Reactions to Michael Slager Mistrial Ruling Show No Respect for Rule of Law

December 11, 2016 5:20 AM
Reactions to Michael Slager Mistrial Ruling Show No Respect for Rule of Law

The reaction to the mistrial ruling in the Michael Slager murder case in Charleston last week demonstrates how little understanding and respect many public officials and citizens have for the rule of law and our criminal justice system.

A sampling of the more outrageous statements includes the following:

I also understand that justice is not always delivered by a single jury, in a single courtroom, on a single day. Justice is often a journey. And the journey to justice in the Michael Slager case is far from over…Soon, Mr. Slager will face new trials at the federal and state levels. New juries will be given an opportunity to render a verdict on his actions. Until then, we will continue to pray for our community, for justice, for the family and friends of Walter Scott, and for all those whose lives have been touched by this terrible tragedy.” – Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg

“It is my understanding that there will be, as quickly as possible, a new trial where the Scott family and all of South Carolina will hopefully receive the closure that a verdict brings. Justice is not always immediate, but we must all have faith that it will be served – I certainly do.” – SC Governor Nikki Haley

Haley and Tecklenburg confuse justice with a guilty verdict for Slager.

The chairmen of the state’s two major political parties also got it wrong:

“I am disappointed that justice for Walter Scott and his family has been delayed, but with a new trial coming, I am confident that justice will not be denied. … This is a test for our justice system, a test that the nation must not fail.” – Jaime Harrison, chairman of the S.C. Democratic Party

“An absolute travesty and abdication of justice.” – Matt Moore, chairman of the S.C. Republican Party

Innocent until proven guilty plays no part in the thinking of the above quoted four.

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Our State Legislators and Tax Increases

December 7, 2016 4:41 AM
Our State Legislators and Tax Increases

Horry & Georgetown Republican elected state legislators are behaving more like Chicken Little than responsible problem solvers.

We may be a Red State, but our Horry & Georgetown elected Republican state legislators still act like tax and spend Democrats. This is somewhat surprising after the message that was just sent to the “ruling class” during this past general election. Donald Trump received more primary votes than just about every Republican candidate running prior to his bid for the presidency. The populace is definitely tired of tax and spend Republicans and the establishment Republican Party. Evidently our local elected Republicans did not get the message.

No one would argue against coming up with a plan to fix South Carolina roads as they are in desperate need of repair. However, the current knee jerk reaction (the sky is falling, the sky is falling, raise taxes!), is not the responsible course of action. In manufacturing and other successful business entities, when a problem is identified, the company initiates a formal corrective action process. This process begins by clearly defining the problem and then doing the necessary homework to identify root causes of the problem. Future containment actions and corrective actions stem from the root cause analysis.

Numerous organizations within South Carolina and some responsible Republican office holders have identified the primary root causes to South Carolina’s bad roads. These root causes fall into the following categories:

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Additional Funding for Coast RTA

December 5, 2016 5:42 AM
Additional Funding for Coast RTA

The message from last week’s Horry County Transportation Committee meeting was Horry County Council would search for ways to provide additional funding for Coast RTA.

The transportation agency currently receives $1.055 million annually from the county’s general fund budget. According to remarks by council chairman Mark Lazarus, Coast RTA would like that amount to rise to approximately $1.9 million per year.

In addition, Coast RTA wants to spend a total of approximately $16 million on capital improvements for the system over the next several years. It should be noted, all of this money does not have to come from the county or other local government funding sources. The federal government provides 80% funding for capital expenditures with a 20% local match.

Still, $3.33 million must come from some form of local funding for these capital projects to be realized.

“We’ve got to figure out how to fund them,” Lazarus said during the meeting.

Lazarus said Horry County Administrator Chris Eldridge was investigating ways to provide Coast RTA with recurrent funding. Lazarus said a one-cent local option sales tax was one possibility that would be looked at.

During the discussion, Lazarus made one comment I didn’t understand. He said state law prohibits the use of (property tax) millage from being used to fund transportation.

However, property tax millage is exactly what is being used now and has been for years to provide Coast RTA with annual grants from Horry County.

