Sunday, Nov. 18, 2007
shiny suit of armor gets a little dirty
NOV. 18, 2007 - - After more than 10 years of sanctimony
about wasteful and pork-barrel government spending, Gov. Mark
Sanford's suit of armor doesn't have the same old shine these
Seems that the governor, a critic of a special government
fund for community projects, directed some unspent money from
a pet project paid for by that fund to a political group in
which he's got an interest.
For Sanford, whose name became synonymous with frugality
after reportedly sleeping on a futon in his congressional
office in the 1990s, the rebuff by a senator from his own
party must be particularly tough. For state lawmakers, targets
for years of Sanford's rants and public relations stunts about
spending, the political revenge must taste particularly sweet.
According to various news reports, the issue that has dulled
Sanford's seemingly impenetrable armor of political charm
involves the funding of a 2006 meeting of the National Governor's
Association in Charleston. For that event, state taxpayers
put up $150,000 from a grant fund often used for local water
and sewer projects or to help communities with festivals and
events. Over the last year, Sanford has been a frequent critic
of the fund.
To help pay for the three-day NGA event, Sanford and his
friends also raised an additional $1.2 million from private
sources. When all was said and done, more than $101,000 was
left over. Instead of paying back the state for its investment,
as would make common sense, Sanford in August redirected the
funds to Carolinians for Change, Inc., a political action
committee formed by allies to promote the governor's agenda.
"Grants are supposed to benefit the taxpayer,"
said state Sen. Jake Knotts, R-Lexington. "They certainly
aren't supposed to benefit the entity of a personal political
Knotts, a former police detective who considered running
as an independent against Sanford after the veto of Lexington
hospital project, uncovered the information about the grant
surplus and spread it to the media.
Sanford, in an apparent attempt to spin out of the controversy,
has asked that the money be redirected back to the state.
But his office is still claiming that the grant money was
used and spent to seed private efforts to raise money to support
the NGA conference. Additionally, his office has the gall
to suggest that all projects funded through the grants program
should be scrutinized for proper spending.
But wait. There's more on the horizon: The government watchdog
group Common Cause is asking State Attorney General Henry
McMaster to investigate the whole thing. Stay tuned.
* * *
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:
SHIFTING TO MCMASTER, the race to succeed Sanford got an
obvious push this week when McMaster proposed to end parole
for state prisoners. Why? First, he said he believed it would
deter crime more because criminals would serve at least 85
percent of their sentence. Second, the public would regain
confidence in the criminal justice system and know that criminals
were really serving sentences, not getting out on good behavior.
But Jon Ozmint, the head of the state corrections department
who ran against McMaster for attorney general in 2002, said
the plan wouldn't work because it would thrust more people
into an already underfunded corrections system.
McMaster says a similar plan didn't cause Virginia jail populations
to soar when it got rid of parole a few years ago. Ozmint
Whichever side you fall on, you can bet your boots the no-parole
plan is something else - - a political platform on which McMaster
may try to use to run for governor in 2010.
* * *
Some good and bad news:
- Health care. South Carolinians had the highest
overall health improvement in the country, according to
new rankings by the United Health Foundation. The state
ranks 42nd in health care, up from 48th. More: UHF.
- Schools. South Carolina schools didn't get any
better on new annual report cards. In fact, 18 school districts
scored unsatisfactory, up from 11 last year. More: The
- Hunger. Some 15 percent of South Carolinians struggle
with hunger. The state ranks second in the nation in very
low food security, according to a new US
Department of Agriculture report.
Andy Brack, publisher of Statehouse Report,
can be reached at: email@example.com.
preserves state's African-American heritage
Founded in 1865, the Avery Normal Institute was the first
accredited secondary school for African Americans in Charleston.
Established by the New York based American Missionary Association
(AMA), the school was initially named in honor of New York
abolitionist Lewis Tappan. Renamed Saxton after Union General
Rufus B. Saxton, an assistant commissioner of the Freedmens
Bureau, the school was temporarily located in several buildings
confiscated by the federal government. It was staffed with
Northern white missionaries and members of Charlestons
antebellum free black community, such as the Cardozo brothers,
Thomas and Francis. Thomas W. Cardozo (1865-1866) was the
schools first principal, Francis the second (1866-1868).
Francis Cardozo campaigned to construct a permanent building.
He persuaded the AMAs traveling secretary, E. P. Smith,
to seek $10,000 from the estate of the late Reverend Charles
Avery of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. With additional aid from
the Freedmens Bureau, the new school building, renamed
Avery, was finished in 1868. Cardozo expanded the schools
mission beyond primary and secondary education to include
teacher training. Prohibited from teaching in all but one
of Charlestons black public schools, many graduates
taught in one-room school houses all over South Carolina,
especially in the lowcountry. Graduates excelled as educators.
Subsequent principals, such as Morrison A. Holmes, continued
the schools tradition of excellence.
Principal Benjamin Cox (1915-1936) and his wife, Jeanette
Keeble Cox, revitalized Avery. Cox was the first black principal
since Cardozo. In 1917 Avery became a bulwark for the establishment
of the citys National Association for the Advancement
of Colored People (NAACP). Its first president was Edwin Harleston
(Avery, 1900), a noted artist. Principals Frank DeCosta (Avery,
1927) and L. Howard Bennett (Avery, 1931) moved the school
in a more progressive direction.
