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An Expensive Flooding Fix, Gay Charlestonian at DNC, Bob Barr Visits Not-so-swing State

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"Protect yourself from John McCain (in this election)."

A note included with extra large condoms passed out by Planned Parenthood during the Democratic National Convention.

Source: Comedy Central's Indecision2008.com

250

That's the number of miles that local author Steve Dowdney expects to trek when he sets out on Sept. 8 to follow the Gulf Stream from St. Augustine, Fla., to Charleston. Dowdney will be documenting the journey and local students will follow along online with the Lowcountry Environmental Education Programs. More information at www.scleep.org.

An Expensive Flooding Fix

Residents living near the Crosstown let out their frustrations to city staff, consultants, and elected officials last week during a community update on proposed drainage improvements along the route, which floods easily from the base of the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge to the foot of the Ashley River.

Detailed plans for deep stormwater shafts, long tunnels, and a powerful pump station provided something to look at, but uncertainty about where the mammoth $130 million price tag will come from upset residents who have heard lip service on improvements for years with little action.

Cecelia Rogers, principal of the Charleston Development Academy, says she's selfish about wanting to see this work get done.

"It was just last week that I had to walk through the water up to my knee," she said. Standing in the Nichols Church just off the Crosstown, Rogers said that people have been stuck in the church when the streets have flooded.

Laura Cabiness, the city's stormwater manager, said that the city had spent about $5 million on the designs for the stormwater improvements, but that the magnitude of the project (stretching over 500 acres, or 20 percent of the peninsula) required the city to seek out support from Columbia and Washington.

Congressman Henry Brown (R-S.C.) told the crowd that $4 million was included in a pending appropriations bill and City Councilman Wendell Gilliard said he and House Speaker Bobby Harrell would work to find funding. Gilliard is running unopposed for the House District 111 seat.

The project could be done in phases, said Cabiness, but the initial work will cost a minimum of $50 million to $60 million. If the city could get at least $30 million from other sources, it would be able to get started on the first phase, she said. —Greg Hambrick

"I wouldn't build a doghouse there."

Area resident Sidi Limehouse on homes planned for a spit of land near Kiawah Island. Congressman Henry Brown (R-S.C.) withdrew his bill, which would have improved chances of development, after public outcry. Source: The Post and Courier

Bob Barr Visits Not-So-Swing State

Libertarian presidential candidate and former Congressman Bob Barr will speak to the Rotary Club of Charleston on Sept. 30, according to the Associated Press. The event will be closed to the public because of space. We're pretty sure there are a few Democrats who'd rather Barr spend his time campaigning in swing states where he can do the most damage ... er, get the most votes. —Greg Hambrick

$1,000

That's the per-plate donation requested at a campaign dinner for Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) in Washington, D.C., in July. Party Time, a Sunlight Foundation project, is compiling a list of the lobbying and campaign party circuit at www.politicalpartytime.org.

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Gay Charlestonian at DNC

Tom Chorlton, a local gay activist and founder of the National Gay and Lesbian Democratic Club (the predecessor to the Stonewall Democrats), was in Denver last week for the Democratic National Convention.

On the first day, the LGBT Caucus held a luncheon with 375 in attendance — larger than any state caucus, except for California and New York. Other reports later in the week noted the numbers continued to grow.

"I can remember when we used to meet in a broom closet," Chorlton said.

Presidential candidate Barack Obama spoke directly to gay and lesbian issues in his Thursday night acceptance speech. Sen. Ted Kennedy, Sen. Hillary Clinton, and former President Bill Clinton also mentioned gays and lesbians.

But what was missing from the week's events was any mention of "gays and lesbians" in the party's platform. Chorlton, a participant in 11 Democratic conventions, helped craft the first inclusion of "gays and lesbians" in 1984. The platform this year does include stances against Don't Ask, Don't Tell and supports other gay-friendly policies.

"It's still there, but it's in code," he says. "Sometimes you need to spell things out."

The platform includes advancements for the transgendered, he says, but that's also tinged in "camouflaged terms."

In other news, Chorlton says the South Carolina caucus showed "tremendous support" for Linda Ketner's campaign, seen as the first real challenge to Republican Congressman Henry Brown's District 1 seat. —Greg Hambrick

3

That's the number of times Charleston Mayor Joe Riley was spotted by City Paper staff as CNN scanned the crowd during the Democratic National Convention. Not sure what the draw was, but we'll go with the ears.

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