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Photo by J. Henry Fair, courtesy of S.C. Coastal Conservation League.

BRACK: State needs to stop kowtowing to developers

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher | Are there any sacred or special places in South Carolina that are safe from developers?

Sure, there are parks and land protected by owners, but it seems developers generally have the upper hand whenever there’s a way for somebody to make a buck — whether it’s to build another subdivision that will bloat sprawl in urban areas, add yet another hotel in a tourist area or pack another mega-mansion as close to the beach as possible.

by · 06/01/2015 · Comments are Disabled · Andy Brack, Views
Fountain at Waterfront Park, Charleston, S.C.

MORRIS: The hidden jewel that’s no longer hidden

By Kyra Morris, contributing editor | The nature of Charleston’s hidden jewel qualities is like a cell tower sending out signals to the world – “Come visit. Come visit. I have preserved history, world-class restaurants, renowned golf courses, beaches, shopping, burgeoning theater and a thriving arts community.” The world is receiving the signals and responding. The tourists are here.

This is not a new phenomenon for Charleston. The first “Tourism Impact and Management Study” I found was done in 1977. It noted:

“The dramatic increase in tourist-related activity in Charleston over the past few years has provoked expressions of alarm by residents concerned with maintaining the amenities and quality for which the City is known. Moreover, there is general recognition that the City is not equipped adequately to serve and manage growing numbers of visitors.”

by · 06/01/2015 · Comments are Disabled · Money, Views
BRACK:  Saturday wedding was refreshing, spiritual

BRACK: Saturday wedding was refreshing, spiritual

By Andy Brack | Saturday was a nice day for a white wedding.

It was a Chamber of Commerce afternoon — clear blue skies, relatively low humidity, a breeze to keep gnats and mosquitoes away.

Six dozen people crowded into white chairs next to blooming rose bushes. They sipped wine, strawberry-infused water and craft beer as the 5 o’clock hour approached. In the background, a fountain showered in a pond making the ambient sounds of a summer shower. Blue hydrangeas flanked the couple as a Lutheran priest intoned comforting Bible readings about love and gave a short sermon about the day-to-day joys and challenges of marriage.

by · 05/25/2015 · Comments are Disabled · Andy Brack, Views
BRACK:  Why Volvo incentives make sense

BRACK: Why Volvo incentives make sense

By Andy Brack | The $204 million incentive package that state and local governments offered Volvo to make a huge investment for at least 2,000 jobs in Berkeley County masks a pesky public policy debate that few talk about in public: Are incentives a good deal or should they exist at all?

On one hand, we wouldn’t have landed BMW, Boeing or Volvo without incentives. That’s just the reality of economic development. Because of incentives, these companies hired a lot of people and served as a catalyst to generate thousands of other in-state jobs — everything from suppliers to fast-food workers to staff restaurants that serve them.

Furthermore, incentives make sense, many argue, because they will eventually be paid off through steady infusions of revenues from sales, income and property taxes from the thousands of workers who get new jobs. It will just take a little time — and it’s in the government’s interest to invest now to get a long-term return on investment.

by · 05/18/2015 · Comments are Disabled · Andy Brack, Views
Haley

BRACK: Why is the governor picking on GOP legislators?

By Andy Brack | Only one in 10 state legislators apparently is conservative enough for Gov. Nikki Haley, who last week reignited a feud with the General Assembly by singling out just 17 state lawmakers for voting with her on three issues — pay raises, gas taxes and bonded indebtedness. (List at bottom)

We’re not quite sure how Haley is the queen of figuring out who is conservative enough, but you’ve got to wonder a little about her leadership skills after winning a second term if only 17 legislators out of 170 are backing what she thinks is important.

“Her strategy of calling people out is a unique strategy — one I’m not familiar with in terms of what she hopes to gain, other than rankle people whose votes she needs on other things,” one veteran Republican insider said. “It’s clearly a strategy, but to what end?”

by · 05/11/2015 · Comments are Disabled · Andy Brack, Views
BRACK: Promise Zone is shot in arm for S.C.

BRACK: Promise Zone is shot in arm for S.C.

By Andy Brack | Talk about a shot in the arm for the southern rural counties of South Carolina. Witness the just-announced federal Promise Zone designation for a six-county area centering on Allendale County that should pump in millions of dollars of aid over the next 10 years.

But let’s be clear: It’s a hand-up, not a handout for people in the zone area of Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper counties. There’s a lot of hard work ahead for these counties, nonprofits, government agencies and businesses that are part of the effort to generate more jobs, improve education, reduce crime and get more affordable housing in a region where 28.1 percent of 90,000 residents live in poverty.

by · 05/04/2015 · Comments are Disabled · Andy Brack, Views
Matthew

Obama nominates Matthew to lead cultural support agency

President Obama on March 10 nominated Charleston native and resident Kathryn “Kit” Matthew to be director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the federal agency that supports the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums to advance lifelong learning and promote cultural and civic engagement.

by · 04/30/2015 · Comments are Disabled · Andy Brack, Views
#BlackLivesMatter: A few memorials lay Wednesday in the field near where Walter Scott was murdered in North Charleston, S.C. Photo by Andy Brack.

BRACK: What was done right and what needs work still

By Andy Brack | North Charleston, the state’s third largest city, has never been an easy place in which to live. With large pockets of poverty and schools that face inner-city conflicts not found in suburbs, daily life — even today — can be a struggle.

Back in the late 1980s as a police reporter, I headed to North Charleston often to find out what was happening. The police culture was insular, tough and tight-lipped. There was a particular way of doing things in North Charleston and often, it seemed, it involved knocking heads.

In 2006 and 2007, a total of 54 people were murdered or killed in North Charleston, which led to the city being named one of the nation’s most dangerous.

by · 04/13/2015 · Comments are Disabled · Andy Brack, Views
A voter waits in a past election to vote.

BRACK: 3 lawyers to challenge Charleston council incumbents

By Andy Brack | Just about all of the focus in Charleston politics of late has been on the November race for mayor as candidates vie to replace longtime incumbent Joe Riley, who is retiring after 40 years. But there are six other races that are important too — half of the seats on city council.

As best as we can tell, three attorneys are challenging three incumbents in city council races around town. Three other incumbents don’t seem to have candidates looming, but with filing not until the end of the summer, they’re not safe yet.

by · 04/06/2015 · Comments are Disabled · 2015 Mayor, Andy Brack, Views
MORRIS: Bridge Run is more than a race

MORRIS: Bridge Run is more than a race

By Kyra Morris | The 30,000 participants and thousands of spectators celebrated the 37th Cooper River Bridge Run on March 28.

Charleston’s local economy gets a direct infusion of nearly $20 million. A 2011 economic impact study stated $18.3 million and that was several years ago in a much more tenuous market environment. To add to the impact the Bridge Run was also the first weekend of spring break and the beginning of Easter week.

by · 04/06/2015 · Comments are Disabled · Money, Views