Letters to the Editor

SC bartender bill pushes responsibility and liability on powerless, low-income servers

If state Sen. Luke Rankin gets his way, bartenders and servers will become sacrificial pawns to the alcohol industry.

Our legislature intends to require servers to have a “server’s permit,” so they can be held liable through fines and suspensions if a customer is “in violation of the S.C. state alcohol regulations.”

Most servers live paycheck to paycheck with rent due and oftentimes children to feed. They cannot afford to miss weeks of work at the hands of the “server’s permit” police.

Exactly how will a server determine if a customer is in violation of the state alcohol regulations? To avoid personal liability, should the server require customers to submit to a breathalyzer test? Gross intoxication is easy to spot, but what about most customers who would probably exceed the 0.08 blood-alcohol limit?

Regardless of the spin by proponents of this bill, in reality most servers will not have the power or option to refuse service to customers. This should be the responsibility of owners and upper management to make such a decision.

If Sen. Rankin’s bill passes, only “wink and a nod” enforcement will be applied. A few servers will be prosecuted as an example, other servers will work in constant peril, and the bar owners and the alcohol industry will try to push all responsibility and liability on powerless, low-income servers.

Errol Scott Hammet

Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head airline service must be regular and dependable

Great! Now we have jet service to Hilton Head Island, and more regular flights. Unfortunately, the flights aren’t as “regular” as they claim to be.

Twice since the arrival of jet service we have encouraged family to fly directly to the island only to find their outbound flights canceled. Both times, we were forced to return to the Hilton Head airport to pick them up and then drive them down to the Savannah airport for their altered flight itinerary.

If we are to continue to use the Hilton Head airport, I would expect that the management would put some pressure on the airlines to maintain their scheduled flights. Maybe it’s my imagination, but I think they cancel any flights that do not have “enough” passengers, leaving us with few options but to rearrange our schedules. We are lucky enough to live on the island; imagine the dismay of tourists with no car and no place to stay until their rescheduled departure.

This is counterproductive to the goal of heavier use of the Hilton Head airport.

Arthur Weitzenfeld

Hilton Head Island

Leonard Pitts does us all a service

Thank you Beaufort Gazette for publishing the op/ed columns written by Leonard Pitts.

I have followed his writing for at least 30 years — in Gainesville, Florida, and here, whether in the Charleston Post and Courier or our local paper.

I wonder if those who protest his columns and call him a radical, socialist, racist, etc., really take the time to read what he has to say.

I have found his writing to be honest, straightforward, and uncomfortably to the point. I think he does us all a great service because he puts us in touch with painful reality expressed in powerful ways. His “price of freedom” and “Black History Month” columns were particularly moving.

Again, thank you Gazette. Please publish more of his columns. And thank you, Leonard Pitts.

Kathy Wadley


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