Saturday, December 17, 2011


"As part of the transparency initiatives at Berkeley County, County Council approved the purchase of a video capture system for Council meetings held in the Assembly room in Moncks Corner. The December 12th meeting of County Council was the first to be filmed. In an agreement with Home Telephone, this County Council meeting will be broadcast at 8:00 PM, on Wednesday, December 21, 2011, according to Robert Reimers, Home Telephone representative. It will appear on Home Telephone's cable network, on channel 6."

Thursday, December 1, 2011


At last Monday night's Council meeting, Supervisor Davis brought up an item that was not on the agenda. He wanted a Resolution passed giving County employees and elected officials a one time "disbursement" as sort of a Christmas bonus. It was pointed out to Mr. Davis that bringing up this Resolution when it was not on the agenda was a violation of FOIA.

Consequently, Mr. Davis has scheduled a conference call meeting for this afternoon at 2PM to address this Resolution. You haven't heard about this special meeting? Well, no wonder as no one on the agenda mailing list received notification.

GE&P has considered all the facts and has established a position: This Resolution is a bad idea for a number of reasons:

1. It goes without saying that our County employees are hard working and very deserving BUT these folks have good-paying, stable jobs with full benefits.

2. Our BC unemployment numbers are at 10+%.

3. This "disbursement" does NOT count toward retirement.

4. The tax liability for this money is far greater than that of a COLA or merit pay increase would be.

5. The taxpayers of BC, including the unemployed, could benefit from a tax reduction. Many of these taxpayers are County employees.

6. The budget process will begin shortly and the new SWMP Fee will be levied. Why not apply some of this excess money to that project?

7. BC's contribution to the employees' retirement fund is almost $5 MILLION in arrears. Will these few hundred dollars in hand right now mean more to County employees than retirement benefits and medical care in the future?

We are certain the very talented BC Finance Department is aware of all these facts. Why didn't the Administration take the time to consider all aspects of this move beforehand. Maybe they did. We must draw the conclusion that there is more to this than meets the eye. Isn't it a shame that folks immediately assume Mr. Davis is up to no good. Justifiably so.

Friday, November 18, 2011


In today's world of back-door deals and basic dishonesty, if one is looking for an example of complete "transparency", all one has to do is investigate the P&C's new comment policy. Common sense will lead you to a conclusion that is as clear as Charleston's July sunshine.

For years, anyone could comment on one of the newspaper's articles and NOT have his/her name made public. Many of these comments corrected erroneous "facts" written in the articles. Many times, folks with inside information on the story (employees, elected officials) would add details which shed new light on the subject. These folks could ill afford to have their names revealed for fear of job loss or other negative ramifications.

"In order to promote more civil discourse", the P&C now requires readers to post comments through a FaceBook account, which would result in "anyone" being given access to the poster's identity and private information. Kind of defeats the "Anonymous" idea, not to mention the "Friending" concept on FaceBook, huh?

Is the ultimate goal of the P&C as simple as it appears? Is it too embarrassing to have "Joe Blow from Cottageville" demonstrate the incompetence of the journalistic policies and the sloppiness of the reporting at this paper? (We really shouldn't even mention the quality of proof-reading so we won't.) Was this new policy put into place to stop the continuing exposer of this situation?

This move by the P&C appears to have solved their immediate problem. Judging from the existing number of comments, or the lack there of, there will now be limited interference from the public. Since most responsible (former) readers will not allow this unreasonable invasion of privacy, the comment sections are running a bit thin now.

As it stands, the P&C can now print any misleading story, slanted to any degree, without fear of any contradiction from the informed public.

We hope the P&C executives are not spending too much money on the celebration party, though. The paper has experienced a drastic decline in subscriptions over the last few years due to editorial policies. Now, it would appear they are losing a huge number of their on-line followers as a result of this new policy.

It would seem to defy logic for the P&C to continually follow a business plan that virtually guarantees the demise of the enterprise but that appears to be the case. It is equally frustrating to the casual observer that the solution to the difficulties of the P&C is painfully simple. If residents of the Tri-County area had access to a local paper that honestly and fully reported on items of general interest, they would buy it. These folks are very interested in issues like government corruption and crime trends. They are very interested in issues that have an impact on the economy.

These folks have had their fill of a newspaper that avoids the real facts and only presents politically correct fluff. But, this would require the absence of the Liberal mindset among the leadership of this fictitious newspaper. Unfortunately, this is something that's not going to happen at the P&C.

Over the years, due to questionable leadership, the News And Courier/ Evening Post organization has been reduced to "fish-wrap" status. Now, it appears the resulting P&C is ultimately headed for the ash heap of Charleston history. So sad.


A warm Sunday morning on the streets of Charleston.........
You wake to the melodious voices of the young newspaper boys singing.......


Sunday, November 6, 2011


The Talking Heads are into fits this morning trying to discredit the Cain/Gingrich debate last night in Texas. In actuality, we had two unconventional candidates engaged in an unconventional exchange presenting unconventional solutions to the mess created by Liberal government policies. These two candidates had the audacity to suggest we make an effort to abolish fraud from the Medicare system; stop encouraging portions of our population to expect "something for nothing"; and stop paying taxpayer dollars to able bodied Americans who prefer not to support themselves.

In all honesty, GE&P did not witness a simple "debate" last night. We observed evidence, potentially, that the outline of a "Ticket" is being formulated. The Left is in a state of shock.

Saturday, October 29, 2011


For many, many years, there have been County Council Rules in place addressing the procedure for introducing and passing BC Ordinances. The process is very simple:

1. The Administration develops a "Proposal".
2. The "Proposal" is presented to County Council by title only, first at the Committee level. At this juncture, typically, there is no document available for review and, more likely than not, members of County Council are as much in the dark as to the details of the "Proposal" as is the public. At the Committee level, during consideration prior to "FIRST READING" there can be discussion of the "Proposal" and votes are taken. This procedure puts the issue "into the record" and sends the "Proposal" forward to the Regular Council meeting for "FIRST READING" where there is no further discussion or vote.
3. The next step is review prior to "SECOND READING" which takes place at the Committee level. At this point, the issue is opened for discussion and the members of Council should have documents as to the content of the "Proposal". But, at this step in the process, it is not unusual that the documents connected to the "Proposal" are yet to be finalized. County Council has to rely upon the administration for accurate and complete information on the issue. After the discussion is complete, a vote is taken. If the vote is positive, the "Proposed Ordinance" moves on to the Full Council. If the vote is negative, the effort dies.
4. The final step is review prior to "THIRD READING" which takes place at the Committee level. As with the last step, the "Proposal" is read, opened for discussion, and voted upon. With a positive vote, the "Proposal" goes forward to Full Council for "THIRD READING". When Full Council votes for the Proposal it becomes County Law. In a perfect world, at this point in the process, not only a legal document but also all supporting information for this "Proposal" would have been provided. But, history has shown this to not always be the case.

The time frame of this process can vary widely. If there is no hurry for the Ordinance, the full process of passage can take as much as three months. The "Proposal" can receive consideration prior to "FIRST READING" at the Committee meeting on the second Monday of a month and "FIRST READING" at the Regular Council meeting the fourth Monday of that same month. "SECOND READING" and "THIRD READING" can be done the month after and the month after that. But, if the issue is pressing, the process can be shortened measurably. "Special" Committee and Full Council meetings can be called to address the issue.

GE&P is cognizant of the fact that an "official" legal document, "THE ORDINANCE", cannot be issued before County Council has had the opportunity to make all desired revisions to the original "Proposal". But, there is no legitimate reason why this administration cannot issue a document containing the details of its "Proposal" prior to "FIRST READING". There is no legitimate reason why the public should not be fully informed on all matters of County government. There is no reason why the public should not know the intent and possible ramifications of all proposed Ordinances.

GE&P is, also, aware that former administrations have followed the same process for the passage of new "ORDINANCES". But, with all due respect, this administration has proven itself to be a horse of a different color. This administration has maneuvered issues through this process without full disclosure to Council. One glaring example of this subterfuge is the Hwy. 311 waterline issue.

Just because "this is the way things have always been done" does not mean it is correct or even acceptable in this new environment. With past administrations, Council could depend upon the fact that all pertinent information on any issue would be provided. Now, not so much.

County Council could correct this situation very easily. If members of Council would make it known to the administration that they would reject, at "FIRST READING", any new proposal that is not accompanied by a publicly available fact sheet, this nonsense would stop. But, don't hold your breath for this to happen. Some members of Council do not have the time to be involved to this degree of specificity connected to the governance of our County and others just do as they are told.

Monday, October 10, 2011


Today GE&P received a call back from Mr. Dan Brown, reporter for the Berkeley Independent. We discussed his article from last week's paper and Mr. Brown acknowledged that his statement about the "County being in violation of the Clean Water Act" was in error. He, also, agreed to review the DEHEC document that we have supporting our position on the SWMP. Mr. Brown said that he intends to investigate the issue and write a followup article.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


Our Founding Fathers were, indeed, the most special people of all time. They formulated a form of government that is more perfect, more amazing, than any other that has ever graced the face of this earth. Also, they constructed their creation atop a bedrock foundation of Rights, one of which is the Freedom of the Press.

When we read the writings and letters of the Founders concerning Freedom of the Press, we learn just how vital they thought this element to be. They realized that the people needed a watchdog to keep an eye on even this pristine new form of government. They considered the Press to be an invaluable element in this "Great Experiment". They didn't consider the role of the Press to be inconsequential. In the Press, they entrusted the responsibility of being the "Fourth Branch of Government".

Since the days of the Founders, history shows that many of the original intentions of these great men have been eroded and bastardized. Some of these attacks have been minor and some have struck at the core of our Republic. One such threat has been the erosion in the trustability of the media. At one time, an American could confidently exclaim, "I read it in the paper so it has to be true and accurate". Unfortunately, that is no longer the case.

GE&P could list the national outlets and electronic media sources that can no longer be trusted to provide us with truth in reporting but let's just concentrate on sticking really close to home. We are referring to an article that appeared in the Berkeley Independent this week. Mr. Dan Brown wrote an article to inform the public as to the results of the County Council meeting of September 26, 2011. His main topic in this article was the vote of Council on the Storm Water Management Program fee.

At the beginning of this article, Mr. Brown presented misinformation as true fact. Later in the article, Mr. Brown presented more erroneous information in the form of quotes attributed to Supervisor Davis. The entire article was awash with false information and misleading statements which, consequently, led the readers to false conclusions concerning the issue. GE&P can state with confidence that the BI article presents false information because we have official documents in our possession that directly contradict many of the statements made in this article.

GE&P has attempted to contact Mr. Brown but our call has gone unanswered. We wish we could ask a few questions so as to clarify exactly what led up to the printing of this misleading article.

"Mr. Brown, did you do any independent research on the subject of the SWMP prior to penning this article?"

"Mr. Brown, is it your policy to accept at face value, without obtaining independent verification, any factual statement made by an elected official?"

"Mr. Brown, do you agree with our Founders that the Press is the Fourth Branch of Government and, if so, how seriously do you take this responsibility?"

GE&P does not expect anyone, including ourselves, to be perfect all the time. Believe it or not, we have actually "misspoken" on an occasion or two but it is totally unacceptable for a newspaper article about an issue of so much import to the community to go this far in the wrong direction down the garden path. To add to the outrage, GE&P's offer to provide the newspaper with the official documents that disprove the statements in this article was rejected. We would have thought it might be beneficial to the public to confront Supervisor Davis with these documents and, then, write an article about his reaction.

GE&P would like to humbly offer some advice to all local publications: If you want to be considered "newspapers", then print the complete truth with as much accuracy as possible. Present your readers with all sides of the issues that impact their lives. If your only goal is to be considered a "shopping guide", then change your name and advertise yourselves as such.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


GE&P would like to do a bit of housekeeping today. We have noticed that a few threads have been left hanging from the very busy list of BC government happenings of late.

The taxpayers of BC experienced two major victories last week:

On Monday, by a 6/2 vote of County Council, a new SWMP Fee (tax) was rejected. All 4 of the Conservative Republicans and the 2 Democrats on Council helped achieved this taxpayer victory with their "NO" votes. As was to be expected, the 2 RINOs, Schurlknight and Call, supported the new tax with their "YES" votes.

On Tuesday, a Conservative Republican was elected to fill the vacant State House #100 seat. There was a well organized Democrat challenge in this race. The success for the Conservatives was due, in large part, to the leadership and organizational skills of the BCGOP Chairman, Tim Callanan.

Citizens who keep up with the shenanigans within BC government were not surprised that many oddities accompanied the vote on the SWMP "FEE" issue. It seemed that the Supervisor was convinced, right up to the moment the votes were cast, that he would be successful in imposing a new $1.4 Million tax on the people of BC. As the vote approached, the Council chamber was electric with anticipation. Conservative Councilmen Callanan, Fish, Farley, and Davis voted "NO"; Rinos, Call and Schurlknight voted "YES". Only the two Democrat votes were left to be cast. Piece of cake for the Supervisor, right? Not so fast.

As the Supervisor confidently sat displaying his customary smug little grin, Mr. Pinckney shocked the room as he voted "NO". The next 30 seconds seemed to elapse in slow-motion. The Supervisor's smug grin melted, replaced by an expression of disbelief. He turned toward Mr. Pinckney and Mr. Davis' countenance revealed his thoughts without him uttering a word, "SAY, WHAT?"

After Mr. Pinckney's "NO" vote, which meant the issue was defeated, Councilman Davis joked about his vote being irrelevant and unnecessary at that time. The Supervisor ignored Mr. Davis's comments and flew into a hissy fit. He announced that he planned to "write a letter to DEHEC, reporting the names of the Councilmen who had voted against the Ordinance". Possibly due to the rarity of disloyalty from any of his minions, the Supervisor truly made a fool of himself with his comments.

As amusing as the actions surrounding the actual vote were, there were other interesting events connected to this issue. Due to the curiosity of several taxpayers, it was learned that the proposed "FEE" had been added to the online tax bills several weeks prior to the vote of Council. These online documents were reviewed by numerous citizens and members of the media. Originally, the full "FEE" of $36 appeared on the bills. Shortly before the Monday Council meeting where the Supervisor introduced his new proposal to reduce the "FEE", the "FEE" was already reduced to $12 on the online bills. The day after the "NO" vote was taken, the "FEE" had totally disappeared from these bills.

The week before the Council meeting in question, members of the media contacted the administration to inquire about the "FEE" being on the tax bills prior to a vote of Council. The administration, via a second level official, assured the reporters that the "FEE" was definitely, positively, absolutely, unequivocally, unquestionably NOT included on the tax bills. (GE&P's question to those who viewed the tax bill prior to the cleansing: "Who are you going to believe, the administration or your lying eyes?")

Another interesting thing happened during this time frame. For quality control reasons, it seems that there are "test runs" of the tax bills printed prior to the mailing dates. Consequently, being as the "FEE" was included on the electronic versions, the "FEE" appeared on the "test runs". Numerous folks witnessed this to be a fact. Oops. But, don't be concerned that any of these documents might have fallen into the "wrong" hands, establishing proof that "somebody" lied. The administration collected all of these incriminating documents and, we are certain, disposed of them properly. Really? (200+ year old advice from one of our Founding Fathers, Ben Franklin: "If three people intend to keep a secret, two of the three had better be dead people.")

The events surrounding the SWMP FEE are yet more examples of the bewildering mindset of this administration. Considering the debacle in Charleston County concerning their tax bills, it would have been perfectly understandable had the Supervisor admitted that the "FEE" had been included on our bills prior to a vote. He could have explained that, since he fully expected the Ordinance to pass a vote of Council, he included it as the tax bills were being prepared, so as to avoid any delay in the mailings. He may have received some criticism after the "NO" vote but he would have avoided being accused of being disingenuous. As it is now, it appears this Administration's first inclination is to tell a lie even when the truth would be of more benefit.

Just because the taxpayers have dodged the $1.4 Million new tax bullet, this is no time to sit on your laurels. Don't forget the budget process for the upcoming "physical" (We decided to use the spelling and pronunciation preferred by Mr. Schurlknight. After all, he is the Chairman of the Finance Committee so he must know from whence he speaks.)year is just around the corner. The SWMP "FEE" is bound to be put back on the table. It is incumbent upon the citizens to stay involved and insist that this administration adhere to the portions of the mandate that require citizen education and input.

