The Price of Liberty is Eternal Vigilance
October 20, 2006
CPAD - Clears the streets of drug dealers, but for how long?
Where are the Eastside volunteers?Warwick Jones
The Eastside patrols (CPAD) have been an unqualified success - to date. But what of the future? The streets have been cleared of drug dealers over the last two weeks, by citizen patrols and the police. The efforts of those on patrol have been strenuous and the days long. The participants, mainly from other parts of the City and County are growing tired, and weariness will very likely take a toll of numbers in coming days. The effort needs more volunteers. Unless residents from the Eastside step forward to join up, patrols may cease and drug dealers return to the streets.
October 18, 2006
City Council Meeting October 17
CPAD doing well but jobs needed for Eastside youth
City follows in Disneyworld's stepsMarc Knapp
It was not on the agenda. But the Eastside citizen patrols drew more discussion than any other issue at last night's Council meeting. County Council members Darby and Pryor rose to speak during Citizens Participation time. They noted the success of the patrols (CPAD), the support from the residents and from the City. But their main purpose last night was to draw attention to the other phases of the strategy, in particular to find jobs for the youth of the Eastside caught up in drug dealing. Council member Darby referred to his previous call for the creation of 300 jobs and asked the City to make some effort in creating or finding these positions. The final part of the strategy was to move CPAD to other parts of Charleston where drug dealing was a problem. Already he had been asked by Mayor Summey for CPAD to help clean up North Charleston.
October 06, 2006
Citizen patrols on Eastside begin on Monday
A new dawn or just another day?Warwick Jones
The prelude to the heralded citizen patrols through the Eastside will be a march. It will begin at noon tomorrow, Saturday, and last some three hours. If measured by the number of participants, its success will probably be modest at best. For some spectators, it may seem just another march through the Eastside, rich in hope but void of prospect. For others, and the marchers, it will be the curtain opener to what could be the first real effort to rid the Eastside of its ubiquitous drug dealing - the first real partnership of the community with other communities, with the City, and the police. More importantly, it is arguably the most serious effort of the residents themselves to confront the issue and to step out, despite the obvious dangers, to make a difference.
October 04, 2006
County Council Meeting October 3
Compliments for Council members Darby and Pryor
Approval for intersection, drainage, and bikeway projectsWarwick 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.
September 28, 2006
Community gearing up for patrols on Eastside
Where is the City?Warwick Jones
It was intended to just be another meeting in preparation for citizen patrols on the Eastside. But it turned out to be more. Citizen patrols may be the most serious of initiatives attempted in recent years to reduce crime in this blighted area of the Peninsula. The County authorities have risen to the occasion and promised substantial support, not only with equipment, but with personnel from the Sheriffs Department. But the question last night was - where is the City of Charleston? Is it really committed? The Mayor has talked big about his effort to fight crime, particularly last week with a TV appearance. But his response to the citizens engaged in this battle has been silence.
September 27, 2006
City Council Meeting September 26
More on Crime
Compromise of sorts on height limit for commercial buildingsMarc Knapp
The days may now be getting shorter but City Council meetings are not. Including that of the Ways and Means, last night's meeting took the best part of 4 ½ hours. Certainly there were matters of importance to discuss but the time was swollen by the Mayor's televised speech on crime, a 15 minute break to allow him to attend to other business, and then the innumerable presentations and awards that accompany every Council meeting, many of which seem trivial or unnecessary. The real business of Council took probably only half the session.
September 13, 2006
City Council Meeting September 12
A need for perspective
Fight against crime gathers momentumWarwick Jones, covering for Marc Knapp
Unbelievable! That is one word we would use to describe last night's meeting of City Council. Your usual correspondent, Marc Knapp would've used a word much harsher! Probably some 2 hours were spent addressing a very minor parking issue on Tradd Street. After the first hour, some Council members wondered out loud why they were spending so much time on the issue. The Mayor said the same thing and then spent another 10 or so minutes discussing it. Council member Shirley, trying unsuccessfully to wrap up the discussion, referred to the well-known philosopher Marc Knapp and loosely quoted him as saying that you don't need to be a "brain surgeon" to deal with this issue. (Actually Marc's words were "rocket scientist" but the correct sentiment was conveyed).
August 30, 2006
Eastside residents join in fight against drugs
First steps to forming citizen patrolsWarwick Jones
It looks like it's going to happen. At a meeting last night, Eastside residents and others gathered to discuss moves to combat drug dealing. Responding to a plea by the organizers, some 20 Black African "men" stepped forward to join patrols to help police the neighborhood. Some hurdles still remain, but with help likely from the City, County and State, they should easily be overcome. We expect that the "men" will be on the street within a few weeks. They will operate under the banner CPAD - Citizens Patrol Against Drugs.
