Is South Carolina about to have a Political Earthquake?

We’ve obtained an exclusive copy of an ethics complaint that is supposed to be filed against House Ethics Committee Chairman Kenny Bingham. We’re told by sources this is the first of many including one bombshell report forthcoming about the Governor. Has the fox been guarding the henhouse? The content of the first alleged complain is below:

The leaked complaint that will be filed against Kenny Bingham of Lexington, Chairman of the South Carolina House Ethics Committee:

Facts
EXCERPTS:
“According to the Respondent’s 2014 Statement of Economic Interest was paid $70,071.00 by SCANNA, $182,397.00 by City of Columbia, $163,615.91 by Town of Lexington & $29,932.50 by Richland County. Voted against H 5005 (Municipal Utilities) which passed. This bill related “to the powers and duties of municipalities in regard to municipal utilities including a water system.”

…”American Engineering, has received the following amounts during, according to the University of South Carolina’s Spending Transparency Page, 11-12: $16,625 12-13: $147,235; 13-14: $93,892 from USC. In FY 2012-2013, Bingham voted to ratify Sec 15A (Vote #758) of H. 4813 which was the section that allocated the funds to USC for that FY.”

This is a violation of S.C. Code Ann. § 8-13-700(B) even if he complied with § 8-13-700(B)(2) he still participated in the vote. His Statement of Economic Interests from 2012-13 do mention money he received from USC….”

There’s a whole lot more. Tune in 7-10am Mon-Friday on AM 1340 and AM950 Charleston or via TuneIN at WQSC to hear local, live coverage of these issues.

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Mr. “Saving Shem Creek” doubled down on his lie – now here’s the proof!

Recently I shared with you that the founder of the “Saving Shem Creek” Facebook page was employed by a firm directly involved with a project his “group” was protesting. I publicly asked: Why would you work for a company that is designing and developing projects that in your words, are “ruining Mt. Pleasant?”

When I first pointed to this conflict of interest, I was met with harsh ridicule. I was accused of lying, distorting the truth and acting as a “shock jock.” It got even worse. As I presented my case, Mr. “Saving Shem Creek” (who works for the firm building the “garage” he opposes), presented a stamped image from the Town of Mt. Pleasant showing another firm (other than his employer) on the plans submitted. This furthered the case, that somehow I was lying, right? The cards were certainly stacked against my theory, weren’t they?

This was the moment that I realized that many of the fine people and residents of Mount Pleasant, that I had perhaps, mistakenly called “snobs,” were being duped. Mr. “Saving Shem Creek” does work for ADC Engineering and the below image DOES prove that ADC was in fact employed in the design of the project; Mr. Saving Shem Creek, clearly knew this, but didn’t expect it to become known. His employer was terminated (in this letter) from the project. One might asked why Mr. “Saving Shem’s Creek’s” employer was removed. Could have been a rogue employee or was it something else? I suppose we’ll never know.

So here’s the real question. Why would Mr. “Saving Shem Creek” lie about his employer’s involvement in the project and then, when questioned, double-down on that lie? Perhaps there was a run for Mayor or City Council in his future! Who knows?

Here’s my point in all of this: Don’t be mislead by people with an agenda of obtaining power. Instead, take a drive to Dorchester Road at 5:30pm and try to go from Trolley Road to Bacon’s Bridge Road in less than 30 minutes. The “Old Village” up there is called “Ashborough.” Both awesome communities in both cities, right? Yes! But after years of battling business and progress, sprawl (instead of solutions) has made Dorchester Road the nightmare the fine folks of Mt. Pleasant are fearing Coleman will become.

So the next time Mr. “Saving Shem Creek” tries to scare you with propaganda, ask him who’s or which political aspiration the story (uh, hmmm…. distortion) is designed to help!

jimowens

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Big Races: Election Guide June 10, 2014 in South Carolina Primary

Sen. Lindsey Graham = 6 CHALLENGERS: Columbia pastor Det Bowers; Spartanburg state Sen. Lee Bright; Upstate businessman Richard Cash; Orangeburg attorney Bill Connor; Columbia attorney Benjamin Dunn; and Charleston businesswoman Nancy Mace. On the Democratic side, Orangeburg state Sen. Brad Hutto faces Jay Stamper of Columbia.
Republican, Tim Scott faces a primary challenge from Upstate resident Randall Young. Democratic field consists of Richland County Councilwoman Joyce Dickerson, Rock Hill resident Sidney Moore and Harry Pavilack of Myrtle Beach.
Four candidates for Lt. Governor; the winner will face Democrat Bakari Sellers this fall. Glenn McConnell is resigning to become president of the College of Charleston.
The Republican candidates are: Mike Campbell, son of former Gov. Carroll Campbell; Charleston businessman Pat McKinney; former South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster; and Ray Moore of Columbia.
There are several to choose from in the Superintendent of Education Race:  The Republicans include: Sally Atwater, Gary Burgess, Meka Bosket Childs, Amy Cofield, Sheri Few, Don Jordan, Elizabeth Moffly, and Molly Spearman.
Democrats for superintendent include: Montrio Belton, Sheila Gallagher, Jerry Govan, and Tom Thompson.

