Wednesday, October 30, 2013
For Paige Sawyer
As anyone can tell by observing the many yard signs scattered around town, the time for municipal elections is now at hand. In just a few days citizens will have an opportunity to choose a mayor and three city council members — may the voters choose wisely. We should never forget that those who have offered themselves for office by doing so have offered service to us all. Ah, service, such a sublime and appropriate word.
On election day, I hope that our voters will especially consider re-electing Paige Sawyer to another four-year term. Paige has been a resident among us for over forty years and a friend to many almost since day one. He knows about service.
He and I first met over forty years ago; we would have met sooner, but he had just before that time been in Southeast Asia — serving his country. I observed my new friend as he contributed his talents to your Georgetown Times, before opening his photography studio in 1974. There he served countless Georgetown families by creating priceless images of loved ones, now gone forever.
Thirty years ago he was busy raising two young sons to fine examples of manhood, helping many others along the way. My own son will never forget Paige's service and dedication to the baseball program when he was a player.
Surely members of Duncan Methodist Church are aware of Paige Sawyer's twenty-plus years of service to that local institution — with his time, his money, and especially his heart. All members will beyond doubt confirm that, when a need appears at the doorstep, Paige can be counted on to step up to his part of the challenge.
Then there is service to our city — garbage collection problems, broken streetlights, a new sewerage disposal plant, local concerns of all types — to be sure this is not exciting stuff, but in total it equals millions of dollars of our money and it must be attended to. Let us be glad that Paige and others will see to our best interests in these and other local questions.
Is any of the information printed above relevant to the election of candidates in this day? Yes. It is, as the past is a pretty good predictor of the future. But also, I must say that Paige Sawyer is an individual who is just that — an individual. If he sees the error in a position taken by others, he never hesitates. When the vote in council is six-to-one, the chances are that Sawyer was the one who refused to “just go along.”
Do we agree on everything? Of course not. (I didn't agree with everything he had to say in the Monday, Oct. 14 debate.) Yet, I have never wavered in my firm belief that Paige Sawyer was acting, without exception, in what he considered to be the best interests of the city.
Six candidates are seeking three seats on council; the government you will have is up to you. Why not the best?
Barry A. Price
For Jack Scoville
It's election time again. Have you ever seen so many campaign signs? I bet there are more signs out than there will be people voting.
Vote for me, re-elect me, support me, back me, time for a change. I even saw one sign, somebody wants to get in the sack with Jack. I wonder if we think the more signs we put out, the better our chances.
Seriously, for the past three years Jack Scoville has led the city in the right direction.
To name a few things he has done and been a part of, Harborwalk renovation, cut $3.5 million from the city budget in three years, reduced the number of city employees by 30 without layoffs, while increasing efficiency. Repaired and replaced damaged sidewalks. New sidewalks and streetscaping and lighting in the West End.
Some say Jack isn't very personable, not very much of a politician, doesn't pat you on the back enough, never have seen him kiss a baby.
Could be this is a compliment.
This is not a popularity contest. This is serious business.
Jack is a no-nonsense guy. He doesn't promise you something he can't do.
Re-elect Jack to another term and we'll see he goes to charm school.
Re: “Thanks to Progress for Georgetown” article, October 23, 2013 - Perry Collins, Georgetown
It is very obvious that the unregulated repairs to Harborwalk, the 'Harborwalk Open' banner, courtesy of so-called 'Progress for Georgetown', displayed without a permit at the Wooden Boat Show last Saturday and the above referenced letter to the editor, regarding the stated Harborwalk repairs, was an orchestrated effort. This is a pathetic and tiresome effort to possibly paint the current mayor and city council in a bad light.
If this is what we should expect from the 'New Faces” of the Republicans, then they will not win over the voters. We don't need people who have a sense of entitlement to manipulate government for their own personal gain. I am happy the city did not have plans to open Harborwalk quickly … all precautions should be taken to ensure the safety of all the people and responsible fiscal stewardship of rebuilding the Harborwalk.
It is regretful that city staff members and the Wooden Boat Show have become pawns in a political sideshow orchestrated by a group of unknown persons who are blatantly supporting Republican candidates.
Harborwalk was not built for the enjoyment of a small group of people. It was built with taxpayers' money for the enjoyment of residents and visitors to our beautiful city. It is disgusting that a small select group of people have decided to make a mockery of codes that are designed to protect those who use Harborwalk. The citizens of Georgetown are not stupid, as assumed by this 'Progress for Georgetown' group, which refuses to disclose their funders and supporters.
The City administration and staff have worked endlessly since the fire on Front Street to help devastated businesses to rebuild. How moronic and sophomoric to imply that the City is holding up construction on Harborwalk to thwart the wishes of a group of unknown persons.
The two-day Wooden Boat Show does contribute greatly to the quality of life for all citizens of the City and County of Georgetown but we have many quality community events and festivals that bring the same amount if not more goodwill and money to the coffers of city and county businesses. This is the best reason why these events should not be politicized.
