Letters to the Editor | Opinion | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | October 8, 2017 5:00 pm
Last Updated: October 4, 2017 at 2:51 pm
Are we spending sales tax dollars wisely?
When the powers that be were planning how to disburse the Capital Projects Sales Tax earnings, Lawton Huggins set the bar when he said, “What could be worse than funding something today and then having someone to take a picture of it seven years from now and show that it has not been properly maintained and say, ‘You spent my penny and this is what you got.”
Within the past year, the decision was made to spend $4 million dollars worth of the Capital Projects Sales Tax money to dredge sand out of the ocean and pile it on top of sand at Edisto Beach under the guise of beach renournishment. Based on recent events and conventional wisdom, it is unlikely that this expenditure will meet Lawton’s benchmark.
The work was finished late this spring, and people had barely finished patting themselves on the back for a job well done when a hurricane passed close by and washed most of the sand across the island. Think we could go six-and-a-half years before another hurricane comes and finishes the job? They might as well have thrown our pennies in the ocean.
That got me to thinking. If they had taken our pennies and thrown them in the ocean, what would that take? The math is simple: $4 million dollars is four million pennies. According to the U.S. Mint, each penny weighs 2.5 grams, so 400 million pennies would weigh one billion grams. There are over 907,000 grams per ton, so 400 million pennies would weigh about 1,100 tons.
When I did site prep and grading, we were more concerned with yardage rather than tonnage, so I’m going to guess that a 12-yard tandem dump truck holds about 14 tons of material. Using this estimate and doing some simple math, I figure it would take 78 dump trucks to haul $4 million dollars worth of pennies to the ocean and pile them on the beach. And the pennies would probably last longer than the sand.
Is the penny sales tax and open-ended option or will it expire one day?
What can be done about local shootings?
I have been reading with concern the reports of shootings in Walterboro the past six months, and have been dismayed by the number and frequency. (Try Googling “Walterboro, SC shootings” and you’ll be shocked how many you find.)
I am not writing to lodge complaints against the police force as a whole, or Chief Marvin in particular; I have talked to Chief Marvin and I believe he and his officers are doing everything they can. I understand municipal elections are to be held on Nov. 7, and I hope that forums are held in advance of the elections, and that those members who are running for re-election — and those challenging them — both be asked what they think the city could do to help pinpoint the root cause of the gun violence in Walterboro — and what could be done to solve the problem.
I wonder if all the money being spent to develop the “Discovery Center” on Jefferies Boulevard could be put to better use to provide some type of recreation and job training for the youth in the area who don’t have access to the Colleton County Recreation Center in the industrial area.
I own a house that is located on a street where I can see firsthand how many people in the central part of Walterboro don’t own a car and cannot drive or be driven to this recreation area.
I have wondered why nothing has been done to develop the former Cougar Stadium on Black Street, which is owned by the Colleton County School District. The city and county have been willing to work together toward this “Discovery Center;” isn’t providing easily accessible after-school sports programs, a computer lab, etc. a project worthy of public support?
I hope someone running for council has some ideas — or is willing to investigate how other towns have dealt with this problem — as no one wants to live in or visit a town that is suffering the gun violence Walterboro has, and is. It might not be on your own street, but it’s in your own hometown.
Los Angeles, Calif.,
Some considerations before rebuilding
As I write this page, a number of American cities and towns have been destroyed by hurricanes or wild fires, and hurricanes have destroyed many Caribbean islands cities and towns.
Rebuilding any of the places that I have referenced will cost billions of dollars and countless hours of human time, and the rebuilding of these places will use up plenty of the earth’s valuable irreplaceable resources.
There are currently 7.3 billion persons on planet earth and their numbers are projected to grow exponentially in coming years, so cities and towns could soon take on new living concerns arising from population pressures.
So please allow me to ask you a few questions and the answers to these questions you can ponder when you have some free time.
• Rebuild cities or towns for what purpose?
• Rebuild cities or towns for whom?
• Rebuild cities or towns on what social model?
• Rebuild cities or towns on what economic model?
• The cultural values of what race is to predominate?
• The architectural values of what race is to predominate?
• The urban design values of what race is to predominate?
• The goals of what race is to predominate?
• Who is to decide what is to be built, where it is to be built, and for what reason is it to be built?
• Who does a city belong to?
• How much concrete is needed before an inferior cornfield is qualified to be legally designated a city?
• What ingredients are required before a cornfield can really be called a city?
• What makes a city a city?
• Who is allowed to live in a city?
• Who is to decide what a structure is to be named?
• Who is to decide what individual spaces are to be named?
• Who is to decide what public spaces are to be named?
• What “art” is permitted in public spaces?
• What monuments are permitted to be erected?
Thank you for reading,
Joseph A. Murray