FEEDBACK: Meeting Fred Dent, S.C. government’s death spiral

Recalling a meeting with Frederick Dent

To the editor:

Dent

I have a good Fred Dent story to share: In 1974, when I was director of admissions at Marietta (Ohio) College, I was interviewing a family — mother, father, and daughter sitting in front of me. For some reason, I was really enjoying talking to the father — he was so affable and we were on the same wave length. He was brought up in Greenwich and had moved to South Carolina, and I had been brought up in South Carolina and had moved to Greenwich in my youth.

After establishing such a coincidence, I finally asked, “Sir, just was is it that do you do?” I think that he said, “I am the Secretary of Commerce,” a point in fact that I really didn’t get. I thought that he meant that he was a chamber officer in some Ohio town or something. And I said, “Just where?” And he said, “Washington, D.C.”

And then I got it. I had a cabinet member sitting there in front of me with no grand entrance, no whistles or cheers, no limo. He rather enjoyed my embarrassment. Afterward I received such a nice letter from him, and, yes, his daughter did matriculate to Marietta.  Thanks for the article.  It brought back a good memory from my youth.

— Ross W. Lenhart, Pawleys Island, S.C.

Look at quality, not size of government

To the editor:

Your most recent article regarding the “death spiral” of our state government was quite interesting.  My belief is it’s not necessarily the size of government but the quality of those individuals running, or ruining, the show!

I spent my career in the private club industry managing some of the finest private clubs in the Southeast:   Sedgefield Country Club  in Greensboro, N.C.; Quail Hollow Country Club in Charlotte, N.C.;  and the Piedmont Driving Club in Atlanta, Ga..  I witnessed, firsthand, the transformation of really great individuals turn into complete self-absorbed jerks when they became board members and then later officers.

I believe the exact same thing happens to public servants. They get eat-up with the dumb-a** in no time at all.  I believe term limits is the answer for all!

— Harry Waddington, Okatie, S.C.

Substitute “taxes” with “user’s fee”

To the editor:

Andy is right on target.   Where did this theme, I hate taxes” originate?   Do the same folks hate paying for a cart full of stuff at Walmart?

Perhaps we need to ban the word “taxes” and substitute “user’s fee.”  A year ago, Gov. Nikki Haley spoke at a meeting I attended and I asked why we did not raise the gas tax. Her response:  “Just because we have the lowest tax does not mean we have to raise it..

When we establish a need (fix highways), we (our legislature) is COMPELLED to fix it.  Ignoring the problem is not an option.   Voting in responsible new legislators is a viable answer.

— Fred Sales, James Island, S.C.

Kicking the can down the road

To the editor:

The theology of Grover Norquist controls the minds and behaviors of our legislators and elected leaders. Our leadership has adopted the myth that shrinking government and taxes is a key to future economic growth.

South Carolina will always be in a constant state of repairs and poverty as our politicians have made the kicking our problems down the road into an art form. There is always a price to pay for nonfeasance, misfeasance and malfeasance, but our leaders choose to ignore that fact for another generation to solve.

— William Heitsman, Darlington, S.C.

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