"He's the mayor's boy, you know."North Charleston City Councilman Bob King, who is white, in regards to the motivation that led the city's ombudsman, James Bell, to key King's car. Bell is black and the comment set off charges that King is a racist. King has said the comment was not racially motivated. It appears Bell scratched the car because King had parked in his parking space. Source: The Post and Courier
To serve and protect, at a price ·
As if a court battle over the town's very existence wasn't enough, James Island officials were expected to get the bad news this week that effective July 1, 2007, they'll be forced to pay for the protection of the Charleston County Sheriff's Office. Other municipal charges for planning and public services that were approved by the County Council earlier this month went off without a wrinkle, but council members took exception to county staff suggestions that the town get charged only for any additional service beyond what the county currently provides.
The council voted in a Finance Committee meeting Thursday to charge James Island for all routine patrols by deputies within the municipal boundaries and were expected to give a final vote on the plan Tuesday. Determining the cost will be a challenge considering that 12 officers patrol the area, but don't exclusively patrol within the town limits. There's also the question of the sheriff's budget. County Council Chair Leon Stavrinakis stressed that the motion to charge the fee wasn't related to the sheriff's budget, but if the town is paying for those 12 officers, the money that was already being collected from taxpayers to pay for those officers would still be in county coffers.
County Councilwoman Colleen Condon says the town should have to pay, especially considering the more than $1 million the county has lost in collections from the local option sales tax, business licenses, and other fees that used to come to the county, but now go to the city.
The sheriff says if he doesn't get paid, he's still responsible for protecting the island and council members didn't dispute that, but said they may seek legal action against the town if it refuses to pay. Well, by then, James Island officials will be seasoned courtroom veterans considering the lawsuit recently filed by Charleston Mayor Joe Riley to negate the town's existence because of unique legislation drafted so that the town could incorporate.
Stavrinakis says the fee is not an attempt to punish the town for incorporation.
"I hope they are a town," he says of the court battle. "That's what the people want."
Considering the administrative costs for police service that James Island would avoid by contracting the service, Stavrinakis frames the county's proposal almost as a favor.
"It's still a great deal for James Island," he says. —Greg Hambrick
74.8That's the odds-on favorite for the age that a resident of South Carolina will keel over. The new estimates on the state-by-state look at life expectancy ranks South Carolina at 47th. But it looks like coastal living may do you some good. According to the Public Library of Science archives, Charleston County life expectancy in 1999 was 75.6, up from 72.4 in 1980. Source: The Associated Press
Every vote sort of counts ·
Magazine Mother Jones has spotlighted Charleston in its latest issue for a story titled, "Just Try Voting Here: 11 of America's Worst Places to Cast a Ballot (or Try)." The piece notes at-large voting practices for the County Council that helped elect 38 white council members out of the 41 that won seats between 1970 and 2004, when the courts invalidated the practice and forced district voting. The article notes school board seats are still at-large, which is sort of right. Most candidates file to represent geographic areas, but they are selected by voters county-wide. The article notes that there is only one black member on the nine-member Charleston County School Board. Other questionable practices include Georgia's requirement of a state-issued ID to be able to vote; college students threatened with 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine if they tried to vote in Waller County, Texas; and a voting machine in Beaufort, N.C., that erased 4,439 absentee ballots in 2004. —GH
4.2 lbs.That's the average weight gain by college freshmen during their first three months on campus, according to a Cornell University report. That's nearly 20 times more than the average weight gain of an American adult. Source: The Associated Press
Sign it and pass it on ·
The Charles Pinckney National Historic Site is celebrating Constitution Week this week with a load of events. Pinckney was a signer of the document that is 219 years old. The site will have a Living History Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Fri., Sept. 22, complete with reenactors. There's also a piece of parchment for guests to sign that will be sent up to Philadelphia through the program, "I Signed the Constitution." Here are a few constitutional facts gleamed from www.constitutionfacts.com:
• At 4,400 words, the Constitution is one of the shortest in the world and it's one of the oldest.
• There are several typos in the constitution, including the misspelling of "Pensylvania."
• The word "democracy" doesn't appear once in the Constitution.
• The Senate initially proposed addressing the president as "His Highness the President of the United States." I guess they went with President of the United States, since he didn't inhale. —GH