What makes this 'group' think they are better than my vote? On November 5, 2013, I am voting for Jack Scoville, Jeanette Ard, Brendon Barber and Doris Simmons, persons who are willing to be held accountable and are making things happen in Georgetown. I don't want perfection but I do want accountability. By not repudiating “Progress for Georgetown”, the Republicans are agreeing to every bit of entitlement that this group wants.
The priority here is creating private sector jobs and an improved standard of living. The City of Georgetown lags well behind the state in many statistical measures of poverty rates. Jobs make families possible; families make thriving community civilizations possible. The solutions brought forth by the “great society” are officially a failed experiment both locally and nationally. States, counties and cities that have much more robust economies than our own and fewer of our brothers and sisters living in poverty, have governments that reflect priorities with the underpinnings of lower taxes and less regulation to allow thriving commerce. Despite a shrinking labor pool, Georgetown County reported approximately 9% unemployment in June of this year (as a state, South Carolina's unemployment rate at the same time was nearly one point below Georgetown County's rate). One must wonder what North and South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Virginia and a couple dozen other states had that Georgetown didn't have. It can be quickly discovered, they all have an environment with less regulation and lower taxes. These pro-growth values have their beginnings at the most local levels of government and should become reflexive to city hall in Georgetown.
Liz, Davis and I know Paige Sawyer as a brother in Christ. He, Susan and their family have been exemplary stewards of the community long before we arrived and continue to be today. He is notably more fiscally conservative than his current counterparts, and spends the taxpayers' money much as he would spend his own – with care and common sense.
We would also like to express our support for those candidates running under the banner of “Progress for Georgetown” namely, Ed Kimbrough and Carol Jayroe for City Council, and Richard Powers for Mayor. In addition to pro-growth values, we seek to elect city representatives having a servant's heart.
Gil, Liz & Davis McCall
In support of Doris Simmons
Doris Simmons is a down-to-Earth, common sense leader. Georgetown needs more city council members who are real about improvements to the city. Along with Jack Scoville, Jeanette Ard and Brendon Barber, Doris has my vote on Nov. 5. Georgetown needs to keep moving forward.
Re: Georgetown city elections
I have lived in Georgetown my entire life. This is the first City election that I have experienced such a negative tone from candidates seeking office. Personal attacks against any elected official are unacceptable. We need civility and respect in our public arena.
Where is the agenda from this “Progress for Georgetown” group coming from? Do we even know if they live in Georgetown? Shouldn't they disclose their interests, and how they will benefit all the citizens of Georgetown?
I will vote on Nov. 5 but not for candidates supported by a group who are not required to reveal their donors.
I am supporting the Democratic candidates for mayor and city council, in spite of the many derogatory signs and negative campaigning used by the Republicans around our town.
I was at the candidate's debate where the moderator asked for applause to be held until all the candidates had spoken. Carol Jayroe's supporters rudely ignore the request. Every time Ms. Jayroe spoke, her supporters rudely clapped or hooted.
What is the agenda of her mysterious “Progress for Georgetown” support group? Do these people even live in Georgetown? We may never know since they are not required to report their contributors. I will not vote for any candidate supported by a group of unknown influence.
Vote for the Democrats on Nov. 5, they are a known entity.
I have known Jack Scoville for many years. His “get the job done” personality is sometimes mistaken for arrogance. Jack is a good guy who loves Georgetown's history, all of our neighborhoods and its potential. In his first term much has been accomplished with more to come.
When a person is shaking things up that is when others strike back. Let's not stop progress short. We need to have elected officials that will continue the good work. Vote Jack Scoville on Tuesday, Nov. 5.
I have known Jack Scoville for many years. His “get the job done” personality is sometimes mistaken for arrogance. Jack is a good man who loves Georgetown's history, all of our neighborhoods and Georgetown's potential. In his first term, much has been accomplished.
When a person is helping to make changes, that is when others strike back, let's not stop progress short. We need to have elected officials that will continue this good work.
Vote Jack Scoville on Tuesday, Nov. 5.
Brendon Barber is a proven leader. He knows how the City of Georgetown operates and where improvements are needed.
I am voting for Brendon Barber because of his experience and openness to supporting ideas from all the people of Georgetown. Why should we change leadership when the City is moving in the right direction?
Re-elect Brendon Barber on Nov. 5.
Georgetown Response to the recent letters of Mr. Collins and Mr. Stuckey
In recent letters to the editor by Perry Collins and Bill Stuckey, they are highly critical of the City's handling of the temporary repairs to the Harborwalk in anticipation of the Wooden Boat Show. Unfortunately, neither gentleman made any inquiry about the facts before sending their letters to your newspaper.
Mr. Collins presents a timeline that purports to show inaction on the City's part to get the Harborwalk repaired. Mr. Stuckey presents a series of conclusions. Neither gentleman's arguments are supported by the facts.
