The Price of Liberty is Eternal Vigilance

The Watch


Cruise ships

Charleston may be a major US port but until recently, it has never enjoyed significant cruise activity. This changed in 2010 when the State Ports Authority (SPA) signed an agreement with Carnival Cruise Lines. Following on this agreement, the SPA came to an understanding with the City that there would be no more than 104 cruise ship visits a year, that only one ship would be berthed at a time, and the size of cruise ships would be limited to 3,500 passengers. This agreement was not enough for some folk who fear that the City's historic ambience, and other things will be ruined by cruise ships and their passengers. They sought a legally binding agreement with the SPA. The SPA said no and the City refused to attempt imposing a legal agreement. It argued that state law precludes it from regulating the industry. The Coastal Conservation League and two neighborhood associations are pressing a law suit. The SPA plans to build a new terminal at Union Pier. Some citizens would like the new terminal further away, at Columbus Street. The SPA states that Columbus Street needs to be fully dedicated to cargo operations. Besides, the terminal does not lend itself to cruise operations.

May 13, 2015

City Council, May 12
Tourist Management Plan adopted
But without the Planning Commission’s recommendations
Warwick Jones

It was a long meeting. We expected it would be because of the public hearing on the Tourist Management Plan. But a proposed change in the City’s procurement policy also generated substantial discussion and citizen comment.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 01:31 PM | Comments (0)

February 26, 2014

City Council, February 25
Mayor Riley gets his way on bike lane
A resolution on shore power - palliative rather than substantive?
Marc Knapp

Mayor Riley is never happy being on the losing side of an issue, and who is? We suspect that he would be particularly unhappy if Council voted against the creation of a bike and pedestrian (b&p) lane across the T. Allen Legare Bridge. He has invested much time in the project and generated considerable excitement within the cycling community and amongst employees of the City hospitals. Rightly or wrongly, directly or indirectly, the City alerted the interested groups of the pending debate and their members showed up en masse last night to speak in favor of the b&p lane.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 02:45 PM | Comments (0)

January 23, 2014

Cruise ships
Supreme Court tosses Cruise ship suit
Plaintiffs’ claims “Lack standing”
Warwick Jones

As reported in the Post and Courier today, the State Supreme Court has dismissed the suit brought against Carnival Cruise Lines by neighborhood groups, the Coastal Conservation League and the Preservation Society. The State Ports Authority and the City of Charleston joined Carnival to fight the suit.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 01:07 PM | Comments (0)

February 09, 2013

Cruise ship Symposium, February 9
P&C struggles with the facts

Warwick Jones

We did not attend the Cruise ship Symposium that ended yesterday. But we read the editorial and news reports in the Post and Courier. Herewith some extracts from the editions of the last 3 days relating to the event. Viewers can draw their own conclusion and make their own judgment.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 07:14 PM | Comments (0)

February 03, 2013

Cruise ships, February 2
Cruise ship symposium - Chasing a lost cause?

Warwick Jones

So let me get this right. Folk are coming to a symposium in Charleston this week to warn us of the problems that cruise ships cause in a number of cities, and they will advise us as what to do in avoiding these problems. To hear these folk and other local luminaries, we need to pay $300. Maybe the cost would be worthwhile if Charleston is burdened by a cruise ship problem. Except at the monthly meetings of a few Peninsula neighborhood associations, and the editorial pages of the Post and Courier, folk don’t think there is a problem. And it seems the number of cruise ship visits – about 2 a week – is a number that just about all folk, including the neighborhood groups and the P&C editors, agree is just right.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 11:13 PM | Comments (0)

January 09, 2013

Cruise Ships
Judge Newman’s recommendations on the Cruise ship law suit
See full document
Warwick Jones

The ruling by Judge Newman, appointed by the South Carolina Supreme Court to advise it on the merit of dismissing the suit brought by the Coastal Conservation League and others, is attached. It can be seen by pressing Download file.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 03:21 PM | Comments (0)

City Council, January 8
Non-smoking area around hospitals approved
Only comment of cruise ships was ours
Warwick Jones

The major item on last night’s agenda was the creation of a non-smoking area around Roper and the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) hospitals. Council gave first reading to the proposed ordinance at its last meeting in December. However, some Council members supported it only on the understanding that it would be further studied and amendments considered at the second reading. At the second reading last night, the ordinance was passed again with some minor modifications - but not before considerable debate.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 12:41 PM | Comments (0)

December 16, 2012

Cruise ships
Cruise ship pollution exaggerated

The following letter was sent to the Post and Courier some weeks ago and and never published. We thought viewers might find it interesting.


The cruise ship foes have been short of facts. Now they are indulging in fantasy. Ms. Agnew of the Charleston Communities for Cruise Control cites (November 8) a study that says Carnival Fantasy when in port will emit as much sulfur dioxide as 34,000 idling tractor-trailers even though the ship will be burning low sulfur fuel. She even states that the EPA has “vetted” the study. Recently, another letter writer made the same assertion. Something is very wrong.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 06:43 PM | Comments (0)

July 28, 2012

Cruise ships
How much air pollution do cruise ships really create?
Not nearly as much as cruise ship opponents allege!
Warwick Jones

Facts never seem to get in the way of cruise ships opponents. The letter to the Post and Courier on July 23 by Ms. Carrie Agnew of Charleston Communities for Cruise Control suggests that all the citizens on the peninsula should be dropping with respiratory diseases. We aren’t. But if we were, the cause would lie more with vehicular traffic rather than cruise ship emissions. Here are some facts!

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 10:08 AM | Comments (0)

May 06, 2012

Cruise ships

The following article was first published in The Nerve, a blog of the SC Policy Council. It ran for 3 days.

What’s all the fuss about Cruise ships in Charleston?

Warwick Jones

It’s now more than 2 years since Carnival Cruise Lines began running cruises out of Charleston. Carnival was welcomed by the City, as was at plan by the State Port Authority (SPA) to build a new, one berth cruise terminal and to integrate part of the Union Pier area back into the city.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 03:14 PM | Comments (0)

April 24, 2012

The Miley Report
A not-so-clear perspective

Warwick Jones

The Miley report does not impress us.

Commissioned by the Historic Charleston Foundation (HCF) and entitled The Cruise Industry in Charleston; A Clear Perspective, its purpose as defined in the introduction was “to provide an assessment of the positive and negative, short-term and long-term impacts that the cruise industry has, or may have, on Charleston’s economy and quality of life as they relate to the historical, architectural and cultural character of the City”.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 09:50 AM | Comments (0)

April 13, 2012

Cruise ships
Preservation Society plan - bold but improbable
There are many issues, and funding is one of them
Warwick Jones

The Preservation Society fired off another round last week in its battle with the City over cruise ships and the Gaillard auditorium. The proposed plan is bold, but improbable in our view. It is bold in the scale of the recommendations and the assumptions. The cost of the projects recommended could leave little change out of half a billion dollars (our guess). And it is improbable for a number of reasons, but particularly because all of the stars would need to be favorably aligned - the City, the SPA, the State, private donors and almost certainly, the Federal government – to fund the plan.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 02:36 PM | Comments (0)

November 10, 2011

Mayoral Election
Mayor Riley to “Citizens for a Better Charleston” – Thanks
“Overwhelming” support for Mayor from “South of Broad" and Ansonborough

Warwick Jones

The election results for the City of Charleston were a surprise. That Joe Riley won was not, but that he won so handsomely was. Many of us, perhaps even most of us, expected a run off. The polls we saw before the election had Riley ahead of his main opponent, Council member Dudley Gregorie by only a few percentage points. The other contenders were well behind but with percentages that would have denied either Riley or Gregorie an outright majority. As we all now know, Mayor Riley romped in with 67% of the total, well ahead of Gregorie’s 27% and Farrow’s 3%.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 01:59 PM | Comments (0)

October 29, 2011

Mayoral Election
Of ships and sails and sealing wax, …and (men who would be) kings

Warwick Jones

Who they are we do not know. But their hands are busily turning the spindles and creating a web - exceedingly tangled to better achieve their immediate purpose of catching and deposing Mayor Riley. Their purpose beyond his deposition is murky.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 08:06 PM | Comments (0)

August 17, 2011

City Council, August 16
Financing plan for Septima Clark project looks risky
Assault on new Code article by cruise ship critics repelled
Marc Knapp

Desperate times, desperate acts. OK, it may be exaggeration to call the City’s plan to complete the Septima Clark project as desperate. But the plan is not without risks. Arguably, the road and drainage project is the most important and urgent of City projects. Its completion is necessary to stop the flooding during heavy rains and high tides in a large section of the City. The cost is an estimated $154 million, an amount I wouild dispute as highly inflated. Most of the funding is not in place.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 02:47 PM | Comments (0)

