CharlestonWatch.com

The Price of Liberty is Eternal Vigilance

The Watch

Archives

Individual Articles

Shrimp 'n Grits

Editing the Editor
Lee Walton

In a recent commentary in Saturday's, May 20th edition, a Palter & Chatter editor took the SC Department of Transport (DOT) to the "wood shed" for proposing to hire a P.R. firm to lobby the State Legislature for more state gas tax funding.

In the same edition of the Palter & Chatter, there was another article, CARTA difficult puzzle to some, partly about the CARTA Board meeting with its marketing consultant to discuss how to best spend $250,000 in its 2006 annual budget on marketing. …a majority of the efforts came in the form of targeting local media outlets to get out the information….This includes …meeting with some 10 media outlets to explain the new bus services. Stories and editorials followed…. Those stories don't just appear in the papers by chance,….

With this revelation, one now has good reason to wonder who is really writing the Palter & Chatter editorials and for what purpose. Is its editorial page for sale just like any other advertising space? Sure sounds like it!

Why doesn't the real editorial staff of the Palter & Chatter have the courage to hold CARTA to the same standards and level of accountability they propose for DOT? It's not that hard to imagine how the DOT editorial could be transformed into an honest, timely criticism of CARTA's Board and Director. Starting with the DOT editorial, taking a few liberties and making some word substitutions, mainly …CARTA… for DOT, yields a much more meaningful and timely commentary to the citizens of Charleston County.

"P.R. idea is a dud for…CARTA

"CARTA may have hit hard times in…transit…funding, but hiring a public relations firm to lobby…County Council…isn't going to win…CARTA…much support. To the contrary, the agency is only inviting more criticism.

The agency expects that…1/2% Sales Tax funding… will decline from…a requested $9.2 million… to…$6.8 million…next fiscal year, according to the…Palter & Chatter. The funding constraints will limit what …CARTA…can accomplish next year.

After learning of the likely shortfall in a meeting this week,… CARTA Board Members…discussed the possibility of hiring a public relations firm to encourage…County Council…to provide the agency the additional money. The…CARTA Board…and its…Executive Director…would do better to make their own case to…County Council.

CARTA… may need the money-…Charleston County's Sale Tax… is among the…highest…in the…State - but the public relations idea is a light bulb that's already gone dead.

CARTA…has long believed that an increase in…their 1/2% Sales Tax allocation…is needed, but has been unable to gain sufficient support…on County Council…to gain its approval going on…2…years. Clearly, the agency has a serious disconnect with…County Council…even though…several…of its…nine…members are…staunch CARTA supporters…. Meanwhile, …one of the County's… appointees on the…Transportation Advisory Board (TAB), CARTA Board Chairman, Patterson Smith,…has made serious complaints about…County Council's insistence upon limiting CARTA's funding this year to the 18% promised to the referendum supporters two years ago. But now, some Council Members are beginning to make…serious complaints about the agency's management.

The County Council Chairman's…objections were instrumental in getting…Council's…approval for a comprehensive audit of the…proposed CARTA Budget for next year before Council reconsiders any additional CARTA funding requests this…year. The process is continuing, and the audit is expected to be completed in September. The…CARTA Board…should sit tight and await the results of the audit, recognizing any campaign for…additional sales tax funding…prior to its release would be simply premature".

It's not that hard to be a good, independent editor, but sometimes, when others seek to control you, it does take good old raw courage to standup, face yourself in a mirror and just tell the truth.

Your Comments:
Post a Comment:
Your Info:
Remember personal info?
Comments: