Letters to the Editor – July 22, 2105

Knapp issues rally cry to Darlington residents

My husband and I moved to Darlington five years ago. We were told it wasn’t a good area to move to, given the economic downturn, and that Florence or Hartsville were better options. However, we believed in the city and bought a lovely house and created two businesses here.

It’s certainly not a metropolis like Columbia or Charleston, but it’s a GREAT town. There are so many GOOD people who live here, people who WANT to see the city evolve and grow but there are also people who don’t – including people who are “set in their ways”, and part of the “old boys network” and “old money”. It is heartbreaking to hear local residents complain about how broken we are as a city, yet they can’t do anything about it.

We constantly hear “Let’s bring new business in,” but then when we try, it’s immediately beaten down. When I opened my business a year ago I received NOTHING from the city. No help, no code guidelines, no grant, or incentives. In fact,` it was almost as though the city didn’t WANT a new business here. Everything we did was either given a brush off or a “We don’t actually have rules for that.”

If you look at the city website – what there is of it – you will see how up to date we are because NONE of the city officials have an actual government email address. How are we, as a city, letting that be acceptable? We pay taxes!!!!! I was told by one person that their email was “hacked” so they decided to use a Yahoo address. Seriously?

When you drive into town, you see sidewalks and islands overgrown with weeds and littered with garbage; yet, when you ask anyone why it looks this way, you hear that such-and-such department is in charge of that. The buck is always being passed to someone who doesn’t have an answer and someone who doesn’t care, yet we expect visitors to come back?

Why are the citizens of this town letting this fly by?

A HUGE tree fell in our street three months ago and took out the power and cable for the street. It took TWO MONTHS for the city to even come LOOK at fixing the mess. They chopped the tree up but have yet to fix the sidewalk and gaping hole that the tree left. Right beside it there was another tree that had to be trimmed that is ALSO waiting to be removed. This area currently has “crime scene tape” and cones and plenty of garbage that drivers passing through are just dumping there. When I attended the council meeting this week and asked why it has taken over three months for it to be even halfway finished while other trees in the area were cut and removed within days I was given blank looks and no answers. I guess we don’t live in the “right side” of town? Then I hear people saying “Join the Country Club.” WHAT?

You want citizens – from a HIGH POVERTY area to think about joining a country club that does NOTHING for the local area? They don’t sponsor anything to benefit the town. I don’t see them sponsor “town-cleanups” or see the owners helping out at these events. They have gone into financial disarray NUMEROUS times yet they want people to join? More than half the residents can’t afford to join, and the club does nothing for city low-income families, doesn’t promote any kind of community benefit- yet you want people to join?

Is it because half the city council and officials are members? Is this where all the socializing is done? The rich people looking after the rich people?

How about local business owners form their own membership and all meet at various member locations to promote businesses that actually SUPPORT each other? Isn’t this something the Chamber of Commerce should be promoting heavily? Business in the Community FOR the Community?

I’d like to know how the council struggles to afford community initiatives or repairs then go ahead and approve a payment of $36,000 for a mural on a wall that hardly anyone sees and that is for an event that lasts less than a week out of a year? A mural that if you ask ANYONE looks half finished?

However, given ALL the hard work that the council members do, it was nice to see them give THEMSELVES a whopping 30% raise. How do city workers that get barely a 1 or 2% raise (or sometimes NO raise) feel about this? We wouldn’t know because it wasn’t discussed nor asked for it to be approved. It was just given. If no-one cares about this, then the city SHOULD be allowed to continue its fall into disrepair and failure to grow while ending up being the same old “run down – no new business – town” that is it.

If residents DO care, then make sure your voice is heard at the upcoming election and vote someone in that actually may do some good; someone that cares, and someone who will hear your concerns. Someone who will earn every single cent that they are being paid. Someone who WILL attend city clean-ups, events etc.

This city needs a kick up the butt, and we need someone who isn’t about “lining their own pockets, and that’s all” to be running it. It can’t be that difficult. I know of several people who are super concerned about this city, and excited for change that is needed; why is it that we are stuck in the Stone Age as to where our city is concerned? Can anyone tell me?

If I hear one more “privileged” person talk about how this city is doing well, and that we should all be happy, I’m going to throw up.


Andrea Knapp
Darlington, S.C.

Memories of Mary Demetrious

I had started working for the Demetrious family in 1950. Mary was 5 months old. She was a good baby, and I had spoiled her, as she becme a young lady she worked hard. She was very ambitious at an early age. When she went off to college, I continued to work for her father and mother, the late Christos and Katina Pappas Demetrious. Mary loved her politics, she would hae papers everywhere. She told me I was like a mother to her. She always gave me nice birthday and Christmas gifts. I worked for Mary Demetrious and her family for 65 years.
I will miss her.

Mrs. Martha L. Smoot-Davis
Darlington, S.C.

My tribute to Mary Demetrious

Mary was the most loving, caring, and giving personI ever met. I had worked for Mary when she ran for the 6th Congressional District. I remember going to Galivant’s Ferry with her to campaign. She would pick me up, because I didn’t have a car. Mary was a great boss, and friend. Mary was family to my family. The last time I saw Mary was when her health began to fail, nevertheless she would call my mother and I to come over to talk.

Barbara Davis
Darlington, S.C.

Author: Duane Childers

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