Letters to the Editor

Robert Caslen’s military background will serve him well as USC’s president

Recent negative comments about USC’s new president, Robert Caslen, are unwarranted. His successful military background shows great leadership qualities that will bode him well in the years to come.

Strategy and planning, recruiting exceptional people, and motivating faculty and students to reach their fullest potential are all necessary to keep the university’s ranking among the best in the nation.

Dean Emeritus Dr. James F. Kane, my former neighbor, is an example of a military man that led the “B” school for 26 years with great success. Jim’s military career began when he attended and graduated from St. Thomas Military.

Although he held a PhD, he came to Carolina with very little academic experience having served in the Air Force as an instructor of future navigators. He was editor of the AACSB before becoming a director of that organization. Jim was a firm believer of positive thinking and was the driving force behind the building of the “Twin Towers” and the development of the Business Partnership Program.

He always said if you surrounded yourself with highly skilled individuals and motivated them to excel beyond their potential, nothing was impossible. His leadership skills were grounded in that philosophy.

Dr. George F. Olson was the first Dean of the forerunner to the “B” school, “The School of Commerce.” in 1919. At 28 years old and recently discharged from the Army, he laid the groundwork needed to get the program established so we could be blessed with the modern Darla Moore School of Business.

Gerald Callahan


Santee Cooper should be sold to save customers from high bills

It’s a myth that state-owned Santee Cooper has low rates.

According to the S.C. Energy Office, Santee Cooper’s residential rates are already 20% to 25% higher than investor-owned Duke Progress and Duke Carolina. This is before Santee Cooper raises its rates even higher to start servicing its $8 billion debt that’s accumulating interest at $1 million per day.

Santee Cooper’s chief financial officer acknowledged in Senate testimony that its rates will increase by at least 15% to start paying off debt from its failed nuclear project. Independent studies say rates could increase more than 30%.

These extremely high rates affect not only Santee Cooper customers, but also those of the 20 electric cooperatives that buy all of their power from Santee Cooper. The electric cooperatives have complained that Santee Cooper has the highest wholesale rates not only in the state, but in the region, ranging from 25% to nearly 50% higher than investor-owned utilities.

Investor-owned utilities have offered to buy Santee Cooper and provide lower long-term rates. Selling Santee Cooper just makes good sense to protect customers from sky high electric bills.

Johnnie Bellamy

Myrtle Beach

REI’s ‘support’ of conservation seems questionable

As a passionate outdoorswoman and a Columbia native, I was thrilled to hear the news back in March about the new REI opening in the Bull Street district. It was a double win: positive growth in the struggling development project and, for me, closer proximity to my favorite outdoor equipment supplier. Almost all of my equipment is REI-branded; I support the company because of their inexpensive quality gear as well as their commitment to the conservation of public lands and endangered natural areas. REI’s press release concerning the Columbia store even contained a statement saying that protection of natural areas is a “key part” of their mission.

However, when I was driving by Segra Park this week, I noticed the land surrounding the new REI store had been clear-cut. Does REI only support conservation efforts when they are economically or politically convenient? The company has vehemently opposed the president’s efforts to shrink many national monuments. Seeing the bare expanse of dirt where Columbia’s beautiful urban forest once stood makes it clear that REI’s support of conservation only goes as far as necessary to set themselves opposite to Trump, a move that surely increases sales among the majority-liberal outdoor crowd.

Sydney Bertram