Mr. Stuckey asserts the City did nothing to advance the opening of the Harborwalk for 22 days before the Wooden Boat Show. This is not correct. As soon as possible after the fire, the city engineer and other staff made an assessment of the damage. They determined that the fire damage rendered the structure unsafe. The City began contacting contractors on September 30, five days after the fire, about repairing it. Several bids were received. At the special meeting of Council on Oct. 24, the contract was awarded to R.L. Morrison & Sons, the low bidder at around $75,000. This cost is being paid by the City's insurance carrier except for a $1,000 deductible. The work will begin as soon as they can mobilize.
The City has been working overtime on the issues caused by the fire. We have been concentrating on helping the property owners, businesses, and employees displaced by the fire. Great effort was expended to ensure Front Street would be open, safe, and clean for the Wooden Boat Show. As noted above, we were focused on the permanent fix and other matters, not opening the Harborwalk just for the boat show.
I have checked with city staff and Council and no one on behalf of the Wooden Boat Show or anyone else had contacted anyone in the City to express the desire to have the Harborwalk open for the Wooden Boat Show, prior to three days before the event.
According to the Georgetown Times article “Harby Moses responds to Harborwalk repair article” in last Friday's paper, the issue of a temporary fix for the boat show was apparently first raised by Mr. Jeepy Ford who asked Mr. Moses if the repairs could be made. It is very curious why Mr. Ford did not first approach the City administrator, the City engineer or someone on Council about this matter in a timely manner. If this were a matter of such great importance to the Wooden Boat Show, I would expect some inquiry from someone associated with the event more than three days before it was to occur.
Mr. Moses subsequently obtained an engineer's plan which was ok'd by the City engineer, and the work was performed. There was some miscommunication between the City engineer and the building official who was out of town on Wednesday, about the building permits. But, as Mr. Moses says in the newspaper article, “A lot happened and happened fast.”
The City was asked to pay the $4,000 cost for the temporary repair. The only benefit that has been presented to the City as a justification for the temporary repair was to avoid a “logjam” on the Harborwalk during the show. The repair had no impact whatsoever on the number of people who attended the show. The city administrator, Chris Carter, did not authorize the payment because the City was about to award the contract for the permanent repairs and the temporary fix will be torn out as soon as the contractor begins. The event lasted one day. There is simply no way to justify the expenditure of public funds under these circumstances.
A large banner was raised on the Harborwalk proclaiming the repair work was paid for by a group called “Progress for Georgetown.” This is the same anonymous group that has been spending thousands of dollars attacking candidates in the pending election. It is obvious that the criticism of the City staff by Mr. Collins and Mr. Stuckey is politically motivated. The members of this group should identify themselves so that the voters can determine what, if any, interest these people have in the outcome of the election. We cannot allow an anonymous group to buy our city government.
By all accounts, the Boat Show this year was the biggest and best ever. Instead of making unfounded, unfair, and inaccurate accusations against the City, Mr. Collins and Mr. Stuckey should be applauding the efforts of the organizers of the Wooden Boat Show and city staff for another job well done and should be promoting the city instead of tearing it down.
Mayor, City of Georgetown
Response to Harborwalk
The City of Georgetown has recently experienced two major events.
The first was the horrific and devastating fire on Front Street, with losses to homes, businesses, and property. The long term effect on these victims can only be imagined.
There will be sizable financial impacts for property owners and those who worked in the businesses and restaurants. Probably most depressing of all will be the loss of memories of those who have had personal connections over the years.
The second major event, the twenty-fourth annual Wooden Boat Show, took place Saturday, October 19th. This event was the first chance for the City's citizens and businesses to show the world we were knocked down but intent on getting back up.
Unfortunately, it was difficult motivating our City leadership to help our volunteers prepare Front Street to accommodate probably our largest crowd ever.
Approximately sixty feet of Harborwalk was blocked off because of fire damage. Evidently, the City had not done a detailed investigation using a professional engineer to obtain an estimate for repairs.
It was easy to sit at a desk in City Hall and conclude the damage was too extensive to make necessary repairs in time for the biggest event of the year for Downtown Georgetown.
I applaud those city employees who allowed a group of private individuals to have the damage assessed by a structural engineer and repaired in time to accommodate the thousands of visitors who enjoyed the most glorious weekend event we had.
I also applaud the group who offered to pay for the temporary repairs. Pawleys Island Lumber furnished materials at cost, and most of all, Harby Moses and Coastal Structures made it happen.
On Boat Show Saturday, it was obvious these repairs were a needed part of the event and put Georgetown's “best foot forward.”
The question is, why didn't the City leadership make this happen themselves? Good leadership shows its true qualities by their preparedness and reaction to disastrous situations, which in my opinion was lacking in this situation.
I offer a personal “thank you” to all the police officers and city employees who, along with the Wooden Boat Show committee and volunteers, made this the biggest and best “Boat Show” ever.
To the City's leaders I say, please start showing the leadership qualities we need to move this city forward.
City of Georgetown property owner
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