Drive, he said!

The art of a proper, safe and legal left turn at a light: With the traffic signal light showing green, yellow or flashing yellow, you and (alert) trailing cars roll into the center of the intersection (L turn signals on). When traffic “clears” or the light changes to red, y’all complete your L turns into the nearest (LEFT) lane. As for oncoming drivers properly turning R on red (against you); watch for them slowing and their R turn signal flashing. They should turn “tight” into the RIGHT (curb) lane ONLY! That allows you (and your fellow travellers behind) to likewise turn “tight” into the LEFT lane. (NO “crossing” lanes on a turn!). Everybody is safe, happy and on their way! If you really MUST change lanes after turning, WAIT! Use your turn signal, mirror and a glance back, then “ease” over when clear behind. We can do this, Beaufort! We have power steering!

– Ed Trottier, Ladys Island

I am voting for Shannon Erickson

Beaufort County voters have important choices to make in the current election. One of the most significant is the selection of our representative to the S.C. House of Representatives. Shannon Erickson has performed admirably in this role for 15 years. She has demonstrated a cool head under pressure and has been an outstanding role model for timely and articulate communication with her constituents. I am shocked to hear her opponent characterize her as “too extreme” for her citizens. I would use that adjective to describe Shannon’s performance as follows: extreme attention to Lowcountry issues, extreme dedication to the role of State House Representative, extreme focus on keeping her constituents informed of important votes in Columbia and even hurricane updates, and extremely accessible to her constituents.

As a small business owner, Shannon has been sensitive to issues such as excessive taxation and bureaucracy that impact local businesses. She has also focused on improving funding to Beaufort County schools.

Shannon has extreme seniority in the S.C. House and serves on the powerful House Ways and Means Budget committee. I am voting to keep Shannon Erickson as our representative in Columbia and highly recommend that all Beaufort County residents support her.

– Rebecca W. Bass, Beaufort

Land protection an essential part of healthy community

Land conservation protects what makes Beaufort County special and provides a balance to the growth and development we are experiencing. Protecting open space helps keep pollution out of our creeks, rivers, and the Port Royal Sound.

Since 2002, Beaufort County voters have supported the Rural and Critical Lands Program to protect land. This November, the Greenspace Penny offers a new and complementary source of funds for land protection. I hope voters will act on this opportunity.

Consider the need: Beaufort County is one of the fastest growing regions on the East Coast. In the 10 years preceding, Beaufort County grew by 18.4% according to the 2020 Census. We are now seeing growth beginning to overwhelm housing affordability, schools, quality of life and especially our transportation infrastructure.

We cannot stop growth, but we can manage and channel it into areas that are suitable. Carefully selected open space is a key part of that effort. This will be especially helpful outside of our urban areas where unchecked and badly planned land development can massively affect the quality of life of the persons who live there as well as cost the County taxpayers the very substantial amounts of money needed to convert those areas from rural to urban. Carefully planned and managed land protection will protect special places before they are lost to development and save everyone money.

Protecting greenspace is also critical in keeping pollution out of our waters. Since 2004, thanks to previously approved funding for land conservation, more than 1,400 acres have been protected in the Okatie River Watershed, more than 10,000 protected in the ACE Basin, and more than 1,200 acres protected along the New River. The Port Royal Sound and its associated creeks and rivers remain among the most pristine waters on the East Coast, but only strategic land protection will keep them that way.

The quality of these waters and the associated recreational and visual bounty they provide are among the primary reasons that people come to this area – to visit, invest and live. We must protect the uplands of the Port Royal Sound if we want our clean water to exist for future generations. Continuing this type of land protection is critical to preserving the quality of life that we have here in Beaufort County.

The Greenspace Penny is a targeted sales tax with built-in constraints to protect the taxpayer, including an essential citizens advisory committee and stakeholder project review. The Open Land Trust, Port Royal Sound Foundation and Nature Conservancy are all organizations able to provide stakeholder review, recommend projects and ensure money is best spent on conservation opportunities that provide public benefit and not developer hand-outs.

