The Price of Liberty is Eternal Vigilance
Shrimp 'n Grits
Riley serves Charleston his Banquet of Consequences
For over three decades Mayor J. Pericles Riley has single-handedly picked and molded each City of Charleston Department Head into loyal, unquestioning servants with a total disregard for the obvious fact that many are undereducated, ill-trained and under qualified for the responsibilities delegated to them. The only qualification of consequence to Riley is blind, unwavering loyalty and a willingness to “fall on a sword” when necessary to protect his image. Until the evening of June 18th, Riley, with the support of this loyal administration of lackeys and sycophants, has managed to bluff, blunder, threaten and cajole his way through the governance of the City by polemic arrogance, intimidation, political pressure and his Madison Avenue crafted persona.
Riley’s personal mantra of “form over function” now dictates that his often-misguided, unilateral decisions and narrow-minded visions be shrouded in shop-worn, albeit meaningless, phrases like wonderful, magnificent and his recent favorite - world class. Predictably, the chain of events, which culminated in the world class tragedy of June 18th and unnecessary loss of nine firefighters, has now set a Banquet of Consequences before all citizens of Charleston. This bitter repast for which we all must now pay is the direct result of the Law of Consequences, of cause and effect that shapes the lives and destinies for each individual, institution, or government. The citizens of Charleston must now sit down to a Banquet of Consequences that can be directly and methodically traced back to the actions, choices and erroneous decisions of one person – Riley.
The running tally for this most tragic of Riley’s follies, has already cost City taxpayers an admitted $ 1.5 million from the Reserve Fund, an announced hiring freeze, untold thousands of dollars in additional legal fees, the expense of a “professional, educated” team of special fire investigators, new heat-resistant uniforms and accelerated retraining of fire department personnel.
Notwithstanding the list of growing expenditures publicly disclosed thus far, the biggest burden to be borne by the City taxpayers will be the millions of dollars in tax revenue required to settle future legal claims already being pressed by several surviving family members. Charleston’s taxpayers need look no further than other cities that have suffered through the costs of similar tragedies to realize that this financial nightmare is just beginning. The legal cause of action that Riley and his trusted band of pettifoggers fear most is wrongful death for which the insurance reserve fund will not pay. The settlement of these claims will be borne on the backs of each and every taxpaying resident of the City.
Why must the citizens pay? The answer lies in the narrow-minded pursuit of total political domination of Charleston under the despotic reign of an arrogant polemist. Riley’s unchecked domination of city governance has now gained him the accolade of Master Chef as he serves each taxpayer at his Banquet of Consequences.