Citizens should worry about a secret society with back-door access to town and county councils, manipulating votes.
Little is known about this group, the Greater Island Council, but according to The Island Packet of March 5, 2011: “They do not publicly disclose where or when they meet or who their members are … they lobby.” Its chairman said: “You can accomplish a lot more below the radar.”
But how are its views vetted for fairness and accuracy? Are they best for the public or just its own members? Is only one viewpoint emphasized? Does it get special access to local government councils, since several town and county councilpersons are members? Are pet projects pushed via these connections?
In 2018, the Greater Island Council formed Citizens for Better Roads and Bridges to lobby us to approve (what was likely the wrong) road referendum. The fingerprints of the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce are all over the lobbying organization, but there has been no disclosure of the size of its investment. Is the Greater Island Council another lobbying mechanism?
Their massive advertising campaign was a powerful megaphone, reinforcing and amplifying an error-filled county message, drowning out balanced public debate. It was also well positioned as a surrogate county advocate, insulating the county from state ethics rules on advocacy.
This all seems unethical and dangerous. Manipulation by a self-appointed, unelected, secret group, with massive special-interest funding, advocating positions not rigorously or publicly vetted, having back-door access to councils, is not healthy for the public’s interests.
Steven M. Baer
Hilton Head Island
Don’t let worker shortage harm local character
If the wage rate paid by Hilton Head Island businesses was $50 per hour, the island would be flooded with people looking to work. Given that this statement is considered true, we know that some pay level between $50 per hour and what is paid now would attract all the workers needed.
Island businesses do not want to pay higher wages, but are not reluctant to change the character of Hilton Head in order not to do so.
Cramming the island with high-density, low-cost housing (preferably taxpayer subsidized) will allow for a larger customer base (newly housed island labor) and keep the wage rate as low as possible.
That the character of Hilton Head that attracted us to live here would be changed is dismissed as a problem for the residents.
We residents can help solve the businesses’ problems of wage and price competition from off the island by shopping and dining on the island. If we want to save what’s left of Charles Fraser’s dream, that’s what we must do. Also, and very, very important, is to vote accordingly.
Peter F. Zych
Hilton Head Island
Yes, the ‘Field of Dreams’ has value
A recent commentary in your paper claims that, in retrospect, “Field of Dreams” is a terrible film.
While I see the author’s point that the film glosses over baseball’s checkered past, to me it is an elegant film about reconnecting with your father.
After the movie appeared, I bought a baseball and wrote on it, “To my father, the best knuckleball pitcher I ever saw, Love Larry.”
I then gave it to my dad in his 70th birthday. He tried but failed to hold back tears.
Few things in life are as pleasant as playing catch with your dad. The film rekindled that for many people.
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