Letters, August 23, 2013
Reality show fiasco
A great many people seem to be missing the point in what went wrong with this reality show fiasco in Murrells Inlet.
The county is quick to tell us what they “could not do according to the law” but they have avoided the question of “what should we have done because of our responsibility to not only protect but inform the citizens?”.
The County could have delayed issuing a permit. Many builders have discovered that over the years. If they could not “deny”, that’s one thing, but the idea that government can’t “delay” just does not hold water. In delaying the process this extra time may have caused the production company to go elsewhere. It may have afforded neighbors the time to mount their own legal defense, successful or not, it would have been their option and an additional delay. Time is money to these productions and they certainly had a second choice available.
The huge problem from the beginning seems to be that there was not enough research done to determine what we were going to be exposed to, i.e., constitutionally protected content.
If there had been proper research done by the Zoning Department, the community could have been notified about what was to come and the fact (?) that there was nothing that could be done. Personally I would rather have had the production company force the county to grant the permit than the County greet them with open arms and a toothless warning of “Y’all be good now!” But that goes back to the County not being as informed as they should have been about the project.
No one expects the approval process for a permit to be based on a popularity contest. What we DO expect is to be given information about what is about to happen in our community that affects us so.
Another question to answer is, would we be willing to give up all filming of any kind just to get rid of the reality show? Ask the neighbors to the show and the rest of the community and the answer may be “YES”. Put that show in Pawleys or DeBordieu or historic Georgetown and the answer would undoubtedly be “Stay out!” And please don’t give the “We have set a precedent” excuse. You make the law and make them fight us for the permit. The right to peace and quiet enjoyment is worth a legal fee.
This is a big point … We live in a changing world today. If, legally, we have to say no to the Golf Channel or the Discovery Channel in order to keep projects like Dirty Down South out of our communities then so be it. We will live quite well, with peace and quiet, without any them. It’s not worth the tradeoff. Ask New Jersey and Murrells Inlet.
In not doing sufficient research and not involving the community, the County has caused this community a lot of pain in a number of ways. There are friends turning against friends, there are local businesses being boycotted and much unnecessary angst and worry.
I understand that this is hindsight, but know this going forward, if there had been a simple community meeting with the Zoning Department and the process had been fully explained this whole problem would be drastically different and the county would look a whole lot better in the eyes of the citizens than it does today.
If there is anything learned in all of this I hope that it is the County Government understanding the importance of community involvement and communication.
The next problem for the Waccamaw Neck may be strip clubs, not strip malls. I hope that we don’t wake up one morning with one in Murrells Inlet.
Letter to the Editor:
Re: Common Core Standards
As the children in our state begin a new school year I would like to recommend parents become acquainted with the term “Common Core Standards”. Adopted by the South Carolina Board of Education and the South Carolina Oversight committee in 2010, common core is a “one size fits all, top-down” curriculum promoted by the Federal Department of Education. State schools were promised millions of federal dollars in exchange for the implementation of “common core”.
Many parents, grandparents and educators are concerned that we have now abdicated state control of our schools to the federal government. There are many aspects of the standards which should concern all parents, such as “teaching to the test,” loss of teacher creativity in the classroom and the years of data collection to which our children will be subjected.
If you have an interest in the education of South Carolina’s children and believe the state of South Carolina should remain in charge of the curriculum used, please go to the website www.commoncorefails.com for more information.
Wanda M. Benton
John Brock column
In response to John Brock's column last week I'd like to say that he fails to “grasp the idea”: if it's so sad in America, find another country to live in.
To start with let me say that I'm not an Obama fan. He has not lived up to my expectations, but he's a far cry better than the McCain/Palin or the Romney/Ryan ticket.
Could you, in your wildest nightmare, imagine a President Palin if McCain was elected and subsequently died in office? Talk about a sad day for America.
But they didn't get elected and it's every American's responsibility to stand behind our President. No, the sky is not falling as Mr. Brock would have you believe. We may disagree with Obama's approach to some things, but it's been the same since 2008 that the right disagrees with all of his approaches. Is it possible that Obama is wrong all the time? No, he's right most of the time, but those on the right would have us believe otherwise with lies, scare tactics, misinformation, etc. while attempting to posture themselves for the next election.
