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All Hail Pericles - Prince of Palter
Lee Walton

The Saturday, August 5th edition of the Palter and Chatter was nothing short of a thinly disguised sonata composed by full-time Mayor, part-time newspaper managing editor and concert Maestro J. Pericles Riley as he orchestrated a blatant self-serving performance for the National Governor's Conference held this past weekend in Charleston. The only element missing was a local rendition of Carly Simons' classic hit - You're so Vain sung by the City Council Chamber Singers as the ending coda. True to his classical, albeit self-taught, training as the editing maestro, Pericles actually included each of the five essential sonata elements introduction, exposition, development, recapitulation, and coda) in his masterpiece of self-aggrandizement.

The introduction was a glaring front page, full-color, above-the-fold photograph of Pericles standing conspicuously between the acting and newly named police chiefs looking all the part of a not-to-subtle, single-handed power broker who made it all possible under a bold headline declaring "Charleston gets a new top cop". Immediately to the right was another equally prominent headline announcing, "Mayor shoots for 9th term". As managing editor of his ever-faithful lap dog Palter and Chatter, in his mind, Pericles had just won a proverbial "double header". Feeling certain that the Nation's governors would swallow this impressive bait like a hungry King Mackerel hitting a skirted ballyhoo on a double-ought hook at the 2-C Buoy, Pericles now only had to "set the hook" to have his own private Governor's Cup.

The exposition craftily introduced the theme of the entire Saturday Edition of the Palter and Chatter, All Hail Pericles - Prince of Palter. Gracious and unassuming to the end, Pericles reluctantly relented to overwhelming pressure from his Council of subservient poltroons who were beside themselves with joy and adulation as he proudly uttered, "I love my work, and I love the people I work for, the citizens of Charleston." To the Nation's Governors, it played on their emotions as the quintessential musings of a humble public servant once again relenting to serve his ever admiring public. To the people of Charleston who had heard it all before for decades and knew better, it was like an operetta sung in the local dialect, best interpreted as, "I love my Acropolis and the deal-estate developers that make my continued visions of grandeur and conquest possible".

The development was intertwined within the two long articles singing the praises of Pericles' Acropolis and the new Police Chief from Virginia Beach. Charleston is grateful that a new police chief has finally been chosen; he deserves our respect and support as he soon begins to acclimate to the many unique and varied law enforcement problems now prevalent in Charleston. For the sake of our City and all its citizens, each must hope that Pericles chose wisely, in the best interest of the City, and not politically in his own best interest.

The sonata's development continued with a concluding quote by Pericles saying, "There is important work to be done, on regional growth management, infrastructure, capital projects and schools." Why is there still so much work to be done after 31years of his imperial reign? Does Pericles even understand the definition of " public infrastructure" as the streets, water mains and storm drains of his Acropolis literally crumble beneath his feet? How about his definition of growth management and the horrible traffic congestion that the unbounded proliferation of suburban sprawl his unquenchable lust for annexations has spawned? The development concluded with a softly murmured, below the fold insert about the American Bar Association's accreditation concerns for the new Charleston School of Law, a recent and all too frequent beneficiary of Pericles' backdoor philanthropy with City taxpayer's money.

The recapitulation sums All Hail Pericles - Prince of Palter with a full-page display of a new "come here" that Pericles has tapped to save his greatest achievement, his shining Parthenon on a hill, albeit man-made and contaminated, the South Carolina Aquarium. The newly selected secretary for the S.C. Aquarium Board is featured boldly standing before a tank of little fish swimming aimlessly around like empty CARTA buses driving relentlessly about the City. Maybe, as director emeritus of the Museum of the City of New York, he can tell us how they really did it up North! A good guess is that they budgeted and operated with "real money", not one-time donations from "come here" benefactors buying local identity or "funny money" from questionable assets and bank write-offs of uncollectible loans.

The concluding coda, a "High Style" photograph of Pericles at the Spoleto Festival's Opening Gala, was typical for him as he hobnobbed with festival benefactors and other dignitaries on the evening of May 27th. Oddly, these photographs were not published until Saturday, August 5th. This preposterous demonstration of Pericles' power over the Palter and Chatter could only have been intended to impress the attendees of the National Governors' Conference. Just imagine, had it not been for his defeat by Democratic Primary Gubernatorial Candidate Nick Theodore over a decade ago, he may have attended as a former Governor of South Carolina, instead of as the mayor of Charleston.

You're so vain. I bet you think this song's about you - you're right - it is.

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