• Friday, April 12, 2013

This letter is in response to a recent letter from Seymour Rosenthal concerning fire safety at the Boulevard project on Coleman Boulevard in Mount Pleasant. First I would like to commend Mr. Rosenthal for his involvement in our community. He attends many meetings, stays engaged in current issues and has proven his willingness to serve the community. I also appreciate him bringing the matter of building safety forward, thus providing an opportunity for this response.

We have seen a number of tragic fires in multifamily complexes in surrounding communities lately. Buildings that were constructed in times past may not have been required by the building codes in effect at the time to have fire separation barriers, fire sprinkler systems or fire alarm systems installed. However, I would like to site one case very recently in our neighboring city where an apartment fire that started in the kitchen of one unit was extinguished by the code-required fire sprinkler system before the fire department arrived on site.

The Boulevard project is being constructed in accordance with the International Building Code as mandated by state law and adopted into ordinance here in Mount Pleasant. The building plans have been reviewed by our building inspection division and our fire department to insure the design meets all of the fire safety requirements of the building code. Additionally our building and fire inspectors are on site each day performing inspections on the buildings to ensure that they are being constructed according to design and the provisions of the adopted building codes.

The buildings contain all of the required fire separation barriers prescribed by the codes. The buildings are also protected by full-coverage fire sprinkler systems and fire alarm systems. The fire sprinkler systems and alarm systems are inspected and tested by our fire inspectors during construction and at intervals during routine fire safety inspections for the life of the building.

I hope this information is helpful to those with questions concerning the project. Anyone with additional questions can contact the Town of Mount Pleasant Building Inspection Division at 884-5184 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

T. Lee Cave, CBO, MCP

Building Official

Town of Mount Pleasant

Counter point

I would like to offer a contrary opinion on two of the points made by Will Haynie in his April 3 column “The No-Nothing Party Returns.”

In discussing photo ID laws, he correctly points out that “we don’t want the wrong people buying guns, and we don’t want the wrong people voting.” However, an important distinction is that we know that frequently the wrong people are buying guns, as in the case of the recent incident at Ashley Hall, and I see how the proposed laws could help. In contrast, proponents of stricter voting requirements were not able to provide any examples of the voter fraud they were supposedly trying to prevent. Since I know of more legal voters who would be inconvenienced by these new rules than “wrong people” who would be stopped by it, you can count me among those who are very suspicious of the motives of those arguing for these laws. I would not call it “racism” necessarily, but the thought that the true goal might have been voter suppression did cross my mind.

Moreover, Haynie really misrepresents the idea of “separation of church and state” in his third bullet point. Outlawing a certain behavior merely because it is against some religion is a violation of church and state separation. In contrast, eliminating such laws does not violate the freedom of religion of the believers in that religion, as they can continue to believe and behave as they choose, but only provides everyone else with the freedoms that they are guaranteed by the Constitution.

Suppose there was a law in some state that prevented anyone from eating pork or bacon, with the justification that it was prohibited by the Bible. Even if the law was eliminated, those who wanted to keep kosher could certainly continue to do so, and they could even express their belief that (as the Bible says) it is an “abomination” to eat pig meat, but others who would have previously been prevented from doing so would now be free to eat it. So I cannot agree with Haynie’s “logic” that a court which struck down that law would somehow be acting against religious freedom.

Let me conclude by saying that I do agree with Haynie about his two local items, and have also enjoyed some of his earlier columns.

Alex Kasman

Mount Pleasant

Seen it

Kudos on this week’s editorial by Sully Witte, “Granted, the governor’s plan is just one step, but it’s at least a step.” I’ve personally seen way too much abuse of government “hand out” programs, primarily when I lived in Louisiana. Food stamps, welfare, disability - you name it. There were always plenty of people willing and able to “game” the system.”

And, a tip of the hat to Will Haynie. That was a fine, knowledgeable and accurate column.

Bill Farley

Mount Pleasant

Food stamps

I wanted to congratulate editor Sully Witte on her excellent editorial in last week’s Moultrie News regarding food stamps.

We’ll never forget the time my husband was in line at the grocery store and someone wanted to buy dog food with their food stamps.

We are fortunate to have our own native Charlestonian, Dr. Ann Kulze, who is an expert on wellness.

It would be great if the federal government would allow South Carolina to be a “pilot” for a new program wherein we use Dr. Kulze’ guidelines for foods that can be purchased with food stamps.

She knows what is healthy and a good value.

I truly believe those who “need” food stamps, should only buy those foods that are essential and good nutrition.

Bonny Luthy

Mount Pleasant

Right on

I just read Sully Witte’s op-ed about Nikki Haley and food stamps. Well stated and right on.

Ben Bryson

Mount Pleasant

Not so simple

Sully Witte’s column in the Moultrie News of April 3, 2013, in support of Governor Haley’s proposal to reduce obesity in South Carolina only highlights another misguided attempt by S.C. politicians to find a simple solution to a complicated problem. And for good measure, she casts aspersions on those who use food stamps as being lazy and lacking in self respect.

Obesity among low-income people occurs in part because they are subject to the same influences as many other Americans such as sedentary lifestyles, increased portion sizes and frequently because they lack access to healthy foods. Stress caused by low-wage employment, lack of access to health care, poor housing and crime and violence may contribute to obesity.

Ms. Witte’s assumption that some people seem to prefer being on food stamps rather than work to purchase their own food indicates a lack of awareness of the realities facing low-income wage earners in today’s economy. In fact, most families on food stamps work at low-wage jobs and have to apply for food stamps because their salaries are insufficient to meet their needs to put enough food on the table. Also, income guidelines for eligibility frequently work against individuals because their incomes are deemed too high, but are still insufficient to feed their families adequately. They must turn to soup kitchens and food pantries as their monthly food stamp benefits are not adequate. Recent cuts in food stamp programs by Congress have only exacerbated the problems of low income people.

I suggest that Ms. Witte take the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) challenge sponsored by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) (frac.org) and see how long she and her family can live on the average daily food stamp benefit of $4/person/day. She may have to make difficult food shopping choices and experience how difficult it is to avoid hunger. Another eye opener for her would be to volunteer at one of the local community organizations such as East Cooper Community Outreach who provide food and other services to persons in need.

Governor Haley’s proposal for eliminating the purchase of sodas, chips and other products may sound like reasonable policy, but to this observer it is just another gimmick that pretends to be doing something about the obesity problem and is totally lacking in substance. It is another attempt to demonstrate that problems in this state can be solved without making any financial commitment to resolving them. Obesity in South Carolina is not just a problem among the poor. It is prevalent in all socio-economic groups. If the governor is serious about addressing the obesity epidemic, she would do better to work with the legislature to provide meaningful support for implementing and improving nutritional education efforts in our public school system.

John Narkunas

Mount Pleasant

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