July 20, 2011

City Council, July 19
City to tighten regulations covering carriage horses
Mayor comments on necessity to join Carnival in law suit
Marc Knapp

The proposed amendments to the City’s ordinance covering the care of carriage horses took over a year to shape. But as Council member White told Council last night, they were subject to considerable and lengthy debate by the Tourism Commission. An estimated 20 to 30 members of the horse carriage industry were present last night to show their opposition, though only a few spoke.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 12:40 PM | Comments (0)

May 24, 2011

Cruise Ships
Preparations for suit against Carnival Lines underway
HANA to join Coastal Conservation League as plaintiff
Warwick Jones

Threats of law suits to restrain the City, the State Port Authority and cruise ship lines have been commonplace for a year or so. But the threat is likely to be soon turned into a reality. The South Environmental Law Center (SELC) is preparing a complaint to be filed in a State court with Carnival Lines as the defendant. The Coastal Conservation League is the original plaintiff and last night the Historic Ansonborough Neighborhood Association (HANA) voted to join it. And the SELC expects that the Charleston Neighborhood Association will also vote to join it when it meets next month. It also hoped The Preservation Society would join.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 01:48 PM | Comments (0)

May 10, 2011

Cruise Ship Forum
For information, or intimidation?
City and SPA yield no ground
Warwick Jones

If the purpose of last night’s “Community Forum” was to bring closer the opposing sides of the cruise ship and the Union Pier plan issue, it failed. But we expect that the Historic Charleston Foundation (HCF), the sponsor of the forum held no such optimistic hope. It is 18 months since the Foundation’s last forum – “A Delicate Balance”. It was out of this forum that a Task Force was formed to oversee the developments on the Peninsula and which included Union Pier. But the issue over cruise ships and the Union Pier had grown large and in HCF’s view, another forum was needed to consider it.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 01:39 PM

April 10, 2011

Cruise ships
Neighborhood demands don’t look reasonable
The importance of the port cannot be ignored

Warwick Jones

Some folk on the Peninsula have a visceral hatred of cruise ships and their passengers. Their hatred has taken some time to foment. Except for the Coastal Conservation League (CCL) and some of its supporters, the opposition to cruise ship visits was largely latent at the time when City Council unanimously passed a resolution endorsing the Union Pier Plan and encouraging cruise ships to use the City as an embarkation point. That resolution committed the State Ports Authority (SPA) to limit ship visits to an average of 2 a week and vessel size to a capacity of about 3500 passengers.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 01:36 PM | Comments (0)

February 22, 2011

Cruise ships
If the City had control, how much would really change?
CCL’s exaggerated fears for the environment
Warwick Jones

The dust on the cruise ship issue refuses to settle, at least in some areas of the Peninsula. The Coastal Conservation League (CCL) and others appear to be looking for ways to instigate a lawsuit. They say that they support cruise ships and the Union Pier plan but the number of visits and the size of cruise ships must be regulated by the City, regulations on waste disposal tightened, and traffic and parking studies be undertaken, inter alia. Two neighborhood associations in the historic district support the stand.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 09:39 AM | Comments (0)

November 22, 2010

Cruise ships
Some still call for a controlling City Ordinance
Don’t think so!

Warwick Jones

The resolution that City Council approved two months ago should have put the cruise ship issue to bed. Council, unanimously, gave the nod to the Union Pier Plan of the SC Ports Authority (SPA), and cruise ship visits to Charleston. Letters from the SPA were attached to the resolution acknowledging its commitment. If the SPA wanted to increase the number of visits, the size of the ships or the number of passengers, it would first seek approval from the City. It agreed to allow only one ship to berth at a time, an average of no more than 2 visits a week, and a maximum passenger complement of 3500 a vessel.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 10:00 AM

September 15, 2010

City Council, September 14
Easy passage of amended Union Pier Plan
Landlords and property managers on notice

Marc Knapp

Discussion and citizen comments over a resolution relating to the Union Pier Plan took up much of last night’s Council meeting. Some of the comments by citizens were heated, but the discussion on Council was not. Although some Council members professed concern about some aspects, all voted for the resolution which had been amended slightly from that contained in the agenda package.

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Posted by Warwick Jones at 12:59 PM