Courier Letters the Editor 5-13-20

Backing Gravely in council race

Dear Editor,

We need more people who want to make a difference in Pickens working on behalf of Pickens, its past, present and future.

We need more people like Debbie Gravely in public office. I am not interested in who people from Easley or Liberty or Greenville or anywhere else are supporting for our District 3 seat on county council.

I am interested in a candidate whose goals are to support Pickens County in a positive manner; who will work to bring positive growth to our community.

I am from Pickens and I will be for Debbie Gravely for Pickens County Council District 3 on June 9 in the Republican primary.

Margaret Collins


Expressing support for Saitta

Dear Editor,

I would like to express my support for Alex Saitta in the upcoming election for the Pickens County Council’s Pickens seat (District 3). Although I don’t reside in Pickens, I know Alex and he is a friend.

I came to know Alex through his letters here and his posts on social media. I admire his honesty and openness. As a financial analyst, he has the ability to look at situations (and data) with an inquiring, unbiased and fresh perspective. He puts himself out there for public scrutiny every time he shares his research and information (like he does regularly here in the Pickens County Courier), yet he still does it because he wants to see Pickens County thrive — for his children’s future and yours.

We need a councilman who’s willing to ask hard questions, be transparent and take accountability seriously.

Alex and his family moved here 20-plus years ago. His two girls attend Pickens County Schools; one is a junior and one is a graduating senior. He and his family fell in love with our community and have long considered Pickens their home, like so many of us who came here in the last 10-20 years. Like Alex, I am not “homegrown” from this area. I moved here in 2008 after retiring from the Air Force. I, too, fell in love with Pickens County.

As I’ve tried to become an active and involved hometown resident, I’ve encountered pushback time after time when I’ve shared ideas, made suggestions and especially when I’ve questioned the actions of our elected officials. The mere fact that I’m “not from here” seems to make a big difference when it comes to questioning the actions of those officials who are born and raised in Pickens County.

I understand there’s a loyalty to those you’ve known and grown up with, but when confronted with facts that pertain to unethical or poor decisions made on behalf of Pickens County taxpayers, that behavior should not be tolerated from any elected official, whether from here or not.

It’s easy to go along with the crowd and vote with the majority — I see it all the time when I attend any council meetings.

It takes courage to stand up for citizens when the rest remain adamantly for the leadership or administration (status quo).

I’m asking the citizens of Pickens to take a good hard look at Alex. Ask him questions — he’s accessible. Sadly, there is no challenger for the incumbent in my district in Liberty, so I’m counting on Alex to bring an alternative voice that represents the people, in a positive way for all of us … #ForTheLoveOfPickensCounty!

Peggy Edwards


Stones and glass houses

Dear Editor,

After reading a nasty letter in last week’s issue and the stain it left on this opinion page, it is clear Debbie Gravely’s supporters are looking to push this election into the gutter.

Instead of criticizing the other candidates personally like last week’s writer did in her letter, she should have explained how good her candidate is without putting down the others. The influence on the county council is now in Easley and Liberty, and once again Six Mile, Pickens and Dacusville are second class on the council.

The idea that Debbie Gravely — who hasn’t spoken publicly for anything in the 25 years she lived in Pickens, much less in the government sphere — will magically become a strong and persistent voice on the county council for Pickens or those of us who live north of Highway 183 is unbelievable.

What I do know is Debbie Gravely is the one candidate running for the nomination of the Republican Party for the county council who did not bother to show up for the Republican Party debate for the office she is seeking. The other candidates were there.

In John 8-7, Jesus said those of you without sin, be the first to cast a stone, but the old European proverb fits better: those who live in glass houses should not throw stones, because someone may look at them closely or what their supporters are spewing and it will be embarrassing.

Elizabeth Ellenburg

Six Mile

Thanks to Hendricks

Dear Editor,

During 2001-2002, I met Wes Hendricks when a Pickens High School teacher while I taught part-time. He was interested in his students and their lives in the classroom and how they would be successful citizens after graduation. Wes said he always desired to find a way when they needed him to become connected with employment search in the community. I was impressed to hear Wes say if a student needed his help, he would love to assist. I pleasantly observed teaching alongside Wes his love and dedication of all his resources to each of students with the goal that each student would be a successful adult in our Pickens community.

When Wes was elected to the Pickens County Council in 2016, he directed his efforts to the needs of the Pickens community. In the late spring of 2017, a county committee gave approval for a massive subdivision to be built and destroy the north arm of Glassy Mountain, our crown jewel. A sudden Pickens County Planning Commission hearing was planned to allow our community only one week to organize a rebuttal and attend. Wes gave us county council support when we were left to fight alone.

Wes chaired a community meeting in June 2017 with the family proposing the development. Other than our attorneys, residents leaned on Wes as he chaired the meeting, giving strong county government support in defeating the development. To our detriment, quickly the Pickens County Planning Commission in the succeeding hearing quickly approved the development. Our only hope was for Wes to help give us support as we appealed our case to the fourth district court. We won this first round in court, but we were required to also win in mediation. In December 2017, the case was finally settled in our favor — no development to mar the beauty of Glassy!

Without Wes, we had no direction or support from Pickens County Council in this uncontrolled development. Wes gave quiet direction and believed we could win. Wes’s understanding of the family needs through his teaching effort also gives us a winning combination.

Doug Hinkle


Pushing for more voting by mail

Dear Editor,

I urge Pickens County election officials to make vote by mail more available in the 2020 primary and general election. Our election officials are saying that elections might be difficult during the pandemic partly due to staff shortages since many poll workers might choose to stay at home to avoid COVID-19 exposure. Large numbers of people voting by mail will alleviate this problem.

Voting by mail is already allowed for everyone over age 65 (and for other reasons, such as traveling and working). COVID-19 creates an imperative to allow voting by mail for all registered voters, thereby allowing those who are at higher risk for COVID-19 and those living with them fair access to voting without placing themselves at risk. Perhaps all voters could use the reason “caregiving,” even if we don’t live with someone who is ill or disabled, because we are all helping others stay safe and healthy by sheltering at home.

I am opposed to Phillip Bowers’ suggestion of centralized voting locations at the four county high schools in a May 6 letter to the editor. Decreasing the number of polling locations makes it harder for voters to get to polls. Not everyone has a car to drive to one of the county’s high schools, and changing voting locations one month before the primary makes it harder for voters to know where to vote.

Furthermore, during recommendations by our county administrator and governor to continue to socially distance and avoid large group gatherings, why would we want to create larger groups of people in fewer polling locations?

Instead, I encourage the board of elections to make vote-by-mail available to all in 2020.

Eunice Lehmacher


Voting for Gravely in District 3

Dear Editor,

I retired after nearly four decades in law enforcement with an enormous appreciation for the sacrifice that comes with public service. I truly appreciate all those who offer themselves up for public office.

One thing I saw over and over again in our county was this: Our biggest successes were the result of strong relationships, built over time and based on mutual respect. Positive change does not come about as the result of one person working alone. It happens when many hands work together and with a strong, thoughtful leader out front.

District 3 would be blessed to have Debbie Gravely as its representative on Pickens County Council. She is smart and driven and one of the hardest working women I’ve ever known. She knows Pickens and she knows the people of Pickens, and what matters most to them matters to her.

Her knowledge, her work ethic and her ability to forge relationships will get things done in Pickens. I will be voting Debbie Gravely in the Republican Primary election on June 9.

Tim Morgan