Say ‘no’ to partisan school board elections

Just when you think partisanship could not boil any hotter, the heat is turned up again.

Now it’s school board elections. In only two districts in the state are the elections partisan, Lee and Horry Counties, and no authorization in law can be found to require that. In fact, in numerous districts in the state the enabling legislation actually requires that the elections be nonpartisan.

Yet, the Republican Party has posed an Advisory Question on this year’s primary ballot: “Should candidates for local school boards be able to run as a candidate of the political party of their choice, just like candidates for other elected offices?”

The question is so artfully phrased that to answer “no” seems almost un-American.

The anticipated overwhelming affirmative vote on the question posed will be hailed as “proof” that the people want school board elections to be partisan. A candidate’s “choice” of political party, as appealing as that may sound, will be enacted into law to be a “requirement” for a candidate to run for school board. Partisan school board races, currently not confirmed by law anywhere in South Carolina, will be the law in every school district in the state.

What’s the motivation here?

Two words: “power” and “control.” It’s no different whether it’s Republican or Democrat. A political party weighs power and exercises some measure of control over those who would be its candidates.

How many times have we heard the threat that a primary opponent would be thrown up against one of their own if the candidate should stray from the party line? And how often does a political party dictate an agenda to which all its candidates are expected to adhere?

So, how to vote on the referendum question before us?

A “no” vote would be a clear expression against partisan school board elections, no matter the phrasing of the question on the ballot.

Or, if you don’t want to vote “no,” just skipping over that question would send a message that the question asked is not really the question at all.

– Robert Folks, Lancaster

Thanks to The Island News for presenting both sides

I totally agree with the … two letters to the editor concerning Denise Sullivan’s attacks on Jim Dickson.

I especially want to reiterate the comment by Robert Hatcher praising you for supporting a publication that presents both articles and letters to the editor from all points of view. This is the type of newspaper we all grew up with. The Island News is one of the very few that still honor the ideal of a free press. Thank you.

– Greg Lula, Hilton Head Island

Vote for candidates who respect democracy, our rights

Coming soon to a Red State near you! All women and girls of reproductive age must submit their names and DNA samples to their state’s Reproductive Control Database. Then they must receive a state-sanctioned pregnancy test every 60 days.

Any woman who tests positive or who fails to be tested will be placed on her state’s Reproductive Control watch list. They will not be allowed to leave their home or have any in-home visitors unless a state-sponsored guardian is present.

If you think this scenario is far-fetched then maybe you haven’t been paying close attention to the rhetoric coming from the far right. Overturning Roe v. Wade is not their final goal, by any means.

They also seek to criminalize or severely restrict access to contraceptives. They have talked openly about ending interracial marriage and rolling back LGBT rights. At least two GOP candidates have proposed elimination of the one-person-one-vote concept. One candidate suggested that only people with children should be allowed to vote because they’re the only ones “with skin in the game.”

The far right’s assault on our rights must be stopped. In the upcoming elections, PLEASE VOTE for candidates who respect our democracy and our rights.

– Peter Birschbach, Port Royal

Who is JoJo Woodward?

Who is Mr. Joey “JoJo” Woodward, Jr. and is he qualified to run for sheriff of Beaufort County? That’s the big question!

Let’s review some factual data relating to Mr. Woodward, Jr. First of all, without any verified conflicts in scheduling, he has avoided any face-to-face debates with our current sheriff, Mr. P.J. Tanner. Secondly, Mr. Woodward has never provided the voters of Beaufort County with any of his qualifications other than the fact that he was a captain on the Beaufort County Sheriff’s department at some point in time.

Thirdly, Mr. Woodward has never provided the voters with any other qualifications which can be substantiated by the media or voters, such as, if he ever attended any advanced courses in law enforcement, e.g. school safety, active shooter in schools, active shooter, community policing, budgeting, internal and external planning, policing in today’s society, police community relations, etc.

Has he attended any specialized training offered at the F.B.I. National Academy? Has he any degrees or advanced degrees in criminal justice? Has he obtained a B.A., M.B.A., or PhD? If he has, then in what field of study?

All Mr. Woodward has ever stated in his brief appearances is that he was a captain on the Beaufort County Sheriff’s department at some point but never stated the reasoning behind his departure from said department. Exactly who is Mr. Woodward? Other than wanting to replace Sheriff Tanner what has he accomplished during his law enforcement career that has prepared him to be sheriff in a major county within South Carolina?

When Mr. Woodward speaks, he is very critical of Sheriff Tanner but he has not provided the voters with a specific plan of action or any fresh or innovative ideas or programs he could bring to the department to make its operation more efficient than it is presently under Sheriff Tanner.

– Anthony R. Scott, Dataw Island.

Scott, a retired law enforcement office, was Chief of Police for Athol, Mass.; Rock Island, Ill.; and Holyoke, Mass.

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