August 28, 2006
Shrimp 'n Grits
Crime & Flooding, the Sept-children of PericlesLee Walton
Why have the citizens of Charleston allowed themselves to be numbed by the deplorable state of two of the most basic responsibilities of municipal government? Why, decade after decade, do we tolerate the levels of criminal activity and urban flooding that has become commonplace and acceptable in our everyday lives? Are the citizens of other cities with similar population demographics, tax bases, resources and challenges willing to accept such intolerable levels of drug activity, murders, assaults, robberies and property losses to urban flooding as commonplace events or business as usual? Two recent Palter and Chatter news articles this past week exemplify the level to which Mayor J. Pericles Riley and his administration of subservient poltroons have desensitized the citizens of Charleston and conditioned them to accept the unacceptable.
August 25, 2006
Major effort to galvanize Eastside community in fight against crime
Needed - 100 African American men to engage youth on the streetWarwick Jones
It is a universal opinion that the community must be involved to successfully fight crime. It was said again yesterday at a meeting on the Eastside. The meeting had been called as a prelude to a major initiative to combat the drug problems and violent crime on the Eastside. And if the initiative can succeed, then the effort will be extended to other neighborhoods.
August 16, 2006
City Council Meeting. August 15
Major step to curb drug dealing
Some questions of principle in relation to re-zoningsMarc Knapp
As Councilmember Fishburne sensed as he perused the long agenda early in the evening, it was going to be a long one. It was! Yours truly and another were the only members of the public that stuck it to the end - at 9 pm.. The meeting would have ended earlier but for the persistence of Council member Bleecker. She tried to make a point about procedure. Her argument had merit but with the lateness of the hour and the accompanying weariness, Council was in no mood for detailed discussion. She yielded before the daggers in the eyes of other Council members ceased being metaphoric.
July 19, 2006
City Council July 18
City attempts to "tidy up" zoning and height restrictions
Mayor seeks to toughen penalties for violent crimeMarc Knapp
With 57 public hearings scheduled, the agenda for last night's City Council looked formidable. It was formidable, but not as much as it appeared. Many of the hearings related to annexations and the proposed ordinances were adopted without discussion. However, those relating to changes in the Neck area and West of the Ashley were important and generated much discussion.
June 23, 2006
Community effort can stop drug related crime
A letter from Council member Darby to a criticWarwick Jones, Editor
I am proud to be a friend of Henry Darby who represents District 4 on County Council. He has often shared his concerns about the ill winds that blow through the community and in particular those of drugs and associated crime. He received a letter from a prominent member of the African American community who was strongly critical of a recent action. He showed me his response. I asked that he let me publish it. Part of the reason for my request was to explain again why he asked Council for a small donation to a drug reform group. More importantly, it was to show that the community can win the war against drugs and related crime - and the need for the community to be involved.
He consented to my request and his letter is shown below with some light editing.
June 21, 2006
City Council June 20
Council tries a new way to combat violent crime
We question City's banker role. Discussion on smoking banWarwick Jones, standing in for Marc Knapp
The need to deal with violent crime was the most important issue before Council last night. But the need for a smoke-free environment evoked the longer discussion, even though the issue was not on the agenda. Most items on the agenda were approved by Council with little or no discussion. But one of those items, a loan to Elpis Inc, should have drawn some questions, in our view. It also caused us to reflect on the hypocrisy, perhaps unwitting, of some of the discussion on crime.
May 24, 2006
City Council, May 23
Traffic signals to be coordinated - hurrah!
Other purchases, re-zonings, Miss Charleston, and crimeMarc Knapp
Some of us have been griping for years about the seemingly uncoordinated traffic signals of the City. Our gripes last night were acknowledged when the Council approved a $571,000 contract to implement the Traffic Signal Retiming Project. The contract was awarded to Day Wilburn Associates. The scope of the project will be the development and implementation of new traffic signal timing plans for the City, including about 95 signalized intersections.
October 21, 2005
City Council Election Debate - District 4
Crime and "affordable housing" are major issuesWarwick Jones, Editor
We won't try and determine the winner of last night's Candidates Forum. There were five speakers at the meeting organized by the League of Women Voters. Each candidate spoke well and credibly about the problems of the District and their plans should they be elected. In total, there are seven candidates for the seat that is presently held by Kwadjo Campbell but who has chosen not to run again. Two of the candidates were not present last night because of personal reasons.
Posted by Warwick Jones at 06:48 PM
October 19, 2005
City Council Meeting October 18
City steps in to preserve Angel Oak
Citizens demand action on crime on PeninsulaMarc Knapp
It is rare that I am in full agreement with the Mayor. Last night's City Council meeting was one of those occasions. The City is to initiate steps to acquire the land around the Angel Oak on Johns Island and ensure the preservation of a wonderful landmark. But the process is not simple. The discussion and the public hearing occupied most of the Council meeting,