An additional one-cent sales tax is unacceptable, in our opinion. A one-cent tax was just approved by voters for RIDE III last month. If a sales tax is the preferred way to fund Coast RTA, it should have been included in the list of projects for RIDE III, a perfectly acceptable use of RIDE funds if it had been included in the project list.

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Time to Combat Community Violence

November 29, 2016 5:54 AM
Time to Combat Community Violence

Shootings over the last month in Myrtle Beach and the Longs area of Horry County again highlighted the need for a coordinated effort among police departments, other public agencies, community leaders and citizens to counter violence in our local communities.

In February 2016, local community activists went before Myrtle Beach City Council asking for help to combat violence in the community.

City officials responded by saying crime was down in the city and chastising the activists for “hurting tourism” with their claims of increasing violence in the city.

Since then, Myrtle Beach city officials have changed their tune. Meetings to address the rising heroin epidemic and recent shootings in the city have at least begun to acknowledge the problem of rising violence in community neighborhoods.

In a related incident, but one that may have ulterior motives, the city used a multiple shooting incident at the Pure Ultra Club in the area known as the “superblock” in downtown Myrtle Beach to add parking restrictions and business operating restrictions in that area.

However, the “superblock” moves may be part of a different initiative by city council.

In October 2015, Myrtle Beach City Council approved an ordinance effectively ending new clubs or bars from moving into the “superblock” area of the city.

At that time, council charged the Myrtle Beach Planning Commission to study zoning in the “superblock” area and come back to council with recommendations in January 2017.

A friend of mine said at that time, “They’re up to something,” referring to Myrtle Beach City Council.

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Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

November 23, 2016 8:55 AM
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

We wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving as we all pause to reflect on the blessings we have had over the past year.

A few quotes to reflect upon on this day:

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.” John Fitzgerald Kennedy

“Small cheer and great welcome makes a merry feast.” William Shakespeare

“A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue but the parent of all the other virtues.” Cicero

“If we cannot help the many who are poor, we cannot save the few who are rich,” John Fitzgerald Kennedy

As a teenager and young man, I lived through the changes of the ’60’s and ’70’s – Civil Rights movement, Vietnam and Watergate especially.

For the entire decade of the 1970’s, I served on active duty in the U.S. Navy, seven of those years overseas. Viewing America from afar and listening to the views and opinions of citizens of foreign countries about what was going on at home provided a perspective I have always appreciated.

America renews itself periodically with change. I hope we are in the throes of such a renewal again.

We have recently elected a new President, but have returned mostly the same do-nothing Congress that has plagued this nation for over a decade.

Donald Trump may be able to advance some initiatives in Washington, although I hesitate to expect much.

Congress, when it reconvenes in January, will go about doing what it does best – attempting to get itself re-elected instead of doing the business of the people.

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John F. Kennedy – Remembering That Day

November 22, 2016 4:00 AM
John F. Kennedy – Remembering That Day

In some ways it doesn’t seem like 50 years since President John F. Kennedy was murdered in Dallas.

I was a senior in high school, home early that day because of a need to have stitches removed.

I was listening to the radio when a news flash came across the air saying shots had been fired at President Kennedy’s motorcade. Shortly thereafter we heard he was shot and about an hour later, we heard President Kennedy was dead.

It seemed unreal. This was 1963, we didn’t shoot presidents anymore. That was something we read about in history books.

Two days later, we watched on live television as Kennedy’s alleged assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, was murdered at Dallas police headquarters.

What was happening in America?

Was this really the country that was called the leader of the free world and the model for all democratic nations? (A question that remains very timely today)

Those questions were asked by many who were virtually glued to their televisions through Kennedy’s funeral on Monday November 25th.

To many around the world, America seemed stuck in the wild west. It still does for that matter.

Kennedy was a president who was admired and respected throughout much of the world. He inspired optimism, hope and confidence, something we haven’t seen since, in my opinion.

America lost its remaining innocence on November 22, 1963. It’s optimism and hope have been reduced in the intervening 53 years.

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