by Chris Haire
Larry Grooms claims that he's all for home rule. He doesn't believe the federal government should go messing in state business.
But for Grooms, home rule doesn't apply in situations involving the state and its many municipalities. See, the Berekley Count state senator and Tea Partier in Name Only believes that the state gets what it wants, when it wants it, regardless of whether or not their actions are illegal.
And in the case of the North Charleston rail controversy, Grooms doesn't think the state should have to abide by a 2002 Memorandum of Understanding between the State Ports Authority, a state entity, and the City of North Charleston forbidding the state from running rail through the northern part of the city's Navy Yard revitalization project.
In fact, Grooms recently introduced an amendment designed to prevent not only North Charleston, but all municipalities from suing the state government regardless of whether or not the state is in the wrong. (The City of North Charleston intends to sue the state in federal court for violating the 2002 MOU.)
"I think most legislators understand that it's crazy to take tax dollars for government to sue each other," he said, adding that North Charleston's threatened suit is "absolutely ludicrous."
Actually, Larry, what's ridiculous is for the state — and, well, state senators like yourself — to argue that the state doesn't have to obey an memorandum of understanding that the state signed.
Twenty-six other state senators agreed with Grooms, and yesterday the amendment was attached to the budget. Assholes.
As many of you know, I live in the Park Circle area, and unlike Grooms, I've actually know a thing or two about the area the state's rail plan would affect. According to Grooms and his buddies, Park Circle is an industrial area, and the Navy Yard is desolate and deserted wasteland. He's wrong.
Park Circle is one of the Lowcountry's true gems. It's a vibrant community of young professionals, bohos, and blue collar folks, and it's all centered around a beautiful series of parks and a bustling downtown district with many of the area's favorite bars and restaurants — EVO, Sesame, Madra Rua, The Mill, The Chart, Johnny's, Cork Bistro, the Barbecue Joint, and Park Pizza Company.
As for the Navy Yard, well, it's home to many bustling businesses, from Coast to Vapor Parallel to the Celadon warehouse, among many others. One business in particular, the Lowcountry Innovation Center, a local hub for 17 high-tech businesses, has putting the breaks on adding to its facility until the whole rail thing gets straightened out.
But like I said, Larry Grooms and 25 of his other state senators don't give a shit about that, nor do they care that the state's plan would cut off Park Circle from I-526 traffic on a regular basis and severely lessen the quality of life there.
It might also end up being a death sentence for businesses on the northern end of the Navy Yard. At the very least, it would stop new businesses from coming there. After all, who wants to go to work next to a train yard.
So, the next time Larry Grooms gets up on his Tea Party perch and starts yammering about state's rights or that the federal government has no right to decide what's right for you and me, he doesn't believe the same applies to state government.
In Grooms' hypocritical, might-makes-right wonderland, the good people of the Palmetto State have to obey the state government whether it's in the right or the wrong.