The word "transparency" has become a popular one for politicians to use. After all, how many citizens are there here in Kershaw County -- or across South Carolina and the United States, for that matter -- who aren't in favor of a more open government? Not many. Indeed, transparency was one of the key platforms of Gov. Nikki Haley's campaign, and the issue no doubt contributed to her victory. A little squabble is now kicking up between her and State Treasurer Curtis Loftis over which is more committed to transparency and openness. Along with being amusing, it's also interesting.
• If ever a college coach deserved firing, it was Bruce Pearl, the Tennessee basketball head man who lied to NCAA investigators about recruiting violations he'd committed, and then committed additional illegal acts after denying he had done anything wrong in the first place. Pearl was a flamboyant coach who took the Volunteers to basketball heights they'd seldom attained, but his cheating was too flagrant to ignore.
We commented last week on the puzzling decision that Gov. Nikki Haley made in not re-appointing Darla Moore to the University of South Carolina Board of Trustees. We still aren't clear why Haley chose to pick a fight with Moore and so many university alumni who are grateful for the $70 million pledge Moore has made to USC. But Sen. Jake Knott's intention to pass a new law opening another seat on the board, and then to have Moore run for it, isn't the proper way for legislators to express their disapproval.
Even the most casual sports fan in Kershaw County can get caught up in the hoopla of March Madness, the NCAA basketball tournament that is arguably the best sporting event in the country. It's difficult to understand how college sports officials can continue to resist a football play-off system when you consider the interest drawn by the hoops tourney each year. And in this year's games, there have been lots of down-to-the-wire contests, generating more excitement than ever before.
• Kershaw County residents have a special reason to pull for Wofford's basketball team, as the Terriers are coached by Mike Young, who's married to the former Margaret Green, daughter of Davis and Gege Green of Camden. Young led Wofford to their second consecutive NCAA tournament appearance this year after winning the Southern Conference championship, with the Terriers making the "Big Dance" field despite being one of the smallest schools in the country to play Division I basketball. In the first round, Wofford played BYU valiantly before falling; nevertheless, it was another great season for Wofford and we offer ...
Say what you will about Gov. Nikki Haley, but don't say one thing: that she's bashful.
In a perfect world -- in a political system that functioned more as our forefathers intended rather than how it actually does -- elected officials in Washington would take on issues based on the importance of those matters rather than how the politicians would be affected at the ballot box in their next re-election campaign. But, of course, it's not a perfect world, and sometimes lawmakers can be most productive when they can plow ahead without having to worry about repercussions at the voting booth.
• We see through news reports that a sizeable percentage of newly elected U.S. Congressmen have decided to sleep in their offices, partly due to the high cost of real estate in the Washington area. That brings back memories. Rep. Ken Holland, formerly of Camden, was one of the first to become an "office snoozer" when he was elected to Congress from the Fifth Congressional District in 1974. Holland, a lawyer by profession, served eight years before leaving Washington -- one of the few who didn't become intoxicated with the power of Washington -- and now lives in Gaffney
The state appears on the verge of legitimizing a traffic ticket system that has existed on the gray market for years in many municipalities -- writing tickets and collecting fines while not counting the violations against people's traffic records, thus saving them the higher insurance premiums that often result with speeding violations. A bill in the House of Representatives would allow police to write a warning ticket to speeders who are going less than 10 miles per hour over the limit, with the state and cities sharing the revenue.
We all like to think that when we go to the polls to elect our leaders that we're casting our ballots for people who will make bold decisions; few voters ever mark the box next to the name of a candidate they consider timid. Camden City Council has indeed made some bold decisions recently, the latest one being to buy the former Mather Academy property, with the purpose of building a new recreational complex to take the place of the aging Rhame Arena.
• It's difficult not to like the candor of Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, the plain-spoken chief executive who's grappling with the Garden State's problems in a way that residents of that state have seldom seen. Christie lets the criticism of the media and special-interest groups roll off his back while he pile drives into the massive issues facing his state. Recently, Christie said he was not running for president but added that he knew he could win if he did. Few politicians are so bold or, as his critics say, brash. It will be interesting to ...
The nation marked a milestone earlier this week when Frank Buckles of West Virginia, the last surviving U.S. World War I veteran, died at the age of 110. Buckles passed away peacefully, according to his daughter, and remained until the end somewhat bemused by his singular status as last survivor.
The drama that's been playing out for a couple weeks in Wisconsin over public sector unions has moved to Ohio, and it's almost certain that the issue of public unions isn't going away. While union membership has been declining for years in private business, that hasn't been the case with public unions; in 2009, for the first time in this country's history, a majority of unionized workers were in government jobs rather than private ones. And the percentages are even more striking: while only 7 percent of private workers are unionized, 36 percent of government ...
• We're glad to see Kershaw County Council moving toward a ban on smoking in county-owned vehicles. Employees have the right to smoke if they wish, of course, but the prohibition on puffing in vehicles merely extends the present policy which bans smoking in county buildings. Cigarette smoke odor lingers in vehicles, and non-smoking employees shouldn't have to put up with it.
With April 15 approaching, Kershaw County taxpayers are bundling their records together and preparing to report to Uncle Sam. In most cases, they'll be hiring someone to prepare their tax returns because the tax code in this country is so blindingly complicated that a layman has no chance of understanding it. Many tax professionals can't even understand it. But in Washington, there's finally talk of comprehensive tax reform. That, of course, doesn't mean our elected officials in the nation's capital will accomplish anything, but conditions are ripe. We have a Republican-controlled House and a Democratic-controlled ...
It was another black eye for South Carolina last week when Rep. Bobby Harrell, speaker of the House of Representatives, was indicted by a Richland County grand jury on nine counts, including illegally using campaign money for personal expenses, filing false campaign disclosures and misconduct in office. Harrell suspended himself -- how's that for an oddity? -- and will now face his government accusers. South Carolina certainly doesn't have a monopoly on political malfeasance but the Palmetto State has had more than its share of governmental scandal. We say that fully recognizing that Harrell is innocent until proven guilty.
• What a boon the S.C. Equine Park has been for Camden and Kershaw County! And now, with word that a second, larger covered arena will be built -- possibly as soon as this winter -- the park should ultimately bring even more people to the area than it already does. Think on this: even with the arena already in place, the equine park has been booked an average of 30 weekends each year, with an economic impact of $4 million. Imagine if, with the second arena, the park could be booked 45 or even 50 weekends each year. How much would ...
Elgin is certainly not the same community that it was a few decades ago. The sleepy little crossroads that existed then has now become the primary growth area in Kershaw County, with housing developments having sprung up all over West Wateree. The area is populated not only with citizens who were born and raised in Kershaw County but many who have moved across the county line from neighboring Richland County, and others who have found their way there from throughout the United States.
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