Council members side with sign industry
Seven members of the Richland County Council have given the green light to digital billboards. This vote is the culmination of a two-and-a-half year effort by the sign industry to increase its local revenue by extending the digital option to advertisers. Earlier this year (not even four months into their terms), County Council members Jim Manning and Gwendolyn Davis Kennedy introduced the "Changeable Copy Sign Ordinance" - a modified version of the sign industry's original proposal. Then, council members Paul Livingston, Damon Jeter, Joyce Dickerson, Norman Jackson and Kelvin Washington came on board.
These seven council members ignored concerns that the signs will alter the character of our community and hamper redevelopment efforts as well as warnings about the detrimental effects on the environment and the potential for traffic accidents because of driver distraction. They turned a deaf ear when fellow council members reminded them that county taxpayers will have to foot the bill in recompense to the sign company if relocation or removal of a billboard is required.
Those of us who have worked to defeat this ordinance question this judgment and ask to whom these seven council members are most dedicated. Residents should assess the consequences of the digital billboard ordinance and hold those responsible accordingly.
Extremism dividing nation's citizens
Every day it seems that I read columns, comments and letters expressing concern about the division that extremism is causing to the citizens of the United States. We have sunk into the unfortunate position of automatically opposing what the other side advocates without any due consideration or evaluation. When the president fails, no matter his party affiliation, we all fail. For the larger good of our state and our country, we need to remember that before we are Republican, Democrat, independent, etc., we are first of all citizens of the United States of America.
CHARLOTTE T. BROOKS
Plenty of blame for loss of Olympics
The United States, specifically Chicago, lost its bid for the Olympics. Yes, it would have meant long-term, temporary, jobs for the Chicago area. It would have provided income from the competing countries and spectators from around the world. But the United States has hosted both the summer and winter games many times. It is only fair to award the rights to another country. We do not own the monopoly to the games.
The media and many of our citizens are placing blame on President Obama. I believe that blame should be placed on our current economic and security situations: our country's flailing economy and rise in violent crime (in fact, all crime), our increasing disfavor with the other countries around the world.
President Obama has no control over the International Olympic Committee. It is an independent body that must take into consideration many factors. Could it have been influenced by our increasing intolerance of others who don't agree with us or look like us? Could it have been the political disarray in not only our federal government but also our states' governments? Could the committee have seen the ever-increasing division among the citizens of this country?
If one must play the blame game, the blame for the loss of the Olympic Games falls on all of us. We must start taking responsibility for our own actions and see them as the rest of the world sees them.
Health care begins with prevention
Whenever I read about the turmoil surrounding health care, I often shake my head in wonder. Why isn't anyone stressing the importance of prevention? Many of the medical problems we face could be avoided by maintaining a prevention plan. Simple stuff - eat moderately, get some exercise, stop smoking, don't drink so much, avoid stress. We hear it all the time, but why do we wait until we get sick before we get the help we need?
I finally decided to join a wellness program, which aids me in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It works for me, but I still have to do the sit ups and practice portion control with my meals. I encourage everyone to practice some sort of health care prevention; think of it as your patriotic duty. Find a plan that works for you, and stick with it.
Unless we start harnessing the runaway health costs in this country, the economy will never recover. So come on, America, get off the couch and go for a walk and start being responsible for your own wellness. You owe it to yourself, and you owe it to your country.