Letters to the Editor

We’ve seen this all before

The train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio is tragic, but it is definitely not unprecedented. It’s just one more example of what happens when industries are given control over their own regulations. This follows an all-too-familiar pattern.

– An industry donates huge sums of money to favored politicians.

– In return, the politicians remove or weaken regulations that impact the industry.

– For a brief period, industry profits increase due to reduced regulatory costs, and everyone is happy.

– Then a disaster happens, a disaster that likely would have been prevented if industry regulations had not been weakened or removed.

– In an attempt to deflect blame, the politicians who are responsible for this disaster engage in finger-pointing.

We’ve seen this scenario play out many times – the Flint water crisis, the Texas utilities crisis in 2021, the 2009 financial crisis, the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010, etc., etc. For the past 40-plus years, one major U.S. political party has touted deregulation as the quick-and-easy solution to all our problems. It is not. In fact, it’s a recipe for disaster when we allow the regulated industries to call the shots.

– Peter Birschbach, Port Royal

Unchecked growth can do harm
In 1972, the “Club of Rome” and MIT published “The Limits to Growth.” We are wedded to a linear economic system committed to the unsustainable myth of perpetual growth, which politicians measure via GDP, which is tied to creating capital (money) — and not to whether we serve the needs of human well-being and the common good. Let’s reduce this to local perspective.
Though I live on Lady’s Island, what happens on St. Helena and in the City of Beaufort affects the quality of my life.

First example, look at the groundswell of opposition to an outside developer(think “for short term profit …”) proposes a Pine Island gated community and golf course. No one wants the project, for all the reason already elaborated, but our county political leaders seem wedded to that growth for-growth’s-sake economic thinking. And no mention that this is a barrier island just a bump higher than the surrounding water, while all the access roads are at only 10 feet above sea level; has no one looked at projected seas level rise, other infrastructure costs, at the addition of additional traffic on already crowded U.S. 21/Sea Island Parkway?

OK, second item. City of Beaufort has a Strategic Plan (you can search it online) that includes a goal of “infill,” ie, let’s promote building on every single empty lot that exists. Already that has led to new housing in parts of the city, including the very historic “Northwest Quadrant”, that could if it continues affect the very nature of what makes Beaufort a tourist destination.

Instead of permitting gentrification to occur, perhaps a plan to address unmet housing needs and keeping housing costs within reach for folks who want to live and work in Beaufort — along with preservation of the historic housing remnants sitting sometimes in decay? My apologies to the good city folk who know all this and who may be diligently moving in the right direction. Let us all know your thoughts.

– Tim Dodds, Lady’s Island

Get different opinions to form consensus

Sixty-five years ago when I was a child, I was encouraged by my parents, teachers, clergy, and relatives to read everything I could. Get different views on all subjects in order to form my own opinion. I did and to this day I love reading.

Now we have Nazi book burners demanding books be taken out of libraries and out of classrooms. If these Nazi people don’t want their child to read or be exposed to things they don’t want, contact school officials and libraries to forbid their child access. But what do Nazi people do? They want all children banned from what they don’t like. Unamerican!

Also, I was a former long-haul truck driver. We had a name for people who drove in the left lane going the same speed as vehicle in right lane … Left Laners. They impede traffic flow and incite road rage. Two years ago South Carolina passed a law against this habit. Most other states have as well. You must stay in the right lane except to pass.

Yet at 70 years old, going to my part-time job, everyday I encounter these fools.

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