Wednesday, August 19, 2009


GE&P attended County Councilman Caldwell Pinckney's 7th District meeting last night. The meeting was well attended by a cross section of District residents.

Mr. Pinckney followed an agenda that addressed various issues that are impacting the taxpayers of Berkeley county. He conducted the meeting very fairly by giving his take on each issue and, then, soliciting questions and comments from the audience.

He began by discussing the recent reassessment and explaining how the process works. Several attendees were concerned that their October tax bills would be higher than last year's bills. Mr. Pinckney explained that property owners could appeal if they disagreed with the reassessed value placed on their property.

Mr. Pinckney encouraged the attendees to actively support the Cross area schools. He stated that, since these schools have been designated Title I, students would be allowed to transfer to other schools in the county if they wished.

Then, Mr. Pinckney brought up the issue of the Cross area's newly installed water lines. As would be expected, the mandatory tap-in ordinance was the main topic of discussion. Also, many attendees said they took offense that they had not been consulted before the water lines were installed.

GE&P asked Mr. Pinckney if he, as Chairman of the Water and Sanitation Committee on County Council at the time these water lines were approved, had received any documents from W&S, such as feasibility studies or community surveys before he recommended approval of the contract to install the waterline on Hwy. 311.

Mr. Pinckney said he hadn't received any such documents simply because all the preliminary work on this particular project had been done during the Rozier administration in 2002, which was before he was Chairman of the W&S Committee. Mr. Pinckney was very sincere and seemed to be totally convinced of the validity of the information contained in his statement.

GE&P was compelled to correct his misconceptions on this issue. We pointed out that, during a W&S committee meeting on Feb. 10, 2003, Council removed the Hwy. 311 water project, along with others, from the W&S approved projects list. This information can be found on the official Berkeley County web site under agendas and minutes. To further support our contention that the Hwy. 311 water line was never approved by Council, we called Mr. Pinckney's attention to the fact that the Hwy. 311 project did not appear on the W&S Capital Improvements list, the Five Year Survey of projects, or the W&S budgets from 2005 to date.

Since these documents are the only sources of information for County Council to know which projects are being proposed by W&S, how would Council know about the Hwy. 311 project if it was never mentioned on any of the documents? Also, when the $2.24 million contract that installed the Hwy. 311 project was proposed to Council in April 2008, it was approved, but, since that time, 6 of the 8 members who were on Council at the time the proposal was made have publicly stated that they were not made aware the contract was for the Hwy. 311 water project before the vote was taken.

Mr. Pinckney said he couldn't discuss any particulars of this issue without the benefit of having these documents in front of him. We assured him we would have copies of these documents for him to review at the next District 7 meeting.

GE&P continues to have several unanswered questions pertaining to this issue:

How could a capital improvement project the size of the Hwy. 311 water line be undertaken without the benefit of a feasibility study or even a community survey?

How would W&S know the Hwy. 311 water project was under consideration if it didn't appear on any of the project lists or even the budget?

Who approved the Hwy. 311 water project if, as they have stated, 6 of the 8 members of the 2008 County Council were unaware that the project existed?

Where did the $2.24 million that paid for the 2008 Hwy. 311 water project come from if the project did not appear on the W&S budget since 2005?

Since the Hwy. 311 water project did not qualify for a CDBG grant, how did W&S plan to fund the "free tap-ins" promised to some residents of Hwy. 311?

GE&P has been asking these questions for a year and a half. So far, we have not been able to get any answers. We have submitted FOIA requests to the Berkeley County Water and Sanitation Authority to no avail. We can only hope that Mr. Pinckney will be able to provide some answers after he reviews our documents at the next community meeting.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


GE&P finds it difficult to believe that a majority of the US Congress can be so incredible stupid, but, the "CASH FOR CLUNKERS" program proves it beyond a shadow of a doubt. Let us dissect this debacle.

Here's the plan:

If John Q Citizen trades in his existing vehicle and purchases a new vehicle built by certain manufacturers, the dealer will give him a $4,500 rebate for his trade-in. This rebate is subtracted directly from the purchase price of the new vehicle. Good deal. Added to this, the "government" will match the dealers' rebate by giving him another $4,500 for his trade-in, totaling $9000. Wow, he's going to get $9000 for his trade-in, no matter what it's condition!!!! John Q citizen is elated at this windfall and thinks he's getting a GREAT deal. Well, let's look a bit closer at this gift horse.

Unfortunately, a huge number of Americans have become so conditioned that they think the "government" is some autonomous, independently wealthy sugar daddy, with an inexhaustible source of it's own funds at it's disposal. NEWS FLASH, FOLKS. The "government" doesn't have a red cent of it's own. The only money the "government" has is that which it steals from the American producers by way of taxation.

