eyes of the children. -Jen T. Smith
Sullivan’s Island
  Improvements to Coleman Boulevard? What has happened to Mount Pleasant’s regulations regarding signs? While our town’s governmental bodies are touting improvements to and beautification of Coleman Boulevard, we now have a billboard! Have you seen it? Check it out; it’s right by the popular Okra Grill near Shem Creek. Wouldn’t you like to know why and how this was allowed? So much for improvements; there goes the neighborhood. -Hermine Martin
Mount Pleasant
  What a catch Having surf-fished in the Lowcountry for nearly 60 years, I thought I had seen it all . . . until one sunny morning last July. My wife, Libby, and I were fishing an incoming tide on the Isle of Palms when she told me she felt “something heavy” on her line. After a couple of minutes of trying to bring in the mystery fish, Libby grew tired and handed her rod to me to see what I could do. When I took the rod, there was no pulling on the line, just a heavy weight offering no resistance. At first I thought the fish hook had snagged a large clump of seaweed, but I was wrong. Reeling carefully, I maneuvered the “fish” into about a foot of water, and what to our wondering eyes should appear? At the end of the line were two horseshoe crabs in the process of mating. The smaller male was on top of the female’s back. Suddenly, the hook broke loose, and the smitten arthropods slowly moved out to sea, still locked in their mating embrace. The hook contained one barnacle, which had been attached to the female’s shell firmly enough to enable me to reel in a weight of about eight pounds. Maybe now I really have seen it all. -Bill Walker
Sullivan’s Island

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