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ISSUE 8.46
Nov. 13, 2009

RECENT ISSUES:
12/04 | 11/27 | 11/20 | 11/13

Index

News :
Rising boil
Legislative Agenda :
On the table
Radar Screen :
Health care work now for real
Palmetto Politics :
Dreaded ”7-10” split for GOP
Commentary :
Developing “measurable visions” for the South
Spotlight :
S.C. Chamber of Commerce
My Turn :
SC has more than nuclear power option
Feedback :
More of South Carolina's hidden gems
Scorecard :
Ups, downs and in between
Stegelin :
One vote
Megaphone :
Rand-omization
In our blog :
In the blogs
Encyclopedia :
Clayton 'Peg Leg' Bates

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NUMBER OF THE WEEK

2%

MORE CUTS: 2. That’s the percentage of how much the state Board of Economic Advisors this week recommended cutting the current state budget, or roughly $130 million. The state has already cut the budget some $300 million in the face of declining tax collections. More.

MEGAPHONE

Rand-omization

“[G]overnment doesn't know best. Those in power in Washington—or indeed in Columbia, S.C.—often lead themselves to believe that our prosperity depends on their wisdom. It doesn't.”
 
-- Gov. Mark Sanford, delving into the “essential truth” of controversial author Ayn Rand in a Nov. 2 arts and culture piece he wrote for Newsweek. He went on to blame the financial collapse on the federal government and its actions taken since the New Deal was unveiled in the ‘30s.   More.

IN OUR BLOG

In the blogs

In the blogs

Believe it. Wolfe Reports wasn’t surprised about the video position taken by gubernatorial candidate and S.C. Attorney General Henry McMaster on the “I Believe” license plate controversy:
 
“There are few things more despicable than when politicians blatantly pander by using religion. If Jesus came back, the Prince of Peace would take these guys out to the woodshed and beat the Holy Ghost out of them.”
 
Two sides. W. J. Hamilton at Indigo Journal would like to “get pushy” with gubernatorial candidate state Sen. Larry Grooms (R-Bonneau), for playing both sides of the political spectrum:
 
“Yesterday he was collecting the tea bagger endorsement for Governor on one side of town while somehow cultivating the love of Repower America on the other.”

ENCYCLOPEDIA

Clayton 'Peg Leg' Bates

Born in Fountain Inn on October 11, 1907, Clayton "Peg Leg" Bates came from an extremely poor sharecropping family whose father deserted them when Bates was only three years old.

During World War I, Bates took a job in a cottonseed-oil mill. Soon after he began working there, the lights failed and the twelve-year-old accidentally stepped into the open auger conveyer. The equipment chewed up his leg so badly that an amputation was necessary. Since hospitals were segregated, the doctor performed the procedure on the family's kitchen table.

Bates had a desire to dance that persisted despite the loss of his leg. So, fitted with an artificial wooden limb-or "peg"-he adapted tap dancing steps to his own specifications. By age fifteen he was entrenched in a professional career as a tap dancer. He worked his way up from minstrel shows to carnivals, from the African American vaudeville circuit TOBA (Theatre Owners Booking Association) to the white vaudeville circuits. Throughout the 1930s he played top Harlem nightclubs, including the Cotton Club, Connie's Inn, and Club Zanzibar. In the late 1930s he was the opening act for the Ed Sullivan Revue, traveled the Keith and Loews circuits, and appeared to great acclaim on Australia's Tivoli circuit. He performed throughout the 1940s, including dancing in the popular Los Angeles version of Ken Murray's Blackouts.

Bates had an active career in television, including twenty-one appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show, the most by a tap dancer. In the 1960s he opened the Peg Leg Bates Country Club in Kerhonkson, New York, which catered to a primarily African American clientele. Bates retired from dancing in 1989 and died at Fountain Inn on December 6, 1998. He was buried in Palentown Cemetery, Ulster County, New York.

-- Excerpted from the entry by Rusty E. Frank. To read more about this or 2,000 other entries about South Carolina, check out The South Carolina Encyclopedia by USC Press. (Information used by permission.)

More:  The S.C. Encyclopedia

PALMETTO PRIORITIES

Palmetto Priorities Statehouse Report encourages state leaders to develop and implement Palmetto Priorities involving several issues to make the state better a better place. Click the link to learn more about our suggestions for bipartisan policy objectives.

Here is a summary of our Palmetto Priorities:

CORRECTIONS: Reduce the prison population by 25 percent by 2020.

EDUCATION: Cut the state's dropout rate in half by 2020.

ELECTIONS: Increase voter registration to 75 percent by 2015.

ENVIRONMENT: Adopt a state energy policy that requires energy producers to generate 20 percent of energy from renewable sources by 2020.

ETHICS: Overhaul state ethics laws.

HEALTH CARE: Ensure affordable and accessible health care.

JOBS: Develop a Cabinet-level post to add, retain 10,000 small business jobs per year.

POLITICS: Have a vigorous two- or multi-party political system of governance.

ROADS: Strengthen all bridges and upgrade state roads by 2015.

SAFETY: Cut the state's violent crime rate by one-third by 2016.

TAX REFORM: Remove outdated special interest sales tax exemptions as part of an overall reform of the state's tax structure to be completed by 2014.

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News

Rising boil

Traditional issues to get new spin in 2010 election

By Bill Davis, senior editor

NOV. 13, 2009 -- Who knows what the election primaries will bring in seven months? Or for that matter, in the General Election in just under a year. But at least a handful of political professionals sound like they know what will shape the unfolding political season.
               
While it’s not an original list -- Sanford, Obama, the economy, money and technology -- the coming year is expected to bring its own peculiar twists.
               
“Every candidate is having a helluva a time raising money right now,” said Wes Donehue, a political strategist for the state Republican Senate Caucus. The big donors were still coming to the table, as were the smaller givers.
               
“But the dinner-party donors, the ones who give $250, they’re hurting the most in this economy, so they’re giving the least,” said Donehue.
               
Phil Bailey, Donehue’s counterpart as executive director of the state Senate Democratic Caucus, agreed. 
 
“This the worst quarter for raising money in years,” he said.
               
Bailey said the fundraising campaigns have entered the doldrums, where candidates struggle to raise dollars that could go for Thanksgiving dinners, Christmas gifts and New Year’s parties.
               
“A good candidate can raise money; that’s what makes them good candidates,” said Rod Shealy, a Lee Atwater protégé whose statewide GOP consultation list is too long for a single story.
               
Sanford will be an issue
 
One politician who doesn’t have to worry about donations seemed to be Gov. Mark Sanford, who still has over $1.5 million in his campaign coffers.   But since Sanford is not currently running for office, he may have to use that money to pay legal fees related to his potential impeachment, removal hearings, and ethics investigation.
               
Sanford will loom large in the upcoming election season, according to Shealy, who said the Democrats in the House and Senate will drag out Sanford’s possible removal from office because “they want to keep him around as a whipping boy” they can tie around the necks of Republican opponents in the coming election year.
               
While Shealy complimented the Democrats for having a stronger than usual ballot of candidates for state offices, Donehue ran out of breath listing the state offices down ballot who don’t have Democratic candidates.
               
“Lieutenant governor, treasurer, comptroller, attorney general …,” wheezed Donehue.
 
Economy will be in voters’ minds
 
Shealy said that should the economy improve and a surge in Obama’s popularity followed, then a candidate like state Sen. Vince Sheheen (D-Kershaw) would benefit from a top-down, coattails effect and “could easily gather the 10 to 20 percent of voters in the middle” and challenge the state’s Republican hegemony.
               
“It’s the economy, stupid,” said Shealy, who is currently working closely with and advising Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer in his gubernatorial campaign.
               
On this point, Shealy and Lachlan McIntosh, who is working with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mullins McLeod, agreed. But, surprisingly, it wasn’t the only point.
 
Internet may finally pay off
               
Both polar opposite politicos also looked for Internet technology to finally begin paying dividends promised years ago.
               
Both saw how candidate Obama’s campaign staff was able to capitalize on technology and rally volunteers in North Carolina when that state’s presidential delegates surprisingly came into play late in the presidential election last year.
               
Through the Internet, the campaign was able to create a diffuse telephone bank with volunteers manning phones for longer, better hours from their homes, instead of crowding into relatively inefficient call centers.
               
Shealy said that the larger the election -- in area, not importance -- the more effective the Internet  can be with Facebook, Twitter and other networking tools. Local races, he said, aren’t helped as much as the candidate going door-to-door, the old fashioned way.
               
McIntosh said it didn’t make sense for his campaign “to work hard to get a story in the B-section of The State,” where, he said, only 4,000 to 6,000 readers would possibly see it.  And that’s especially true since he said 1,400 South Carolinians were already following his candidate online and on Twitter. “It’s just more effective than The State.”
               
Donehue, an avowed caffeine and tech junky, has attempted to latch onto the rising popularity of internet-based political tools, and will launch this week his own software. Called VoterFetch, it will put into one package many of the tech lessons learned, or taught, by the Obama campaign’s experience in winning North Carolina.
               
Libertarian influence
 
Another theme of the upcoming election will be the relative power of the GOP’s Libertarian faction and its firmly-held beliefs in more limited and less intrusive government. The leader of the branch for years has been Sanford, but after scandal rocked the governor’s mansion, his face has faded from the front of the movement.
               
“For the Libertarians to still be a player in South Carolina, (state Sen.) Larry Grooms has to finish a respectable third in the Republican primary in June,” said Bailey, who had a front-row seat for Tea Party rallies on the front steps of the S.C. Statehouse earlier this year.
               
Donehue disagreed, saying the movement had shifted from messengers to messages. Now, he said, the grassroots movement will back ideas more vociferously, and is continuing to “morph” into more of a populist movement.
 
Crystal ball: The economy. Sanford. Federal health care. There are a growing number of issues that candidates will have to draw on in the upcoming election. The questions, however, may include how to get a candidate’s message out, if there will be enough money to run the kind of campaigns their directors projected needing to be run, and who will be listening.

RECENTLY IN NEWS

11/6:  Straightening out SC's tax puzzle
10/30:  Sentencing reform in the crosshairs
10/23:  Lawmakers to return to deal with ESC bungling
10/16:  Legislative audit on Corrections roils waters

Legislative Agenda

On the table

Meetings are still thin going into the Thanksgiving season:
  • On Monday, the EIA and Improvement Mechanisms Subcommittee of the Education Oversight Committee will meet at 10 a.m. in 410 Blatt.
  • The State Regulation of Public Utilities Review Committee will meet on Thursday at 10 a.m., in 105 Gressette.
In related meetings:
  • The S.C. Ethics Commission will meet Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. in Suite 250 in its headquarters at 5000 Thurmond Mall, Columbia.   When asked today on the phone what was on the agenda, a representative from the State Ethics Commission would not discuss the items on agenda. 
  • On Thursday, the ETV Commission will meet at 10:30 a.m. in the Jefferies Conference Room at SCETV headquarters, 1101 George Rogers Blvd. Columbia.

Radar Screen

Health care work now for real

The S.C. General Assembly will likely have to tackle tough health care issues, such as using a proposed cigarette tax increase to fund state health programs, in the upcoming legislative session, thanks to the federal government.

With the U.S. House of Representatives passing a $1.1 trillion health care initiative late Saturday. the bill now goes to the Senate, where U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) are already calling it dead on arrival. Debating and amending the House bill, and issues, such as abortion, overall funding and public option, will begin very soon in Washington.  
 
Legislators in South Carolina had waited to see if solons in nation’s capitol could pass a health care bill before moving forward on public health care policy. Well, it’s halfway there, so expect the fireworks to begin soon in Columbia.
 
House sets date for prefiling bills
 
The House has set two deadline dates for members to prefile bills before the legislative session begins in January.  Members can prefile bills at noon on Tuesday and at the same time on Dec. 15.
 
