I brought the elevation of 105 Smith St. to Post and Courier reporter Robert Behre’s attention because it shocked me.
The house needed to be raised, but it never crossed my mind that the Board of Architectural Review would allow such a drastic change to the streetscape.
The first floor windows of 105 are now at the same level of the second-floor windows of 107 Smith St.
All the houses on this block are streetfront, and the contrast is extreme.
In the May 19 Post and Courier article by Mr. Behre, Will Hamilton of the Historic Charleston Foundation says “there hasn’t been much negative commentary.”
A quick tax record search, however, reveals not a single owner-occupied house on that side of Smith Street in that block. Who would comment?
I certainly commented negatively to the BAR, the city’s planning office and even the mayor. The house will be used for rentals. If not, I hope our new neighbor will come down to visit. Most houses on our block are rentals. We have no neighborhood left.
The owners of 67 Pitt St., a duplex rental, also put up a second house in the back garden with three windows looking straight into our bedroom.
How were these absentee owners allowed so many variances? Many trees were cut (increasing my flooding) and the lot is now covered with impervious surfaces (increasing my flooding).
Is this house raised to the new flooding standards? I contacted the BAR and zoning, but none of my questions have been answered.
We need to address flooding issues with new construction and restorations, but there needs to be some sensitivity to the people who actually live in the houses they own. I smell hypocrisy and a city unwilling to protect its citizens.
Someone in the Charleston County School District must not have been thinking very much when he or she decided to spend $33,000 on “thank you” billboards.
Rather than having the intended effect, I suspect the real result reinforced the feeling among teachers that the district leadership leaves much to be desired.
This expenditure, and the whole idea of the CCSD spending $125,000 per year on advertising given all the needs in our schools, offends me as a taxpayer.
We should expect better of our school board.
Attacks on Israel
Recently, Israeli officials counted about 600 rockets fired by Islamic terrorists and, of course, the Israelis responded in kind.
Now imagine if Georgia were doing the same to South Carolina in order to reclaim property that South Carolinians settled on many years ago.
How would you like to live with that on a constant basis? And how long would we wait to respond? Not long, I’m sure.
Adding insult to injury, what if they publicly stated their intent was to destroy us, and drive us into the ocean.
Now picture that 23 of
the states around us agree with Georgia, and their motivation is rooted in a messianic religious movement.
Get the picture?
The least the news media can do is to tell it like it is, or this contrived enmity will keep on in perpetuity.
Enough is enough.
We are suffering multiple instances of mass shootings, as well as shootings that occur in domestic violence situations. These types of shootings are a mental health problem.
As a career police officer and former chief, a criminal defense attorney and assistant solicitor, I have dealt with all sorts of criminal activity and had an opportunity to observe many people involved in criminal activity.
I believe that if we are to deal effectively with these types of shooters, we must do a much better job of mental health intervention.
And by mental health, I do not say that all of these shooters, or even most, are psychotic. Some undoubtedly are. Others may be sociopathic personalities or people socialized differently than most of us.
We read in the papers that many of these shooters are loners or spend inordinate amounts of time in fantasy worlds, with computers or are alienated from schoolmates or coworkers, or are bullied at school.
We need to identify these people as early as possible to get them away from these tendencies that can lead to shootings and get them into proper counseling and mental health treatment to re-integrate them into society. It will be expensive to do, but we must.
My suggestion is that we double the number of counselors in schools. In addition, we must make community mental health services more easily and widely available.
Thus, family or employers who recognize symptoms or potential problems can help persuade and guide individuals to get mental health help.
It seems to me that the expansion of counseling and mental health services is the place at which we must begin seriously attacking this problem.
TERRY L. WALKER