It may come as a surprise to some that the execution of this mandate requires no special expertise other than familiarizing oneself with the Rules. All one has to possess is the ability to read and comprehend the English language. Consequently, input from regular citizens who have taken the time to educate themselves on the subject can only be of benefit to the County in this effort. If enough private citizens are involved in the process there will be a smaller opportunity for the Supervisor to "cook the books" and create a false justification for a huge tax increase next year. Fear not, Mr. Davis, BC citizens will not take their eyes off this ball.

GE&P has no intention of basking in the soft glow of success. Tune in tomorrow for an outline of our next campaign.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


More than a few BC taxpayers contacted GE&P today with the same really strange story. It seems each went on the BC Government website, went to GIS, and clicked on "Tax Info". On Monday, listed right under the amounts they were being charged for the Fire Fee and the Waste Disposal Fee was their new SWMP Fee of $36. When they consulted the website this morning, their SWMP Fee was listed as $12. Then, (we know you won't believe this one) when they went on the site this afternoon, the SWMP Fee had disappeared. Can you beat that?

Monday, September 26, 2011










As might be expected, Supervisor Davis pitched a hissy fit when the roll call vote was taken. He announced that he was going to write a letter to DEHEC and tell them the names of the Councilmen who had voted against the Fee. Oooooooooooooooo.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


We thought the taxpayers of BC might be interested in a small piece of news. Your tax bills are all printed and ready for mailing. And, by the way, even though County Council has NOT voted to approve the new SWMP fee, it's included on your bill. Why bother to take a vote now; it's a done deal. We hope our illustrious members of County Council realize just how irrelevant they really are.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


At the Committee meeting last Monday night, there was a lively discussion between Councilman Fish and Supervisor Dan Davis. Mr. Fish had the audacity to suggest that Mr. Davis planned to use the proposed SWMP Fee for purposes other than those suggested. Mr. Davis, according to the P&C said, "You cannot take that money and use it for other purposes," Davis said. "Let's don't play politics."


Mr. Davis, you took 29% of the LOST money designated for property tax relief and used it for other purposes.

Mr. Davis, you took the FILOT money (realized from Google) that was designated to go to the BC School District and used it for other purposes.

Mr. Davis, you took $10 MILLION from the BCW&SA Fund Balance that was supposed to only be used for BCW&SA projects (according to SC Law) and used it for other purposes.

Mr. Davis, you opted to NOT adjust millage accordingly after reassessment which resulted in higher BC property tax bills and used the additional revenue for other purposes.

Now, we are expected to believe that this leopard has changed his spots? We don't think so.

Mr. Davis, we know what your plan is. You intend to take this additional revenue and apply it to the expenses of existing departments of BC government. These departments are already addressing issues contained in the SWMP permit. This action will free up funds in the general fund for you to apply wherever you please.

Mr. Davis, we are realistic enough to know that you will be successful with this endeavor as you have already bought and paid for enough votes on County Council to do so. But, please do not insult our intelligence with this "Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?" approach.

Friday, September 2, 2011


GE&P did a boo boo with the latest post. We got the date wrong. Please scroll down and read the August 30, 2011 post. We will correct ASAP.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


If questions to GE&P of late are any example, lots of folks are curious as to what has happened to the effort to repeal the BC Ordinance which governs the distribution of the FILOT Funds. It would appear this effort has slipped from the front burner. Not so fast. GE&P would suggest you keep your eye on the recent Resolution connected to the South Carolina Statewide Multimodal Transportation Plan. You might want to check into just how our FILOT Funds are connected.

We have to remember that DD can juggle more than one ball at the same time. The red flags go up when he makes a concerted effort to draw our attention to what his right hand is doing, SWMP. Caution: Watch that little bitty left hand.

GE&P Editorial Policy:

1. Never print anything as fact without documentation.
2. Always protect our sources.
3. Clearly indicate our personal opinions.
4. Rumors require at least 3 independent sources and are noted as such.
5. Don't release information prematurely.

Today, #5 is giving us a LOT of trouble. GE&P has been given a really delicious piece of information but, for a multitude of reasons, we have been asked not to release these facts at this time. We have the liberty to give you a hint, though. When this information comes to light, DD is going to have a fit that will make a three-year-old jealous.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


In case you didn't make it to the BC Council "Special" meeting last Monday night, we thought we would give you an update. We won't bore you with a blow by blow; we'll give just the highlights in the form of a few exchanges.

1. Councilman Steve Davis pointed out (from the DEHEC Fact Sheet) that according to the new permit requirements, only 25% of the outfalls are required to be tested within the first 18 months. He pointed out that, "if you are only required to test 25% as opposed to 100%, that has to reflect a cost reduction right there". (An outfall is any place where water runs off of any area and into a 'receiving body of water'. It can range in size from a slue that drains your lawn to a 6 foot drainage pipe.)
Response. Weelll. You have to remember that the boundaries are that of the watersheds. (?)

2. Councilman Callanan: "I find this to be a complete waste of money Federal mandate. All I care about is that we meet the absolute bare minimum standards. I don't want an exceptional program. I just want to meet the standards. What does DEHEC look at (to determine) the standards?"
Answer: "Weelll, we haven't even mapped the outfalls yet. Say we test 25%. Then DEHEC goes out and tests and finds that an outfall is impaired. Guess what? We're non-compliant." (?)

3. Councilman Davis: "You already have folks from Roads and Bridges out there digging ditches, can't they dip out a water sample at the same time."
Answer: "No. There are ways of digging ditches and ways of taking water samples and they're not the same thing."

4. Councilman Davis: "How are you going to put a fee on the animals that are putting illicit discharges into the run-off?"
Answer: -------------------------------

5. Councilman Davis: "Is it not true, because of existing BC Ordinances, that BC employees already address most of the requirements of the SWMP?
Answer: "I don't know anything about that document you're looking at." (DEHEC Fact Sheet)

6. Mr. Callanan: (After a long explanation as to why the start-up requirements would need the $1.4 Million) "So, this program seems to be front loaded with expenses. After the first year which includes the start-up costs, we won't need the entire amount in the out years?"
Mr. Carson: "No, that's not what I'm saying. We'll need the entire amount for several years."

7. Statement of BC "Expert": "One big problem is that BC is causing pollution of the Cooper River."
Councilman Davis: "What kind of pollution are we talking about here?"
"Expert": "We won't know 'that' until we do the testing."
Mr. Davis: (in exasperation) "Then how do we know BC's doing it?"

8. After an hour and a half of this stupidity, Councilman Callanan said, "I've been sitting here thanking God we are holding this meeting in a one story building because I have a strong impulse to jump out of a window."

9. One member of the "presentation team" was a lawyer who was touted as being an expert on SWMP. She explained that the EPA had concluded that the majority of illicit discharge was generated by urban development. EPA, and in turn DEHEC, has imposed these requirements to encourage local governments to deter development that could negatively impact water quality . She stated emphatically that the program "didn't make any sense and may never work" because entities bound under a permit have no control over unmanaged or adjoining entities. "The fact is that it doesn't make any sense and it never will". Needless to say, this lady was unceremoniously cut off, never to be heard from again.

10. Mr. Schurlknight asked Mr. Carson to provide the itemized expenses for this program for the first physical year.

At a later point in the conversation, Mr. Davis let it slip that some of the funds generated "could be used for Capital Improvements" which may forward the goals of the SWMP. Ooopps.


1. The SWMP is basically unworkable, makes no sense, and probably never will.

2. The main areas of concern in our bodies of water are dissolved oxygen deficiency and fecal chloroform. One of the main culprits in producing dissolved oxygen deficiency is the presence of natural vegetation. The main culprit in the fecal chloroform issue (99.9999% of the time) is the presence of wildlife in the area.

3. An "expert" contractor who stands to benefit a boatload of money from this program was a member of the "presentation team" tasked with convincing County Council that this mess is a great idea and necessary.

4. People who live in the non-regulated incorporated areas like Bonneau, Jamestown and St Stephens will not be subject to the new fee unless they agree to pay it. But, Mr. Carson suggested that Council may have some leverage with these areas by saying, "don't expect us to maintain your roads or drainage or something like that. There are ways to encourage (compliance)".

5. No matter how many intelligent arguments are put forward by County Council, Dan Davis is going to impose this new $1.4 MILLION tax, come hell or high water.

