As a former resident of the College of Charleston’s Simons Center and currently a local “gallerina,” I found Nick Smith’s criticism of this year’s Young Contemporaries (“The Young and the Zestless,” Arts, April 5) pretty damn cruel.

Seriously. Take a page out of Dottie Ashley’s book and at least find a more positive angle on something.

It may seem cool to harp on how much (you think) something sucks, but your column was just plain mean.

These students pour themselves into these pieces; everything submitted contains a piece of its creator.

Who are you to trash it? Yes, yes, the sharp City Paper art critic.

As a retail sales wench, I’ve also learned that though something may not be to your taste, it will appeal to another.

And frankly your negative attitude and harsh words do not appeal to me, your reader.

Stacy Huggins

[For a response to and discussion of the issues this letter brings up, please read Patrick Sharbaugh’s “Unscripted” column on pg. 38. —Ed.]


Our political leaders don’t understand the needs of the working middle class.

I have heard our president and his administration talking about the illegal immigration crisis.

It was nice to see they had an opinion on the subject. Although, it has become increasingly irritating to have them repeat the same mantra. You know the one: “jobs that Americans will not do.” 

I know they need a “catchy phrase” to use in the hope it will justify their selling-out the American people, but I wish they would stop it. Their statement is insulting to all the people who have and still do work the same jobs that the illegal immigrants are taking.

Our political leaders don’t understand there is not a job that we Americans will not do, It’s just that we will not do any job for slave wages!

George Phillip Latta Sr.


In Michael Graham’s April 19, 2006 Usual Suspects column, titled “Bear Necessities” (Views), he uses the death of a 6-year-old girl as a platform for a political attack.

The only words I have for Graham for doing this are the same words Welch had for McCarthy: “Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?”

Jason A. Zwiker

[Mr. Zwiker is a regular contributor to this newspaper. —Ed.]


As the legislative session winds down, lawmakers from both ends of the two-party juggernaut are scrambling to deliver on their promise of property tax relief for South Carolina residents.

No doubt, whatever they deliver will be less than satisfactory because no state senator or representative is talking about cutting the size of state government — which is exactly what needs to be done.

There is just too much government. The federal government now employs 4.3 million people, 2.5 million of which are civilians. That’s right! Civilian federal government employees outnumber our nation’s military personnel.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2004 South Carolina had 88,381 state employees. That’s one state employee for every 47 residents. Coupled with county and city employees, on top of federal government employees, and what the citizenry is left with is big government and Big Brother at every turn.

At this rate, soon we’ll have our very own, individual government representative to follow us about to make sure we don’t step out of line, and of course, to keep us safe from ourselves!

To hide the cost of this waste, all levels of government enjoy the “portfolio theory of taxation,” where they take a little from our wages, then tax a little of our property, while charging some sales tax along the way just for good measure. Throw in some user fees, licensing fees, permit fees, etc., and what the government has achieved is obstruction of the true cost of government from the people.

Shameful, but it is done on purpose and is true.

How about this for real tax relief? Eliminate all tax except for a reasonable sales tax. Period.

No more taxing property.

No more stealing wages in the form of income taxation.

No more special interest tax exemptions for non-profits.

No school tax.

No county taxes.

All levels of government will need to be funded from the sales tax. Everybody pays a reasonable sales tax on all purchases, period.

Next, the government will be required to downsize and live within its budget provided by the reasonable sales tax.

If sales are down, the state government will have to adjust — just like “we the people” do when the economy takes a downward turn.

When sales are up, the state government can save or add a service, but when lean times come again, it will have to cut spending — just like the rest of us!

The cost of government will no longer be hidden from the people, which would simply be the best.

Libertarians get it and aren’t afraid to tell state employees that it is time to find another job. We are not afraid to be realistic about the fact that there is simply too much government in South Carolina and in the United States, and unless talk of drastically cutting the size and scope of the state government down to the point that it can be paid for with a reasonable sales tax, nothing good is going to come in the form of property tax relief this year, or for years to come. As Thomas Paine once said, “That government is best which governs the least.” Libertarians get it. Too many Democrats and Republicans do not.

Ed Haas
Mt. Pleasant

[Mr. Haas is the chairman of the Charleston County Libertarian Party. — Ed.]

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