Wednesday, April 16, 2014
(This is an open letter sent to Mount Pleasant Town Council).
You were extremely receptive to the many residents who spoke out about the parking garage/office building, some being very passionate. Tex Small (of AVTEX Commercial Properties, Inc.) appeared equally passionate and stated that there was a personal agenda which appeared to be the focal point of the television news tonight. I would like to make clear, from my perspective, that none of the proponents of this opposition have a personal agenda for, or against, anyone or anything. I’m not certain who that comment was being directed towards by Mr. Small, but at no time would any of us condone such action. From the outset, it was very important for all involved to be above reproach and always respectful. Our only request was to place the garage/office building somewhere other than the scenic area of Shem Creek. I also want to make it clear that we appreciate the efforts of Mr. Small, and I have the highest regard for him personally. We didn’t come here making demands, but came to provide local insight and to support a council that we’ll continue to believe in. We didn’t come to undermine developers or development, but to request that council obtain more public support in the acceptance or rejection of projects which provide public funds as a resource towards private enterprise. More than $2.7 million for a parking garage over 15 years for only 132 out of 276 parking spaces is approximately $21 thousand per parking space and represents a significant amount of tax revenue at a time when stormwater fees doubled and other fees have increased.
Developers/builders can only build and develop upon the guidance that they’re given by the town. Let our goal be more proactive than reactive, relating to impending development, inform the public and garner their support, the breakdown in communication can be easily remedied with electronic media. Give us an opportunity to stand with and support you, we’ll be a stronger town for it. Our ordinances used to provide a safety net which protected our townspeople from issues like this and others from arising and becoming disruptive and controversial.
Shem Creek is the most photographed place in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, and the heart and soul of the townspeople of Mount Pleasant, according to the Coleman and Ben Sawyer Boulevard Revitalization Master Plan. Many believe by adding a 55-foot-high parking garage/office, that the landscape surrounding Shem Creek will change and once gone, will be lost forever. Also, many believe that as a precedent there will be more 55-foot buildings within the scenic area of Shem Creek, which appears to contradict the adopted policies. Please keep this area natural and pristine for the community, guests and generations to enjoy, which is also in keeping with the town’s policies. Are we certain of how a 55-foot parking garage/office building, which was given two ordinance modifications by the town (height and an “A” flood zone exemption), will blend into the natural landscape of the most photographed body of water in the Lowcountry and possibly the state?
The proponents of the opposition are mainly lifelong residents of Mount Pleasant who aren’t willing to relinquish the historic and scenic beauty of Shem Creek, which is keeping with the current town policies, particularly when applying the use of public funds. As I read these public statements, as a citizen, I believe and trust that the town will perform what it has promised and the area of Shem Creek will be well-preserved forever. The proponents of this opposition are also pro-growth, and appreciate Mr. Small’s efforts and his desire to build a parking garage/office building. “Finding the appropriate location,” in keeping with the CRAB and RMP, appears to be the challenge.
Most of the residents of Mount Pleasant are unaware of this recent issue because of the lack of communication and information, but all residents should be made aware of the issues and changes that will affect their quality of life. By review of the temporary website, we (citizenry) are doing our part and beginning to act on our communication effort to link all communities within our Town of Mount Pleasant together. By working together with our town, the townspeople will be better informed, and our goal in maintaining a well-informed public to the town’s business will be realized. Lastly, we all care very deeply for our town and those who have taken it upon themselves to serve and to those who have created flourishing businesses and opportunities for job growth as well as a thriving economy. We are a town of hospitality and generosity, wanting the best for all of its citizen; we are distinguished by our character and the unique charm of our surroundings, which is why we believe it’s vitally important to preserve Shem Creek, our iconic symbol of prosperity, so that our future ages will understand the importance of their heritage: the Town of Pleasant people and the Town of Mount Pleasant.
Sign the petition:
Putin is a militant, a through-and-through nationalist and has the bully pulpit. Is the rest of the world demonstrating any different behavior? Once again attention is diverted from the rightful (if not democratic) right of peoples to hold referendum when they are otherwise disenfranchised from public discourse and their right to address their destiny.
