Port Royal debacle

I served on the town of Port Royal's Redevelopment Commission, which spent two years in often frustrating negotiations with the State Ports Authority (SPA) to draft a planned unit development plan and a development agreement for the SPA's port after it was closed and ordered to be sold in 2004.

I understand and share in the growing public discontent over the continuing, unjustifiably intolerable state of affairs.

We, a small town commission, were forced to work past the condescension and hubris of a state bureaucracy answerable to virtually no one in the exercise of our duty.

And now, after far too many years, it may be fairly judged that the SPA has failed in its duty as a fiduciary for the state of South Carolina and in its ethical duty to do no harm to the town of Port Royal and its people.

The answer may lie in pending legislation setting yet another deadline for the sale of the property, with the penalty for failure being a sale at auction. For the town of Port Royal, Beaufort County and beyond, the negative economic impact of the property sitting idle for so long is incalculable.

Is it too much to ask that the arrogance of power give way to reasonable practicality for the benefit of all parties involved?

Bob Bender

16th Street

Port Royal

Differing views

In his recent op-ed, the Rev. Joseph A. Darby appeals for "reconciliation" and "common ground" in our differing perspectives of South Carolina history, but seems to spend most of his column denouncing anyone, past or present, with whom he disagrees.

Rev. Darby ratchets his adversarial attitude up still further by not only denouncing valid points I made in a recent letter to the editor comparing memorials to the Hunley and Denmark Vesey, but dismissing me professionally as giving an "historically dubious tour," despite the fact that he has never been on it.

I would gladly compare my knowledge of our history, which is based on documented evidence, with Rev. Darby's recent claims.

I wrote that the Hunley crew was courageous, and Rev. Darby countered by saying they were "terrorists who quit the United States, formed their own country and sank an American warship."

By that logic, George Washington and Francis Marion were also terrorists, because they quit the British Empire, formed their own country and killed British soldiers.

I opposed the statue to Vesey because he planned the murder of innocent civilians in a proposed 1822 slave uprising. I have read page after page of testimony from his co-conspirators attesting to Vesey's obsession with butchering men, women and children.

Rev. Darby counters this by saying the Vesey trial documents were written by those who tortured him and that the "story is tainted by coercion." But there is not one scintilla of evidence to support that claim, and the trial evidence includes the testimony given by Charleston physician Dr. John Righton, who served on the board of the Shirras Dispensary whose purpose was to provide health care for the poor. He examined Vesey and his co-conspirators during the proceedings and affirmed that none was mistreated.

Ironically, Rev. Darby was a major proponent of a statue to Denmark Vesey as a hero because he planned the widespread uprising, whose details we know largely because of that same trial evidence.

I don't expect or advocate that Rev. Darby change his interpretation of our history, but only suggest that he stop condemning others who exercise their right to a differing opinion.

MICHAEL TROUCHE

Marsh Court Lane

Mount Pleasant

Preserve peace

Despite the horror of the brutal attack on the sovereign nation of Ukraine, some of us continue to hope that relationships between people of all countries can be positive and uplifting.

A trip to Sochi and Kiev, Moscow and Leningrad in 1956 had a huge impact on my life - largely because of the people we met. Many of them understood that we remained strong believers in democracy and capitalism.

Let us hope that negotiators can preserve some measure of peace. Guns will not solve any problem, in my opinion.

John Winthrop

North Adger's Wharf

Charleston

Vital services

The American Red Cross would like to take this opportunity to thank the volunteers and supporters who enable us to provide vital services to our communities.

During the recent winter storm, the Red Cross mobilized more than 100 volunteers to assist those who were left cold and hungry by widespread power outages throughout the region.

We opened 29 shelters in our region, including seven in the Lowcountry, and we served more than 26,000 meals and snacks in conjunction with our partners.

Because people in our community gave of their time, treasure and blood, the Red Cross was able to help 5,689 people affected by disasters in our region last year, distribute 119,735 units of blood cells to area hospitals, assist 2,653 military families, and train 7,569 people in life lifesaving skills.

We thank those who generously give of their time, treasure and blood so that we can continue our work, and we encourage everyone to join the Red Cross in helping their neighbors.

That work could not be done without the support of our volunteers who selflessly give of their time to give back through the American Red Cross. Our volunteer-to-staff ratio is an impressive 168 to 1. The Red Cross is a true volunteer organization.

It's a great time to become part of the Red Cross by doing such things as developing a preparedness plan for the household, becoming a volunteer, giving blood, taking a Red Cross class and making a financial donation to support Red Cross services to our community.

Mason Holland

Board Chair

Carolina Lowcountry Chapter

American Red Cross

City Hall Lane

North Charleston

Good policy loses

State news stories over the past few weeks make one wonder why S.C. voters keep supporting lawmakers who so consistently vote against our interests.

Our elected officials turn their backs on a painless way to get our highways and bridges back into shape (gasoline taxes paid mainly by out-of-staters).

They refuse to further raise tobacco taxes (we know tobacco is a proven killer); they spurn a gimme from D.C. to fund better health care; and they work against residents signing up for affordable health care.

Some of our congressional representatives even voted against federal funding to update Charleston Harbor, one of our state's chief economic engines.

Here's the joker: a governor's vow to veto the gas tax hike because the funds would just go to waste in the state's system of government. Should we abet lawmakers' blocking good policy because of their own incompetence?

I don't get it.

Doc Ardrey

Oyster Bay Drive

Summerville

Jobs available?

The article in the Feb. 26 edition titled " 'Yes! I'm a feminist' draws a diverse crowd" mentions a College of Charleston senior who changed her major from psychology to women's and gender studies.

This raises many questions in my mind. What are women's and gender studies, what type of a jobs are available, how many jobs are available, how can students' loans be repaid and how much will this cost me?

Please educate me.

Roger K. Steel

Marsh Hen Drive

Seabrook Island

Vacation time

Recently I read that President Obama was going on another vacation with his wife and daughters. I also read that Vice President Biden and his wife were on vacation in the Virgin Islands.

While the heads of our country play, Russia's Putin is trying to take over the world. Only in Obama's America.

Jimmy James

Linksland Road

Mount Pleasant