Letters to the Editor

  • Thursday, May 22, 2014

Summerville has it!

Dear Editor:

Singers of Summerville and Flowertown Players collaborative program “What I Did for Love” transported us to Broadway. Songs spanned 100 years of show tunes, each masterfully performed and choreographed.

South Pacific, The Phantom of the Opera, Funny Girl, Guys and Dolls, The Music Man, Mamma Mia, Company, Gypsy, Kiss Me Kate, Oh Kay, Sweeney Todd, Wicked, Secret Garden, A Chorus Line, Into the Woods and Les Miserables music fill the theater. Their vocal talent was exquisite and dancing (Singing in the Rain), very nicely done. The program received two well-deserved standing ovations! Bravo!

Shelby Dangerfield, Miss Summerville, also contributed to the evening of song. Her range and quality tone were lovely. Shelby is a music-theatre major and plans to pursue a career in New York in musical theater. We support her wish to become Miss South Carolina this year. Shelby is articulate, talented and directed. She will be a wonderful state representative.

Summerville’s Mayor Bill Collins and City Council have much of which to be proud. We are fortunate to have superb Summerville talent in multiple arts venues that can stand shoulder to shoulder with the best elsewhere. Entertainment organizations in Summerville add luster to our beautiful historic community.

Shirley B. Berardo

Anthony A. Berardo


Horne responds to Smith

Dear Editor:

On May 14, my opponent, Franklin Smith, called H. 4407 a “tax tsumami” when in fact it is a tax cut. I have corrected Mr. Smith during at least two debates at Summerville Medical Center early this month as well as the candidate forum sponsored by the Summerville Journal Scene at the Summerville Town Council Chambers. Nevertheless, Mr. Smith continues to spread false and misleading information about the H. 4407 SC Jobs, Education and Tax Act (SCJET).

SCJET would lower the school operating millage in Dorchester County from 168 mills to 100 mills – a tax cut on your vehicles and small business of approximately 35%. Further, the per pupil amount allocated to Dorchester District Two would increase by $17 million. SCJET would shift education funding from programs to pupils and place state and local dollars in a trust fund that could only be used for K-12 education. Larger districts like District 2 would benefit from the new funding formula. In our district, this additional moneys could be used to update the physics labs and increase funding to train students in the area of Science Technology and Engineering (STEM) fields. This will ensure that our high school graduates are career ready to meet the demands of an increasingly competitive global economy.

Thank you for the privilege of serving you in the South Carolina House of Representatives for the past six years. During my tenure in the House, I have focused on areas of concern in this state. Whether it be through improving education and at the same time lowering the tax burden on small business in SCJET or leading the charge for the audit of DSS, I have been an advocate for you in Columbia. I passed legislation requiring for volunteers in public schools to have background checks and required background checks for in home care providers in order to protect the elderly from abuse and financial exploitation. Last and certainly not least, I fought to get Dorchester County $19 million in road money from the State Infrastructure Bank – the first time in history of the SIB that Dorchester County received any money. If you like the results I have obtained for you these last six years as your Representative in Columbia, I humbly request your vote in the June 10 Republican Primary. Dorchester County has made great gains these last six years, and I am committed to moving this great county forward if re-elected.

Rep. Jenny Horne

House District 94

School hours

Dear Editor:

In reading the May 14 issue of the Journal Scene in regards to adjusting the school hours, I have a suggestion. Since the high school students are already at the school at 6:15 a.m. why not start the classes at 6:30?

Rearranging the school hours will mean rearranging the school bus pick-ups (not a simple task). The students that work after school or are involved in after school activities, such as sports, either won’t be able to work or they will be up later doing their homework and studies. This will probably disrupt many family evening activities also. The students are at the school. Use their time wisely.

Maybe a few teachers would have to be at the school a bit earlier. I ask, are the students there for the teachers or are the teachers there for the students? The students’ time is important to them and I think we need to see that they use it wisely rather than nodding off waiting for school to begin.

Ralph Luther


No excuses: Vote June 10

Dear Editor:

I recently attended the Candidate Forum, which I found very interesting and a bit more informative than a debate. Candidates were asked the same questions, had to respond from their own viewpoints and, for the most part, the event was more positive than negative.

It was fairly easy to recognize the seasoned politicians as they were very comfortable before a crowd and knew all the buzzwords and answers that they thought the voters wanted to hear. The newbies weren’t quite as comfortable but made up for it with their passion for issues and their personal conviction that it is time to seek new solutions.

I can neither vote for nor against anyone from the forum. However, regardless of who wins the seat, their votes as they serve will affect every one of us rather we are in their particular district or not.

That’s why I would like to strongly encourage the voters of County Council District 7 to consider casting their ballot for Lester Dempsey. I would if I could. Lester has been involved in numerous boards and commissions as an unpaid volunteer over the many years I have known him and he always takes his responsibilities very seriously. He does not appear to be beholden to anyone except his own conscious.

