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County Council Meeting October 3

Compliments for Council members Darby and Pryor
Approval for intersection, drainage, and bikeway projects
Warwick Jones

As far as dealing with the formal agenda, it was all over in a matter of minutes. Council approved all the matters that had previously been considered and voted on by the Finance Committee last Thursday. The remarks of interest were made at the closing of the meeting and related to the efforts of Council members Darby and Pryor to eliminate drug dealing on the Eastside.

Council member Scott was the first to speak and he complimented Council members Darby and Pryor on their stand against violence. He noted the article in the Post & Courier referring to a march this coming Saturday and the beginning of citizen patrols thereafter. There efforts were a model for all trying to do something to overcome the drug problem.

Council member Scott's remarks were endorsed by a number of other Council members, particularly by Chairman Stavrinakis. He noted that both were going beyond the call of duty in attempting to help the community. Their efforts involved considerable sacrifice, particularly of time. He also noted the danger that could accompany their efforts. "I tip my hat to both of you" and "will be glad to pitch in".

The Chairman also took the opportunity to note there were two issues in relation to crime that he would like to clarify. The first was catching criminals and secondly, what happened thereafter. In relation to the first, he opined that law officers in the County were doing a good job. They were catching and arresting criminals. However, what happens to criminals after their arrest was beyond the power of Councils. It lay with the courts. The Chairman's comments are similar in some way to those of Mayor Riley who has publicly lamented the fact that too many criminals remain on the streets because of lax sentencing, parole, or probationary terms.

Intersection, drainage, and bikeway projects approved
Because of space consideration, we failed to comment on two items flowing from last weeks Finance Committee meeting. The first was a list of projects to be undertaken in fiscal 2007 and to be financed by the half-cent sales tax. Council had already voted some months ago to make annual allocations of $2 million for Intersection improvements, $1 million for Drainage improvements, and $500,000 for Pedestrian and Bike improvements The projects all fell into these 3 categories and can be seen by pressing Here.

North Charleston had projects to add to the list but missed the dealine for submission. They will be considered at the half year review.

Museum to replace cooling units
Another matter that came up for consideration but as not discussed was the replacement of cooling units at the Charleston Museum. The ownership of the Museum is split with the County holding 2/3 and the City of Charleston 1/3. The units are 26 years old and at the end of their useful life. The cost of replacement is estimated to exceed $500,000 of which the County's share is $333,333. The funds will be provided from the Accommodation Tax. The Museum presumably expects any excess over $500,000 in the cost to be met from the Facilities Maintenance Fund to which the County and City contribute together $100,000 a year.
Your Comments:

I don't know any elected officials more concerned about the problems in our community than the amazing Charleston County Councilmen Henry Darby and Teddy Pryor, and Charleston City Councilman Robert Mitchell.

That said, I find the need for civilians to patrol the community at night to discourage drug buyers just appalling.

What do we pay city and county taxes for, if not for professional law enforcement?

The fact is, law enforcement has made no dent in drug use or dealer violence because it is impossible for anyone to do so. If arresting people stopped drug use and drug selling, this country would be drug-free today, because for years the United States has imprisoned more people per capita than any other country in the world, and mostly for drug offenses.

It is just disgusting to see politicians try to blame everyone but themselves for the drug problem in this country. We don't have a drug problem--we have a PROHIBITION problem. Alcohol prohibition lasted just 15 years before politicians passed reality-based legislation legalizing alcohol. Until state and federal politicians legalize drugs, there will always be drug dealers plying their trade with the violence spawned by the black market status of drugs.

No one fears drug legalization more than drug dealers, who will be put out of business when the government legalizes drugs and controls their distribution like alcohol. And that's also when the dealer violence will stop.

But please don't protest that legalization will lead to more drug use...anyone who wants drugs now gets them.

Posted by: Sharon Fratepietro at October 5, 2006 03:27 PM

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