CAN THIS BOAT FLOAT?

  Recent articles in various South Carolina papers have put a focus on spending as it relates to the Civil War submarine Hunley. There have been articles both pro and con. However, I believe they have missed several important and salient facts.

Article 1, Section 8 of the South Carolina Constitution states: In the government of this State, the legislative, executive, and judicial powers of the government shall be forever separate and distinct from each other, and no person or persons exercising the functions of one of said departments shall assume or discharge the duties of any other.

This has not been followed in the case of the Hunley. When the Hunley Commission was started, it was actually created as a committee of the General Assembly. By law, all commissions report annually to the Secretary of State. The Hunley Commission never has. Both Attorney General McMasters and the very language of its creation say that the Hunley Commission is a committee. With its mandatory makeup of one-third of its membership appointed from the House and one-third from the Senate, the Hunley Commission was clearly meant to be controlled by General Assembly (i.e. the Legislative Department) not the Executive Department. But the law that created the Commission, Section 54-7-100 of the South Carolina Code, gives the Hunley Commission the exclusive right to exercise the applicable duties and responsibilities of the State Archaeologist and the Institute of Archaeology & Anthropology, (which are offices of the Executive Department) as listed under Article 5, Chapter 7, of Title 54.

It should be clear to the Governor, the Attorney General, all the State’s judges, and every member of the House and Senate, that the Hunley Commission has been created and operates in direct violation of Section 8 of the State Constitution, and is therefore unconstitutional.

Dr. E. Lee Spence
Summerville

Note: Spence discovered the Hunley in 1970 and donated his rights to the wreck to the State in 1995 at the official request of Senator McConnell and the Hunley Commission.

THE SKY IS FALLING

For sure Henry Brown isn’t the brightest spotlight on the stage, but offshore oil rigs can be in place in five years, not 10. Domestically pumped oil increases world supply, competes with OPEC, and brings world price-per-barrel down. Frankly, I’m upset to be funding Arab madrassas and Al Qaida every time I pump gas refined from Saudi Arabian oil. But every time somebody suggests we go after oil in our backyard, the lefty weak sisters all get the vapors and soil themselves.

Hurricane Katrina beat the hell out of government-built levees. But did you notice not one drop of oil was reported spilled from any of those oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico owned by the evil Exxon, Chevron, and Mobil Oil? You really think Folly Beach would be imperiled by an oil rig five miles offshore? There are more cancer-causing pollutants spewing from the exhaust tubes of trucks headed to and from the port terminals than trickles from oil rigs into the ocean.

Finally, ‘Chicken Little’ Al Gore, with his fossil fuel-burning, global warming doomsday rants, has become an amusing cartoon character. He’s so wound up that he probably doesn’t want to know that real scientists (as opposed to the cartoon ones) agree the average temperature of the sun is on the rise. Think that might have something to do with global warming?

Fifty million years ago, Antarctica was tropical. How does Chicken Little Al Gore or ‘Vapors’ Moredock ‘splain that?

Ken Schaub
charleston

SMOKIN’ MAD ON SULLIVAN’S

Can’t walk my dog on the beach. Everyone’s building houses with windows that don’t open. The fish are perpetually spooked. Now you can’t smoke in Bert’s. Time for Bill Dunleavy and every other nosy, condescending transplant to cowboy up and get the fuck out of here. Maybe if we stop being so nice to everyone, we could salvage something worth a damn before it all turns into Hilton fucking Head.

Cecil Bozard
Sullivan’s Island

LOVE THE ONE YOU’RE WITH

The constitutional amendment regarding marriage saddens me. I feel like the current debate resonates the feeling of separate but equal. The word marriage is unlike any other, like the word love. Give me a word that means the same thing as love. Civil unions do not encompass the same feeling and intent and expectation that envelope marriage. Please, gay men and women have the right to marry without semantics changing and distorting a word that from birth we all understand as important.

I believe Dr. King said that in order for a law to be just it must be universal. If we amend the constitution and ban gay marriage is that just? Is that a universal application of the law? Furthermore, and I know this point has been made, if heterosexuals are so concerned about the “sanctity of marriage” why is the divorce rate so high?

Greer Farrell
Charleston

POLLUTED PORTS

According to the South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA), the Port of Charleston handled $46 billion worth of cargo last year. It was linked to over 200,000 jobs, which generated $9 billion in wages and almost $3 billion in taxes. There is no doubt that the business conducted there is vital to the State’s economic well being. There is, however, a dark side to the story.

In 2004, the National Resource Defense Council published a report evaluating the operations at the nation’s ten largest ports. The Port of Charleston received failing grades in air quality, community relations, and land use. Its overall grade was a D+ . Despite these poor marks, the SCPA is pushing ahead with plans to deepen the harbor and increase the size and number of ships coming into Charleston. More ships may mean more money, but they also mean more space needed for the port, more trucks on local roads, and more pollution. Something must be done to make sure that growth at the port is sensitive both to the environment and the local community.

To lessen air quality impacts, the port should examine ways to transport cargo containers by barge or rail rather than adding the 20,000 diesel trucks per year that are expected. To improve community relations, the port should at the very least implement the sound berms and road routes it agreed to three years ago, but has not yet built. These small steps will not eliminate all the problems at the port, but are an important first step that must be taken.

Clay Baker
Boone, N.C.