Letters to the Editor

  • Friday, May 9, 2014

Dempsey the best choice

Dear Editor:

In a recent letter in the SJS Lisa McKenzie states that Councilman Jay Byars, “leads . . . by example.” That is contradicted by his record, as shown in part just this last month:

4/7/14 County Council meeting- ABSENT; 4/14/14 BCD Council of Governments meeting- ABSENT; 4/21/14 Water and Sewer Committee meeting- ABSENT; 4/22/14 Parks and Recreation Commission meeting, Chairman-ABSENT.

Byar’s absenteeism is a poor example of leadership, is not even “followship” and certainly is not “walking the walk.” Failure to attend these meetings is failure to represent the people of District 7, because he is not casting votes, not getting information, and not giving a voice for the citizens who elected him. Since his election, he has missed or arrived late at 10 percent of County Council meetings (not counting committee meetings). What would happen to any of us if we missed work or came in late 10 percent of the time?

Informed voters want to know why Byars is an “absentee councilman.” Incumbent Byars is PAID BY THE TAXPAYERS to attend the meetings he is missing. TO BE A LEADER, YOU FIRST HAVE TO SHOW UP!

Voters also want to know why Byars, along with Councilman David Chinnis, routinely sends and receives secret text messages during the Council meetings he does attend; why they will not disclose those texts to the public even though they are public records under the Freedom of Information Act; and why on Nov. 4, 2013 they voted to prevent Councilman Larry Hargett from introducing a resolution to ban or regulate texting by them and other Councilmen during Council meetings. This secret messaging by Byars and Chinnis not only is poor leadership but disrespects and insults the taxpayers attending the meetings. Voters should know what communications Byars is sending and receiving from special interests and other Councilmen as Byars conducts public business. Voters should know who directs Byars’ and Chinnis’ votes.

In contrast, Lester Dempsey would attend 100 percent of meetings, based on his 12-year record, and would allow no texting to and from Councilmen during public meetings. Lester’s civic volunteerism and contributions to our community are simply overwhelming. As a community leader, often as a chairperson, he has advocated trimming budgets and opposed tax increases. He has played a key role in numerous management successes, including obtaining funding for local roads from the State Department of Transportation’s highly competitive funds. When not attending meetings on his own time, Lester used flex time and his vacation leave to attend 100 percent of dozens of volunteer meetings. Lester Dempsey truly “walks the walk.”

While Lester Dempsey vigorously and successfully opposed the Local Option Sales Tax (LOST), Byars voted for and supported that sales tax increase on food and other items. Thus, Byars wants us ordinary citizens to pay 1 percent more for food costs that already have risen 19 percent this past year and will double by the end of this decade. According to the Dorchester County Taxpayers Association the LOST tax “takes from those who can least afford it and shifts the tax credits to the rich who need it the least. The benefit in property taxes on a modest $100,000 home (in the County) would be $38! Buy $150 in groceries a week and you will pay an additional $78 in taxes. [Councilman Byars voted to hold] this critical referendum when there is no countywide election. That ensures low voter turnout and increased costs.” The low voter turnout tended to favor the supporters of LOST and cost the taxpayers approximately $30,000, the annual salary of one County employee. LOST was defeated by a 3-1 margin proving Byars is out of touch with the constituents he is supposed to be representing.

These are facts about the performance of Byars and are not personal. Lester Dempsey is a problem solver by trade, has been a volunteer community leader for 12 years, would be an effective representative of the people instead of just special interests and opposes tax increases. That’s why people should vote for Lester Dempsey.

Steven Wright


‘Sense, this does not make’

Dear Editor:

Come and take a drive with me. A little field trip you might say. Where might we be going you ask? You needn’t worry, for it’s not very far up the road. Only about 12 miles up Hwy. 78 west to just across the bridge over “Four Holes Swamp.”

Oh, in case you are not familiar with this swamp, let me tell you just a few things about it. It’s really a conglomeration of the excess water from several swamps, ditches, and forests (including the Biedler Forest). All of this fresh water is gathered together in a large stream that extends from about Interstate I-26 flowing some 15 miles south over to the Edisto River collecting runoff the whole length of its journey. The “Sto” As some of us call the ebony cool flowing waters has historically been a mainstay of fresh drinking water for the area.

Midway along its route it passes mile after square miles of hills, actually closer to mountains, that rise up hundreds of feet into the air. If you’ll look just out of your left window these massive man-made uprisings can be seen. Though there is a layer of dirt carefully veiling their contents it’s easy to “smell” what really lies beneath. For they contain the refuse of our lives!! All the waste we produce finds its way here unless it is recycled in some way or still lying on the ground somewhere else. The soda cans, newspapers, cardboard, bottles, etc. that we just throw in the plastic bag in the garbage can end up here. The old paint cans, rusted out tools, dead hanging plants, and tin foil scraps end up here. The debris we or others pick up from beside the road to stuff into those orange plastic bags ends up here also. So it seems if we do not make the extra effort to recycle, then we are merely moving the trash from one place on the ground to another. Oh, we do throw some dirt on it though! Sense, this does not make!

Our county dump sites are simply not to blame. They try very hard to make receptacles available to us to put most recyclables in but some blatantly mix things together or bully the attendants into letting them just “Go ahead” and throw it in the wrong place. So let’s all make the extra effort to do what we can to recycle all that we can. Let’s work to see fast food bags made from recycled materials, benches made from recycled materials, etc! I’ve often watched the large bins filled with building products while thinking to myself, “If this stuff was collected over a couple of months I know a small house could be built from it.” Well this is the end of our field trip. We’ve arrived back in the “Flower Town In The Pines” Are not the blooms gorgeous? Did you know that when they fade and drop to the ground eventually they become fertilizer for the plants to produce another springs blooms?! Recycling at its best!

Kevin Weathers


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