It was obvious to all present that the nursing school delegation was left scratching its collective head at the end of the meeting. Now, it is clear that it was deliberately left spinning in the wind. Had Mr. Fish's budget been considered, including the cuts in wasteful spending, BC could have comfortably included funding for this worthwhile project. Embarrassment piled upon embarrassment. Thanks, again, to "The 8000".
Thursday, July 29, 2010
GE&P did some more investigation on the nursing school issue and stumbled onto something very interesting if not confusing. According to a source close to the Supervisor, Mr. Davis had instructed Mr. Schurlknight to bring up the issue of funding the nursing school during his Finance Committee meeting. This would have had to have been done "without objection" as the issue was not on the agenda. At some point during that dog and pony show of a Council meeting, Mr. Davis changed his mind (?) and told JS to forget his original instructions as he would not have the money to fund the school this year.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
GE&P would like to take this opportunity to thank the 8000+ Dan Davis supporters (hereafter referred to as "THE 8000" ) for the fact that a County budget was adopted that, for the third year, takes 29% of our property tax relief, resulting in higher taxes for all BC citizens. To showcase just how unbelievably gullible "THE 8000" really were, let's look at another bit of history.
As the primary began to gear up, the Supervisor's race developed a few key issues. Among these, two were obviously developing 'legs', the taking of 29% of the property tax relief to fund BC government spending and the fact that Davis got a huge pay increase while forcing BC employees to take unpaid furlough days. Judging from public opinion at the time, these two issues possessed the power to scuttle the Davis reelection campaign. Common sense indicated the taking of the 29% would mean higher taxes. And, the records clearly indicated Davis had received a huge pay increase and the BC employees had been forced to take unpaid furlough days. It became obvious that no amount of lies could change these facts.
Most politicians would have hesitated to make any obvious reversals on their established policies so close to an election, realizing that the voters would see through any such efforts. But, Mr. Davis knew something that GE&P didn't know. Somehow he knew just how gullible and uninformed "THE 8000" really were. So, he went to work.
On 4/26/10, at a regular Council meeting, Mr. Davis' crack finance person announced some unbelievably good news. (The key word here is "unbelievably") It was announced that the county had "found" some money they didn't even know they had. Coincidentally, the amount of the extra money was exactly enough to cover the cost of the furlough days, $581,000. Glory Alleluia! How serendipitous was that? Just weeks before the election, Mr. Davis' uncanny leadership abilities had restored this lost income to the county employees. Mr. Davis and his supporters wasted no time in spreading the great news. Of course, this maneuver had absolutely nothing to do with removing a major negative campaign issue from the landscape. Good job but there was more work to be done.
On 5/19/10, Davis held a special Council meeting. At this meeting, the proposed budget was the main topic of discussion. The Conservatives on Council wanted to remove the taking of 29% of the property tax relief from the budget and find other ways (such as reducing the size of government) to fund county government spending. Mr. Davis was oh so cooperative and agreeable with this idea. As a result, the ordinance was written to exclude all of the 29% with the exception of $500,000 for matching funds for the Jedburg project. "THE 8000" were jubilant. Presto! Another negative campaign issue was removed from the table. However, GE&P, the Conservatives on Council, and 7000 informed voters saw through this ruse. All of us knew the final vote on the budget could be postponed until AFTER the election and the wording of the ordinance could be changed back to its original form at that time.
GE&P feels obliged to mention yet another fraudulent maneuver that was very carefully timed around the election. We assume you are all aware of the effort to establish an expanded nursing school at Trident Tech. Well, prior to the election, Mr. Davis was one of this effort's staunchest supporters. At least this appeared to be the case. His position on the issue secured a large number of Davis votes in the primary. Now that we have given the history of this fairy tale, we will spring forward to the present and focus on the way things really are.
COUNTY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING 7/26/10: As demonstrated by The Dark Side on Council, Robert's Rules of Order, County Council Rules, and Protocol are no longer applicable. (We should include common courtesy in this list) Dan Davis and his willing accomplices on Council literally butchered Parliamentary Procedure to accomplish their goals. The Dark Side amended the budget ordinance to reincorporate the 29% of our tax relief. (As we and others had predicted) To the amazement of many in attendance, the questionable tactic were
supported by the county's legal advisors. The procedural contortions demonstrated by The Dark Side during this process would have given any kangaroo court in history cause for envy. The end result of this embarrassing display of creative process was that Davis achieved his original goal of stealing 29% of the Property Tax relief from the citizens of BC. He didn't stop there.
The large group of organizers for the new Trident nursing school were at this Council meeting. It would be assumed they were there for a reason. GE&P learned from some members of this group that Mrs. Thornley expected to be called upon to make a speech. It is documented by his own words before the election, Mr. Davis supported funding the new school. Unfortunately, for the supporters of the school, this meeting and the passage of the budget took place after the election that secured Mr. Davis' position for another four years. Mr. Davis no longer requires the support of this voting block. GE&P has it on good authority that Mr. Davis now contends there is no money in the budget to fund the school.
The end result is there for everyone to see. Mr. Davis stole our Property Tax Relief just as he intended from the start. Mr. Davis has left the new Nursing School hanging out to dry. GE&P has two cautionary words for all County employees: FURLOUGH DAYS.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
There are people you meet during your life's journey that you forget the day after you meet them. Then there are people you meet that you remember till your dying day. If you have a minute, I'd like to tell you about a person I met who fits very securely into the latter category. His name was Louis Walker. Louis was already old when we met. At least he seemed old to me at first. But, after I listened to him speak and got to know him better, I wasn't really sure. I have a perfect picture of him in my mind, but, when it comes to putting Louis into words, that's difficult. Describing what he looked like is easy. Describing who he was is a different story. He wasn't a physically imposing man. He was actually rather slight and nondescript, standing less than 5' 10” tall and weighing maybe 140 lbs soaking wet. His head was crowned with thick, unruly, snow white hair. His features were average with maybe a slightly larger than normal nose. You could have encountered him on the street and never noticed him except for two things, his laugh and his eyes. Louis's laugh could make a dead man split his sides and Louis's eyes...oh, those eyes. If you've ever been to the Caribbean and noticed the blue of the deep water under the noon sun, you've seen the color of Louis's eyes. And, the color was liquid. There was an actual sparkle to them when he was happy or in a teasing mood. There was an endless depth to them when he was angry or very serious. His eyes were a force to be reckoned with. No one could help trusting and believing those eyes. No one could ever lie to those eyes.
So far as Louis the person was concerned, he was a walking contradiction. He was capably but unaccomplished. He was intelligent but uneducated. He was kind and caring yet totally uninvolved with the world around him. He had been married and had several children but acknowledged no family. He was perfectly satisfied to sit alone in his small house and entertain himself. He didn't ask anyone for anything and didn't appreciate it when someone asked something of him. He took a side job now and then when he needed money for food or cigarettes. He didn't worry about what tomorrow would bring. He would say, “I'll burn that bridge when I come to it.” Under the right circumstances, I do believe Louis would have given you the shirt off his back. He was basically a nice person. The main problem with him was he just wasn't much worth a damn. Don't misunderstand. He wasn't mean or hateful or anything like that. I don't think he would have done you wrong if it would have done him good. It's just I guess he didn't put a lot of stock in the part of the Bible that talks about talents. You see, Louis had talent up to his eyeballs. He just didn't make use of many of them. I heard it said you could bring a building or repair problem to Louis in the morning and by mid afternoon he'd have your problem solved. Though he had the skill to implement the solution to your problem, he would never volunteer to help with the work. Louis could sink a well, build a house, fix a car, or cook a meal if he had wanted. He knew a lot about a lot of things. He just chose to do very little. I always thought had God injected into Louis just a small measure of ambition on top of all those talents, this old man could have been a millionaire several times over. But, here we have one of those “If” things that Louis always talked about saying, ”If frogs had wings they wouldn't keep bumping their butts on the ground.”
I think I forgot to tell you just how I met Louis. I have always been the kind of person who loves to explore. One of my favorite pastimes is checking out stores that sell a lot of old, discarded items. Now, I'm not talking about stores with names like “Lowcountry Antiques”. I'm talking about stores with names like “Joe's Junk”. I've learned you can find some of the most interesting things in such establishments. That's what I was doing the day I first met Louis. I had heard of such a store over in Ravenell which is about 20 miles from where I lived. I was told the store was down a dirt road about a mile or so off the main road, Hwy 17. That sounded like fun to me so off I went in search of new rummaging grounds. I had been driving around the area for more than an hour, having arrived about noon. I had driven down every dirt road I could find. Being as Ravnell is very close to the coast, it is honeycombed with marshes and small streams. All of the dirt roads in the area have several small bridges along their course. I suppose there must have been a nail or something in one of the small wooden bridges I drove across because, as I came off that particular bridge, my right rear tire blew out. A flat tire never makes your day but I wasn't too upset being as I knew very well how to change it. It was the early afternoon so I didn't worry about dark catching me out there in the middle of nowhere.