On the off chance that you are having difficulty understanding the new program, please allow us to clarify:

The EPA issued a NPDES through DEHEC to BC. As a result, BC has been designated to be a TMDL with SMS4s adjoining which requires BC to adopt a SWMP that uses BMP and BPJ. This is based on the CDP and will, conceivably, require the addition of a CEPSCI. The CFR, also, requires a COC. BC must send in an annual DMR complying with the ELG, issued by DEHEC. The proof of an ERP is, also, mandatory. In addition, BC must develop a LCP which must include an IDDE and a MCM to the MEP. In preparation, a NOI to request the MSGP is compulsory, and must include the PIS and the POC. The ultimate goal is for the WQS to remain within the WQBEL, complying with our WLA, by establishing WQMSs. The result is a TPOHS.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


The list of attempted justifications for a new SWMP FEE has proven to be as changeable as our low country weather. Each time one of the supporting statements made by one of Mr. Davis' administration is proven untrue, these folks miraculously come up with yet another. One would think that embarrassment alone would deter any further changes in tack. Apparently not.

When this issue first reared its ugly head several weeks ago, GE&P's first reaction was that "somebody's not telling us the truth". As the situation has developed, we are forced to consider an additional possibility, namely, many of the County employees tasked with getting this fee into place (come hell or high water) have not fully educated themselves as to the facts.

Early on, GE&P called for a fact-finding meeting with the Engineering Department. Our group was given many "facts" at that time that, upon investigation, turned out to be erroneous.

ALLEGED: BC is in danger of being fined for non-compliance with the SWMP.

TRUTH: As it turns out, we are in full compliance as we are operating under an extension of the old permit while the new one is being finalized. (Letters Dan Davis/Ann Clark, DEHEC dated 1/4/11, 1/12/11. and 1/14/11)

ALLEGED: The list of requirements contained in the new permit is extensive.

TRUTH: According to documents from DEHEC, Columbia, there are exactly 6 new requirements included in the new permit. 2 concern public education and involvement, 3 concern activities already being addressed by departments of BC government under existing BC Ordinances , and 1 concerns assurance to DEHEC that BC government, itself, is following the Rules.

ALEGED: The new requirements will impose a new heavy workload on BC.

TRUTH: BC already has Ordinances in place which address almost all of the requirements of the SWMP. Please consult BC Codes ( not limited to) Chapter 11, Article III, Chapter 26- Division 4- 26-61, Chapter 47, and Chapter 59.

ALLEGED: The SWMP would not require any additional employees.

TRUTH: NOW, it is contended that the program will require an additional engineer.

ALLEGED: Many BC employees involved in this issue will require extensive new training.

TRUTH: Being as these employees are already overseeing most of the issues connected to the requirements of the SWMP under BC Ordinance, they have been receiving regular required training.

ALEGED: Any training needed is VERY expensive.

TRUTH: BC employees now receive any needed training from the SC Institute of Governments at USC at a cost of $90 a course of study.

ALLEGED: BC is required to compile special expensive ariel photograph maps to comply with the requirements.

TRUTH: Under IDDE, ".......and, if possible, GPS and photograph."

ALLEGED: Additional funds will be required to pay for the man-hours required for compliance.

TRUTH: SWMP requirements parallel existing BC Ordinances. Compliance is already part of the job descriptions of existing employees.

This issue contains so many elements that it is very easy to get your eye off the ball. We must all endeavor to avoid allowing the superfluous components to cloud the main point which is, the new fee is not necessary. BC has salaried employees who are addressing the main issues of the SWMP at this time. The additional requirement is that BC sends an annual report of all the pertinent activities to DEHEC.

There is one additional fact that demands a mention. Under existing BC Ordinances, contractors must conform to an extensive list of requirements when they initiate a new project. Each step of this process requires a permit fee. The total sum of these fees is sizable. Also, following BC Ordinances, many of the fees cover elements included, in turn, in the SWMP. So, as we can clearly see, these elements of the SWMP impose no additional financial burden on BC government.

BC government has several Departments and Divisions of Departments that have historically addressed many of the issues involved with the SWMP: BCW&SA, Planning, Engineering, Flood Plans Review, Roads & Bridges, and Code Enforcement, to name a few. After reviewing official government documents and connecting the obvious dots, it is abundantly clear that Mr. Davis' ultimate plan is to transfer, from the General Fund and onto a new source of revenue, as much of the expense as possible that is involved in operating these Departments . Evidence that our conclusion is right on the mark is demonstrated in the administration's "Projected Cost Table". When the cost of the projected work is compared to the requirements of existing BC Ordinances, it is clear that these expenditures are being double billed or, at the very least, padded.

GE&P would encourage everyone to attend the SWMP Workshop on Monday evening, 8/29/11, at 6PM at the Supervisor's conference room. Being as Mr. Davis is so committed to compliance with the DEHEC mandate and that 1/3 of the new permit requirements are devoted to Public Education and Input, we are certain he will welcome your questions and comments. Ya think?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Since our last post, GE&P, and others, have done an immense amount of research and acquired a voluminous stack of documents on the new Storm Water Management Program fee. Today we would like to impart to the taxpayers of BC new and sometimes corrected information on the subject. So, fasten your seat belts because you're in for a bumpy ride. We will endeavor to include enough information for you to understand the issue without causing you to doze off from boredom. Believe us, most of the documents involved would not qualify for the best seller list.

First, despite the clumsy wording of the SC State Statute, the SWMP IS mandated by the State to, supposedly, assure that local governments adhere to the Clean Water Act. When you read the original Act, or the directives from SC DEHEC for that matter, you immediately notice how vague and nebulous the wording is. It's all Greeny "pie in the sky" prose. Wouldn't it be "lo-ver-ly". But, let's start at the beginning.

The ultimate goal of the Clean Water Act is to have "all waters of the US 'swimmable and fishable' ". Sounds good. But, when we get down to the fine print in the mandate from the Feds to the State and from the State to the local government, the particulars of the Rules and Requirements are quite murky. It reads like they're making it up as they go along, which they are. Many portions seem left to interpretation. Many portions are so convoluted with bureaucratic BS that they cause headaches.

The most important element is for us to get a full understanding of exactly how insidious this overall "Plan" really is. This plan is a clear example of the Feds' intrusion into State government and, following, the State's intrusion into local government. The plan encourages yet another expansion of an already bloated government system, providing a plausible excuse for local governments to increase taxes. It, also, provides an open door to the possibility, or probability, of the misappropriation of public funds. As we all know, at this time, we have no control over changing the base issue but we can address and, possible correct, the latter issues. So, let's get to these issues that concern us at the moment.

Under the SWMP, the counties and municipalities are, generally, required to reduce existing (and potential) pollution and flooding created from the runoff of storm water and to eliminate the possible dumping into the environment of hazardous substances by existing (and future) industry. Among the specific requirements are, but not limited to, overseeing construction projects to assure that drainage systems are adequate and properly installed; monitoring post construction to assure that these systems are working properly; assuring that these systems are maintained properly; testing water sources to assure waters meet EPA standards; educating the public as to the necessity for the "program"; and sending detailed reports to "the powers that be" on all such activities of the entity involved.

We will all agree that most of the goals itemized by the SWMP are not only laudable but necessary. There's only one hitch to organizing this "NEW" program. The counties and municipalities of SC ALREADY HAVE BUILDING CODES AND ZONING LAWS THAT ADDRESS ALL OF THE IMPORTANT ISSUES INVOLVED. Documents we obtained from SC DEHEC state this to be a fact. This leaves BC with two "administrative" projects to be completed in order to remain in compliance with the mandate; organizing some sort of effort to "educate the public" (brainwash the public) into accepting the necessity for this "new" program and compiling and sending in the "annual reports" to the Feds on every applicable element of our county business.

GE&P is in possession of letters from Dan Davis to Ann Clark, DEHEC Columbia, and from Ms. Clark to Dan Davis, which firmly establish that BC is in complete compliance with the permit we have been operating under for the last 5 years. Also, BC has successfully obtained an extension of that permit which will protect the County from any fines until the new 5 year permit is complete. REPEAT: BC IS IN COMPLETE COMPLIANCE WITH THE MANDATE.