With voter approval, and stakeholder and citizen accountability, the Greenspace Penny can meet the needs of our growing region and protect what we love for future generations.

– Dean Moss, Port Royal

BCSD should follow its own rules

Per the American Library Association: “Intellectual Freedom is the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction” and is “the basis for our democratic system.”

The Beaufort County School District’s Procedures for Handling Questioned or Challenged School Library Materials specifically state that “All BCSD employees are charged with the responsibility of upholding the principle of intellectual freedom rather than defending a selected educational resource” and “the BCSD shall be operated to promote academic freedom, the student’s right to read, and the fair and reasonable competition of ideas and information.”

Broadly removing 97 book titles from the Beaufort County school libraries without following their own procedures sets a dangerous precedent and may violate students’ First Amendment rights to receive ideas and information.

Certainly, the primary responsibility for rearing children rests with parents and the BCSD procedures recognize the right of a parent/legal guardian to ask that particular school library materials not be made available to their own children. However, that is not the route taken in this case. Instead of exercising their parental right to limit their own children’s access to these 97 book titles, the complainants made a broad-based verbal challenge, bypassing the clearly outlined Reconsideration Procedure and usurping the rights of other parents to make their own decisions regarding these books.

It will be interesting to see how the book-review process proceeds because the complainants haven’t submitted the required Request for Reconsideration of School Library Materials Form required for the review process. This form must be completed and submitted for every challenged book and requires that the complainant affirm or deny that the entire book has been read before initiating the request and then detail the objectionable material. Without this documentation from the complainant, another important component of the Reconsideration Procedure is omitted.

This challenge to the BCSD Procedures for Handling Questioned or Challenged School Library Procedures appears to be the first major test of the procedures. The procedures themselves are straightforward and based on American Library Association guidelines, but adherence to the procedures is clearly lacking in this case. We must hold the BCSD accountable for following their own procedures regarding challenged books – our children’s intellectual freedom is at stake.

– Lori Wohlgemuth Tull, Beaufort

Young adults need sense of institutional belonging

I enjoyed Sgt. Morejon’s piece about the role of the Marine experience in the context of developing an adult life (10/27/22). It reminded me how my father felt the same way about his Navy years, and how he similarly occasionally wished he had stayed in.

The larger point, though, seems to be how young men (and women, now) can benefit from the literal “esprit” of belonging to a “corps.” A sense of institutional belonging can provide a valuable path into a productive and satisfying adult life at a time when young people really need it.

Right now there are few alternatives to the military institution, with academic scholarship a distant option. National Service, if ever mandated, could provide a true service option that includes both the rigors and benefits of military service.

– Carol Brown, Beaufort

Read Greenspace question very carefully

You’ll be shocked when you realize this question, if passed, would actually give future County Councils the authority to use our tax monies to purchase properties in our neighboring counties. It says the money would be collected, … “for not more than two (2) years to raise up to $100,000,000 for preservation procurement for the purpose of procuring open lands and green space by and through the acquisition of interests in real property, LOCATED WITHIN OR OUTSIDE THE BOUNDARIES OF BEAUFORT COUNTY, (emphasis is mine) such interests to include …”

Is this to say our Council is considering purchasing some of the plantation properties which abut our County in Jasper, Hampton, and Colleton counties. I have an idea the governing bodies in those Counties would take a dim view of such action, but it will be a possibility if this proposal passes.

In my opinion, this program would duplicate the Rural and Critical Lands Program which has already been in effect in our County for more than 20 years and is taxpayer funded, thanks to our voting for the program. In addition, our wonderful OPEN LAND TRUST organization, established 50 years ago by three of our civic-minded citizens, has saved many properties from development and did it using membership dues and donations. Some of the views saved by this group are no less than magnificent, such as those along Bay Street in the heart of the Historic District.

I’ll be voting a resounding NO on this referendum question. Please read the entire question very carefully.

– Edie Rodgers, Beaufort

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