Coble walks away as going gets tough
Warren Bolton sugar-coated things in his "Why Bob Coble isn't running for re-election" column on Sunday. Bob Coble is the consummate politician. He wanted to spend the taxpayers' money like a drunk sailor. All these special interests loved him; he and the City Council were always interested in spending more money. Bob Coble also wanted to be seen: shaking hands, kissing babies and smiling for the TV and newspaper camera.
Now that Columbia has a mountain of financial woes, no financial surplus, lagging revenues and cuts in wages and benefits to city employees, who in their right mind would want this job?
I believe Mayor Coble and the City Council should all be swept from office. They have put the city in this terrible financial mess. I believe a lot of their spending actions are borderline malfeasance at best.
I predict that one of the first duties of the new mayor and City Council will be to raise taxes and fees. People out here where we live near Ballentine better be prepared, because it will be easier for them to raise their monopoly water bills than raise taxes. Someone - that would be folks like us - is going to have to bear the burden of fixing Columbia's mismanaged finances. We will have to help subsidize city services and expenses.
Mayor Bob Coble will have sailed off into the sunset. He won't have to straighten out the mess he left behind. He is just another lousy politician. When the going gets rough, he walks out the door.
Digital billboards unneeded distractions
The justification most often given in support of digital billboards is their capability to provide instant public service announcements - primarily Amber Alerts. In fact, Councilman Jim Manning cites this as the principal motivating factor for his proposal of the Richland County Changeable Copy Sign Ordinance.
How ironic. We place on our roadways flashing signs that are effectively designed to get our attention just in the hope that a passer-by (with no car radio) might see the alert (typically five to six per year) and provide useful information. Is this really an effective way to protect our children?
No - not when the leading cause of unintended injury and deaths among children ages zero to 19 is related to traffic accidents. Quoting from the Centers for Disease Control's "Protect the Ones You Love" Web page: "Transportation-related injuries had the highest death rate among children 0 to 19 years of age in the state of South Carolina (14.8 per 100,000)."
Digital billboards are intended to distract us. Otherwise, what would be the point of them? The sign industry even touts them as "impossible to ignore." Let's keep digital billboards off our streets in Richland County and not add another driver distraction that would cause more accidents with children's injuries or deaths.
Carter, Clyburn embarrassing
Can anyone put a cork in Jimmy Carter? He embarrasses me more than anything else to come out of the South. Between him and Bill Clinton, I no longer have any respect or give any credence to Nobel prizes of any sort.
Ditto Jim Clyburn. I used to work downtown, and it was always a challenge to see if there was a person walking across that "bridge" while dodging the folks running across the highway.
Civility crucial to health of nation
The Founding Fathers exhibited great foresight when they put in place a government with executive, legislative and judicial branches to ensure a system of checks and balances. This places a tremendous responsibility on each branch, and all Americans. There will continue to be a need for healthy debate, followed by some form of compromise to ensure that the American people receive the quality of life that we can afford.
We must allow civility to govern our differences and our debates. A nation that allows polarization to dominate the debate will end up on a slippery slope to nowhere. There are enemies without and within who desire to see the downfall of this nation. Let none of us be found guilty of inadvertently holding their coats while they attempt to make it happen. We are challenged to pray and intercede for presidents and for all in authority so that we may live the good life in our nation.
REV. EDDIE C. GUESS
Candidate Barrett ducks for cover
Not surprisingly, the Democrats in the House of Representatives mustered 220 votes to rebuke Rep. Joe Wilson. He took the heat and stood his ground.
Predictably, Rep. Bob Inglis of Greenville voted with the Democrats. Remember, he ran as a conservative against Fritz Hollings, but has since changed his stripes.
Rep. Gresham Barrett, a Republican who's running for governor, carefully evaluated the situation and elected not to vote for or against censure. Now there is a man with unnerving courage and proven leadership qualities.
On the day of the vote, Barrett sent a letter of platitudes and political obfuscation to the White House. He focused on national issues and bipartisan cooperation while distancing himself from Wilson.
I don't know who the Tarsolys will vote for governor in 2010, but it won't be for an opportunist.
JOHN B. TARSOLY