As you all know, earlier in the year the "government" gave BILLIONS of dollars to the same car companies that are now offering these $4,500 rebates. The car companies are using the funds given to them by the "government" to back these wonderful offers. Then, to add insult to injury, the "government" is offering an additional $4,500 to match the car companies' rebate. How hard is it to connect the dots? The "government" has taken money from John Q Citizen by way of taxes. The "government" bailed out the failing car companies by giving them BILLIONS of John Q Citizens money. The car companies and the "government" gives John Q $9000 of his own money as a rebate on his car purchase. If it sounds like John Q has come out even, don't cheer to quickly. Old John Q still has to pay more taxes to make up for the money the "government" has given the car companies (and John Q) in the first place. And Bernie Madoff is in jail why??

As if this program is not bad enough at this point, we need to consider a few more indirect repercussions. Historically, when a car is traded in on a new purchase, it can follow any one of several routes. If the trade-in is still in all around good shape, it heads for the used car lot. If the engine is no good but the body is in good shape, the car is sold to a junk yard for parts and the engine goes for scrap metal. If the engine is still good but the body is shot, it heads for the salvage yard where the engine is removed for recycling and the body is crushed for scrap metal.

With the "CASH FOR CLUNKERS" program, the entire car is supposedly crushed. This deprives the used car lots and the junk yards of potential business. According to experts in these businesses, this program will not only deplete the number of available used cars, thus depriving a large portion of the populace of the ability to purchase an affordable car, (everyone cannot afford a new car) it will cause the loss of jobs in the car parts industry.

As the final unforeseen and inevitable outcome of this merry-go-round of folly, there is no oversight to assure that these "clunkers" will actually be crushed in their entirety. But, we don't have to worry about compliance with the rules and regulations of this program, now do we? We all know that car dealers are the most honest and trustworthy folks on the planet.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


In case you haven't noticed, the US Congress is taking it's August recess. Historically, the members of the House and the Senate hold town hall meetings in their perspective districts during August to "inform their constituents about current legislation and to field question about the concerns of their voters." In fact these meetings serve only to encourage their constituents into believing the voters' opinions are valuable to and desired by the politician. The truth be told, the majority of politicians could not care less what we think.

This last month has been very problematic for the new Health Care Reform Act, Mr. Obama and the Democrats. Since so many of the details of the bill have accidentally become public knowledge, the groundswell of opposition is quite dramatic. But, have no fear, these politicians are not all stupid. It is a matter of record that a full 2/3 of these Congressmen and Senators have decided to NOT hold any town hall meetings this year. We suppose they think it is wiser to hide in the bushes until this whole thing blows over. Maybe they don't want to be on YouTube.

GE&P watched with interest yesterday as the network and cable media covered many of the town hall meetings on health care that were being held around this great nation. They covered meetings in Florida, Missouri, and Minnesota, just to mention a few of the larger ones. These meetings were supposed to be open to the public. We noticed a few oddities about some of these meetings and made a few observations.

At the meetings where the general public was admitted, it was obvious, from the questions asked, that the majority was strongly opposed to the health care plan. At some meetings, only selected people were allowed to enter the venue. At these meetings, there were literally hundreds of opponents to the plan left standing in the parking lot.

All of the major polls indicate the majority of Americans oppose this plan and the number in opposition is growing daily. Now we come to the part of this report that will really impress you all.

Our Dear Leader, Mr. Obama, also, held a town hall meeting yesterday and it was well covered by all factions of the media. The venue was packed.......with folks who received an invitation from the White House( but that's beside the point). AND, bless Pat, would you believe it, ALL the folks in attendance were in favor of the Health Care Reform Act. Is that not amazing? Mr. Obama didn't have one person questioning his single payer plan. He was not annoyed by one senior citizen asking why he planned to cut $500,000,000 from Medicare to finance the plan. No one wanted details on the "end of life" counseling provision in his plan. No one seemed concerned that, if this plan is adopted, the federal government will have access to their bank accounts. Mr. Obama was not embarrassed by any opposition questions posed by one dissenter.

In all fairness, we have to report that about 500 folks in opposition to the plan were standing in the street outside the venue, securely cordoned off behind police barriers.

Now, what you have to do is simple. You have to accept the fact that all those town hall meetings you saw on TV and YouTube where thousands of dissenters voiced their opposition to the health care plan were obviously demonstrations staged by "Angry Mobs" organized by "unAmerican troublemakers". These dissenters were not there voicing their own beliefs. They were paid to come to the town hall meetings and cause trouble for Mr. Obama. You must accept that, in fact, Mr. Obama's meeting proves that, not only the majority, but, virtually everyone in the nation, agrees with and are in favor of the Health Care Reform Plan. His meeting and the folks who attended proves this fact beyond argument.

That settled, would you please stop just holding that cup and drink your KoolAid?