Courier Letters to the Editor 2-14-18

Traveling in the name of tourism

Dear Editor,

I read about and it has been confirmed the county council and administration arranged a “business” trip to Europe last week. Councilmen Roy Costner and Chris Bowers went, along with county attorney Ken Roper, economic director Ray Farley and tourismdirector Jay Pitts. I saw the itinerary and the cost of the plane tickets, hotel and rental cars. There will be personal expenses they’ll later submit to the county administration to pay as well.

Costner and Bowers took their wives along, and this indicates to me this was more like a personal trip that is being sold as a business trip. One stop was a guided tour of the Castle of Bruchsal (Germany), then

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they were off to the Jukebox Museum. That day was capped off with a wine tasting event and dinner. Kind of like Trump and Melania doing international diplomacy for Pickens County, I guess.

There are 1,000 things they could have done in or around Pickens County with this money to effectively promote tourism. Go ask any one of the volunteers who work to promote the Hagood Mill or the Azalea Festival how they could have used that amount of money.

I am floored by their sense of self-privilege, how they took advantage of their positions and this abuse of public tax dollars.

We didn’t hear about this trip from a councilman or their council’s new public relations director. Oh no, but from a citizen on Facebook.

And why didn’t the other council members like Wes Hendricks, Ensley Feemster or the rest try to stop this? Or at least tell the public about it? They didn’t and said nothing. Likely, they just didn’t want to stand up to the council leadership.

They all brag how they are so united and all is going so much better. I now see what they mean — they’re united in silence, particularly when this type of stuff is going on.

Most of the public does not have the time to attend county council meetings, nor has access to what these guys talk about in executive session. We elect the councilmen to be our eyes, ears and voices. If our representatives are blind, deaf and mute to things that are going on like this, just because they are now all friends or fear political retribution, they don’t belong on the council representing us.

The bottom line is we don’t want any councilmen globe-trotting the world — or the country for that matter — in the name of tourism. We can see the rest of the council isn’t going to object, so citizens are going to have to step up and hold them accountable.

Alex Saitta



Return on investment in Dreamers

Dear Editor:

Has anyone sat down and thought about our past investments concerning the Dreamers? Children who were brought here so young that they have no knowledge of the country they came from and have lived most of their lives in the United States.

Has anyone thought of the business term “return on investments?” We have investments in these children who have attended and graduated from our schools. Most Dreamers have graduated from or are still attending colleges. Lots of money has been spent on their education.

They’re now doctors, teachers, first responders, nurses, lawyers and lots of other professions. They work in our factories to help manufacture our goods and impact the U.S. economic future of the country.

I, for one, want them to stay and be U.S. citizens, because my tax dollars paid for their education and I want them to stay and work and pay taxes. I want a return on my investment from their education.

Throwing Dreamers out of the USA is a lost investment. The countries they are sent to will be the ones to profit, because other countries didn’t invest anything into these Dreamers’ education.

Larry Allen


Still waters run silent and deep

Dear Editor,

Everyone has things that set them off.

One of mine is people who say that I live in my own little world. Being deep in thought is not living in your own little world.

If I live in my own little world, then how would I know that teenagers think they can run their own lives without any adult supervision whatsoever? That men don’t understand women, nor do women men, and probably neither ever will. How would I know that we live in a selfish, sorry, it’s-all-about-me world? How would I know narrow-minded bias is killing America by separating us? How would I know that all the signs of the end of the age are all around us in a world going through hell and heading straight for it at full steam?

Yet no one seems to notice or care. I have always heard it said, “Still waters run silent and deep, while it’s the shallow brook that babbles.” How true!

Always remember that, and just because someone is deep in thought doesn’t mean they’re living in their own little world.

Eddie Boggs


Diversity of thought is needed

Dear Editor,

More than 300 members of Conservatives of the Upstate (COTU) hold the belief that parental rights to direct their child’s education are under attack.

There are numerous incidences around our nation and even as close as our neighbor, North Carolina, that liberal-minded teachers are trying to influence the young child through literature and computer lessons on controversial issues such as homosexuality, transgenderism and white guilt. These subjects should not be addressed in the younger grades, period.

It is imperative that we be a Barney Fife of Mayberry fan and “nip this in the bud” in Pickens County before it happens.

The School District of Pickens County should have a written policy in place as soon as possible that mandates teachers are not to read controversial subject books aloud or have students take online surveys without prior parental written consent. It’s not a book ban … it’s an inappropriate subject matter ban for the underage child.

We hope this board will be proactive in making this clear to all teachers in the district.

COTU also has thoughts on the recent contract extension and pay raise for our superintendent Danny Merck. We believe this was not needed. He already had an ironclad contract, so there was no worry about him leaving. The money in a raise should have been used to get the money into the actual classroom.

Also, we are concerned about this whole “diversity problem” the superintendent claims is an issue. Is the origin of this diversity issue a result of the seventh school board district being set up? Has the NAACP complained? John Eby has said no outside force is pushing that diversity is a problem in our county — not even AdvancED — so we are concerned as to who is claiming that we have a diversity problem. Is the goal to get the racial percentages of administration equal to the student population racial percentages? What exactly is the goal? We think this sounds an awful lot like trying to promote white guilt. As Martin Luther King Jr said, we should judge by content of character, not color of skin. By saying we have a diversity problem based on race, you are promoting the racial divide.

Diversity of thought is what is needed in our leadership positions in the SDPC school board, not diversity of race.

Johnnelle Raines

Board member, United States Parents Involved in Education and leadership team, Conservatives of the Upstate