Letters to the Editor

  • Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Respectfully and with considerable trepidation, I found the Most Rev. Robert E. Guglielmoneís treatment of our nationís current immigration quagmire (Opinions, Aug. 13, 2014) superficial and naive.

I would have ignored it if anyone else had written that article, but because he heads the Roman Catholic Church in South Carolina, I believe he has a responsibility to go a lot further, to recognize his voice carries significant weight disproportionate to his status as just another citizen.

Iím sure our growing immigrant population, most of whom came to this country by the legal route prescribed by our immigration laws, understandably welcomed the good bishopís stance. But his words fell far short in describing the issue, writing in a tone that would imply this is a simple black-white issue and anyone not in agreement were at best shortsighted or at worst uncaring. That sort of tone does a disservice to the debate and is counterproductive.

I write this not to offer a solution (Iím not smart enough) but to suggest the bishop either confine broad observations like this to the pulpit or be prepared to not only share his opinion but also to explore the opposing voice, their arguments and why their thought process is flawed.

Iím certainly in agreement that immigration reform is necessary, but before we look for ways our undocumented aliens can be absorbed into our society as U.S. citizens, we need to deal first with the following:

1. First and foremost, we must control our borders.

2. What do we do with respect to those who are abiding by our immigration laws and are waiting to gain entry?

The bishop writes of a more innocent time when our immigration laws were so much simpler. Isnít that true of just about everything? As an active Catholic and the son of immigrants, this subject strikes close to home, and like the good bishop, I would love nothing more than to welcome any and all who desired to become a part of the American dream. But it canít be done without considering the cost, the methodology, the fairness, the risks and in the end, political agreement.

Itís just not as simple as the good bishop would suggest.


N. John Garcia

Isle of Palms

Arbitrary vote

Charleston County School Board just voted to build a new $30 million high school for McClellanville, for about 135 students. Yet, this same school board insisted to Sullivanís Island residents that it could not build a school there for fewer than 500 students, supposedly because that was not cost effective. As the Post and Courier pointed out in an editorial, voters could lose confidence in a board that takes such arbitrary action. No kidding!

And how hollow are the protestations of board members Chris Fraser, Cindy Bohn Coats and Todd Garrett, who now claim to be concerned about the wise use of taxpayer dollars and addressing the extreme overcrowding at Lauren Hill and Pinckney? Those same schools were well over capacity when those three board members voted to build Sullivanís Island Elementary School.

Where was their concern about overcrowded Mount Pleasant schools then? And now it looks like the school board is once again telling Mount Pleasant families to just get in line and wait their turn for a new elementary school and a desperately needed second high school ó after, of course, voting for the tax increase in November.ďArbitraryĒ does not begin to describe what is going on.


Barbara Spell

Sullivanís Island

Bus stop input

Mayor Linda Page has asked Hungryneck Straphangers to assist the Town of Mount Pleasant in gathering citizen input for bus stop improvements on Ben Sawyer and Coleman boulevards, currently being served by the No. 41 Coleman Boulevard bus line. Appropriate locations for seating and shelters will be considered as well as possible design elements for several shelters, which will both serve practical need and provide a civic ornament to our townís main street. Funding is available for this work as part of the streetscape improvement project.

Itís important to make the fullest possible plans for the stops since land and right-of-way acquisition must be planned and accomplished before any work can begin. All plans and expenditures will have to pass through the townís required procedures. They must further meet the stateís standards for structures placed near highways and federal standards for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. This effort will be fully coordinated with CARTA as well.

Input can be sent directly to the mayorís office at Mount Pleasant Town Hall and should include where possible, maps, diagrams and images which make location and design clear. Everyone is welcome to discuss their suggestions on the Hungryneck Straphangers Facebook page as well.

While you can communicate with Mayor Page directly, be mindful of the vast amount of emails she receives and understand that town staff will be sure materials brought to her office are properly filed and organized for the use of the mayor, council, town staff and relevant citizensí commissions.

Mayor Page is committed to sustaining the tremendous progress the No. 41 Route has made to help reduce congestion and bring economic opportunity to the area.

Time is short, so please get your material into her office as quickly as possible.

You can see the locations of existing CARTA bus stops on the road on Google Maps or Google Earth or by using Bus Tracker and specifying the No. 41 Coleman Boulevard Route. Full information on the route can be found on our website: www.busec.org.


William J. Hamilton, III

Mount Pleasant

Honesty

I would like to thank the person who found my money clip with over $300 in it in the Harris Teeter parking lot on Highway 41 on Aug. 15 and turned it in to the store.

