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"Can anybody honestly say John Graham Altman can build coalitions in South Carolina? That's preposterous, and I think he would say so. That's not his style of leadership."

Democrat Leon Stavrinakis, announcing last week he would not run for reelection for his seat on the Charleston County Council, which he chairs, but instead challenge Republican Altman in November for his state House seat. Source: The Post and Courier

Worst Week Ever ·
Not only was last week Tiffany Acuff's last week at the City Paper as one of our advertising account executives, she was also forced to watch two people go at it on the back porch of her Elliotborough home. Not "fight," mind you, but "go at it" sexually. Acuff was cleaning her abode Saturday last and went into the kitchen to let her Husky/German shepherd mix out for a walk, only to discover two people grinding and humping, which went on for close to a half-hour on the porch next to her bedroom window. "I don't think they were homeless, I just think he was at the laundromat nearby, a hooker walked by, and they needed a porch," says the Chapel Hill, N.C.-native. "Luckily, I had a chair back there, but they only used the steps." Knowing they must have seen her because all the shades were up and her screen door was open, she called the cops, but to no avail: the dispatcher who took her call apparently put her on hold, told the other operators on duty, picked the line back up and laughed at Acuff's predicament, and possibly accused her of "watching them." Police dispatch supervisor Bob Boyd apologized for any unprofessionalism, looked into the situation, and made sure officers had responded to the scene. It's doubtful anyone has been arrested in connection with this instance, as it's very difficult to dust for butt-prints. "Regardless, my dog won't use the back steps anymore," says Acuff. —Bill Davis

$540

That's the per-square-foot sale price of developer Vince Graham's I'On cottage. The 960-square-foot house was bought for $519,000. Graham says the craftsmanship that went into the house "can be compared to a vintage Ferrari or a small, rare diamond." The rest of us must be living in Chevettes.

"The PATRIOT Act has accomplished exactly what it was designed to do. It has helped us detect terror cells, disrupt plots, and save American lives. The bill I sign today extends these vital provisions. It also gives our nation new protections and added defenses."

President George W. Bush last week, at the PATRIOT Act re-signing ceremony. Notice he didn't say anything about the act protecting citizens' freedoms, civil liberties, or anything else covered by the Constitution.

62

The percent of the vote indicted U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) received in a Republican primary for his seat. The former Speaker of the House's nearest competitor won just under 30 percent. Don't mess with Texas — two-thirds of the state may be, well, retarded.

46

That's how many states have lower unemployment rates than South Carolina, which has a statewide unemployment rate of 6.2 percent. The nationwide average is 4.7 percent, according to a ranking just released by the S.C. Employment Security Commission. Charleston County has the fifth-lowest rate in the state at 5.1 percent.

Nicely Done, Glenn and Ron ·
For the past year, we here at the City Paper have been tripping over our criticisms of The Post and Courier to laud the "Tarnished Badges" series it published in 2005 by reporters Glenn Smith and Ron Menchaca. The series uncovered how and why cops with "histories of professional misconduct and criminal behavior" were allowed to remain in law enforcement in the state. As a result, Gov. Mark Sanford appointed a panel to review how the state monitors and disciplines its officers. Well, last week, in addition to earning the top state awards for public service and news series from the S.C. Press Association (SCPA), the series received a third-place national award for investigative reporting from the National Headliner Awards. But the story likely wouldn't have had the bite it did had the reporters not been protected and enabled by the state's Freedom of Information Act, which enables the press to stick its nose into government's business for the collective good of the people. (Forgive us, as March 13-18 is "Sunshine Week" across the nation, when the press reminds the people of its crucial role as a governmental watchdog.) Smith still works at the P&C as a general assignment reporter, filling in when needed on the crime beat. Menchaca, a former City Paper contributor, has left the P&C for a MUSC marketing job after being reassigned from a plum assignment on that paper's special projects team — despite having delivered half of a series that garnered the P&C a Freedom of Information award from the SCPA. Let's all hope treating award-winning reporters like crap doesn't become a pattern in Charleston. Oh, yeah, City Paper Asst. Editor Bill Davis won the SCPA's top prize this year for profile feature writing for weekly papers. —Bill Davis

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