Tip O'Neill, the Massachusetts pol who was speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives for many years, once said that all politics is local. That maxim was never more evident than in last Tuesday's election for mayor in which political newcomer Tony Scully unseated incumbent Jeffrey Graham. It was concrete proof that if voters believe their elected officials aren't listening to them, they'll turn them out of office. Scully was a reluctant candidate but turned out to be an effective one, and voters responded to that.
• Former Camdenite and equine enthusiast Sally Brown is now living in Hilton Head with her husband, Austin, but her many friends here are happy that she has had a race horse named after her, just as Austin did a couple years ago. Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard and his wife Cathy named a filly for her earlier this year, and that horse is now in training. We don't know of any other "couples horses" which have been named for people, and it's a fitting tribute to both of the Browns.
The best thing about Election Day is that all the drivel spooned out by the pundits and analysts and strategists and partisans goes right out the window. The electorate finally gets to have its say. And on Tuesday, the nation's voters said they'd rather have another term of the Obama administration than put Mitt Romney in the White House. Strangely enough, Americans say they're tired of bickering among the two parties and they want compromise, but they re-elected both the president and the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, the two parties which haven't been able to agree ...
With election day now in the rear-view mirror, all Kershaw County residents from the staunchest, most bleeding-heart Democrat to the most rabid, reactionary Republican probably agree on one matter: that campaigns at every level last too long, are too expensive and focus too much on negative advertising. It won't be more than a few days before national pundits will begin speculating on which candidates are so-called front-runners for the 2016 election, and we'll be subjected to endless political chatter once again.
• With election day upon us, there's one final sad fact to report: lawyers for both parties are mobilizing, ready to start flinging lawsuits. In Ohio alone, thousands of attorneys are standing by; we're reminded a bit of those ads for prescription drugs in which a somber announcer tells viewers there's a pretty good chance they have a disease they might not even know about. Actually, having a legal fight would be an appropriate though mournful way to end what has probably been the most down-and-dirty fight American voters have seen.
Hurricane Sandy proved once again that Mother Nature is always in charge. In fact, the number of natural tragedies in the last few years has been almost incalculable, emphasizing the point that man has little power when facing natural forces. Though nobody would have chosen it to happen because of a storm inflicting such cruel damage to so many people, it did focus publicity off the presidential race, and that was fortunate; the media coverage had become stifling.
No matter which candidate wins the presidency and no matter which party controls the House and the Senate, elected officials would do well to pay attention to level-head business leaders when it comes to the horrid budget deficits this country is facing. Democrats decry any kind of spending cuts, while Republicans want to close the door on tax increases, period.
• In the midst of all the presidential punditry and endless spin, we were struck recently by the simple concept of how much sense it would make to have a single six-year term for the presidency, with re-election not allowed. Chief executives then could accomplish things without always stopping to check the political winds. Perhaps best of all, we would only be subjected to the endless campaign tripe every six years instead of every four.
As South Carolina's oldest inland city, Camden has a proud historical heritage and, fortunately, a populace that embraces it and promotes it. The latest chapter in the historical tableau was unveiled yesterday afternoon when statues of Joseph Kershaw, one of the founders of the town, and King Hagler a Native American leader who assisted the people of this area during the French and Indian War, were unveiled on the Town Green.
When former Sen. George McGovern died last week at age 90, there were probably many Kershaw County residents who might have remembered him only as the presidential candidate who got crushed in one of the largest landslides in history, winning only one state plus the District of Columbia against President Richard Nixon in 1972. McGovern's campaign was somewhat dysfunctional -- he fired his vice presidential running mate, Thomas Eagleton, after revelations that Eagleton had been treated for mental disorders -- and never had a chance against a president who was popular at the time and hadn't yet been trapped by ...
• Founded in 1933 during the Great Depression, Newsweek became a journalistic force of the 20th century; its weekly wrap-up of the news events affecting the world was required reading for those who wanted to be in the know. When the print woes that have affected the entire magazine industry, and much of the newspaper industry, became too severe, it switched to a sort of combination print-online publication. But last week, facing mounting losses, Newsweek gave up the ghost and cancelled its print edition. It's a sad occurrence, but a sign of the times in the magazine business.
• A belated tip of the Chronicle-Independent hat to State Rep. Laurie Slade Funderburk for being awarded the "Green Seal of Approval" from the Conservation Voters of South Carolina back in September during the organization's annual Green Tie Awards banquet. She earned the honor along with fellow State Rep. Paul Agnew and State Sen. Ray Cleary for their continued "championing (of) funding for the Conservation Bank and they have also promoted clean energy initiatives." The group said Funderburk and Agnew were "instrumental in upholding the Atlantic Compact that ended the nation's use of South Carolinas as its nuclear waste ...
Kershaw County Council made a reasonable decision earlier this week in limiting to 10 minutes the amount of time people have to speak when addressing issues during public hearings. Having the right to be heard is fundamental, and it's important that council didn't attempt to do away with that, but anyone who's ever attended hearings before -- or any type of public forum, for that matter -- knows that some people can get carried away with the sound of their own voices.
It's a fun time to be a college football fan in Kershaw County. While the high school teams in this area are going through a rough patch, the state's two flagship football programs -- South Carolina and Clemson -- are having banner seasons that could lead to the ultimate rivalry game Nov. 24 when the two teams will meet.
• We start with a tip of the Chronicle-Independent hat to Jim and Pat Watts for their giving ways in helping the Fine Arts Center (FAC) of Kershaw County construct and open a new performing arts wing at the center. The new 3,876-square foot-wing, dedicated in their name at the FAC's recent annual meeting, will allow the center to expand its theater arts education and performance programs. It's a great addition to the FAC campus for which we say, "Bravo!"
Kershaw County residents are getting ready to face what other voters across the country are going to see in the next few months: an onslaught of political ads, many of them nasty in character, and a high percentage of them paid for not by candidates but by special interest groups which have amassed millions upon millions of dollars to spread their messages. And, of course, the bulk of those messages will be negative. These groups are both Democratic and Republican, conservative and liberal. Altogether, according to news reports, such factions are going to buy $2 billion worth of ad time ...
• Friday's report that Amtrak is going to spend the next several months refurbishing Camden's passenger rail station off West DeKalb Street is welcome news. Built in 1937, it has shown its age for decades and never more so than now with holes in the platform's canopy, rotting timbers and other problems that make it a less than desirable place to stop. Amtrak says their No. 1 priority is making the facility Americans with Disabilities Act compliant -- and that's a very good thing -- from the parking lot to the station and onto the platform and train. But ...
We're glad to see that the city of Camden is exploring alternatives for aging Rhame Arena. The building is becoming more dilapidated with each passing year, and something needs to be done, whether it's razing it or restoring it. Of course, money is a factor, just as it is in all government decisions these days. We will say that city officials have overworked the bureaucratic jargon in their appraisal of the situation, saying an "adaptive reuse" could be a possible alternative. We are assuming "adaptive reuse" means repairing the building and making it feasible for some type of ...
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