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The Town of James Island - Democracy on Trial
Lee Walton

Once again Mayor J. Pericles Riley and his stable of handpicked poltroons and sycophants regard themselves as the elite group of Charleston's political society that knows what is good for other people better than those people do for themselves. The recent under-handed, covert campaign tactics unleashed by Pericles during the run-up to the latest James Island incorporation referendum clearly demonstrated the raw political power and shameless tactics for which Pericles is best remembered by James Islanders. For him, there were apparently no means unjustified to keep the town from successfully incorporating or now from defending its recent incorporation.

Running a stalking horse mayoral candidate to do his post-election mischief is his latest little trick. Pericles' thirty-year quest to assimilate all of James Island into his City has become a twisted perversion to expand his imperial empire - an aberrant fixation almost comical to watch. Pericles continues to act like a spoiled little boy pitching a temper tantrum in front of his mother to get another lollypop. Lately, he's become so narrow-minded with respect to James Island that he can probably see through a keyhole with both eyes.

Pericles is single-handedly working to thwart the will of the majority of James Island as they seek, for the third time, to form and defend their own town. However, this time around, Pericles' latest anointed Corporation Counsel, Charlton deSaussure, Jr., has been tapped to be the lead pettifogger for this latest assault upon freedom of choice and democracy on the Island. In an August 24th Palter and Chatter article suspiciously buried in the bottom of the B-Section, Pettifog deSaussure stated, "There's a very important public policy issue here … the law, which applies statewide is irrational and bad public policy … Irrational legislation is also special legislation … and special legislation is unconstitutional." So he says.

Later that afternoon and evening, during a poorly orchestrated multi-media blitz on local talk radio and TV, Pettifog de Saussure succeeded in debasing himself to the lowest common denominator as just another political sycophant for Pericles when he said, "It's in everyone's best interest…this issue deserves to be adjudicated…the position of the City of Charleston will prevail." But Pericles arrogantly blurted out his real motivation on the TV evening news when he said that the "…incorporation will deprive the City of revenue." Irrational? Bad public policy indeed! It's all about the money; it always has been and it always will be. Why else would Pericles have such a blind perseverance and exhibit such open hostility toward the preservation of any independent cultural identity and spirit of self-government remaining on James Island?

Irrational? Bad public policy indeed! A government of the people should never be allowed to restrict freedom of choice, stifle the will of the governed or deny the will of those who would band together to lawfully govern themselves. To do otherwise would be counter to the very principles upon which this Republic was founded. Does Pericles care about the will of the people on James Island - those little pesty ants running about his Acropolis? The utter arrogance of Pericles and his pack of poltroons! It's a wonder that Charleston isn't an independent Banana Republic, but it could be yet - Pericles is running for another term.

Lastly, when the City of Charleston is about to rack up a running total of over $300,000 in hard earned tax dollars to again sue the Town of James Island, it should be A-1 above-the-fold, headline news, not a few sickly articles buried in the B-Section of the Palter and Chatter. The local print media has the power to "make" important news a "big" news story if it's to their advantage. Predictably, the lap dog editors of the Palter and Chatter also know how to do Pericles' bidding by making a newsworthy story appear insignificant. That's because Pericles wants to slip this third James Island lawsuit and its cost by the voters of the City because of the 2007 mayoral election. All the while Pettifog deSaussure is getting richer off of the City taxpayers. Maybe it's time he visited a local pet store to purchase a dapper little flea collar now that he's under the table with the other big dogs in Pericles' pack of hounds. Mercy!

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