Letters to the Editor

Friday's letters to the editor

Once installed, digital billboards are almost impossible to remove. Production costs between $200,000 and $500,000, but a single billboard's $15,000 potential monthly revenue can quickly offset that. Multiply by 100 billboards, and it's clear why outdoor companies want them. Under S.C. law, both billboard company and landowner must be reimbursed for potential revenue if a billboard is removed. Who would pay this? The answer is local government - i.e., Richland County citizens.

The right of outdoor advertising companies to do business is not at issue; it's the long-range impact of digital boards on the very customers they're trying to reach. Many negatives of the signs - driver distraction, light pollution, energy consumption, visual blight, hindrance to development, compromise of community - were articulated at Richland County Council's meeting last week.

Council vice chairman Damon Jeter, who expressed surprise at the outpouring of interest on this issue, concluded that "there is a place for digital billboards" in Richland County.

Digital technology likely is here to stay, but that's all the more reason for very careful planning and monitoring. Who will be responsible for this oversight?

Outdoor advertising is one of thousands of Richland County businesses; their interests should not outweigh those of other businesses and citizens. Those who care about our landscape should pay close attention to County Council's Oct. 6 meeting.

SUSAN CRAIG

Columbia

Digital world demands new behavior

I want to applaud Sherry Beasley ("A lesson in courtesy, humility," Sept. 20), for eloquently describing how we should behave in an increasingly connected digital world. People sing the praises of technology's ability to allow communication to all almost as quickly as it happens, but few question whether we should have such easy access to a megaphone.

As anyone who uses Facebook, Twitter or any of the numerous social networking sites knows updates range from arrogant and nonsensical to downright rude and are rarely as mundane as "what I had for breakfast." We have become a world of instantaneous self-promoters, forgetting that people can read what we write or hear what we say quicker than we realize we have said something stupid. Online demeanor has begun to seep into reality, which doesn't feature a delete button.

CHRISTOPHER JAYNES

Irmo

Remembering the ties that bind us

While remembering the anniversaries of the 9/11 catastrophic terrorist attack and the disastrous Hurricane Hugo, could we have forgotten the concern and compassion that bonded and strengthened our communities? During those intense crises, we did forget divisive labels, as we triumphed to unite as Americans.

Amid recent news of a possible al-Qaida plot to attack our transit systems, hotels or stadiums with hidden bombs, let us strive for peaceful alertness among us fellow Americans, with our priority to preserve and protect our precious country and citizens. Otherwise, with regret, we might question how much truth echoes from the quote, "United we stand, divided we fall." May God bless America.

SANDRA S. PLATT

Columbia

A look at the two Mark Sanfords

It is fascinating to compare the present Mark Sanford with the former Mark Sanford.

For six years as representative of the 1st Congressional District and for more than six years as governor, the former Sanford boasted that he was not anything like other politicians. He was more independent, more frugal, more concerned about the economies of running government and always dismissive of any who challenged his positions. He claimed that he was disciplined by principle, defined by accountability and absolutely and totally committed to transparency.

Now he wants to be sure that we compare him with his predecessors in the governor's office.

The present Mark Sanford compromises principles, frugality and independence and delays transparency and accountability until he has no alternative.

Both Sanfords demonstrate the arrogance and hubris of a narcissist.

CERMETTE CLARDY JR.

Isle of Palms

Give voters time off to cast ballots

There is a lot of talk in the news lately about voter fraud, in particular about some organizations that solicit prospective voters to register.

A law to require businesses to grant time off for employees to vote has the potential to make a world of difference in the United States. Such a law would surely get more people to the polls. There would, of course, be some who would take the time off and not vote. It also might relieve outside organizations in their quest to gather voter registrations.

JAMES D. SINGLETON

Lexington

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