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No lawyer for City Council, Obesity, Seat Belts, Leftover Bikes, Promenade

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"Let's use the oil the Lord has provided."

Sen. Robert Ford, D-Charleston, after announcing that he will introduce legislation in January that will call for off-shore drilling off the South Carolina coast. Ford will face Republican opposition in November, and some opponents of drilling say the issue has become a political tool in this election year. Source: The Post and Courier

City Council Rejects Counsel Proposal

Charleston City Council refused a proposal by member Timmy Mallard to hire an attorney to work exclusively for the council (as opposed to staff attorneys who currently work for the council, mayor, and the city and who serve at the mayor's discretion).

Mallard argued the council needed unbiased legal representation after a meeting last month in which city legal staff agreed with Mayor Joe Riley that a Public Safety Committee meeting called by Councilman Jimmy Gallant was illegal.

"Who handles their annual performance, their wages, whether they're hired or fired?" asked Councilman Gary White. "It makes members feel there's a conflict of interest."

But the council saw it as an unnecessary waste of taxpayer money, voting down the measure in a voice vote.

At the meeting, Councilwoman Deborah Morinelli said there has been no anxiety or animosity between the council and the city's legal staff.

"There is none. If there is, it's you (Mallard) who created it," she said.

The charge of a conflict of interest could be applicable to any department, said Councilman Aubrey Alexander. That would require hundreds of thousands of dollars spent to hire new City Council advisors in every department.

"I don't think we really need to go there," he said.

The city's lawyers aren't there to give you the answers you want to hear, said Riley, regardless of who you are.

"They give you their honest appraisal," he said. "And it may not be what you want to hear. And it may not be what I want to hear."

Councilman Larry Shirley, who has lost fights on bar closings and smoking bans, told Mallard that he understood his frustration but that it was misplaced.

"I lost those fights, not because I didn't have a good attorney, but because I didn't have the votes on council," Shirley said. —Greg Hambrick

7

That's South Carolina's ranking among the most obese states in the country. The state would have ranked sixth, but Al Parish wasn't available to answer the survey. Source: The Centers for Disease Control

71.6 percent

That's the percentage of Charlestonians who report using their seat belts, according to the University of South Carolina. Charleston was ranked 44 out of the 46 counties. The state average was 79 percent — a record high. We'd buckle up, but it would eliminate the "stopping short" move. Source: The Associated Press

Police Find Greener, Humane Alternatives

The Charleston City Police Department will begin offering confiscated bikes to city staff for transportation between buildings downtown, and will put retired department horses and dogs up for adoption. The department has been forced to sell the bikes, when possible, and to offer animals to the highest bidder when they've finished their service. But City Council approved a resolution last week allowing the department broader leverage in how it disposes of these resources.

The department collects about 200 bikes a year, mostly from suspicious riders who can't verify their claim to a bike. The ability to use the bikes also extends to other confiscated property, including tools the department and the city's public works could use, says Major Herbert Wetzle.

When dogs are retired, they often become family pets for their long-time handlers, but other dogs and most horses have been put up for auction.

"Obviously you don't want to sell an animal," Wetzle says. "You don't know who it's going to. It could be some glue factory." —Greg Hambrick

City Seeks Input on Promenade

The Ginn Co. is moving forward with plans for a large-scale development in Charleston's neck area. The project designers and the city will host workshops for three days to collect community input on what the project should look like.

The project includes the old Romney Street landfill and surrounding properties. The Ginn Co. has spent more than $35 million in land acquisitions for the property.

The workshops will be from noon to 5:30 p.m., with a presentation at 4 p.m., on July 28 and 29; and from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., with a presentation at 11:30 a.m., on July 30 at the Maritime Center, 10 Wharfside St.

Other developments cropping up in the east central area (the City Paper stomping grounds) include New Market and One Cool Blow and, further up the neck, the slowly blossoming Magnolia project. —Greg Hambrick

"Goodbye from the world's biggest polluter."

President George W. Bush, making a failed joke as he bid adieu to world leaders at last week's G8 summit in Japan. He then "punched the air while grinning widely" according to London's Daily Telegraph newspaper, while British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy "looked on in shock." Source: The Daily Telegraph; The Independent

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