Letters to the Editor – March 25, 2015

Councilwoman feels disrespected

Interim Darlington County Administrator Tommy Edwards asked each member of the Darlington County Council to prepare their vision and plan to move the county forward.

I prepared mine on February 12, 2015, and went through the proper channels to receive time on the agenda to share it with council, as I hoped we would all do.

When I received my agenda for the March meeting, I asked why my name was not placed on the agenda. I was told that the Chair, Bobby Hudson, had said to remove it, and for me to read it during the Council member’s input.

I did not feel that was enough time to share, and I requested my time to be added.

When I stood up to speak, I feel several members of the council disrespected me. They got up to take a break, rather than hear what I had prepared.

This is not the first time they have done this.

We teach our children not to bully others, yet how can they learn from us when they see adults bully one another?

In my many years on council, we say we are going to work together. We say we are going to prepare a plan, a vision, yet we never do.

When Edwards asked us to prepare one, I was elated. I thought, finally, we will work on a plan together!
I fear that I was the only one to do so.

Since I was not allowed time to share during council meeting, despite requesting it in the proper way, I will share it here.

A plan is Needed to Move Forward
Submitted by Wilhelmina P. Johnson February 12, 2015

I. County Council is Responsible for Governing the County

A. Members of the County Council are part of a leadership team that is responsible for guiding the county’s growth, development, health and safety

II. Providing Policy Leadership

A. Vision: Darlington County Council will grow and improve Darlington County for future generations by focusing and working on the problems as a team.

B. Mission: The mission of Darlington Council is to work with all the stakeholders as a team to render positive policies and actions to build the growth of rural Darlington County.

C. Values: Darlington County Council will work together as a team in providing services for positive growth for all people in the county. Negative values by Darlington County Council will not be tolerated. All stakeholders deserve the best for a positive quality of life.

III. Goals for Moving Forward

A. Darlington County will use every financial mean for moving the county forward. Grants and loans totaling five million dollars or more must be available for budget year 2015/2016.

B. The hiring of employees must represent the population being served. The types of jobs must be taken into consideration.

C. Developing a wage form for employment and promotion will be available as soon as possible.

D. County Council is made up of eight members, and should be controlled by eight members.

E. The 2009-2010 Darlington County Final Budget is suggested for 2015-2016 county form. This budget booklet includes all the ordinance types we have been trying to do.

IV. Working Together as a Team

Darlington County has a wonderful appointed and elected staff. County Council will allow them to do their jobs. Together, we are going to grow Darlington County.

2015-2016 Budget Year: Correcting all Negative Actions

V. Objectives
A. Private roads will be repaired in the various Council districts.

B. The South Darlington Watershed Project – 25 years – will not be going away. A project for Darlington County.

C. Recreation will be a part of each Council district. Other learning experiences for children and adults should be available.

D. Economic Development is more than building roads. Tourism and other projects are needed.

E. The Prison Farm is a valuable project available to Darlington County. This project should be used to the limit.

F. Transportation: $7,000 will be budgeted for Pee Dee Regional Transportation Authority- a major goal for Economic Development.

G. Reduction in crime rates by promoting jobs. All agencies and organizations working together.

H. Learning is a continuous process. Improving the county for stakeholders will be done by the eight Council members and County Administrator.

Special note: The Council Administration is an appointed official – employed by County Council. County Council and the County Administrator will work as a team to arrive at a vision, mission and goals for a successful county program.
The County Administrator will be evaluated at the end of six months by Darlington County Council.

Wilhelmina P. Johnson
Council Council Member

An opportunity to save a life

In the 1960’s when Ralph Nader published “Unsafe at Any Speed,” he was labeled everything from a lunatic to a communist to someone who wanted to ruin the automobile industry. History shows that his activism not only helped save millions of lives on American highways, but he also demonstrated that the ideas that safety “costs” or that the government can’t legislate safe practices was both overwhelmingly debunked.

While banning the use of golf carts on public streets, roads and highways in Darlington City and Darlington County will not result in the saving of millions of lives –what if banning their use saved ONE life? What if that one life was your best friend, spouse, sibling or worst of all – child?

What I am proposing is a very common sense, straightforward, total ban on voluntary, unnecessary recreational activity that takes place throughout Darlington City and County on an almost daily basis. As an engineer and former employee in the automobile and truck industry, I can say with certainty that it is only a matter of time before someone is tragically killed in a golf cart accident on our streets. When this event occurs (and it will), the wailing and gnashing of teeth will be deafening, but lost in all of the ensuing hoopla will be the fact that this terrible event could have easily been avoided.

Unlike trucks, cars, motorcycles and even mopeds, golf carts typically do not have lights, brake lights, turn signals or horns. In addition, their average rate of travel is far slower than all other modes of transportation on our roads.
Even compared to pedestrians or bicycles, the golf cart is many times wider and far less maneuverable, making it without question the most dangerous object on the street.

We are NOT a gated community with 10 mile per hour speed limits.

We are NOT located at or near a resort where both locals and visitors are primed to watch out for golf cart traffic.
We ARE a very busy, vehicular traffic orientated locale that does not need the additional congestion and public safety nuisance that golf carts bring.

Now, I know that many who read this piece own and operate golf carts, and in fact, I believe some of our popular city officials are often seen driving around town on theirs. This article is not written as a personal vendetta against them, or to highlight some negative aspect of the City of Darlington or Darlington County. This piece has been written as a PLEA to the County Council, City Council, local law enforcement and the press to do their jobs and make the courageous choices that will result in the saving of a life, a life that we may never know was saved, but a life that is important and precious none-the-less.

George E. Knapp
Darlington, S.C.

Author: Duane Childers

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