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,