DEHEC recommends that the entity involved, county or municipality, should create a Storm Water Management Program "department". They recommend hiring people to staff this new department. They recommend passing an Ordinance that imposes a "fee" to finance this new department. Do we all recognize the "expansion of government and increase in taxes" referred to earlier? We, the taxpayers, are being "told" we have to accept increased taxes (the fee) to support the organization of a new department to conduct business that, on the whole, is already being done by BC government employees.

From the facts established from the official documents on this subject, it is clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that the imposition of an additional fee to support the SWMP is unreasonable and unnecessary. Mr. Davis is being disingenuous when he insists otherwise but what's news worthy about that statement? Mr. Davis sees this situation as an opportunity to collect additional revenue under the guise of complying with a Federal mandate. Could all this have anything to do with Mr. Davis' pet Sheep Island Project? Just asking. After all, he IS a bit short on funding there.

In support of GE&P's contention that the whole "Plan" is a bit more than questionable, allow us to provide some direct quotes from an inner office document from DEHEC:

1. "Establish a "SWMP Manual which can be amended without having to go to Council".

2. "When you collect a bunch of data, know how you're going to use it".

3. "Zoning and building codes (already) include a lot of the components needed to comply with Stormwater management permit requirements".

4. "Develop joint workshop with neighboring MS4s to encourage consistency and cohesion".

5. "Be as "Green" as possible".

6. "It is important to have a good funding source so that you may have funds to hire the staff needed to fulfill program requirements".

7. "Be flexible to allow for change".

8. "....try new things then use what works and discard what doesn't".

9. " If you have a good working relationship with the entities around your MS4 area then cooperating on the permit will save you a lot of work and money". (Reduce the fee? NOT)

10. "An educated public is involved and generally wants to do the right thing".

11. "Don't be afraid to copy what other people have found successful. Take proven ordinances and tweak them to local needs".

12. Stats from Horry County: "Average annual fee of typical gas station= $250: annual fee of typical shopping mall= $10K". (If you will notice, BC has only made public the intended fee for small individual properties with buildings. There has been no mention of the intended fee for gas stations or shopping centers or fast food places. If the final annual fee for these properties is going to be based on the amount of impervious area involved on the properties, hang on to your wallets and get ready for a $10 Big Mac.)

It is common knowledge that GE&P has a long history of being anti-Big Government. It is, also, true that Big Government entities are seldom as careless in divulging damaging information on themselves as is the case with EPA/SCDEHEC concerning this SWMP. Please ask yourselves: When you drive down I-26 and see the 70MPH speed limit, is that just a suggestion? Or is it a well defined LAW? Does the sign really mean that you can drive 90MPH if the 70MPH limit doesn't work for you? Are you allowed to "try something different"? If you buddy up with 10 additional cars and a few big rigs, is it then OK to drive 90MPH simply because "everybody's doing it"? Is it OK for this convoy to run over the County Mounty to avoid arrest?

Our analogy, admittedly, is a bunch of silliness but, upon review, so is the SWMP. If this program is on the level, wouldn't there be a set of established and well defined Rules? If the County has the responsibility of developing their own Rules, wouldn't there, at least be a set of Guidelines instead of telling the entity to "make it up as you go along"? And, why is the entity encouraged to develop a Manual that can be expanded or amended without the approval of Council?

The bottom line is simple:

1. The lion's share of the requirements of this "mandate" has historically been addressed by existing County government departments.

2. In the new permit, the County has two additional requirements that must be met: brainwashing, sorry about that, educating the public into accepting the need for the "Program" and sending in a more detailed annual report to DEHEC.

3. The majority of the information needed for the annual report is readily available from County records. BCW&SA, Engineering, Code Enforcement, and Roads and Bridges address the majority of the issues involved. All that is required here is having the existing employees collate the collected information to the report form. Over the last 5 years of the old permit, compliance with the SWMP has, according to the Finance Department, cost the County between $43,000 and $73,000 annually. The only requirement of the new permit that has not been mentioned so far in this post is that BC government has to assure DEHEC that BC government, itself, is not violating any of the DEHEC Regulations already in place to prevent pollution.

4. Of the 6 "expanded" requirements of the new permit, only 1 has to be met by the end of the first year. For others, the County has 3 years to comply. All of these requirements are administrative.

GE&P will be the first to admit that this SWMP is an imposition on BC government. It is intrusive, burdensome, and, quite frankly, a useless waste of time. It requires that unnecessarily redundant paperwork be done and it detracts County employees from other County business. BUT, for Mr. Davis to use this situation as an excuse to pad the County coffers is egregious. But, you have to admit that, on this occasion, Mr. Davis is being completely transparent. A fee (new tax) will be imposed on the taxpayers; salaries to certain existing employees will be paid with this new revenue; a dubious private contract situation will be developed (at inflated prices, of course)to perform work usually done by other employees; and then the newly created excess money can be funneled to his wasteful spending. This situation is beyond the perimeters of acceptable government behavior. Simply put, IT'S CROOKED AND CORRUPT.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


GE&P attended the "Redistricting Forum" at Council Chambers on Saturday morning. The meeting was sponsored by the Berkeley County Chapter of the South Carolina Coalition for Voters' Participation. We were greeted at the door by the President of the group, Ms. Madelin Gibson- Guy.

There were several BC elected officials in attendance, Supervisor, Dan Davis, Councilmen, Pinckney, Schurlknight, and Davis and School Board member, Moore. State Rep. Joe Jefferson was introduced as an organizer of the event. Mr. Jefferson was the first to speak and briefly explained the redistricting process and, then, went on to inform the assemblage about the new Voter ID Law. It was unfortunate that Mr. Jefferson's explanation left the audience with the impression that, according to the new Law, a birth certificate would be necessary in order for a person to vote. Understandably so, this information was very distressing to many. Thankfully, Mrs. Nancy Corbin came to the rescue and explained that simply presenting a driver's license was all that was required. Upon hearing this, the crowd seemed relieved and more comfortable with the new Law.

Several people in the audience had questions on other topics and a very interesting and lively discussion ensued. Everyone who wished to voice an opinion or ask a question was given full latitude. Ms. Gibson-Guy oversaw the meeting with grace and expertise. GE&P commends her for her efforts.

By now, you have concluded there has to be a "BUT". And, you would be correct.

GE&P asked Mr. Pinckney why he was satisfied with District 7 having a deficit of 800 citizens instead of having its full compliment of 1/8th of the total BC population as the redistricting guidelines indicate. Mr. Pinckney would not discuss his reasoning on the matter. He would only parrot the worn talking point, "The District needs equity". Well, GE&P doesn't know what that means. Mr. Pinckney said the District may even lose more people(?), if he has his way.

GE&P made every effort to explain to Mr. Pinckney that we are no longer living in the 1930s. We get our proof from the fact that Congressional District 1, which is 80% White, just elected a Black man to the House of Representatives and the State of SC just elected a female of ethnic background to our highest office. Mr. Pinckney's reply to our statement, "You're bringing politics into this discussion".

Well, Mr. Pinckney, if you will, please allow GE&P to bring a few more pertinent facts to this discussion. The Voting Rights Act and the Rules and Regulations of the DOJ are in place to assure that minorities have a "fair opportunity" to achieve elected office. When it comes to redistricting, even the VRA and the DOJ will not allow "race" to be the "only factor" supporting a proposed plan. Race can be "a factor" but not the sole reason. Judging from the results of the SC 2010 elections, race doesn't seem to be a factor at all. AND, there is no protection in any of the guidelines to assure the election of a particular political party and, certainly, no provisions to guarantee the re-election of incumbents.

Mr. Pinckney is playing a very risky game with his gerrymandered redistricting plan and, more importantly, his attitude in general. He is attempting to pitt BC citizen against BC citizen for his own benefit. GE&P is realistic enough to admit that there are racists and bigots, both Black and White, living in BC and elsewhere, BUT, Thank God, their numbers are few. We firmly believe, from what we witness on a daily basis and from the meeting Saturday, the vast majority of people of every color who live in BC are good, moral people who respect their neighbors. And more than a few of this number are sick to their very souls of the race-baiting perpetrated by politicians and "leaders" who can't seem to acknowledge that a new social reality has developed. Here in BC, we will no longer accept being referred to as "the White Community" or "the Black Community". We are the "BC Community", the "SC Community", and the "Community of the United Staes of America". PERIOD.

NOTE: It would "behove" Mr. Pinckney to do some research on the former rulings of the DOJ on this subject. Historically, there are cases where one single letter of complaint has caused a redistricting plan to be rejected.

