Andy Brack

BRACK:  A pat on the back for Grooms, Sheheen for practical roads bill

BRACK: A pat on the back for Grooms, Sheheen for practical roads bill

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher | Larry Grooms and Vincent Sheheen pored over spreadsheets for weeks looking for a solution that hornswoggled their state Senate colleagues for three years: A practical way to raise the state’s gas tax to fix roads.

By Wednesday, an idea by Republican Grooms – allowing state drivers to get rebates of their portion of the 12-cents-per-gallon hike in the gas user fee – blended with tax cut priorities by Sheheen, a Democrat, to cobble together a piece of winning legislation. While Sheheen brought a solid bloc of the minority Democrats to the table, Senate President Pro Tem Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence, and Grooms delivered a group of moderate Republicans who stuck together, vote after vote, to thwart filibuster threats and get the bill passed.

by · 04/30/2017 · Comments are Disabled · Andy Brack, Views
BRACK:  We’ve all got the “Pothole Blues”

BRACK: We’ve all got the “Pothole Blues”

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher | Sometimes the only way to make a point and make sure it gets through is through humor.

As the state Senate stumbles drunkenly to find a way to figure out a way to fix state roads and bridges, former gubernatorial candidate Tom Ervin of Greenville turned to song to make his point.

He wrote – and had recorded – an aptly-named song, “Pothole Blues,” as first reported Sunday by our sister publication, Statehouse Report.

He says he’s gotten so frustrated by the continued “lack of vision and failed leadership” by state senators and Gov. Henry McMaster in funding the billions of dollars of needs for state road and bridge repairs” that he had to do something.

by · 04/24/2017 · Comments are Disabled · Andy Brack, Views
BRACK: New statue of Hollings captures his spirit, leadership, energy

BRACK: New statue of Hollings captures his spirit, leadership, energy

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher | Sculptor Rick Weaver captured the body language of Fritz Hollings just right in a new statue unveiled Monday as former colleagues heaped praises on the retired senator, now 95.

Three things stand out in the bronze figure – the warm, but determined, look on Hollings’ face; how his left hand is grasping a rolled-up document; and, most notably, an outstretched right hand, a familiar gesture to many of the senator’s former staffers and friends.

“I asked him what he felt was the quality he possessed that allowed him to succeed in his work,” Charlottesville, Va., sculptor Weaver said in the ceremony program. “He said very quickly, ‘My ability to make friends.’ So in subtle ways, I tried to show that – his hand gesture, him turning to face someone. I wanted to convey how actively engaged he was all his life.”

by · 04/18/2017 · 4 comments · Andy Brack, Views
BRACK: City must find courage to stem growth of hotels

BRACK: City must find courage to stem growth of hotels

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher | It’s pretty sad – and kind of amazing – that a 10-year-old can reach a common-sense conclusion that seems to elude a majority of Einstein members of Charleston City Council and its planning commission.

“Daddy, we don’t need any more hotels,” my daughter said while looking recently at the skyline pollution of crane after crane.

No, honey, we don’t. What we need are city leaders who will start listening and thinking about the continuing glut of hotels and what greed to build more will cause down the line.

by · 04/10/2017 · 1 comment · Andy Brack, Views
Pug Ravenel, known as a trailblazing political figure in South Carolina, also was a star Harvard quarterback who made national news.

BRACK: Remembering Pug Ravenel

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher | Pug Ravenel’s intensity on the football field – his zeal to be the best – stretched into the political arena years later when he inspired young men and women who wanted to change how politics worked in the state. His “reformer” spirit guided newcomers like Joe Riley, who became Charleston’s longtime mayor.

Ravenel, who later ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate against Strom Thurmond in 1978 and for Congress two years later, outlined a new path in politics in South Carolina. As one Facebook observer noted, “South Carolina lost so much for not electing him three times.”

We’ll miss Pug’s intensity, his piercing intellect, his openness to new things and his thoughtful energy fueled by ideas and common sense.

by · 03/27/2017 · 8 comments · Andy Brack, Views
BRACK: How can S.C. Democrats start winning more?

BRACK: How can S.C. Democrats start winning more?

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher | With strings of losses in statewide contests over the last few years, you’d think South Carolina Democrats would be down and out. But with President Donald Trump irritating people left and right, there’s a growing enthusiasm that maybe Democrats can take advantage of new cards being dealt them.

To do so, they’re going to have to be disciplined, raise money, create a more appealing message and target sympathetic voters. And, as one longtime insider notes, they’ll have to have some pretty good luck. But the conditions in reliably red South Carolina are bubbling for Democrats at the state level to have a little more success.

by · 03/20/2017 · 1 comment · Andy Brack, Views
BRACK:  If I were King for a Day …

BRACK: If I were King for a Day …

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher | Sometimes the way to clarify where you stand on something is to stretch your brain with the game, “If I were King for a Day, I would ____” and then fill in the blank.

If I were King of the City of Charleston, I would:

* Stop construction of hotels.
* Build the bike lane.
* Build more affordable housing.
* Elevate the Crosstown.
* Transform Citadel Mall into a destination.

by · 03/13/2017 · 1 comment · Andy Brack, Views
BRACK:  S.C. needs to stop shooting itself in the foot

BRACK: S.C. needs to stop shooting itself in the foot

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher | There’s some high-fiving going on in Columbia as state lawmakers are pushing through measures to raise the gas tax and fix the state employees’ pension system.

Unfortunately, these are solutions for problems of the legislature’s own making. Had the General Assembly done its job years ago, legislators wouldn’t have to be raising taxes to fix crumbling, pot-holed roads. They wouldn’t have to be charging taxpayers and state employees more to make up for dumb losses to the state’s pension fund.

by · 03/06/2017 · 2 comments · Andy Brack, Views
BRACK:  We must now deal with opioid abuse

BRACK: We must now deal with opioid abuse

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher | If you don’t think abuse of legally-prescribed painkillers is a problem in South Carolina, just keep this number in mind: 61 million.

That’s the number of powerful, synthesized narcotic pills, known as opioids, that medical professionals prescribed in 2014 in just three counties — Charleston, Greenville and Horry. In Charleston County alone, more than 15 million opioids are prescribed annually!

by · 02/27/2017 · 1 comment · Andy Brack, Views
BRACK: Being proud to be Southern ain’t going away anytime soon

BRACK: Being proud to be Southern ain’t going away anytime soon

In “The Resilience of Southern Identity: Why the South Still Matters in the Minds of its People” [UNC Press, $29.95], the authors argue the notion of being “Southern” is alive and well, despite years of massive changes in society from the end of institutionalized segregation and increasing urbanization to the influx of millions of people not born in the South, now the nation’s largest region with 121 million people.

Many argue, the authors write, the region’s identity is becoming less important because of years of these changes. Yet they found the opposite in a 134-page study that includes reviews of academic literature, polling data and discussions with focus groups.

by · 02/20/2017 · 2 comments · Andy Brack, Views