Richland County Election Problems

May 22, 2013 12:00 PM
Richland County Election Problems

Richland County Council voted again Tuesday night to delay payments of attorney fees associated with the November 6, 2012 election disaster that kept voters standing in line at polls for six or more hours at some locations.

The council asked its staff lawyer to audit 46 pages of attorney fees, totaling $101,675.80, looking for any charges that should not be attributed to the county. Questions about the county being charged for attorney fees associated with then election director Lillian McBride were raised during the discussion.

McBride resigned her position after catching the flak for the numerous voting regularities associated with the election, which included a referendum on a $1.07 billion capital project sales tax initiative.

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Defending the First Amendment

May 21, 2013 7:00 AM
Defending the First Amendment

The Obama administration’s attack on the First Amendment took a predictable turn recently when White House Press Secretary Jay Carney reiterated the administration’s use of national security concerns in justifying White House investigations of journalists.

In attempting to justify the Justice Department’s seizing of reporters’ phone records and emails, Carney said, “The president believes it’s important that we find the proper balance between the need—absolute need to protect our secrets and to prevent leaks that can jeopardize the lives of Americans and can jeopardize our national security interests on the one hand and the need for—to defend the First Amendment and protect the ability of reporters to pursue investigative journalism.”

The original attack on the First Amendment, with the Sedition Acts way back in 1798, made it illegal for persons to criticize the administration and/or government, even if the criticism was true. The acts were passed by the Federalist Congress in the mistaken impression that they were combating anarchy – a threat to national security.

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Our Other Left

May 19, 2013 7:00 AM
Our Other Left

Those of you who have had the pleasure of going through basic training in the military can probably remember, as I do, the comic relief invariably provided by ‘our other left’ while learning how to drill.

Inevitably one or two members of a company will forget that you step out on your left foot and will be out of step while a drill instructor is running alongside yelling ‘NO, your other left idiot, your other left’, or something to that effect.

Some people just seem to be born with two left feet.

We are having a similar problem in South Carolina with local and state government. We seem to be suffering from two left wings.

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Senate Advances Ethics Reform

May 9, 2013 6:00 AM
Senate Advances Ethics Reform

A S.C. Senate sub-committee Tuesday made major changes to an ethics reform bill the House had rushed through last week to meet the May 1 crossover deadline for legislation.

The amended bill would make major changes to the way in which ethics violations against members of the General Assembly are investigated as well as requiring new income source disclosure for public officials throughout the state.

The amended legislation takes investigation of allegations of ethics violations against House and Senate members out of the hands of legislative committees and puts a revamped state Ethics commission in charge of all ethics investigations.

The House bill proposed elimination of the House and Senate Ethics committees, replacing them with a Joint Committee on Ethics, a body that would include eight legislators and eight members of the public chosen by legislators.

Ethics investigations of legislators would have effectively remained in the control of legislators with this committee.

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Mark Sanford Returns to Washington

May 7, 2013 5:15 AM
Mark Sanford Returns to Washington

Republican Mark Sanford will be returning to Washington to again represent the citizens of the South Carolina 1st Congressional District after a nearly 12 ½ year break.

Sanford easily defeated Democratic opponent Elizabeth Colbert Busch in a special election to fill the seat after former representative Tim Scott was elevated to the Senate earlier this year when Jim DeMint resigned to head up the Heritage Foundation.

Despite turning off some voters with his 2009 antics of disappearing for several days to visit his Argentinian mistress while serving as governor of South Carolina, Sanford was never really in danger of losing this election.

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The Case Against Flow Control

May 6, 2013 9:00 PM
The Case Against Flow Control

A bill that would make flow control illegal in South Carolina currently rests in the S.C. Senate Rules Committee awaiting a majority vote to put it on the calendar for full Senate vote.

Flow control is the term that means establishing monopoly control over the flow of the solid waste stream in an area, in this case a county.

It is illegal for private companies to establish flow control over a waste stream, but, currently, not for county government to do so. Horry County currently has a flow control ordinance in place that makes its Horry County Solid Waste Authority the monopoly arbiter over county waste.

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