Letters to the Editor

No confidence in land-buying

The Packet, Gazette and others want us to sign up for another $25 million for land preservation.

Do they think we’re as big a bunch of morons as the fools who paid $5.45 million for 9 acres in the Whitehall Plantation, much of which isn’t good for anything but open space, when the developer bought the entire 20 acres of the place for $5.5 million?

Now the developer has essentially gotten the land to develop for free. I’m in favor of preserving open space but not at ridiculous prices. Did that land suddenly doubt in value somehow?

The good stuff that can be developed they kept; the rest they unloaded on a deficient group of people for twice what they paid for it less than a year earlier – without making a single improvement to it.

Perhaps if I had some confidence that there were competent people making the decisions about what to buy and what to pay for it, I’d be a little more encouraged to vote “yes,” but that deal is so rotten anyone paying attention has to vote “no.”

Paul Kositzka

Lady’s Island

Proposed Beaufort County sales tax not ‘equitable’

While I agree that the roadwork to be financed through the sales tax is needed and worthwhile, I want to talk about an aspect of the countywide tax that I have not seen addressed.

“A penny.” To the folks living in their secure plantations, it’s just a penny; to the less fortunate citizens who live in northern Beaufort County, in places like St. Helena Island, Gray’s Hill, Seabrook, Dale, Sheldon, and beyond, that penny is real money.

These are folks who will rarely, if ever, use the bridges to Hilton Head Island. Most will be just as unlikely to find themselves on Lady’s Island. Many of these citizens, who I suspect are not usually on the minds of the folks sitting in their McMansions, are frequently faced with the agonizing choice between food and medicine. To these unfortunate people, a penny is real money.

The ubiquitous argument that visitors to the county will pay for half the tax makes not a whit of difference to the struggling family in Big Estate. They are still paying 1 cent on the dollar, not a half-cent. The people ignoring this inconvenient truth are disingenuous at best. Some have characterized the tax as “equitable.” For the reasons stated above, I find this anything but “equitable,” and for those reasons my conscience compels me to vote “no.”

Henry A. Robertson

Beaufort

New Lowcountry roads don’t last

The 1 percent sales tax is a good idea, but there needs to be a lock box for the money to ensure that the money is used for what it has been collected for.

But my biggest issue is that the county and state have not shown the taxpayers that they can manage our money properly. I have never in my life seen roads deteriorate so rapidly. The newest section of Bluffton Parkway is already being repaved. The rest of the parkway is also in very poor condition and in need of repaving. The roads are lasting on average seven to 10 years. This is unacceptable.

We have no frost or salt on the roads here. South Carolina uses recycled material for its blacktop because it is less expensive. This product has to be closely scrutinized to ensure the mixes are proper and the installation is done correctly. Until SCDOT stops using this inferior material we will continue to have roads that fall apart on a yearly basis. Stop wasting our tax dollars.

Robert Olori

Bluffton

Questions to ask before casting school board vote

Next week, we will learn if the forward momentum of the Beaufort County Board of Education will continue, and if it will be much less of an uphill battle to effect change and progress.

I’d like to offer a few questions that you might want to ask yourself as you decide who to “pull the lever” for.

Does the candidate understand the real function of the school board, or does the candidate confuse it with a School Improvement Council? (SICs are vitally important, but they have a much different focus than a School Board. The BOE governs through Policy, the Budget & Oversight, and the Management of the Superintendent. The SIC helps the Principal with the School Improvement Plan.).

Is the candidate committed to financial oversight of the quarter-billion-dollar budget? Trust, but verify? Know where the money is going, why it is going there, and what are the results?

Did incumbents enable the former superintendent? Did they vote to award him bonuses for questionable performance? Did they vote for his excessive separation package? Did they rubber stamp his every request?

Does the candidate believe in the Freedom of Information Act and want to do the business of the public in public? Did he or she vote to suppress the FBI subpoenas? Do they prefer to doing business behind closed doors?

Does the candidate want to work for all the county’s children, and not just a segment of our student population?

Please take the time to ask these and other questions. You hold the key to continuing reform or delivering more of the status quo that has bound up our system and left us with multiple problems to solve and challenges to meet.

Please vote, and vote wisely. Reject the status quo, and vote to continue reform.

John Dowling

District 6 representative

Sun City

Hilton Head arts center deserves support

A candidate for Hilton Head Island mayor recently made the comment that one of the problems with the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina’s plans was that it insisted that rehearsals be on-site and thus the theater wasn’t available for other money-raising events.

First of all, during the weeks prior to many performances of “big” shows, there are usually several single-night performances by other artists. This is currently true during the preparation for the production of “An American in Paris.”

Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, that candidate obviously has never been involved with stage productions or else the candidate would know that on-site rehearsals are essential, especially the closer it gets to the actual production dates.

Some people will find any excuse possible to denigrate the arts center and its wonderful staff. Shame on them. The arts center provides top-quality entertainment, as well as many educational programs for the area. It deserves our support.

Sunni Bond

Hilton Head Island

Vote, then remove all those signs

Aha. Clearly it’s election time again.

As we drive along our major roadways, up ahead we spot clusters of what appear to be pretty fall flowers: reds, blues, whites, a few oranges, etc. Then as we draw nearer, we grimace on finding they’re just multiple ads for multiple candidates, all bunched together as if there’s safety in numbers.

But, like the candidates themselves, they’re better viewed from afar.

Whatever. Do get out and vote. And hope the candidates have arranged to remove those signs by the following weekend.

Herb Zimmerman

Bluffton

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Letters to the editor must be 250 words or fewer and include your first and last names, street address and daytime telephone number so we can verify the letter before publication.

You are limited to one letter per 30 days.

Letters may be edited for length, style, grammar, taste and libel. All letters submitted become the property of The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette.

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