Now, did you really think this post would conclude without a report of a conflict between GE&P and our esteemed leader, Supervisor Davis? Silly you.

A gentleman in the audience asked Supervisor Davis about the possibility of getting a waterline on Hwy. 59. Everyone on the first row almost fell off their chairs when Mr. Davis told the gentleman that water lines to the entire county were not "economically feasible". Mr. Davis made this statement knowing he had allowed a $2.4 MILLION waterline (servicing less than 10 households) to be installed on Hwy. 311 solely to secure Mr. Pinckney's supporting vote on County Council. GE&P interpreted Mr. Davis' statement as waving a red flag in the face of a raging bull. GE&P took the opportunity to briefly refer to this reckless spending.

In rebuttal, Mr. Davis pointed out that "no taxpayer dollars were spent on the Hwy. 311 waterline". Mr. Davis stated that every dollar had come from "fees" paid to BCW&SA by customers. GE&P would like to thank Mr. Davis for this clarification and we would like to pass along a detailed explanation to the taxpayers of BC.

The activities of BCW&SA are funded by Customer Fees for service and Impact Fees charged to new construction. These Impact Fees are passed along to buyers of the houses or products of these businesses. So, here it is simply put. When you pay your "taxes" to BC government, you take the money from your right pocket. When you pay your "fees" to BC government, you take the money from your left pocket.

As you can see, these are two totally different situations. We hope everyone understands. If you have any further questions, please contact Mr. Davis.

Monday, August 8, 2011


It is a crying shame that one spokesman for Charleston DEHEC is so confused. He actually thinks that this new Storm Water Management Program that Dan Davis wants to charge the Berkeley County taxpayers $1.4 MILLION to implement is really not a state issued mandate to Berkeley County. According to this misinformed state official, the only way for this DEHEC responsibility to be transferred to a County or municipality is for said County or municipality to request same. The "totally inaccurate" official account of the process is as follows:

1. The County or municipality applies to DEHEC for permission to take over this responsibility. (whatever that is)

2. DEHEC, after approval, issues a permit to the County or municipality.

3. The County or municipality pays $2000 to DEHEC for the permit.

4. DEHEC has no input or control over the County or municipal fees imposed.

5. A CASH COW is firmly tethered to the hitching post in front of the BC Administration Building.

As it seems the DEHEC office is much akin to those of the IRS and Social Security, answers to questions vary as to the person with whom you speak. Another "official" at DEHEC insists the Storm Water Management Program IS mandated by the State. So, GE&P decided to go to the horse's mouth for a definitive answer. We referred to SC Statute. Here is the applicable quote:


D. The Commission encourages the implementation of the Stormwater Management and Sediment Reduction Act on a watershed basis by local governments.

As to the financing of this program, we learned that the statute provides choices. BC can either institute a county wide annual fee, payable by every property owner in the unincorporated areas, or impose a one time fee to all new construction.


A (1) If the delegated jurisdiction has a source of funding that is provided through local revenues, then the implementation of the delegated component will not necessitate the imposition of a permit fee to cover the cost of the delegated program component.

(2) In the event that one component of an overall stormwater management and sediment control program is not funded through the use of general or special funds, a non-refundable permit fee may be collected at the time that the stormwater management and sediment control plan or application for waiver or variance is submitted or approved. The permit fee will provide for the unfunded costs of plan review, administration and management of the permitting office, construction review, maintenance inspection, and education and training.

This seems pretty simple. The County can opt to either charge a fee to the entities who are actually causing the proposed "damage" to the environment or they can just charge everybody. You might be asking,"Why in the world would the County want to charge everybody?" That wouldn't make much sense now would it? Well, think again. There is one more little insignificant part of the statute.


B. Where the Commission is the implementing agency, the Commission may assess a fee not to exceed $100.00 per disturbed acre up to a maximum of $2000.00. No fee will be charged for land disturbing activities which disturb two acres or less. A fee of $100.00 will be charged for permit modifications.

Well, looky there. When the responsibility for this "program" is transferred from the Commission (State) to the County, the same Rules and one time fee limits would apply. If the County decides to pick the "one time fee" to contractors, they would be boxed into a limited revenue situation. When there is a $2000 limit on individual fees, exactly how many new construction projects would we have to secure in one year to match the proposed overall countywide fee total of $1.4 MILLION? (In many people's opinions, there may be a lot of derogatory adjectives that rightfully apply to Dan Davis but "stupid" is not one of them. Unlike Councilman Pinckney, who seemed to have trouble with his financial disclosure forms to Ethics differentiating between $250 and $2.4 MILLION in personal benefit from a municipal project, Mr. Davis has no trouble comparing the sums involved in this situation.)

Then, another question as to who should be paying for this boondoggle comes to mind. The SC Statute seems to be pretty clear, to a non-lawyer that is.


A. The financing of a stormwater utility with a user charge system must be reasonable and equitable so that each user of the stormwater system pays to the extent to which the user contributes to the need for the stormwater system, and that the charges bear a substantial relationship to the cost of the service.

A couple of weeks ago, Mr. Frank Carson told a small group of concerned taxpayers that an "interim" annual fee was going to be imposed on all property owners in the unincorporated areas. (Later, in the Berkeley Independent, he indicated that this "interim" fee would be spent trying to determine what the "actual" annual fee will be.) It is our understanding that Mr. Carson indicated the fee would be based on the roof area of the buildings and the amount of paved area on the property. This combined figure would determine the impact on the environment and, therefore, the amount of the annual fee. When asked if the amount of undeveloped acreage surrounding the buildings would have any positive impact on reducing the fee he said, "NO".

When asked if the "Program" would require any new employees, facilities, or equipment, Mr. Carson said, "NO". (Having read the Rules & Regs, it is obvious that 95% of this "Program" is administrative and well within the abilities of existing employees.) HOWEVER, Mr. Carson delivered a presentation to Council last Monday night itemizing all the new expenditures that justify the taking of the $1.4 MILLION.

We need to remember that this "Program", with slight deviations, has existed in BC since 1993. Even as Mr. Carson was listing the extensive expenditures required for the upcoming years for this "Program", the Finance Department of BC government, at the same meeting, listed the past expenditures as being from $49,000 to $73,000 annually. These funds were comfortably provided by the general fund. The requirements of the "new" permit do not measurably deviate from those of the past so there is no way to justify the imposition of a $1.4 MILLION new tax burden on the property owners of BC.

So, here we have it in a nutshell. Mr. Davis is hellbent on taking $1.4 MILLION more from the taxpayers of BC. He has his 4 "paid for" members of County Council who will vote for anything he wants. This arrangement is additionally egregious due to the fact that 2 of these Councilmen represent areas populated with a substantial number of people who simply cannot afford any addition expenses.

One of the biggest arguments for this new "Program" is that surrounding Counties and municipalities already have it in place. To GE&P, this is not a valid argument. If something is unfair and, simply put, WRONG, it doesn't matter if everyone is doing it. It's still WRONG.

NOTE: On the surface, there would seem to be some doubt that these fees are enforceable as the "official" documents of BC government show a built-in 20% non-complience factor.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


GE&P attended the County Council Redistricting Workshop last night. As a citizen of the greatest County on the face of the earth, the greatest State in the Union, and the greatest County in the State, we found some of the discussion very distasteful.

The moderator, Mr. Bowers, is a well respected and long term demographer. His assignment at the meeting was to educate everyone on State law and DOJ requirements regarding redistricting. He was very professional and presented the information clearly in a manner that was easily understandable to all. The problem for GE&P arose, not from the manner of presentation, but from the content of the information related. It was this information that we found basically offensive.

Mr. Bowers distributed a fact sheet that contained the redistricting requirements in order of priority. He emphasized that the first three items on the list were of utmost importance and were absolutely essential to formulating a successful plan that would pass DOJ muster. These three items concerned only one issue, guaranteeing that there will be two minority Districts in BC that are capable of reelecting the incumbent. The LAST item, in terms of priority on this list was PUBLIC INPUT.

As we see them, these requirements present a few insurmountable problems for those charged with formulating the redistricting plan to coincide with all the applicable laws:

1. The Black population of BC, according to the 2000 census, was 26.6% of the total population. According to the 2010 census, the Black population of BC had diminished to 25.4% of the total.