The Senate has yet to set a date.
Palmetto Politics

Dreaded ”7-10” split for GOP

In politics, as in bowling, splits are to be avoided. Leaving the seventh and 10th pin standing with your first ball, and then picking-up a spare is nearly impossible.   So, what were fiscal conservatives thinking this week when they split their loyalties and halved their chances for success in next year’s gubernatorial race?
 
First Lady Jenny Sanford, the last member of her family that Libertarians might want to rally around, endorsed Rep. Nikki Haley (R-Lexington). But Tea Party organizers threw their weight behind Sen. Larry Grooms (R-Bonneau).
 
Not only are both candidates dark horses, but had the two camps aligned behind one candidate, they could have hoped to see their man (or woman) join S.C. Attorney General Henry McMaster or Congressman Gresham Barrett in a GOP primary run-off. As it is, they’ve left a lot of votes to pick up.

Commentary

Developing “measurable visions” for the South

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher

NOV. 13, 2009 – When President John F. Kennedy proposed putting a man on the moon, he didn’t say it should be done “someday.” He put a time frame on his big vision – that it should be done by the end of the 1960s.
 
Such a big vision statement linked with a date for completion is something you might call a “measurable vision.”  Last weekend, a group of more than two dozen Southern leaders and thinkers set out to identify such visions for the South at a major conference at Davidson College in North Carolina.
 
The non-partisan Center for a Better South called the conference to develop a new Agenda for a Better South – a pragmatic and progressive set of visions that Southern leaders could seek to accomplish in the knowledge-based economy of the 21st century. (Disclosure: I am the chair and president of the Center.)
 
Too often, Southern leaders, particularly those in a legislature, are sidetracked by policy red-herrings – things that are really non-issues compared to generational Southern problems involving education, poverty and health care. 
 
Many seem to find it easier to deal with gay marriage or abortion or gator-hunting rules than serious reforms that would change an unfair tax system or generate new and better jobs or fix health care. Instead of solutions for addressing big problems, many Southern leaders today seem to kowtow to increasing partisanship and offer small sound bites for big problems to fill the media’s daily craving for more. 
 
"It’s time for our leaders to think big by embracing a new Agenda for a Better South so our region is the envy of the world."
Participants at the Center’s conference included elected officials, corporate executives, newspaper editors, policy analysts and academics. They sought to look at these continuing problems in new ways that include measurable and attainable goals. 
 
For example, instead of just saying that Southern states should improve education (and every one of them can stand for some improvement), participants linked improving education to jobs. As former Gov. and U.S. Sen. Fritz Hollings touted more than 50 years ago, you can’t get good jobs if your workforce isn’t educated. And today, it’s more important than ever before.   Here, for example, is how the group challenged leaders to move forward in education:
 
“To compete in a 21st century global economy, each Southern state must increase its high school graduation rate and have 60 percent of native Southerners and new residents with post-secondary degrees, including associates’ degrees from technical colleges, by 2020.”
 
Wow. Sixty percent would be huge. The international goal is something like 55 percent.
The Agenda for a Better South, which is in a draft stage for another week as participants hone their measurable visions, also calls for Southern leaders to strive for these improvements:
  • Boosting wellness. Each Southern state should increase life expectancy to levels on par with Canada.

  • Improving energy efficiency.  Each Southern state should develop a state energy plan that improves per capita energy efficiency by 20 percent in 2020.
     
  • Reforming taxes. Each Southern state should adopt or change tax structures by 2015 that expand the tax base while lowering the rate to ensure revenue sources match or exceed the growth rate in the state's overall economy.
     
  • Investing in infrastructure. Each Southern state must invest 90 percent of its capital budget spending on priorities identified in its infrastructure capital planning process.
     
  • Cultivating governance.  Each Southern state should develop and implement a benchmark citizen trust survey by 2011. By 2015, each state's levels of trust in state government should increase by 20 percent over the benchmark.
     
  • Ensuring opportunities. Southern states should reduce disparities in the treatment and well-being of different groups to foster a more inclusive, creative, productive and prosperous South.  By 2012, each Southern state should adopt measures to drive significant reduction in identified disparities of at least five major categories.
     
