Letters to the Editor

A better way to elect Hilton Head mayors

Voters on Hilton Head Island have just experienced their third straight mayoral runoff vote. Usually, this occurs just before Thanksgiving, when many residents are away. Voter turnout for the runoff this year was about half that of the Nov. 6 election day.

There is a better way, which eliminates the need for a runoff. It’s called “ranked-choice voting,” and is in place in a number of locations in this country. It requires that voters express not only their first choice, but their second and subsequent choices as well. If a voter’s first choice is unsuccessful, it is assigned to his or her second choice, and so on until a candidate reaches a majority.

For example, suppose there are four candidates in a race. After the first vote count, the results are as follows: Candidate A, 35 percent; Candidate B, 30 percent; Candidate C, 25 percent; Candidate D, 10 percent.

Under ranked-choice voting, Candidate D’s votes would be reallocated to the voters’ second choices. In this situation, that would not be mathematically enough to give any candidate over 50 percent of the vote, so the process would be repeated with Candidate C’s votes, which would likewise be reallocated to their second choices. That should be adequate to give Candidate A or B more than 50 percent.

This would eliminate the need for another two weeks of campaigning, as well as the cost of holding the second election. Most importantly, it could result in recording the input of almost twice as many voters.

See: www.fairvote.org.

Steve Alfred

Hilton Head Island

We need more of Mister Rogers

“Won’t you be my neighbor?”

Those powerful words implying friendship, compassion and love for one another are also the title of the new documentary film currently receiving rave reviews by theater audiences throughout the country.

It documents Fred Rogers and his PBS program, “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” which began in 1968 and continued for more than 30 years. His TV show educated our children — and adults, too — on how to respect the dignity of others, among other things.

Columnist David Brooks described Rogers as having the power of natural kindness in a time when kindness is scarce. At the film’s conclusion, wet eyes and thunderous applause became anti-climactic. Rogers’ unique charisma left a legacy of ethical dimensions that was grounded in civility and love.

His calm demeanor was infectious to his young viewers. His simplicity of teaching remarks, such as, “make the most of this beautiful day,” and “feeling good about ourselves is essential to our being able to love others,” had positive reinforcement for all of us.

This one is spot on: “Being able to resolve conflicts peacefully is one of the greatest strengths we can give our children.”

Where is this compassion today? We need the application of more Rogers-like philosophy now when distrust and hate abound in our society. It can begin with your commitment and mine.

Rogers’ last PBS message came shortly before his passing in 2003. Appropriately, it was the very words he ended his programs with:

“Remember, I like you just the way you are.”

Earle Everett

Moss Creek

Obama was the real Putin ‘boot-licker’

A recent contributor, suffering an information deficit, illustrates “Trump Derangement Syndrome” while criticizing an alleged lack of Republican achievements.

Immigration reform is called a “signature failure.” “Signature failure” better describes President Barack Obama’s failure to reform our immigration mess when he had a veto-proof congressional majority, a luxury not possessed by Trump.

Deriding Trump for “licking” Vladimir Putin’s boots demonstrates an appalling ignorance of facts or blind partisanship. If not “boot licking,” how would one describe Obama acceding to Russian demands and unilaterally canceling deployment of missile defense batteries requested by two allies; or the open-mic catch of Obama asking Dmitry Medvedev to assure Putin that he would be more flexible after the 2012 elections, which he was; doing nothing when Putin annexed Crimea; refusing to provide Ukraine, fighting a Russian incursion, with defensive weapons, instead sending RTE meals, presumably being flexible? Recall Obama ignoring Putin’s violations of the IMF Treaty and again doing nothing. Putin’s most aggressive conduct occurred on Obama’s watch and he did nothing. Serious “boot licking.”

In contrast, Trump provided weapons to a beleaguered Ukraine, sanctioned Putin’s friends and Russian institutions, called Putin on the IMF violations by exiting the Treaty, led NATO’s Eastern European buildup and strengthened our military. “Boot licking”? I think not.

Trump achievements include extraordinary GDP growth, more jobs than workers, rising incomes, record-breaking consumer and business confidence and, happily, the lowest unemployment rates recorded among minorities and women.

Facts trump partisanship. Trump won; get over it.

Francis Dunne Sr.

Hilton Head Island

Beware bad assumptions on immigration

I had to respond to the racist, bigoted letter regarding the number of Hispanics the writer observed at a Walmart store in Hardeeville.

The writer assumes, wrongly, that they and many others are “illegal aliens,” in this country to take advantage of us, misuse our support system for the poor, and cause our schools to spend money on bilingual teachers.

This is an insult to the millions of immigrants who are here because they want jobs and better lives for their children. Millions are here legally, and have been in this country for years. They have homes and families.

Those who are now trying to cross the border in Texas have been made into “criminals” by Donald Trump when, actually, many are families fleeing violence and poverty in their own countries.

To anyone scared to death to see and hear people speaking something other than English, get used to it. According to demographic data, white people in the United States will be a minority around mid-century.