2. A sizable percentage of this 25.4% of our Black population has dispersed from the traditionally rural "Black communities" and has relocated into other parts of the County. Many of these citizens have relocated into the "general population" of the urban incorporated areas. They have opted, understandably so, to settle in subdivisions and communities that are not referred to as populated by a certain race. They have chosen to live in areas where they are referred to as simply "a good neighbor" with no reference to race. Being as this voluntary dispersement is so random and widespread, it is impossible for any redistricting effort to "segregate" these families into a particular district.

3. There has been an influx of "Newbies" in BC over the last 10 years. Many of these new citizens have moved into the rural parts of the County. The addition of these new citizens, mostly whites, has affected the ratio of white to black in population counts in areas that were, at one time, predominately black.

This is one segment of the redistricting issue that GE&P finds totally confusing. We thought the goal of this county is to create a homogenized society where race, religion, or national origin is never an issue. We thought the whole idea revolved around not considering the color of one's skin but the content of one's character.

At the workshop, one member of County Council who opted to refer to himself as "a minority" stated that "if this plan succeeds, come next election, there won't be any minorities on County Council". He was referring to the proposed plan's ratio of black to white voters in his District. Another member of Council questioned the validity of this statement by reminding everyone that Tim Scott won his bid for Congress in District 1, facing a voting population that is 80% white. The "minority" Councilman replied, "Yea, but those are Republicans". When presented with the possibility that he had suggested that white Republicans would happily elect a Black candidate but white Democrats would not, the "minority" Councilman became irate and vehemently denied that he had implied any such thing.

From all the information gathered from the workshop, GE&P deduced that State law and the requirements of the DOJ are aimed at guaranteeing the election of a Black candidate in 2 of our Council Districts. The "minority" incumbents seem to be more concerned with the election of a candidate of a certain political party or, moreover, a certain political ideology.

GE&P will repeat our long-time position on this issue. We detest the 1930ish practices of denying any person their Constitutional rights, no matter their skin color. We actively support equal opportunity for every citizen. We support "One man, one vote". We support open and fair elections. We believe any person should be allowed to stand for the elected office of their choosing. But, we, also, believe the race baiting resulting from the restrictions imposed by the DOJ is disgusting. The good people of SC have risen above the reprehensible problems of the past that required intervention by the DOJ. The election of Tim Scott is the proof of that statement.

After reviewing all the SC laws and DOJ requirements on this subject and taking into consideration the geography and population disbursement of BC, along with the "minority" Councilmen's goals, GE&P can envision no workable solution to this conundrum. So stop trying to divide Berkeley County by race. Stop the race-baiting. The only way to make any redistricting plan adhere to all the existing SC laws and DOJ regulations, considering the numbers we have to work with, is to go back to segregated neighborhoods and districts and GE&P wants no part of that kind of social regression.

We, the majority of black and white citizens of BC, have advanced beyond that. We, the majority of black and white citizens of BC, look upon each other as neighbors and allies not as adversaries and enemies. We, the majority of black and white citizens of BC, truly resent a small minority of the population who continues to try to convince us otherwise. It is past time for this ever shrinking group of people to stop the divisive rhetoric and join the rest of us who are trying to make BC the best place in the world to live.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Did everyone check the agenda for the County Council meeting for this coming Monday night?There's a very interesting little item on the agenda of the Finance Committee. It seems Mr. Davis wants to repeal BC Ordinance 96-1-2. Ten to one you don't know what that Ordinance covers. Well, let us be the first to enlighten you. The Ordinance says in part:

"......Berkeley County designates that the distribution of the fee-in-lieu of ad valorem property taxes pursuant to the Industrial Park Agreement received by Berkeley County for park premises located in Berkeley County (the 94% portion) be made to each of the taxing entities in Berkeley County which levy an ad valorem property tax in any of the areas comprising the Berkeley Park in the same percentage as is equal to that taxing entity's percentage of the millage rate being levied in the then current tax year for property tax purposes,.........."

At present, the fee-in-lieu of tax revenue has a set procedure for distribution. Williamsburg County gets 1%, the BC Economic Development Fund gets 5%, and the remainder is divided between the taxing entities of the county. Since the School District is one of these entities, they should get their share. According to the source you ask, in the past, this share was in the neighborhood of up to 64%. But we must remember that Mr. Davis has already taken the portion of these FILOT funds provided by Mount Holly. So the amount of funds received by the School District has been lowered.

Now we need for you to put on your thinking cap. Follow these dots. An Ordinance is in place that states the School District is legally entitled to a portion of the FILOT money collected in BC. Mr. Davis has already deprived the School District of their portion of funds from one FILOT source, Mt. Holly. Now, Mr. Davis wants to repeal the whole Ordinance that gives the School District the legal right, based on millage, to a percentage of the remaining funds.

Everyone should be aware that this FILOT money has been a large part of the School District's funding since 1996. When the County was being run in a fiscally responsible manner, everyone realized that funding the School District was an important endeavor. Obviously, this administration has a different set of priorities since Mr. Davis puts more import on a $2.4 million water line that serves 7 families and a $1.6 million mud hole.

We have all seen the articles in the newspaper stating that the School District is begging for donations to provide the basic needs of the students. Does anyone in his right mind believe this administration will give the School District jack if not forced to do so by this Ordinance? Did Mr. Davis come up short on Mr. Steve Davis' new courthouse?

What do you think will happen to the budget of the School District if and when Mr. Davis withholds the remainder of this FILOT money? What will happen if the School District is forced into the position of being the villain by raising your taxes just to meet needs? Mr. Davis will be able to sit there with his smug self and brag that he didn't raise taxes.

Many BC teachers supported Mr. Davis in both of his elections. Looks like this decision has come back to "bite cha". There was no uproar from that quarter when Mr. Davis took the Mt. Holly funds from the School District. We have to wonder if they will maintain that silence now.

Friday, July 22, 2011


We know a lot of you are all exercised about the State and Federal Redistricting. So you will not be surprised that the fancy footwork and downright crooked activity has sifted down to the Berkeley County Council Redistricting Plan.

We are certain all of you received notice of the Council Redistricting meetings, right? Well, you may be surprised that they have been going on for over a year now. And, after a thorough check, GE&P learned that at least 4 of the present members of County Council were not notified of these meetings either. Anybody care to guess which 4 members that could be?

As usual, we will give you a little background on the process. First, the number of citizens in the county is established by the census. We are working with the 2010 census in this case. Since there are 8 Council Districts in BC, the total number of the population is divided by 8 and each District is supposed to have pretty close to that number of population. These individual numbers are broken down by total District count, then, by race, and then by voting age folks. Each District is supposed to be contiguous. In other words, all parts of the District have to be connected in some manner.

The Proposed Plan which, by the way, has a large bold note saying "NOT FOR PUBLICATION", is very interesting. For this post, we decided to confine our comments primarily to District 7. We will get to the others later.

Following the number gathered from the 2010 census, each Council District should have a population of 22,230. This goal would be achieved if the county was divided exactly evenly into 8 parts. Since this hardly ever happens, the proposal always has a "deviation percentage" included. This deviation can be either plus or minus. In a perfect world, this percentage should be very small. In a crooked world, not so much.

According to this new Plan, (and remember, we don't know who formulated this Plan) District 7 only has a population of 21,430. This number leaves District 7 800 short of its fair share. Even with the shortfall, District 7 has 48.37% white people of voting age and 47.10% black people of voting age. But, Mr. Pinckney isn't worried about these numbers since he represents all the people.

Now that we have the proposed numbers established, let's get to the map of District 7. Most District maps are drawn with natural boundaries such as rivers, roads, or communities. District 7 doesn't quite meet these guidelines.

District 7 touches three other Districts, 6, 8, and 4. In order to pick up the deficit of 800, District 7 would have to take some folks from one of these other Districts. We can discount District 8 because Mr. Steve Davis is not going to relinquish one of his voters because he, too, already has a deficit of 632. (Do we notice a pattern here?) District 4, also, has a deficit but of only 245, so that's out. That leaves District 6 with its surplus of 410. Oh my goodness, would you look at where District 7 meets District 6.

We have a nice neat boundary along Hwy. 6. Mr. Pinckney gets the left side of the road and Mr. Schurlknight gets the right side. We have the same scenario in the middle section where the two Districts intersect, Mr. Pinckney to the left side of the road and Mr. Schurlknight to the right. But, then we come to the area where the two Districts meet along Hwy 176. District 7 follows an imaginary line just northwest of Cane Bay. This puts Cane Bay into Mr. Schurlknight's District.