Statehouse Report has partnered with USC
Press to provide readers with an interesting weekly
historical excerpt about the state. Each excerpt, which
is used with permission and not for republication, is
taken from The
South Carolina Encyclopedia, a 1,077-page book
published in 2006 with entries by almost 600 contributors
and edited by noted historian Walter Edgar. We hope
you enjoy this new feature.
Principal John F. Potts presided over Averys transition
to a public school 1947. Coinciding with the US Supreme Courts
decision, Brown v. Board of Education, the county school board
closed Avery in 1954, citing financial reasons. Avery students
and teachers had long been active in the states civil
rights movement and continued to be so even after the school
was closed. Avery activists included Septima Clark, J. Andrew
Simmons, John McCray, John H. Wrighten, Jr., Arthur J. Clement,
Jr., and J. Arthur Brown.
Averyites also became leaders in preserving the lowcountrys
African American heritage. In 1978 the Avery Institute of
Afro-American History and Culture was established to save
and renovate the original Avery school building at 125 Bull
Street as a repository of African American history and culture.
With Lucille S. Whipper (Avery, 1944) as its first president,
the organization joined the College of Charleston to found
Research Center for African American History and Culture.
On October 6, 1990 the grand opening of the renovated building
out for Grandma
Another great cartoon from Bill McLemore:
11/5: Tax cut article shows more thinking needed
To Statehouse Report:
You hit on a lot of my "tax cut" fear with your
article. All of these tax cuts just solidify my thinking
that the majority of our legislature don't want to (1) do
the work involved to do a truly good job of analyzing the
repercussions of tax cuts (present and future), (2) do the
work involved in cutting state government by getting rid of
the obsolete commissions, the redundant "duties"
by several agencies, or (3) setting a budget based on conservative
revenue projections......but they simply do whatever it will
take to get reelected!
At a recent Government Finance Officers Conference (where
state & local government finance directors, school district
and higher education finance directors, etc. came to find
out how to do their jobs using GAAP standards, doing more
with less, and understanding the "new laws" &
"new budget" demands), we heard from top federal
and state government analysts who gave us their ideas on the
repercussions of the tax cuts, the state budget, etc., and
the LONG-TERM ups and downs in the state's revenue stream.
Its a shame that our state legislatures don't pay more attention
to these experts. Just one of many problems: the reserve fund
is formula driven as a percentage of tax revenue received
- did they reinforce the reserve fund with last years "surplus"?
Oh, no, it was doled out for whatever was out there on the
non-budgeted "wish list" .
Most of these politicians make their decisions based on small,
yet organized, loud minority groups (shame on us - the silent
middle-class majority) and also whatever they can do to get
the projects to their areas of the state , rather than look
at what's best for South Carolina as a whole, now and in the
Things to ponder:
Diverting public funds
To Statehouse Report:
Question: What's the difference between Governor Sanford,
[Speaker] Bobby Harrell, and [Sen.] Glenn McConnell?
Answer: Governor Sanford publicly opposes government
financing of "non-profits" while advocating a policy
of fiscal conservatism and limited government, but engages
in backroom deals that divert public funds to the non-profits,
for profits and charities of his friends. Glenn McConnell,
on the other hand, publicly opposes government financing of
"non-profits" while advocating a policy of fiscal
conservatism and limited government, but engages in backroom
deals that divert public funds to the non-profits, for profits
and charities of his friends. And Bobby Harrell publicly espouses
fiscal conservatism while engaging in backroom deals to funnel
as much government money as he can to those who can most help
him become Governor.
accused of pork barreling and Sanford
under fire over grant to see the Emperor with no Clothes.
-- Dan Norfleet, Summerville, SC
tax relief law was overkill for rich, Bob Henderson,
North Charleston, SC
makes scary assumptions, Michael Greer, Summerville,
removed on all grocery taxes, Bob Henderson,
North Charleston, SC
money won't help schools, David Whetsell,
program will have positive impact, Chad Walldorf,
Mount Pleasant, SC
needed to strengthen state, Roxanne Walker, Greenville,
power makes sense, Barbara Measter, Seabrook Island,
for tax breaks, Bob Logan, Little River, SC
needs affordable medical help, birth control, Roxanne
Walker, Greenville, SC
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. There's
a new limited paid version for individuals that costs about
$30 per month. More on subscribing.
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 news
-- an early peek on something really big that will happen
at the Statehouse. 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 floor agenda
- Radar Screen -- a behind-the-scenes
look at what's really going on in the General Assembly
- Palmetto Politics
-- Tidbits from the world of South Carolina politics.
- 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
- 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 illuminating.
To learn more about subscriptions, contact Andy Brack at:
South Carolina Statehouse Report
Publisher: Andy Brack
| Assistant Editor: Betsy
Subscription or sponsorship Inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
Have an event for the SC Statehouse Report calendar?
E-mail details to: email@example.com
or fax to above number.