It is so reassuring to know there are still a lot of honest people around. Your act of honesty and kindness is greatly appreciated and I only wish I could thank you in person.

Dwight Stone

Rivertowne

Stadium


They say a school represents a community. With Wando High School being the largest school in the state, I would say that it not only represents the local community, but the county and the state as well.

With the latest hot-button topics of a new high school and a ďfund listĒ proposal from the school board, I am frustrated and confused as to where we are headed as a community and how we are getting there.

There apparently is an alleged overwhelming desire of East Cooper residents who want a new high school. There is also a desire by the Mount Pleasant Town Council to gain a regional stadium that will be sold to the consumer as a one-size-fits-all facility; a concept that cannot succeed and is a failed process of thought by those who do not grasp what a stadium is.

As a lifelong resident of East Cooper with two boys who have grown through the public education system of the county and who both are currently enrolled at Wando High School, I have to ask the school board as well as the town council, where were the voices from the Wando community when the planning was done to decide what they feel is best for those of us who reside, work, go to school and live here?

As a parent, I am taking the academic approach in considering where my kids go to school. What is the best academic environment? The answer is Wando. I then look at what are the intangibles that the school can provide my kids? Which school has the best opportunities for my kids to learn outside of the four walls of a building? The answer is Wando.

Taking this into consideration, I find it interesting that I am being told that I need to continue to support the sales-tax referendum because we need a new high school and the town needs a regional athletic stadium.

I say no. I believe what we need is some fiscally minded individuals to strap on the boots of maturity and common sense and quit wasting my tax money. I supported the referendum when it was presented the first time. I did so based on the premise that one of the line items was athletic improvements at Wando High School. Other line items were on the list for educational improvements throughout the county. I didnít sign on to see my tax dollars not be spent with fiscal responsibility in my backyard and that is exactly what happened. I will not give you the opportunity to fool me twice.

For a school board member to say that we are building stadiums before facilities, it is apparent that she does not have a clue about the largest classroom a school has. The field is the single largest classroom that you could ever provide a child with. You are obviously not in touch with what is taught in your district.

I donít care if your child is in the band, plays soccer, lacrosse, rugby or football, there are lessons being learned far greater than what can be taught inside four brick walls.

For those who donít believe it, I invite you to come and experience it. Not just on game nights. Step inside during the spring, summer and winter.

Go to the fields and see what discipline, hard work, integrity, leadership and loyalty are all about amongst the ranks of those participating. Not just during the school year, but year-round.

Through the early morning hours of summer, while other kids are sleeping in, and into the late nights when others have gone to bed, I challenge you to present a greater source of education to me. I challenge you to find a place where these lessons of life can be taught with any more passion than on the field. The truth is there is no other place on earth that can provide a child with so much education than on a field with a team or group. Here are lessons of life that will reside within the child forever. So please, do not make a comment that we are building stadiums before facilities. A stadium is a facility of education.

With that being understood, I must now look at our current high school as a representative of this city, county and state. The fact is simple. We are home to the best school with the worst facilities in the state.

There is no arguing this point. The existing stadium is an embarrassment. Every council member and school board member should hang their head in shame when we invite other schools in to visit. We have bathrooms in such disgust that grandmothers refuse to use them; our visiting schools must use the restroom in the bushes behind the bleachers because the port-o-lets are not enough, all the while providing absolutely nowhere for the kids to get out of the weather or for families to park.

Meanwhile, we visit places like Riverbluff, White Knoll, Spring Valley, Dorman, Spartanburg, Beaufort, Goose Creek, Gaffney, Myrtle Beach, etc. and realize what a community, city and county that has pride can provide.

So, if you are asking me to support a tax that will give me a high school that I donít want and a regional shared stadium that is a conceptual failure, then I say no thank you. I am tired of giving the government money with a promise that I will get what I want down the road. I did that before and saw that down road is always around the next bend.

Itís time to take a stand. I believe we, as an East Cooper community, have access to the best high school in the state. I believe what it provides academically as well as what it can provide in intangibles cannot be measured as an equal anywhere else in this state.

However, I believe the financial support given to this school is far below what it needs to be. You want my tax money? Then give me a Wando stadium on the Wando campus. Give me classrooms instead of trailers. Give to the community that has given so much.

Either way, take pride in your own backyard and quit asking me to fund everyone elseís list.


Mark Ragsdale

Mount Pleasant

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