Past Commentaries

January Issue 1999

by Tom Starland

Well, we've reached another milestone -- two years in North Carolina. Some said we'd never last, while others wondered why we bothered. Myself, I wasn't sure which would wear out first -- my car or me. The Plymoth Voyager has 235,000 + miles under its belt and I'm definately carrying some extra baggage under mine. But, change is in the wings. As usual, we'll take that two-year look to see where we've been and where we need to go -- leaving some behind and reaching out to others. We may even get back together with some old friends. Come join in on the journey and see where it takes us in the next two years.


Democrats Come Up With Unique Ideas


No, I'm not talking about how to get the "Big Guy" off the hook, I'm talking about how they approach the idea of serving the public good with other people's money. Now, a republican is always thinking that in order for people to improve their lives, they have to pull up their boot straps, work a little harder, and make their fortune by creating opportunities -- like selling worthless junk-bonds or selling Y2K surval kits over your religious cable network. That's the way to get ahead. That's how you keep yourself off public roles.

The democrats see things differently. They try and find ways to serve the public good by making it another person's burden. They get money to build public parks from the profits they make by allowing companies to strip mine forest on other public lands at below market rates. They even build the roads so the bulldozers can reach deep into the forest and convince the public they've given them greater access to public lands.

Mayor Joseph P. Riley in Charleston, SC, is truly a democrat, if not one of the biggest democrats in the whole country. He's come up with a new way of building public facilities which he can't afford after draining the City's coffers for the ballpark and aquarium, without costing the city and taxpayers a dime. The Mayor just takes choice City property and offers it to developers with strings attached.

Last year, at this time, Mayor Riley floated an idea about the City's need for a new symphony hall. Next thing you know, a prime piece of property was being offered to be developed, as long as all plans included a new symphony hall. Now, he's talking about another idea to have a site developed that would include an art gallery. That's pretty clever, but it leads to poorly planned facilities.

I would hope that "if" the Mayor has finally realized that Charleston needs a gallery space for the community's contemporary artists...and I agree, Charleston truly needs a space equal to its arts reputation, that will serve all...that he would call the visual art community together to hear what they say is needed, instead of listening to a handful of self-serving folks who already have, instead of the have-nots. I would hate to see another opportunity wasted without serving the true needs of the entire community. Because if you're going to trade City assets for profits, you might as well get what the public needs, instead of what costs the developers the least.

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