Now let's look at this issue from a purely non-political point of view. If District 6 has a surplus of 410 and District 7 has a deficit of 800, wouldn't it make good common sense to shift the 410 from District 6 to District 7? Wouldn't that be more e-qui-ta-ble?

If you are interested in the issue of County Council Redistricting you may want to attend the workshop to be held in the Supervisor's conference room on Tuesday July 26th at 6 PM. The meeting will not be open for public comment but you might find it informative none the less.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Don't you just love politics?

Our favorite part of this game would have to be the various rumors that one hears. We have to admit one funny thing is that there are lots of rumors about the Left going Right but very few the other way around. We heard a real doozy the other day that we thought you might enjoy. First, we'll fill in the facts and, then, we'll get to the rumor.

Sen. Glenn McConnell has made it abundantly clear that he is no longer a fan of Sen. Larry Grooms and the Tea Party Conservatives known as the "back row boys". This group keeps gumming up the works for Glenn by blocking his big government spending schemes. Most recently, Larry had the unadulterated gall to disagree with "His Holiness" on some major redistricting issues. Larry was looking out for his constituents and, in the end, Larry's position won the vote and the day. Sen. McConnell was not pleased with Sen. Grooms. He voiced his displeasure loudly and at length on the senate floor.

As a result of Sen. Grooms' disobedience, (and challenge to Glenn's supreme authority) Sen. McConnell would love to get rid of this thorn in his side. Being as Larry is the most senior member of this troublesome Tea Party crowd, wouldn't it be great if Glenn could only come up with a scheme to replace him with a more easily controllable RINO who would support McConnell's big spending initiatives?

Sen. McConnell is the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee that is in charge of Senate redistricting. Sen. Grooms is in Senate District 37. When the map for the "new" District 37 came out, something had been added, a little corner of Park Circle in North Charleston. At the time, no one thought too much of it.

Since everyone knows that Charleston has more than its share of Democrats and RINO elites, it is not unusual to see more than one of either attending the East Cooper Republican Lunch. But, it is a bit unusual to see a Charleston County elected official and supposed "Republican" escorting a known Liberal Democrat around like he is some kind of dignitary. Well, lots of heads turned when Charlie Lybrand, the Charleston RMC, escorted Liberal Democrat, Elliot (somebody) into the last luncheon. Young Elliot was even invited to speak before the Republican gathering. He bragged about being a Democrat and voting Democrat but stressed that he had appointed "some" Republicans to "some" board seats. (we imagine that brought the crowd to its feet) Did we forget to mention that it so happened that Sen. Grooms was the guest speaker that same day? Anyway, after young Elliot finished his speech, he and Mr. Lybrand were observed huddling with some of the Charleston GOP officials.

After this event, it became general knowledge that the little corner of Park Circle was added to District 37 and surprise, surprise, guess who lives there? You got it, none other than young Elliot. Thats when some politically savvy folks started connecting the dots and the rumor mill began to go wild.

Could we be watching the groundwork for a McConnell secret plan?

Why is Glenn breaking the 11th commandment when it come to Sen. Grooms?

Is Sen. Grooms being set up for a challenge?

Could this Liberal Democrat be persuaded to switch parties?

Will Roy and Trigger get to the ranch in time?

Don't you just love politics?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Well, Folks, it looks like Mr. Davis and his merry men are on the verge of shafting the BC taxpayers yet one more time. In case you haven't noticed, Mr. Davis has never seen a revenue source he won't exploit. Case in point, Storm Water Management.

To begin with, the name is a bit misleading. One would think this program has something to do with "storm water". It doesn't. This new County agency has been designated with the responsibility of monitoring water quality in the rivers and streams of Berkeley County. This designation came in the form of a mandate from DEHEC which, in turn, was mandated by the EPA. Not all Counties in all states are bound by this mandate. The Feds decided to pick and choose who will have to comply and who gets to skate. Unfortunately for us, Berkeley County drew one of the short straws.

When GE&P learned of this new program, we, and a small group of other concerned citizens, arranged a meeting with Mr. Frank Carson. Mr. Carson is heading up the new program and he very kindly agreed to meet with us to answer our questions and address our concerns. The meeting was held this afternoon. We did get answers to all our questions but we did not have our concerns diminished. If anything, our concerns were only exacerbated.

The documents outlining this mandate are something to behold. When one searches for the goals of the program, one finds the text lacking in particulars. There are vague generalities and an inordinate quantity of bureaucratic gobbledygook. The scariest parts are the sections which list the provisions that must be included in the Berkeley County Ordinance covering this program. We will list the provisions of greatest concern and the explanations we received from the meeting.

ORDINANCE: The County MUST include an article that SWMP agents have the right to enter any private property at any time they choose.

EXPLANATION: Agents will only enter private property AFTER the owner has received notice of same. (this is NOT the wording of the mandate)

ORDINANCE: In Berkeley County, property owners and users should finance the Storm Water Management system to the extent they contribute to the need for the system and benefit from the system, and charges therefore should bear a reasonable relationship to the cost of the service, and every effort should be made to fairly spread the cost of the system to all property owners and users.

EXPLANATION: Not all property owners contribute to the "problem" (the "problem" could not be defined in the first place) and no one could indicate any benefit that anyone attending the meeting would derive from the "system". We hope that's clear as mud.

LIST OF ILLICIT DISCHARGES: Laundry Wastewaters/grey water, Radiator flushing disposal, Carpet cleaning wastewater, Spills from roadway accidents, and EFFLUENTS FROM SEPTIC TANKS.

EXPLANATION: No one should worry about the septic system prohibition. This only means if the septic system is broken and the effluents are pouring out on the top of the ground or into a ditch. It has nothing to do with the effluents that go into the drain lines. (Again, that's NOT what the regulations say.)

The "interim" fees will be as follows:

Rental unit---------$18
Mobile Home------$18
Church & School---$72

We were unable to obtain a definite count on the actual number of these units in BC as the agency has yet to do a complete survey. These fees were "approximated" from a "sampling" resulting in an "estimate". NOTE: The $2.4 Million Hwy. 311 water line survey "estimated" that there would be 114 tap-ins when, in actuality, there turned out to be only 7. Ooops.
But we KNOW this government agency will be far more efficient.

One member of the group asked if the funds collected under this new fee would be used for any other purposes than those of the Storm Water Management Program. (tongue in check) We were assured that State statute mandates that the revenues collected by any utility be used only for that utility's activities. (You're probably thinking about the $10 Million that Mr. Davis "borrowed" from BCW&SA's Fund Balance, aren't you? Well, stop that.) We KNOW this government agency would not let a thing like that happen to them.

At the end of the meeting we had learned quite a few things.

We learned that the Storm Water Management Program has little to nothing to do with storm water.
The new agency will not have to hire any new people.
The people who will be assuring that BC is in compliance with the mandate will be present employees already on the payroll.
The new agency will not require new housing.
The agency will be required to fill out an annual report to DEHEC on their activities.
The agency will be required to educate the public as to what a necessary job the agency is doing.
The most important job of the agency will be to sample the water in our rivers and streams to be sure it is in compliance with DEHEC standards.
The main contamination culprit these folks will be searching for in our waters is fecal matter. (It was admitted that, if the fecal matter turns out to be from deer, raccoons, possums, squirrels, or other critters, a solution to the problem will require more research.)
All of these valuable services are only going to cost you $1.4 Million in the first year and a yet to be determined sum in the out years.

There were a few more things we learned that were extremely frustrating.

No one could tell us just exactly how any of our properties were contributing to what ever the problem is that this agency is supposed to solve.
No one could tell us just exactly what will be the benefit to us for paying this fee to support this agency.
No one would even discuss the possibility of these funds experiencing an unforeseen "inter-departmental transfer" to the BC General Fund.

So, here's the long and short of it, Taxpayers.

You're getting an agency that you don't need; that you don't know what it's suppose to do; that you don't know what is the problem that it's suppose to solve; that completely obliterates your private property rights; and all this goodness will only cost you $1.4 Million in the first year.

At least you don't have to worry about Mr. Davis raiding this fund balance. Can anyone say,