  • Fostering safe communities. Each Southern state should reduce the rates of violent crime to below the national average by 2020.
 The South has come a long way in the last 50 years. It no longer is a showcase for segregation. It is home to major American businesses and millions of new residents who are thriving in the Sunbelt. 
 
But the region remains burdened by its past in multiple measures of quality of life. It’s time for our leaders to think big by embracing a new Agenda for a Better South so our region is the envy of the world.
 
You will be able to find the completed Agenda for a Better South at www.bettersouth.org
on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2009.
 

Spotlight

S.C. Chamber of Commerce

The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring SC Statehouse Report to you at no cost. This week's spotlighted underwriter is the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce. As the premier advocacy organization in the state, the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce will serve as the unified business voice for promoting an economy of increased productivity and per capita income to achieve global competitiveness. Our work includes efforts to decrease business costs and increase productivity; build a highly-skilled, capable workforce; nurture entrepreneurial development; foster a favorable climate among our members and their employees; and Improve quality of life for all South Carolinians. For more, go to: www.scchamber.net.

My Turn

SC has more than nuclear power option

By Susan Corbett
Chair, S.C. Chapter, Sierra Club

NOV. 13, 2009 -- During the recent 2010 gubernatorial debate, it seemed apparent the candidates have decided the energy future of South Carolina: nukes, nukes and more nukes.
 
Virtually every candidate spouted nuclear power as a “clean, green, homegrown” energy source that will be the solution to climate change and our energy needs. This characterization of nuclear as clean and homegrown is one of the biggest hoaxes perpetrated by the nuclear industry since the demise of their first round of economic boondoggles. (64 reactors left unfinished in the 80’s, in various stages of construction).
 
I cannot for the life of me understand how these candidates perceive nuclear as “homegrown’. Uranium is not mined in South Carolina, and most U.S. uranium is very low grade, making it uneconomical.  High grade uranium comes from foreign sources, and in fact most of the uranium we use presently comes from: Russia. Strike One another foreign fuel source.
 
But how about the manufacturing and construction of nuclear reactors, that’s homegrown, right? 
 
Wrong. At the recent Public Service Commission hearing where SCE&G asked for the first of what we believe will be many deadline extensions, it was revealed that virtually all major components of nuclear power plants are purchased in foreign countries like Korea, Japan and Italy.
 
In fact, the United States doesn’t even have forges large enough to make the reactor vessels, steam generators and other large parts needed for reactors. We are totally dependent on these foreign companies and the one or two manufacturers, like the plant at Doosan, Korea, for our big reactor parts.  We must get in line and wait our turn to get these key components, and pay whatever fee these companies charge, with all the money going out of the U.S.   Strike Two: all major parts produced outside the U.S. by foreign companies.
 
Two weeks ago, the usually permissive Nuclear Regulatory Commission rejected a modified version of the AP1000 reactor, designed by Westinghouse Electric Co., citing concerns about structural integrity.  
This new design includes a mega-ton water containment system that sits perched on top of the shield building, using gravity to allow water to flow down around the reactor as a cooling system. The NRC review questioned the design of the shield building as suspect in withstanding earthquakes, tornadoes, air plane strikes or even high winds. 
 
In other words, the major building that contains the reactor and ultimately shields us, the citizens, from the release of deadly radiation in the case of an accident, could itself fail. Although SCE&G assured the PSC these details would all get worked out, one must wonder about other design flaws, in an untested, unproven prototype reactor, which will operate in our backyard. Oh, and Westinghouse?   It’s owned by Toshiba, a Japanese corporation. Strike Three: a foreign-owned corporation with untested, unproven reactor design with serious safety questions.
 
Here’s my idea of a homegrown energy source: Up in Greenville, we have a U.S. corporation, G.E., producing wind turbines. They are using American-made parts and American workers. We could take these turbines down to the coast, and using our excellent port facilities at Charleston, and our excellent port facility workers, construct large wind farms off our coast to tap into the 2-4 Gigawatts ( that’s a HUGE amount) of offshore wind we know is available. We could use free American fuel to power all our coastal cities and then some, and never send a dollar out of state. Then we could help build wind farms up and down the Atlantic coast using our own homegrown technology and expertise.
 
