Letters to the Editor

Even in poor health, Joe Azar was thinking of helping his community

In 2006, mayoral candidate Joe Azar talks with Shandon residents on the back deck of Jake's in Five Points.
In 2006, mayoral candidate Joe Azar talks with Shandon residents on the back deck of Jake's in Five Points. The State file photo

Like many of your readers, I was sad to read about the untimely death of Joe Azar this week. Joe was a tireless advocate for the greater Columbia community, always having its best interest at heart.

The last time I saw Joe, he was attending a local forum at the Lourie Center. He looked tired and a bit frail. A friend helped him make his way into the meeting. We chatted about some community initiatives, and he said, “That’s a great idea. I need to write a letter about that.” He was thinking of ways to help even as his health declined. He will be missed.

Carla Moore


Columbia needs housing that will look nice for years

I read in the recent issue of The State that Ben Arnold will be building an apartment complex on Assembly Street.

It is my hope that in 10-15 years we will not see all of these apartment buildings around Columbia empty and deteriorating. It is also my hope that this apartment building has a more pleasing physical appearance than those recently built near the USC campus. Many look as if the builders sourced a variety of materials from salvage yards.

Please Mr. Arnold, if we must have another apartment; build something that Columbians can be proud of and will aesthetically pleasing for years to come.

Beth Bolton


This is the Saudis’ war, not ours

There was a sad front page article in The State on Sept. 19 (Pompeo calls attacks on Saudi Arabia ‘act of war’). It went on to describe how the U.S. might respond to that attack.

The current administration made it clear from the start that it had mostly contempt for a long-held treaty with our NATO allies. It insinuated the U.S. might not join in any response to an act of aggression on one of them.

However, when Saudi Arabia is attacked, there is talk of immediate U.S. military response in their defense. Someone has been watching too many John Wayne movies in the wee hours of the morning (as evidenced by the multiple “locked and loaded” comments).

The American military is not a group of mercenaries to be sent around the world in support of personal friends of the current president. Even though his best buddies appear to be dictators and kings, for him to belittle long-standing treaties yet ride to the rescue of kingdoms that appeal to his overblown image of himself is pathetic.

The U.S. has been providing Saudi Arabia with copious amounts of military equipment of all kinds for years. Let them fight their own wars if they feel that is the proper response.

Another thing to remember: 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11/2001 were from Saudi Arabia, as was bin Laden himself. Interesting how we continue to approach the kingdom on bended knee and, based on initial administration responses, appear willing to do their warfighting for them.

Don Hagedorn


Trump’s oil game is keeping gas prices high

About 10 days ago, a Saudi Arabian oil refinery was attacked by Iran allegedly using drones and cruise missiles. The attack did a lot of damage and the refinery shut down. That evening, the president issued the statement, that it would not affect prices in the U.S. because we import very little Saudi Arabian oil.

Well, guess what happened two days later? Yup, up went the price of gas across the U.S. by an average of around 25 cents. Five days later, the Saudis reported that the refinery was repaid and oil refining has restarted.

Well, here it is six days later and the price of gas has (surprise) not gone down yet. Why not? The president has told the American people that there is 61 billion gallons of gas stored underground and ready for release if the refinery would be shut down for a long period of time and caused a gas crunch here. How can that happen? We exported more oil than we imported for several years now. But big oil is taking more money than all the airlines combined. What does our president have to say about reducing the price of gas to were it was 11 days ago? Nothing!

Ronn Marcelais


The State publishes a cross section of the letters we receive from South Carolinians in order to provide a forum for our community and also to allow our community to get a good look at itself, for good or bad. The letters represent the views of the letter writers, not necessarily of The State.