Lester was one of the founding members in of the Dorchester Corridor Coalition of Neighborhoods (DCCN) in 2000. The organization includes representatives for about 7100 single family homes with over 16,000 residents from Archdale to Hwy 17A along Dorchester Road. If you lived here in 2000, you remember that was the time when North Charleston was first exploding onto the scene in our area, the small town feel of Summerville was rapidly becoming a memory and Dorchester County was caught up in a rapid growth whirlwind. All of us were impacted by quality of life issues that caught us off guard and unprepared. Lester is a valuable and knowledgeable member of the DCCN as it works with governmental agencies and developers in trying to protect our way of life.

Interestingly, (and a little odd) Councilman Byars actually thanked Lester Dempsey at the forum for running against him. Tongue-in-cheek? Facetious? Fingers crossed behind his back? Hmm. He didn’t seem all that thrilled when he learned that Lester was considering running for Council. That Mr. Byars dismissed his own appointee -- Lester — after two plus years on the County Transportation Committee, where Lester had served a total of 12 years.

Yep, politics can be very strange at times. We all need to stay informed, wide awake and VOTE!

S.M. Salmon


Chinnis supporter

Dear Editor:

David Chinnis and I don’t always agree; however, he has always taken time to explain to me his thoughts and how the background references bring him to a position. He is open to revise a position if a better reason can be presented. He has never avoided discussing any county issue with me, has always replied on the level and in a timely manner, conducts himself squarely as a polite, professional and upright man. I have never found anything to challenge that. I support his re-election to Dorchester County Council.

Mike Mercer


Keep judges out of politics

Dear Editor:

Before the June 2010 Republican Primary, Chris and then Magistrate Judge Maité Murphy campaigned together door-to-door, promoting Mr. Murphy’s candidacy for the South Carolina House of Representatives District 98. Then Judge Murphy also appeared with Chris on 4 X 8 signs displayed in support of Mr. Murphy’s candidacy.

Judge Murphy’s campaigning for candidate Murphy benefitted not only her husband, by helping him get elected to the House, but also benefitted her. The Legislature elects Circuit Court Judges, and, after Magistrate Murphy’s husband was elected to the House of Representatives with Judge Murphy’s door-to-door campaigning and 4 X 8 posters, the Legislature elected Judge Murphy to become Circuit Court Judge Murphy. Thus, the Murphys campaigning as a team helped advance both of their careers.

This overt campaigning by a Judge for a candidate in a contested political race was very upsetting to those who believe such public “politicking” by a Judge is improper; creates an appearance of impropriety; and undermines the Judiciary’s credibility and reputation for impartiality.

For example, an elderly gentlemen who came face-to-face with the Murphy’s, as they campaigned together at his front door, complained that he felt awkward and intimidated, and that it was improper for candidate Christopher Murphy and Magistrate Judge Murphy to campaign for him to vote for candidate Murphy, especially when candidate Murphy knew that the elderly gentlemen supported candidate Murphy’s opponent.

Section V of the South Carolina Appellate Rules prohibits political activity by Judges and employees of the Judicial Department and would prohibit a Judge from campaigning door-to-door or appearing in campaign signs publicly endorsing a candidate for a political office.

I believe there should be an absolute prohibition against a Judge of any kind engaging in political activity on behalf of a candidate for public office, and that allowing Judges to engage in public political activity is contrary to the public interest. I hope the Murphys will refrain from campaigning as a public team during this election season.

Gerard Ziegler


More transparency for county government needed

Dear Editor:

Councilman David Chinnis states on his Facebook page that his priorities include “more transparency for local government,” but his record shows the exact opposite.

A November 4, 2013, Post and Courier article entitled “Ban on texting during Dorchester County meetings? No way” shows that on that date Councilman Chinnis cut off a motion that would ban texting by council members at public meetings. Councilman Chinnis called for the motion to not be considered and it was voted down 5-1.

The Post and Courier summarized Council Chairman Bill Hearn’s statements as “Council members do regularly text county officials for answers to questions and get texts from people in the audience.”

There you have it: Council members discuss public business in a public session with secret texts whose messages are unknown to the public. It is not hard to imagine the leader of a special interest group texting instructions to Council members and Council members texting each other about what to say or how to vote; without any public awareness of who is instructing or saying what to whom.

The Post and Courier also summarized SC Press Association attorney and USC Law professor Jay Bender: “Council members discussing votes or polling each other would violate the law (S.C. Freedom of Information Act), and a council member taking direction on a vote from someone in the audience would be ‘even more nefarious.’”

Just last month the Mississippi Ethics Board ruled that public officials’ text messages about government business are public records. Even Mississippi is ahead of Dorchester County when it comes to public disclosure.

Councilman Chinnis enjoys these secret texting opportunities during Council meetings so much that he blocked Councilman Hargett’s motion to ban texting before it could even be read. Is this the kind of leadership Dorchester County needs? Scott Inabinet, the candidate opposing Chinnis, has pledged to ban or make public all texts during Council meetings, increasing government’s transparency and accountability. That would be the definition of “more transparency” in our local government.

Jake F. Jenkins


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