Couple offshore wind with solar and rigorous energy efficiency programs that also put S.C. citizens to work, and we have a roadmap to true homegrown energy independence for South Carolina.
 
Susan Corbett of Columbia chairs the S.C. Chapter of the Sierra Club.
 
Feedback

More of South Carolina's hidden gems

To Statehouse Report:
 
Thanks for listing Williamsburg County as one of South Carolina's  hidden gems. If I were still editor of The Kingstree News, I'd say thank you more publicly, but I haven't been there in over three years  now.  I read State House Report every week, and you're doing a great job of keeping us informed about the many, and seemingly endless, issues that all of us in this state face.

-- Linda Brown, Kingstree, SC.
 
Other hidden gems offered by readers
  • Sen. Phil Leventis, Sumter: “The Wateree River Bridge on the Palmetto Trail. It is less than a mile walk from the Highway 601 access but when you are there, you are "as far from civilization" as you can get by walking 20 minutes. It is a grand spot, quiet unless, of course, the alligators are sloshing around in a pool of water near the river.
     
  • Alta Mae Marvin, Walterboro: “The South Carolina Artisan Center, Walterboro, is the Folk Art and Craft Center for the State and represents over 250 juried South Carolina artists in a variety of mediums including clay, metal, glass, wood fiber or film. The work is of exceptional quality.  The center is celebrating its 15th anniversary this fall.
     
  • Marla Loftus, Charleston: Although many people are aware of the Gibbes Museum of Art, some still consider us a hidden gem – a way to understand Charleston past and present through art.  A truly hidden gem, however, is our courtyard which is part of the Gateway Walk.  It is a beautiful oasis behind the museum that is a nice place to take a break after walking or working downtown.  I often observe people taking a quiet break and enjoying the sculpture of Persephone.

Want to send us a letter?  Letters to the editor are published weekly. We reserve the right to edit for length and clarity. We generally publish all comments about South Carolina politics or policy issues, unless they are libelous or unnecessarily inflammatory. One submission is allowed per month. Submission of a comment grants permission to us to reprint. Comments are limited to 250 words or less. 

Scorecard

Ups, downs and in between

Global economy. New York Times reporter David Sanger told a Charleston business crowd this week that the Lowcountry would get more enmeshed in the global economy with the growth of Boeing. More.
 
Drought. The state’s years-long drought may be over thanks to heavy rains this week. More.
 
Impeachment. Because of timing, Gov. Mark Sanford may not be ousted, as legislators may choose in the new session to work on getting jobs for everyone else instead of getting rid of his, according to this analysis. More.
 
Belief. A federal judge this week ordered the state not to produce “I Believe” Christian-themed license plates, saying they clearly violated the separation of church and state. On the “good” side, the state spent a lot of money fighting the case.  More.
 
Unemployment. First the legislature goofed and passed on reforming state unemployment law last summer so some 7,000 lost benefits this fall for a time. Then it came back into session last month to correct the situation, but then passed on a $100 million federal program to expand programs by 17,000 because of future cost fears. Hmmm. Do the unemployed vote?  More.

Stegelin

One vote


Also from Stegelin: 11/6 | 10/30 | 10/23 | 10/16 | 10/9 | 10/2

credits

Statehouse Report

Editor and Publisher: Andy Brack
Senior Editor: Bill Davis
Contributing Photographer: Michael Kaynard

Phone: 843.670.3996

© 2002 - 2018 , Statehouse Report LLC. Statehouse Report is published every Friday by Statehouse Report LLC, PO Box 22261, Charleston, SC 29413.
Excerpts from The South Carolina Encyclopedia are published with permission and copyrighted 2006 by the Humanities Council SC. Excerpts were edited by Walter Edgar and published by the University of South Carolina Press. Statehouse Report has partnered with USC Press to provide readers with this interesting weekly historical excerpt about the state. Republication is not allowed. For additional information about Statehouse Report, including information on underwriting, go to http://www.statehousereport.com/.