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LETTERS to the Editor

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OLYMPIC HUMBUG

Oh, joy! The 2006 Winter Olympics are upon us, displacing regular programming on NBC — and on Bravo, CNBC, MSNBC, USA, and even Telemundo.

Am I the only one unenthused about the prospect of watching Canada attempt to reclaim its dominance in curling?

Robert Westerfelhaus
James Island

OUR TOWN, SPOILED

It is a sad day for our City that a developer and "the powers that be" can negotiate behind closed doors for over a year (without the knowledge of residents) to change a church use from special to commercial.

I live in the Mazyck-Wraggborough area of Charleston, a small and diversely populated area of the City. Our residents include whites and blacks of different ages, educational and economic backgrounds; we are students, families, retirees, professionals, and singles. Is it because of this very diversity and uniqueness that we are not considered big enough, rich enough, or important enough to be allowed quiet enjoyment of our homes?

To propose a commercial use of a centrally-located residential neighborhood church (which has held religious services for 147 years) is unconscionable. If this use is allowed, the unique character of our district will be changed forever. Think about it — a theatre with Wednesday through Sunday performances. That's an estimated 1,500 people coming to our neighborhood each performance week!

This figure does not count staff, rehearsals, children's programs, and bus traffic from all over the state. There are several commercially-zoned areas of Charleston which can be utilized for a theatre. Residential neighborhoods were never intended for this use.

All residents of the city should beware. Could this happen South of Broad or in the French Quarter? According to the Visitor's Center, there are an estimated 50 churches in peninsular Charleston. Will you wake up one day to find "the powers that be" and a well respected developer in support of a nightclub, theatre, restaurant, or new condo complex at the church next door to you?

Please attend the Zoning Board of Appeals meeting on Feb. 21 to help support our attempt to deny approval of this inappropriate change of use.

Judi Murphy
Downtown

Editor's Note: The Dock Street and Footlight Players Theatres are both in the French Quarter neighborhood.

AMBITIOUS AND WONDERFUL

Your article on the Revs. Stanfield and Oliveira and their good work in N. Charleston ("Moving on Up," News, Feb. 1) was inspiring and hopeful. The photo of the couple surrounded by joyful, proud young faces said it all.

If you haven't previously covered it, I would love to see a similar article about Water Missions International, another ambitious local project and one with international outreach.

I continue to enjoy your paper and find much of value in it, more so now that I've learned to ignore the sophomoric ravings of Michael Graham.

Carol Jules
James Island

CURRENT POLITICS 'MURDER'

Michael Graham's "Print Free or Die" column (Usual Suspects, Views, Feb. 8) was very moving and I can understand your feelings, mixed, I am sure.

I do want to let you know that your column earned a real "ah-ha" from me. I realized that the political reality that we are currently experiencing in the United States, with George Bush at the lead, is a rerun of Ben "Pitchfork" Tillman's populist hold on South Carolina. Of course, they no longer shoot guys they don't like, such as N. G. Gonzales. They "out" them, as in the case of Ms. Plame, or they gang up on them, as in the case of Sen. Gephardt or Rep. Daschle. Murder today is too messy!

Will journalists again have the guts to speak out? I hope so. It is not an issue of liberal versus conservative, Republican versus Democrat; it is an issue of honesty versus political expediency. Every good reporter, left or right, must now speak out for the freedoms that the framers of our Declaration of Independence and Constitution envisioned. Please, regardless or your political beliefs, never ever give up on speaking out for truth, justice, and civility.

Michael Newman
Charleston

MILITANT HOMO'S AGENDA

On Jan. 30, the governor made a statement endorsing "Intelligent Design" in our school system. His spokesman, Joel Sawyer, reiterated the governor's position the next day. "What the governor said is simply that different people believe different things, and that we should have an educational system that recognizes and responds to the diversity of beliefs that exist among the people of South Carolina."

What!? I thought to myself.

South Carolina is only one of two states which prohibit any public school education about homosexuality. SC CODE OF LAWS Title 59 Education: Comprehensive Health Education Program (5) The program of instruction provided for in this section may not include a discussion of alternate sexual lifestyles from heterosexual relationships including, but not limited to, homosexual relationships except in the context of instruction concerning sexually transmitted diseases.

As a gay American, how can I keep living in a state that picks my pocket to undereducate the children in my community? Honestly, it is getting harder not to feel oppression bearing down on me every day. I am productive, give generously of my time to community causes, pay my taxes on time, put out the trash, keep my home in good order — yet my own government continues to insist that I am somehow less than equal.

To all of you who read this letter; I am tired of being a whipping boy so some politicians can use me to gain votes and raise money. 'Nuf said.

Steve Lepre
Mt. Pleasant

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