Letters to the Editor

Workforce issue on Hilton Head involves more than housing

Study says 16,000 workers come onto Hilton Head to work. Here’s why

A study commissioned by the Town of Hilton Head Island shows those earning $25,000 or less can't afford to live on Hilton Head.
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A study commissioned by the Town of Hilton Head Island shows those earning $25,000 or less can't afford to live on Hilton Head.

Thanks to the Hilton Head Workforce Housing Planning Committee member Tamara Becker for questioning housing-study results presented a consultant at the committee meeting on April 10.

The study suggests 200 housing units need to be constructed in each of the next 10 years — 83 of which are allotted to lower cost workforce rental and ownership.

The conclusions deserve examination due to potentially permanent impacts with regard to development and redevelopment of remaining open spaces and existing structures, including proposed changes to current housing-related ordinances.

Several points raised by Ms. Becker and others in this and previous meetings deserve a reasoned response:

• How was the number of housing units derived? The study acknowledges that not everyone who works on the island wants to live here. Can this be quantified?

• Transportation improvements for off-island residents must be part of the overall solution, although not commissioned as part of this study.

• Seasonal workforce housing was not a significant consideration in the study, although seasonal workers appear to be a significant portion of the workforce population.

• Businesses should contribute to the solution through wages, housing and/or transportation assistance, as some have already implemented.

• Property insurance expenses need to be factored into housing costs as presented.

This is not to suggest that there is not an issue attracting and retaining employees, but only that the issue warrants more than a one-sided solution. The Workforce Housing Committee needs to consider all contributing factors.

David Buzzard

Hilton Head Island

You can dislike Trump without being at war with him or his supporters

I recently attended a local political meeting. While there I saw someone wearing a black T-shirt with a map of the United States with each state colored in red or blue. The color code below the map designated the blue states as the United States and the red states as (an expletive).

I lean left in my politics but had a viscerally negative feeling when reading that shirt. As dismayed as I may be about the actions and behavior of Donald Trump, I do not imagine myself at war with him or his supporters.

If we believe in democracy we must respect the wisdom of the people as a whole and the elected officials and institutions that represent or serve them. The red states are not another ignorant geographic subdivision of the United States but have perspectives to share with all of us worthy of consideration.

Citizenship in a democracy requires that we respect Trump supporters as fellow citizens with whom we share common ground and a common destiny. Sooner or later we need to talk to work out our future in the best way possible. Thinking of those with different views as idiots is a non-starter in a healthy democracy. Let’s try respect first and real dialogue second for a change.

Roger Bernier


Healthy-food store needed in Beaufort

The only reliable source for organic produce in Beaufort closed a year ago.

Though Herban Marketplace was profitable, damage from repeated storms and the burden of the owner’s other responsibilities led to the closing, which was this community’s loss.

Recently, the Gazette reported a new store was in the works. Located at 1601 North St. in Beaufort, a new owner had picked up the reins to build a bigger, better clean-food supplier.

But my recent site visit, days after the earlier announced opening, showed otherwise. Though clearly a construction site in progress, nothing was going on, and a lot of work was waiting to be done. Which brings me to my question – in a region where unhealthy food choices prevail, when will we get a store we can rely on for non-pesticide-laden produce?

John Smith


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