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Yes, it is all about balance

Lee Walton

For those who may have been counting, beginning last November 8th, the Palter and Chatter has devoted at least five lead editorials to the east Calhoun Street and Market Area comprehensive land-use plan. This past Sunday’s “It’s all about balance” shared at least two common concerns echoed time and time again: don’t rush the plan and consider all proposed projects in context with each other. A few of these editorials correctly chided City Council for its perplexing decision to put the “cart before the horse” and unanimously approve this massive, far-reaching plan before allowing sufficient study of the complex interrelationships of the multitude of proposed individual projects or to seek community input from those caught in the cross-hairs of this pending development juggernaut. Notwithstanding its newly found editorial courage, the Palter and Chatter stopped short of a dedicated effort to hold City Council accountable for its spineless acquiescence to Riley’s well-honed, relentless intimidation tactics.

What is needed far more than any planning delay, comprehensive analysis, task force, or “bold new vision” is the reestablishment of the balance of legislative and executive powers that should rightfully exist between the mayor of Charleston and the twelve council members that are suppose to represent the citizens they were elected to serve. One could argue that at least half of the current council are nothing more than shameless sycophants and gadflies, handpicked and supported by Riley and his covert henchmen to be nothing more than cowardly rubber stamps for anything Riley shoves in their faces. Riley and his ruling junta of deal-estate developers and pettifoggers have conspired to handpick, finance, and reelect these council “potted plants” repeatedly to blatantly and openly line their own pockets at taxpayer expense. Likewise, the Palter and Chatter is as complacent and guilty as any others of Riley’s junta for the deplorable, emasculated condition that now is pervasive on Charleston City Council. For decades the owners, editors, and managers of the Palter and Chatter, either stoically turned a blind eye or actively supported Riley’s bought-by-the-pound council candidates for their own financial gain.

For those who haven’t read the applicable State Code of Laws or City of Charleston Code, even under Charleston’s “strong mayor” form of municipal government, “ All powers of the city are vested in the city council, except as otherwise provided by law, and the city council shall provide for the exercise of and for the performance of all duties and obligations imposed on the municipality by law (Charleston City Code, Article II, Sec. 2-17 (a))” As the chief administrator of and executive officer of the city, the mayor “…shall be responsible to the city council for the administration of all city affairs and the execution of all laws and ordinances (Charleston City Code, Article III, Sec. 2-96 (a))” Clearly, over the past three and a half decades, the relative powers of the executive and legislative branches of Charleston City government have been corrupted and perverted to the extent that Riley has completely usurped the independent legislative oversight legally vested in city council. At best, the majority of council is nothing more that an advisory committee dominated by hacks and sycophants selected to do Riley’s bidding for the benefit of his Banana Republic of Charleston.

Yes, it is all about balance, albeit the codified balance of powers that is intended to exist between the executive and legislative branches of Charleston city government. Recent “whiskey courage” notwithstanding, as journalist, managers, and editors of the Palter and Chatter, you should have thought about the unintended consequences of your actions starting three decades ago.

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