The pattern was played out on Sullivan’s Island as citizens clearly numbered sufficient for voice were ignored to allow bullies to have their way. As we address the rights of Crimeans to retrace their long history of Russian alignment and strong family ties, let us strive to avoid repeating ignorance of history and gentrification in any form. Many of those signing petition for referendum on SI were longer-standing residents than either council or the economically healed special interest minority that curried council’s favor. Despite the futility of pursuing the SI Referendum, citizens should continue to demand the rights of democracy.
In a perfect world, Crimea would be heard, Russia would pull back from Ukraine, European trade balance would be restored and Putin would become a beneficent dictator and then a better successor would emerge.
In a better world, opponents would accept SI Elementary as an opportunity to improve lives of all residents, gentrification would cease and the accreted land would be managed to protect property owners and give the public rightful access to the treasure we have.
Council will open a better avenue for citizen participation and let SI remain as a cross culture and intergenerational haven for families.
Let’s take the attention away from bullies and refocus on what gives citizens the respect we deserve.
S.C. ranking higher
More than four years ago, I noticed that no South Carolina companies had cracked the Inc. Magazine 500/5,000 list of fastest-growing privately held companies in America.
North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia of course, had many companies on the annual list.
Why was South Carolina so behind?
So for five years, including 2014, our strategy firm has worked statewide to communicate how privately held South Carolina business owners can apply to the Inc. 500/5,000 list, and to help prove their economic accomplishments nationally, as well as locally.
Last year, South Carolina had seven companies break into the top 500 fastest growing USA companies, with 41 runners-up earning spots on the 5,000 list, which is a considerable improvement from zero.
To qualify for the 2014 Inc. list, your Palmetto State company must:
– Be privately owned, based in the United States and not a subsidiary or division of another company.
– Have started earning revenue by March 31, 2010.
– Had revenue no less than $100,000 in 2010.
– Had revenue no less than $2 million in 2013.
– Revenue in 2013 exceeds revenue in 2010.
– Apply by April 30
If your privately held South Carolina company meets these basic fiscal requirements, you owe it to yourself, your employees and our state to apply to the Inc. 500/5,000. Those who have been ranked nationally have benefitted considerably.
For 48 extremely innovative and growing South Carolina companies to earn Inc. 500/5,000 rankings in 2013 proves that privately held companies truly can grow, prosper and collectively improve local economies statewide.
I believe senators should represent the people who elected them. They should put your needs first as opposed to the needs of government bureaucrats, lobbyists or Washington, D.C. special interests.
Unfortunately, South Carolinians have gotten the short end of that stick when it comes to Senator Lindsey Graham.
Last year, the Center for Public Integrity reported that Graham ranked second in the entire U.S. Congress when it came to receiving political contributions bundled by lobbyists. And last month, we learned how willing Graham is to trade political favors for campaign cash when he introduced an online gaming ban for Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson.
In addition to Graham’s $8 million campaign war chest, special interests are going to pump millions more into his reelection bid through shady attack groups – including a big chunk of money aimed at targeting my independent candidacy. Graham’s special interest wannabes are already attacking me through earned media – auditioning for their roles in his general election hit squad.
Here’s what I want to know from Lindsey Graham: What kind of deals is he having to make to finance this attack machine? How many more billions of dollars from tapped-out taxpayers will be wasted on crony capitalist handouts? And how many more of our sons and daughters will be put in harm’s way in needless wars?
And here’s my question to South Carolina taxpayers: Is this sacrifice of blood and treasure worth it? All so a politician can continue to rake in the money he needs to play pretend conservative on television and attack credible independent challengers like me?
Lindsey Graham and his special interest army can buy all the attacks they want. When it’s all said and done, the people of South Carolina are going to know who paid for them. They’re also going to learn that Thomas Ravenel doesn’t need any of that D.C. money. Unlike our current senator, when it comes to putting our free markets and individual freedoms first – I cannot be bought off with Washington bribes.