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Noted and passed -- Dec. 26, 2011

Posted: December 23, 2011 9:31 a.m.
Updated: December 26, 2011 5:00 a.m.

• We’ve watched with interest the controversy over the city of Camden’s proposed YMCA, and the attendant give and take on both sides. City officials certainly could have been more receptive to those disagreeing with their positions, and some of the opponents could have been more circumspect with their jeers and boos at meetings. But the ongoing debate has been a healthy exercise in democracy and the right of both governing and dissenting. However, we were disappointed to see Y opponent Herb Farber characterize Mayor Jeffrey Graham in a recent news story as a “29-year-old boy.” The statement came across, even among many who side with Farber’s opposition, as mean-spirited -- a petty slap at Graham and those who voted for him. People raised in a culture of civility would term it “bad form.”

• The United States is finally giving up on the concept of a one-dollar coin, ordering discontinuation of the current presidential series of coins some two decades after the Susan B. Anthony dollar coin also was a dismal failure. Though coins are cost-effective because they last much longer than dollar bills, American consumers have indicated an aversion to them. For the coins to have gained acceptance, Uncle Sam would have had to discontinue the one-buck bill, thus forcing them into circulation. Since that’s not happening, it’s better to throw in the towel on the coin and admit it has not worked.

• Political observers might say S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley’s endorsement of Mitt Romney was worthless given Haley’s disapproval ratings in the Palmetto State, but hers was one of several opinions that makes it look as if prominent Republicans -- even those who have Tea Party proclivities -- are giving up on polls leader Newt Gingrich, believing he is too far right to defeat President Obama in the general election. It will be interesting to see whether this trend continues in GOP circles.

• The name Vaclav Havel might not be a household term, but few people had more influence in ending communism in many parts of eastern Europe than the dissident playwright who guided Czechoslovakia’s “Velvet Revolution.” Havel, a disheveled guy who spent years in jail, became a source of inspiration for many as the Iron Curtain fell. He later oversaw the re-alignment of his country into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Havel died last week at the age of 75, but his memory will live on among millions of eastern Europeans who now live in freedom.

• We commented recently on the painful-but-necessary changes to keep the state retirement system solvent. A new proposal moving through the General Assembly would change legislators’ pensions, also, ending the practice of their retiring but remaining in office and drawing much larger pension benefits than their salaries would have been. It’s time to correct this inequity and to prove that if workers’ benefits are going under the knife, so should lawmakers’.


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