Sunday, Jan. 2, 2005
other ways to honor public servants
SC Statehouse Report
2, 2005 - - It's almost gotten to the point that you can't
drive anywhere without seeing a road, interchange, bridge
or some other piece of public infrastructure named after a
There are at least 20 buildings, gyms, schools, statues and
streets named after the late Sen. Strom Thurmond. Retiring
Sen. Fritz Hollings, who made it a practice to try not to
have things named for him while he was in office, still has
six major namesakes, including the recently renamed ACE Basin
National Wildlife Refuge.
And then there's the Earle E. Morris Jr. Alcohol and Drug
Addiction Treatment Center in Columbia and the Earle E. Morris
Jr. Highway in Pickens County.
Thirty years ago when Morris was a public official, the General
Assembly named S.C. Highway 153 in his native Pickens County
to honor his public service. He served as a state senator,
followed by statewide positions as lieutenant governor and
E. Morris Alcohol and Drug Addiction Treatment Center,
After he left state service, he became chairman of Carolina
Investors in Pickens. In November, Morris was sentenced to
44 months in prison for his role in the collapse of the Upstate
bank-like financial institution which once had holdings of
$278 million. Thousands lost their savings when the company
went bankrupt. Following bankruptcy proceedings, most of the
mom-and-pop investors were able to recover about 15 cents
on the dollar.
Currently, State Sen. Larry Martin, R-Pickens, is talking
with business owners along the Morris Highway to learn whether
they want to change the name. Why? Because they'll likely
have to spend thousands of dollars to change stationery, envelopes,
business cards and the like.
Regardless, state lawmakers should strip Morris's name from
the road, as well as the building named for him in Columbia.
To keep the name on each dishonors the state.
WORLD: Resolutions in stone
encourage your feedback. If you'd like to respond to
something in SC Statehouse Report, please
send us an e-mail. We reserve the right to edit for
length and clarity. One submission allowed per month.
Submission of a comment grants permission to us to reprint.
Please keep your comment to 250 words or less:
In fact, state lawmakers seriously should examine the too-common
practice of naming public infrastructure for incumbent public
officials and just-retired ones. We suggest buildings, highways
and the like only be named to honor people after they've passed
But the people who make these decisions, politicians, likely
won't want to do this. That's because they seem to want to
see their names emblazoned upon signage honoring their public
service. It's almost become mandatory for state officials
to expect some kind of naming honor.
Still, it's just not a good idea. Naming things for public
officials runs the continuing risk of embarrassing the state
and taxpayers, as in the Morris case. Certainly those who
named the road and center for him couldn't foresee his conviction.
But their good intentions have come back to haunt the people
of Pickens County. Imagine if you had lost your life savings
in the Carolina Investors debacle and were reminded of it
every day as you drove down a state road.
It's far safer to wait and honor public servants in some
other way while they're living. For example, if there were
a great wail to do something public, people could take up
a collection and erect a statue or have a portrait painted
of the official.
Instead of having those in the old boys' (and girls') club
of politics pat their peers on the backs by naming something
after them, perhaps the people who gave these folks the power
in the first place - - voters and taxpayers - - should be
trusted to write thank-you letters instead.
The latest from cartoonist Bill McLemore:
LEARN MORE DAILY
best way to get South Carolina news is to augment your morning
paper and TV show with SC Clips, a daily executive
news summary compiled from more than 30 state newspaper and
TV sources. It's delivered every business day and is packed
with news of statewide impact, politics, business and more.
Subscriptions are affordable at $30 per month -- and less
for business subscribers. More: SC
How you can subscribe to the full edition
of the report
The above version of S.C. Statehouse Report is the
free edition. Our paid version, which costs about $100 per
month, offer a weekly legislative forecast packed with information
that can keep you and your business on the cutting edge.
Notes veteran lawmaker Sen. Glenn McConnell: "Statehouse
Report gives an inside practical report of weekly problems
with and progress of legislation. It reviews the whole landscape."
In each issue of Statehouse Report, you'll get::
Hot issue -- an early peek at weekly commentary
on something really big. Last year, we continually beat
other news organizations in finding major trends in issues,
from teacher and budget cuts to wetlands proposals.
Agenda -- a weekly forecast of the coming week's
Radar Screen -- a behind-the-scenes look at what's
really going on in the General Assembly
McLemore's World -- an early view of our respected
cartoonist Bill McLemore.
Tally Sheet -- a weekly review of all of the new
bills introduced in the legislature in everyday language
Scorecard -- A Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down of major
political/policy events for the week.
Calendar -- a weekly list of major meetings for
the House, Senate and state agencies.
Megaphone -- a quote of the week that you'll find
To learn more about subscriptions, contact Andy Brack at: