Now's the right time to expand zoo
The State's opposition to expanding and improving the Riverbanks Zoo at this time is mystifying. First, interest rates are the lowest since the early 1960s; the bonds sold to finance the improvements will carry the lowest interest rates in decades. Contractors and the remodeling industry are all desperate for business to keep their crews busy. The Wall Street Journal reports that most have reduced rates by 20 percent.
Regardless of who gets the contract, most of the workmen, plumbers, carpenters, electricians, bricklayers will be local hires. Their wages will be spent locally.
The State laments that it will cost the owner of a $100,000 house $4 per year in additional taxes. The typical house in Lexington or Richland county is valued at about $150,000. That means the owners will pay about $6 per year. The zoo brings some 1 million visitors a year to the Midlands. In addition to the admission fees they pay, they spend untold money for food, fuel, even overnight stays. Think of the jobs that creates.
If we are to remain in the top 10 category for zoos, we cannot wait until the economy improves. Now is the time to move ahead.
Employment agency criticism off base
Marty Harris ("Jobs commission failing S.C.'s people, Nov. 12), had some accurate points in his criticism of the S.C. Employment Security Commission, but his statement that the commission would move a little faster and more efficiently if the director's family were looking for a home and begging for food is way off target. Also, his assertion that he would be able to do a better job if it were in his power to provide food and shelter for the people who can't find work again misses the mark.
It is not the mission of the Employment Security Commission to provide food and shelter to unemployed individuals. Its mission is to help the unemployed in finding a job and to pay unemployment benefits to those entitled to receive them. Period. It is not a welfare agency. There are state and local agencies that do that.
Canceling parade was right thing to do
Krista Smith wrote on Nov. 13 that veterans didn't get the proper acknowledgment on Veterans Day because the Columbia canceled "their one day." The city didn't cancel the day; it canceled a parade, because of heavy rains and high winds. Many of the people who would march in that parade are active duty military. I am a veteran and a musician who has marched in many parades, and I applaud wholeheartedly Columbia's decision to cancel the parade. I was able to spend the day with my military husband, who otherwise would have "had to work" on a day honoring him and other veterans.
If you truly want to honor veterans, volunteer your services at the VA, buy a meal for military in uniform when you see them, but most of all, thank them for their service. They do not hear it enough
Commander-in-chief needs good example
President Obama couldn't find the time to make one of his hops across-the-pond to Europe for the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, a watershed moment in the history of freedom. More recently, he decided to stay in Washington in the immediate aftermath of a massacre of soldiers that took place at Fort Hood. However, he found time to rally Democratic Party representatives to vote "yea" for legislation that will likely financially ruin the country long after he has left office. Being commander-in-chief is more than learning to salute.
Our last commander-in-chief along with his wife quietly stepped up and showed the world how an American leader graciously behaves in the face of national tragedy. George and Laura Bush took this sorrowful responsibility upon themselves. Without media fanfare, the Bushes paid their respects and offered their condolences and shoulders to the grieving. They brought their warmth and compassion to the entire garrison of Fort Hood in their time of need.
That's leadership in action.
Stop making special license plates
Let's temper the big hoopla over the "I Believe" license plates and all personalized or specialty plates with an easy fix. Let's get the state of South Carolina out of the personalized and specialty license plate business.
People in the state have a variety of beliefs. If you want to spend your time and money to market your favorite religion, college, organization, sport or sunken Confederate submarine, buy a bumper sticker.
In fact, buy two, and then you can put one on the front and rear of your car. Then not only will you be supporting your favorite organization through visual aids, you will be providing it with a direct financial contribution.
It's a win-win situation. You support the organization of your choice with cash. Then we let the government go back to making one license plate for all residents. State government should not be tasked to assist in the business of marketing your favorite cause.