FEEDBACK:  On past, air conditioning and pensions

FEEDBACK:  On past, air conditioning and pensions

P.C. Coker, Charleston: “As Theodore White said in the Making of the President 1960, three things were the center of American discourse after World War II, civil rights, television, and the bomb. To that I would add for the South, air conditioning. [Brack: South has come a long way in 100 years]  I am one of the last people around who can remember a summer without air conditioning and back then we lived from day to day for a place to cool off.”

by · 09/29/2017 · Feedback
MY TURN:  A way to take care of income inequality for everyone

MY TURN:  A way to take care of income inequality for everyone

By Holley Hewitt Ulbrich, special to Statehouse Report  |  Growing income inequality gets a lot of press these days. Some of it is about bargaining power.  Some of it is about productivity.  But some of it also is about plain, old arithmetic. 

Every July, I get a raise from the state retirement system.  We state retirees get 1 percent or $500, whichever is less.  So a retiree whose pension is $50,000 or more gets $500, or $41.67 a month.  A retiree whose pension is $10,000 would get $100, or $12.50 a month.  The raise is supposed to help pay for increases in the prices of what we buy. 

The middle Georgia farm home in which Charles Columbus Brack died 100 years ago. The photo, taken in 1902, shows another family in front of the building. (Photo provided by Ed Cunard’s “A Book About Allentown … Georgia, That Is.“

BRACK: South has come a long way in 100 years

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |   One hundred years ago, my great-grandfather, weakened by the flu, died of what’s believed to have been a ruptured appendix.  He was 38 years old.  The season’s cash crop, cotton, was about ready to pop in the fields in rural middle Georgia.

Charles Columbus Brack left a 31-year-old widow and six children, aged 1 to 10.  They lived in an unpainted house five miles from the nearest town.  It was only a mile from their Baptist church where, a few days ago, a family reunion of sorts occurred.

by · 09/22/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary
MY TURN, Kinard: Reconsider proposed changes to state pension plan

MY TURN, Kinard: Reconsider proposed changes to state pension plan

Open letter to S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster:

I hope this letter finds you well after our Labor Day holiday. I find it disheartening, on the day after a holiday designed to commemorate and honor American workers, that I must write to you about a choice you are making that will greatly harm and jeopardize the livelihoods of workers in South Carolina that you now govern. You are taking a stance against your own public employees by seeking to remove their pensions and retirement plans because of actions over which they had no control.

I find it not only heartless but also ill-conceived to wish to alter the benefits of current and future public workers in our state and would ask that you reconsider this position before it does irreparable damage to our state, its economy and the lives of our workforce.

Worker clean up sand on an Edisto Island street that was washed ashore by Hurricane Irma. (SCDOT photo.)

BRACK: Be better prepared for storms with new disaster fund

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |   Maybe it’s time to start being more proactive fiscally with the natural disasters that seem to be more frequent in the Palmetto State.

Regardless of the cause — Mother Nature, climate change or the wrath of God — the flooding in the Midlands and Pee Dee in 2015, Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and Hurricane Irma this year have been expensive propositions.

While state and local officials already get specialized training ahead of disasters to be prepared, state government doesn’t budget for storm costs in advance.  Instead, it pays the bill long after the storm or disaster has passed.

by · 09/15/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary
FEEDBACK:  Letters on women in the workplace and government’s needs

FEEDBACK:  Letters on women in the workplace and government’s needs

Coleman O. Glaze: “We have gotten so far behind on roads and infrastructure needs it will be years to catch up. We do a great job with a majority of students but we are failing too many with basic education.”

by · 09/14/2017 · Commentary, Feedback
MY TURN:  Carolina Umbra

MY TURN:  Carolina Umbra

By Marjory Wentworth, S.C. poet laureate

Boats fly out of the Atlantic
and moor themselves in my backyard
where tiny flowers, forgotten
by the wind, toss their astral heads
from side to side.  Mouths ablaze, open,
and filling with rain.

After the hurricane, you can see
the snapped open drawbridge slide
beneath the waves on the evening news.
You go cold imagining
such enormous fingers of wind
that split a steel hinge until
its jaw opens toward heaven.

S.C. emergency management officials at work on Sept. 7 in Columbia.  S.C. Adjutant Gen. Bob Livingston is dressed in camouflage at the top left.  Photo provided.

BRACK:  What government gets right and what needs more help

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |  With a storm breathing down the state’s neck, people turn to state and local governments for leadership, safety and solutions.  While government gets scrutiny year-round, maybe we should look at what’s working so we appreciate it more – and examine what may need some help so that it works better.

What seems to work

Revenue.  The taxman knows how to collect state sales and income taxes efficiently.

Motor Vehicles.  It used to be a nightmare to get a driver’s license.  Now, it’s not.

by · 09/07/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary