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LETTERS to the Editor

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VOTE NO TO MARRIAGE AMENDMENT

In less than one month, many of us will be going to the polls. On the ballot will be a request to amend the South Carolina Constitution (Article XVII) to ensure current and future rights are denied for a group of people. It is far-reaching and impacts more than one would imagine. It is not, as appears on the surface, an issue to prevent same-sex marriage. It means, as I understand it, that:

• Employers who want to offer Domestic Partner coverage for medical and/or accidental death insurance, will be prevented from doing so, thereby further increasing the number of uninsured adults and children.

• If a life partner is hospitalized in an institution that defines eligible visitors as "family members," an individual will be denied visitation rights.

• In cases of domestic violence where the partners are not married (and this can include non-married opposite-sex partners as well), the victim will be denied legal rights and protection.

Same-sex marriage is already denied through other legal avenues in South Carolina. Why would the State Constitution be used to ensure further denial of rights? The Constitution should be used only as a vehicle for the protection of rights for individuals and groups. Please join me in voting "no" on this amendment in November.

Michelle Desrosiers Chavez
Folly Beach

ENVIRONMENTAL EFFORT NEEDS ATTENTION

Matthew Gannon, in a brief garnishment to last week's Cuisine section ("A la Carte," Sept. 27), mentioned that Ben & Jerry's has turned the corner and decided to use environmentally responsible packaging nationwide in their establishments. However, in order for these corn-based products from the Fabri-Kal 'Greenware' line to be fully compostable, it requires an industrial or municipally supported composting facility nearby. Here in South Carolina, the only facility statewide that has successfully disposed of these products is located in Rock Hill. So while Ben and Jerry's plan is commendable, encouraging the use (and full composting) of 'Greenware' in a city like Charleston requires a local, grassroots approach. Proposed construction of this type of facility, wherein a controlled composting environment exists, stands to save this city and its residents significantly over the long term.

As our coastal region continues to increase in population and density it is imperative that we as a community encourage city leaders to more aggressively pursue municipal recycling and disposal initiatives. Think about how many Styrofoam cups and other petroleum-based packaging materials find their way into our landfills each year, decomposing as they eventually will – and then seeping into public waters. As a popular tourist destination and true world-class city, Charleston has the ability to set a high benchmark for sustainability by encouraging the use of these new products each day.

Through a partnership with Fabri-Kal and Southeastern Paper, our local company, Ad-Naps, is currently transitioning dozens of local restaurants, bars, hotels, and entertainment venues into the use of these products. Many will see a reduction in costs. We are also lobbying local officials to examine the proper composting and disposal options available to our city. We encourage you to contact us if your hotel, office building, restaurant, catering company, or business would like to join the growing list of Charleston companies moving in this direction.

Jason M. Cronen
Managing Partner, Ad-Naps
Charleston

AABRAMOFF BIG ON TALK, LITTLE TRUTH

Jack Abramoff is now reporting over 300 White House contacts. Not surprising, the White House claims no knowledge. In my opinion, probably few if any contacts were ever made and were almost always initiated by Abramoff. This seems to be a stall tactic to keep him out of prison for as along as possible.

As a former National College Republican political consultant and instructor, I was able to see similar methods while Abramoff served as national CR chairman. This was par for the course even then in the early 80s.

Abramoff and his buddy, Grover Norquist, touted close ties to senior members of the Reagan administration. Abramoff claimed enough political muscle to invite senior Regan advisors to specified events as perks for team members reaching certain goals. The goals were met, but no senior officials ever appeared.

Another curiosity to my team and myself was that the senior officials within the National Republican Headquarters paid Abramoff little to no attention. It seemed he was becoming a legend in his own mind.

Dwight Ives
Charleston

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