Those who would try to meet some immigrants might realize that we are all people with similar hopes and dreams and we are doing the best we can to achieve them.

It is the Christmas season. For all those who share mean-spirited beliefs, try to find some small bit of compassion for those less fortunate. “There but for the grace of God go you.”

Terry Gibson

Lady’s Island

You cannot condone shoplifting

Did I miss something? In an article taken from the New York Times and published in the Packet on Wednesday Nov. 28, it certainly seems that the author of the article, Monica Heisey writes that if you enter a store that is “too pricey” there are things you should do to make it less so.

She rambles on about the “aspirationally wealthy and problematically gentrified neighborhood in which you find yourself,” and the use of French names for eggplant and green beans hints that the article is satirical. She suggests that you pile your arms with clothes that you can’t afford, look the saleslady dead in the eyes and ask “do you have this in a large?” When the response comes that she will look in the back, you take the clothing and run because she will be looking for hours.

If that isn’t advocating shoplifting then I am lost. To find it on the Opinion Page of the Packet is even more troubling.

Patricia A. Foley

Hilton Head Island

Beware career politicians

According to the Dec. 2 paper, the state of South Carolina is finally looking to correct the state political corruption that has been around for years.

You can only imagine how much SCANA paid state legislators to allow the nuclear building fiasco that has been at ratepayers’ expense. Yet, like fools, we kept re-electing these same people year after year.

You might say “we deserve what we got.” I do not think all the culprits involved in this action have been exposed. Will they be exposed? I think this runs too deep. Time will tell, though, and we as voters can have a say.

What I do think should happen is taking a closer look at the local politicians and the stranglehold they have had over the local constituents. Like the state, many seem to be career politicians.

If you look at the increase in your local taxes, you will get some understanding. Infrastructure costs and the monies don’t seem to show up right up front. Hmmmm.

Look at the Whitehall settlement. At best, an acre of land there is worth $100,000, maybe $1 million total, yet the county will be paying close to $5 million? Ouch! Even $5 million would be too much for 10 acres. Hats off to the creative thinkers who came up with a very profitable idea. They had a great strategy but taxpayers are still footing the bill.

People had better start thinking about future elections and consider getting rid of more of their elected “professional politicians.” That includes national, state and local.

Robert Kiessling

Lady’s Island

Don’t paint George H.W. Bush as a saint

Yes, President George H.W. Bush did some good things as president.

I know he was beloved by his family and will be sorely missed by them.

However, news should not paint him as a saint.

Have we forgotten the Iran-Contra affair, where guns were sold to get money for the Nicaraguan Contras in that civil war? A Google search shows that by the time all the facts were proven, Bush was president, and it was thought a sitting president couldn’t be convicted. (I hope that misconception has died.)

Also, there were drugs from Panama sold, also for money for the Contras. What was the interest in the Contras?

In Hollywood I belonged to a group of well-known actors and myself, unknown, who investigated the events of Bush’s actions for the Contras. We had guards who walked us from the meetings to our cars for fear people were watching.

Bush will be mourned by friends and family and a list of past presidents, and he deserves it. But please don’t forget his other side.

Fran B. Reed

Hilton Head Island

A new safe bet for baseball?

In the chase for the almighty dollar, professional sports leagues are risking the integrity of the games by entering into contracts with big-time gambling organizations. For example, Major League Baseball has teamed with MGM Resorts to accept wages on the games and baseball will get a piece of the action.

I am not opposed to gambling in general. I’ve been to Las Vegas and I buy lottery tickets when the prize gets ridiculous. I am concerned that players, officials or front-office people will be tempted to act in a way that could affect the outcome of a game, hence a big payoff.

By the way, what about the status of “Shoeless Joe” Jackson and Pete Rose? Both players were banned from the game for allegedly being involved in gambling on games that they were involved in. In 1920, Jackson was indicted and stood trial for throwing games for gamblers. He was found not guilty. Rose never admitted to betting on games and the lords of baseball never filed a criminal complaint. Their alleged actions shed a dark cloud over America’s pastime and the ban continues. Both players are on the list of the 100 greatest players of all time, along with Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio and Williams.

With Major League Baseball and MGM colluding to allow the game to be part of the Las Vegas action, I am betting that Jackson and Rose will be enshrined at Cooperstown sooner rather than later.

J. Dexter Pickard


Lindsey Graham puts party over law

Did U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham really say the following about Jim Mattis and Mike Pompeo: “If they were in a Democratic administration I would be all over them ... But since I have such respect for them, I’m going to assume that they’re being good soldiers”?

If so, shame on him for putting party first instead of human rights, the rule of law and decency. I will be looking to fund his opponent in 2020.

Alice Schulte

Hilton Head Island

What Beaufort can do with $5M

Regarding the $5 million in saved construction costs in the Beaufort Boundary Street project, I have a suggestion.

Give it back!

Dale Pocian


Has the ‘hunt’ found ‘witches’?

Could it be that the special counsel’s “witch-hunt” has found some witches?

Dave Murray


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