I wasn't on what could exactly be described as a well traveled thoroughfare so I just stopped the car right where it was, in the middle of the road. All went well as I got the jack and the spare out of the trunk. As I started to set up the jack, I realized there was a potential problem. I said I was driving on a 'dirt' road when I had the flat, well, that's not exactly accurate. The road was covered with deep sand as are many unpaved lowcountry roads. When I started jacking the car, the jack just sank into the sand. Trying to appear not quite so stupid, I decided I'd better look around for something rigid like a board to put under the base of the jack to prevent it from sinking. Because I was so focused on the flat tire, the jack, and the sand problem, I must have had tunnel vision because I didn't notice I had company until I turned around to look for the board. I was more than a little bit startled when I realized an old man was standing in the gravel driveway behind me watching my every move. I decided I would be polite and say “Good Afternoon” because I'd always heard that most ax murderers react positively to good manners. He replied, “Good Afternoon”, as he walked into the shade of the tree line on that side of the road and sat down on a stump. I felt a bit more comfortable with him sitting there as I still had a white knuckled grip on the jack handle. I said something about the jack sinking into the sand and my need for something solid to put under it. He nodded his head affirmatively and told me someone had dumped some pieces of concrete from a driveway down by the wooden bridge. He suggested I might find something useful there. I thought to myself, “Well, thank God, chivalry is not dead yet. This old fool is still stomping it.”
I walked the short distance back to the bridge and peered down the ditch bank. Even though the area looked like an ideal environment for really big snakes, I climbed down to see what I could find to solve my problem with the jack. I found a piece of concrete slab somewhat smaller in circumference than a #2 washtub and about 4 inches thick. It was flat on one side and would serve my purpose well. The only problem I faced was getting the heavy bastard back to where the car was. After the initial strain of pulling the heavy weight up the ditch bank, the going got surprisingly easier. As it turned out, that deep sand was good for something. It acted like a skid. Leaning over at the waist, I got behind the load and pushed. With the smooth side down, the concrete rock mostly glided over the sand. Every so often, though, the front of the rock bogged down and the sudden stop would send me to my knees. The thought crossed my mind, “So this is how the Egyptians moved those heavy stones to build the pyramids.” Of course, there were thousands them doing the pushing.
As I was straining with the slab, I saw, out of the corner of my eye, the old man still sitting, contentedly, in the shade. He didn't make one move or offer to help. Finally, I reached the car with my heavy load. I scooped out the loose sand from the area under the axle so the slab would sit level and low enough that the jack would fit between it and the axle. Did I happen to mention that this story took place in late July? Well, it did. And as everyone knows, July in the Lowcountry usually brings temperatures in the upper 90s to low 100s with humidity levels somewhere around 4000% . This particular July was no exception. By the time I got the flat off and the spare ready to go on, there wasn't a dry thread on me. At each point in the process, placing the jack, loosening the lugs, raising the car, taking off the flat, I stole a glance at the old man sitting on the stump in the shade. That old man was really beginning to get on my last nerve. After I managed to strain the spare up and on and finger tighten the lugs, I looked over my shoulder to find the old man had quite silently disappeared.
The job was on the downhill run now. I let the jack down, finished tightening the lugs, replaced the hubcap, and removed the concrete slab from under the car. I must have been a sight to behold. Wet with sweat, sand was stuck all over me from grubbing under the car. My hair was stringing down on my face. I was not in a good mood. As I pushed the slab to the edge of the road and sat back, exhausted, against the newly installed wheel, I became aware that the old man was back. I looked up to see his hand outstretched toward me offering a six ounce bottled Coke. Without any hint of a smile he said, “You look like you could use a cold drink.” That was the first time I had been close enough to the old man to notice his eyes. I reached up for the Coke and said, “Thank you. I do hope this hasn't caused you to exert yourself too much.” Then came that laugh. It was deep, genuine, spontaneous, and infectious. I couldn't help but join in. My mood ascended from just below crappy to the most joyous laugh I had had in years. The sparkle in the old man's blue eyes virtually danced. By the time our laughter was brought under some control, we were both sitting in the middle of that sandy road wiping away the laugh tears that were running down our faces. He reached out his hand to shake mine and said, “Hello, I'm Louis Walker.”
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
With the SC Supreme Court's ruling against them still ringing in their ears, for printing a known lie that defamed an innocent person, the Post & Courier just may have stepped into it, again. Note from GE&P: If you happen to hold any stock in the insurance company that carries the P&C's liability coverage, we would advise selling short ASAP.
On 7/19/10, the P&C ran a front page story titled "Months pass as minutes stand still". Accompanying this headline was a picture of Councilman Dennis Fish and Councilman Bob Call. Alongside the photos was a quote from Councilman Call, repeating a false accusation against Mr. Fish. Prior to the release of the article, Mr. Fish informed the P&C that the accusation was false and reminded the reporter that the official recording of the meeting in question does not contain the alleged statement in Call's accusation. According to Mr. Fish (and GE&P) the reporter admitted he had listened to the recording and didn't hear any such statement. Mr. Fish explained to the reporter and to GE&P exactly what he had said. Mr. Fish insists he was speaking to Mr. Call and not to Mr. Schurlknight. But, the alleged statement was repeated in the article all the same.