Mr. Brock states that the Constitution's provision that government “Promote the general welfare” has unfortunately turned “American life into a heaven-on-earth existence regardless of individual contribution.” Seriously? I'm not sure what your idea of heaven is, but if this is it, I'm sure there are literally millions that would disagree. Try saying that with a straight face to those kids living from day to day without a decent meal. Try telling that to the college student working 2 part time jobs to make ends meet. Try telling that to my 87-year-old mother with Alzheimer's. Try telling that to me. Face to face.
It's just too bad that a reasonably intelligent human being can be so ignorant about so many things. It's apparent that you will take the far right approach to almost everything regardless of how stupid and inhumane.
I'm not sure how old you are Mr. Brock, (although I'm sure you've told us a number of times, along with your lists of accomplishments during your lifetime … yawn!), but I'm pretty sure of this … It's time for you to get a different job. (Wait, do you actually get paid to write your drivel?) We all know your political and religious point of view. Your answer to almost everything is that if we all lived in “Our founding father's” time and we got rid of Obama, all of our problems would be solved. It's the same old song and dance and quite frankly, you're boring!!
America's best economic stimulus is education
There is an education crisis across our nation, and it's one we can solve if we work together. We can address our education challenges, but it requires the cooperation and collaboration of individuals and organizations from all sectors. After all, our education crisis is far more than a social issue. It has real economic implications for our future.
Today, one-quarter of our nation's youth fail to graduate high school within four years, and in some school districts youth have only a fifty-fifty chance. As high-skilled, high-tech jobs become the backbone of our nation's future, we need a workforce ready and able to succeed in our new, knowledge economy. America's best economic stimulus is education.
It is in everyone's interest to ensure our youth are well educated. It is everyone's responsibility to offer a helping hand and get involved. Youth need support from the time they are in preschool to ensure success in high school and beyond. I am so thankful that Georgetown County now offers full-day kindergarten. The next milestone or critical juncture is 4th grade reading proficiency.
Two out of every three 4th graders in the U.S. score below the proficient level in reading. And the numbers are even worse for low-income students. Eighty-three percent of 4th graders from low-income families cannot read at a proficient level.
Poor reading ability in early years leads to behavior problems in the classroom later. Dropouts, in turn, are more likely to be unemployed, to earn low wages and to end up on welfare or in prison. We have the power to change our nation's future if we work together to address poor early grade reading skills.
Education experts indicate there are a few key strategies on which we must focus. First, parents want to help their kids learn to read, yet they often do not have the time or ability to do so. Instilling a love of reading in a child is one of the most important, and satisfying things, any parent or adult can do. The Georgetown County United Way offers FREE age-appropriate books to children ages 0-5 year through the Dolly Parton Imagination Library and sponsored by the Frances P. Bunnelle Foundation. What a fun and easy way to inspire early learners. Just call the United Way at 843.546.6317 and sign up today.
Second, schools must have the text books, techniques and curricula that are grounded in best practice and we must help teachers teach in ways that engage children. We must also support our teachers by offering to help raise funds and advocate for quality education. Parents, you are your child's first teacher and advocate. Exercise your rights. Find the best ways to volunteer in support of your children.
Government is a part of the solution. The LEARN Act, which would support comprehensive state and local literacy, is the first priority on a national level. Everyone should help elected officials recognize the importance of early grade reading for our economic future. But, we citizens have the power to change the social and economic future of America.
Finally and simply, kids who need extra help must get it. Connecting struggling students with a caring adult is a strategy that works.
What can you do? Read, tutor, mentor. Find a program, and get involved. It is just that easy. Change doesn't happen without you. For volunteer opportunities, call or visit your local schools in Georgetown County to lend your time and talents. The rewards far outweigh the effort.
Lynne B. Ford is director of Volunteer SC for the United Way Association of South Carolina.
Opinions that appear on this page in Letters to the Editor or in columns do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.
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