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CARTA - So whose fault is it?
Lee Walton

When I read, "…the system needs extra help for the next few years to pay off a debt incurred through no fault of its own" in the Palter & Chatter's April 17th editorial, my first thoughts were of an old rock and roll tune, "What kind 'a fool do ya think I am - do ya think I am now." The condescending editor who authored this offending chatter is no better than a profiteering bartender serving another drink to a staggering alcoholic. The Palter & Chatter's editorial staff is blatantly facilitating incompetent behavior by CARTA's Director and Board and would have us believe that CARTA's continuous mismanagement, shameless waste of tax revenues, empty buses, routes-to-nowhere and out-and-out bungling of everything they seem to touch is not CARTA's fault, but someone else's.

Well, whose fault is it? Who is that rascally someone they want to blame?

Is it the voters of Charleston County for being misled, intimidated, ridiculed and worn down during three sales tax referendums to bail-out CARTA, the last of which barely passed?

Is it the South Carolina Supreme Court's unanimous decision to throw out the results of the second referendum due to someone illegally wording the ballot that resulted in voter fraud?

Is it the County and Municipal Councils that are verbally assaulted each year with threats of dead people piling up at bus stops, junk cars cluttering local roadways, hyper unemployment and civil disobedience if CARTA's Annual Budget, written on the proverbial cocktail napkin, isn't approved? One can argue loudly that many local elected officials are at fault for not demanding accountability of CARTA. But are they that mysterious someone that causes poor helpless CARTA's endless misfortune? Are they the little black cloud that continues to rain on Howard's parade?

There is no someone else to blame - it's CARTA's fault and the fault of its sycophantic facilitators who must privately cringe and turn a blind eye every time CARTA's Director and Board shoot themselves in the foot. One has to wonder how many toes they collectively have left among them! Their latest self inflicted wound over the Southeastern Wildlife Expo Bus Charter Contract caused the Federal Transit Administration to launch an investigation that now endangers over one-third of CARTA's total funding. Low-balling a private-sector competitive bid by using federally funded buses and operating outside of related federal guidelines has now placed all of CARTA's future federal funding at risk.

Where is the print media's 1st Amendment insistence upon full disclosure of what's behind a one page Operating Budget that CARTA expects us all to swallow like a shrimp on a hook? Why is it always the polemic arguments of J. "Pericles" Riley and the Palter & Chatter editors insisting that they know what's best for Greater Charleston and CARTA as they constantly ridicule the commuting public for not hopping on board empty CARTA buses? Oh! Less we forget, according to a previous Palter & Chatter editorial praising CARTA, we simple-minded automobile commuters "…just don't get it."

Like an irresponsible alcoholic, CARTA has a full-blown addiction to free tax money with absolutely no motivation to climb "on the wagon" and be held accountable for its actions. As long as its Director and Board have "Pericles" and the Palter & Chatter to defend their continual mismanagement and facilitate their irresponsible behavior, CARTA will continue to binge at the ½ % sales tax "Open Bar." What the taxpayers of this County need is an effective Ten-Step Program to permanently "dry-out" and "detoxify" CARTA's Director and Board.

If the Palter & Chatter editors felt the least bit guilty about CARTA's incompetence and mismanagement that they "white-wash" every day, they would turn loose a pack of hungry investigative reporters to shine the bright light of journalistic objectivity upon this tragic comedy. Sadly, this is very unlikely to ever happen. As Barney Blakeney, a former Palter & Chatter reporter, stated in his April 5th Chronicle column about his former employer, "…the paper won't let its reporters get the real skinny on the stories. Let's face it, the paper's part of the establishment." Mercy, did he ever get that right!

The publishers and editors of the Palter & Chatter need to ask themselves why former readers no longer consider their newspaper a credible source for unbiased local news reporting and objective journalism. Why is the Palter & Chatter spending tens of thousands in a slick marketing blitz on radio, TV, telephone solicitations and giving out free papers in supermarkets as efforts to increase circulation? That loud clicking sound they hear isn't from coins dropping into CARTA fare boxes; it's the countless thousands of desktop keyboards all over the Lowcountry now searching for honest, factual journalism on the Internet.

What kind 'a fool do ya think I am?

Your Comments:

But, but... Nevermind, I agreed with all of that. I've never seen a more misguided use of taxpayer money.

Posted by: chip at April 24, 2006 09:49 PM