As usual, GE&P thinks it beneficial to provide you with some history. This issue finds its roots in late 2009. At that time, several members of Council (the Conservatives) sought information as to how hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars, realized from the Accommodations Tax, were being spent by the Chamber of Commerce. Their inquiries were met with a solid brick wall. These Councilmen decided to meet the problem head-on. In January, 2010, they nominated five new members for the Accommodations Tax Board. Please realize these nominations were to fill vacant seats.
The nomination process was followed and five new members were successfully appointed. Then, the popcorn hit the fan. These new members scheduled a meeting and they voiced their intention of ordering an audit of the Accommodations Tax accounts . (It is normal operating procedure for a new board to call for an audit of accounts before they take responsibility for the funds as they are legally responsible after they take control.) Mr. Davis, Mr. Call, Mr. Schurlknight, and Mr. Pinckney (the Dark Side) did not appear happy with this prospect.
We move on to the February 22nd Regular Council meeting. In a process that broke all the rules and ignored the fact that all the positions on the Accommodations Tax Board were legally filled and there were no vacancies, the Dark Side decided to appoint a new slate of members. (The only ways to legally replace a member is either 'for cause', if the member resigns, or their term has ended) None of these situations applied in this case. The legal process was not followed. The Dark Side just decided to replace the five new members so they did.
The Conservatives on County Council, including Mr. Fish and Mr. Callanan, protested strongly. They pointed out that replacing their slate of board members without due process was illegal. The Dark side ignored these protests. Being as Mr. Davis has the support of four of the eight members of Council, the issue received a tie vote. Then, of course, Mr. Davis broke the tie and his effort to restructure the board was successful.
GE&P interviewed Mr. Fish concerning this matter. Mr. Fish said he did address Mr. Call about the illegal appointment of the new slate of board members. Mr. Fish admitted his patience was running thin. He said, in exasperation, he told Mr. Call (not Mr. Schurlknight) that he would make every effort to get the original board members reinstated, hold an audit of the accounts, and, if any of the money was missing, he "would burn all their asses".
Being as this effort on the part of the Dark Side was blatantly against the Rules and obviously illegal, something had to be done to divert the public's attention. After what must have been a lengthy planning session, the "I'll burn your house down" plan was initiated. This plan would require that the minutes be held from approval being as a brief review by a five year old could tell the accusation was false. Also, the details concerning the Accommodation Tax Board could not under any circumstances be released to the public.
So, there we have it in a nut shell. Prior to 2010, we had an Accommodations Tax Board (having responsibility of oversight)with no records of having met in two years, (until last month when minutes of two meetings [which just happen to be carbon copies of each other] just happened to materialize) hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars not accounted for, a supreme effort on the part of the Dark Side which resulted in assuring there would be no oversight and certainly no audit, and a sensational false accusation against Mr. Fish that the ever accommodating P&C was happy to put on their front page to keep the attention off the real issue.
GE&P would like to take this opportunity to tip our collective hat to the Dark Side. You really know how to git 'er done. And, as long as you can depend upon the P&C to continue to be your willing accomplice, you'll probably get away with this one, too. Congratulations to those very thoughtful 8000+ voters who put us where we are. We hope you're proud.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Sunday, July 4, 2010
More than a few of you were upset and appalled when you learned that Supervisor Davis had, yet again, made a contradictory statement that went unchallenged by the media. The incident to which we refer is Mr. Davis' two different and distinct explanations as to why he missed the June 14th County Council meeting.
At the meeting itself and in a P&C article the next day, it was stated Mr. Davis had missed the meeting "due to a death in the family". However, during an interview on WTMA a few days later, Mr. Davis said he missed the meeting because he went to a campaign strategy meeting. Amazingly, after being repeatedly informed of this contradiction, several members of the media did follow up with Mr. Davis for a clarification.
Hold onto your seats because this one is going right out of the park.
Mr. Davis had a perfectly understandable and acceptable explanation as to why some people perceived his statements as contradictory. This is the way it happened. Mr. Davis had this long time friend at the flea market who had been very ill and this friend and Mr. Davis were so close that he/she seemed like family and this friend was supposed to die on Monday so, of course, Mr. Davis knew he would be unable to go to the Council meeting BUT the person didn't die as scheduled after all so, being as he had already planned not to go to the Council meeting, Mr. Davis just decided to go to the campaign strategy meeting instead.
Well now, that clears everything up. GE&P has no problem with that explanation and we believe this account completely as we are certain do you. We are confident that the fact that Mr. Schurlknight was out of town that night and would not be at the meeting to provide Mr. Davis with his critical "fourth vote" to tie up any controversial issues that might arise, had nothing to do with Mr. Davis' absence.
It is so reassuring to know that we taxpayers can always depend on our leadership to illuminate any misgivings or misunderstandings we may have with our County government. We don't know about you but after this clarification, we will sleep much better tonight.