Forget the Public, it’s all about the Realtors! Save our image.

I recently made a post about the inappropriate behavior of a Realtor on my personal Facebook page.  I cited the facts and the Realtor’s name.  I had asked this Realtor to stop contacting me with unproductive and/or malicious accusations via email and/or through our local Multiple Listing Service three or four times.  She sent six such emails, thereafter.  I spoke with her Broker who tried to help, but it did no good.

The real issue is that the Realtor, who had the buyer on a transaction (my client was the seller) had committed two infractions that were deeply upsetting to my client.  First, she scheduled an inspection at 9am, and she and her clients, without permission, stayed at the house well past their inspection time-frame; they didn’t leave until 8:30pm that evening.  Then upon specific direction that they were to complete any follow-up inspections in a four hour window (and on the same day), they scheduled an additional inspection, without an appointment and showed up at the house at 8am.  There were roofers on the house with ladders and the seller had just woken up unaware (nor had they approved) of this event.  They were frightened and later upset.

No apology.  No remorse by the buyer’s agent.  Shocking!

Since this agent began verbally attacking me for being so “arrogant” as to point out this awful behavior and there was no result from attempting to literally beg the broker to remove this agent from the transaction, I took to Facebook.

What shocked me is that the Real Estate Community (with a few exceptions) took to defend this agent, stating that Facebook was the improper forum, this post was unprofessional and that it was unethical.  First, this is America and no forum is improper.  Second, Realtor Code of Ethics do not prevent any agent from spreading the truth no matter how good or bad it may be.  In fact, honesty, is repeated many times over in the Code of Ethics.

By contrast, some of my past clients or radio show listeners (Non-agents) chimed in in support of the post; even some privately messaged me thanking me for naming names and calling out bad behaviors.  Others offered caution, citing the vicious nature of the Real Estate Industry.

I learned from this post that I’m involved in an industry that mostly cares about itself and very little about the people whom it serves.  They are more worried about the spectacle this created on Facebook than the behavior it exploited; more worried about potential embarrassment of a Realtor than the member of the public (my client) who was abused and/or disrespected.  They believe that I should have filed an ethics complaint (worthless) with the Board of Realtors.  A community of Realtors more appalled by a post revealing the unprofessional truth and deplorable behavior of another Realtor, is no body apply fit to police itself.

Welcome to 2014, where social media can invigorate conversation that was previous held in private, behind closed doors at some Board of Realtors office, so the public is hidden from the real truth.

Snobs or just completely misled in Mt. Pleasant about the “garage?”

How a few snobs, misled the whole town…

Recently, I posted the following comment on Facebook regarding the Developer of a Mt. Pleasant class A office building’s comments that he plans to continue plans to build a 42,000 square foot office building, with a two level parking deck, near Shem Creek in Mt. Pleasant:

Parking Garage – Mt. P: Why not honor the fact the developer did everything legal, he invested hundreds of thousands into engineering and planning and now a few snobs in Mt. Pleasant want to stop growth to “save” Shem Creek. You want to SAVE Shem Creek??? Help the shrimpers. The people battling this garage to SAVE Shem Creek are the same people who eat Shrimp from Thailand. They have no interested in helping anyone but themselves. This is a community of thousands of people (not an elite few) and we ought to respect the rights of property owners and stop being so restrictive.

While that comment may have been a bit all-inclusive, it is rooted in the passion that two sides of this argument feel. And, it’s apparent that many of the most vocal opponents of this do eat local shrimp; but my greater point is that not enough people in Mt. Pleasant and Charleston are eating local shrimp (we need more).  And, granted, at least thousands of people are talking about a real issue of preference in the community instead of what pop-idiot Justin Beiber said four years ago. That’s progress.

That said, it has been my position that we all can agree on a few points: 1. Save the shrimping industry. 2. Maintain the integrity of Shem Creek. 3. Constantly strive to make Mt. Pleasant a better place.

However, the vigorous debate begins on how to achieve those points. The problem is that a few “snobs,” who wish only to preserve the way Mt. Pleasant used to be, will attempt to block anything for which they personally don’t approve. What is a snob? A snob is someone who thinks their status is greater than the human worth or status of another. Re: Someone who believes, “I grew up here” or “I’ve been here longer” is more important to the debate than someone, newer, and with different ideas. If you believe this building should not be built because you grew up here, and it’s going to change the way your city feels, then you are at risk of being a snob. If you believe it shouldn’t be built because of some economic, criminal or traffic issue, then we can save the labels for another issue. An elite few do not get to make decisions for 72,000 people who live in Mt. Pleasant.

But, the real snobs are only a small few of the opponents, not all of them. I wish I had clarified. The rest of the opponents are just not informed as to the real facts; a common plague of America today: Some group dislikes something so they distort and lie to gain support for a fraud. Welcome to 2014 America. Better put: A few snobs decide against something, they frame the debate (with false information) to mislead the people who won’t read the details to garner support.

At first, even I fell for the fact it was a parking garage and not an office building.

So what are the facts? This is a 52’ 4” building with two floors of Class A office space and a two-level garage beneath it. No different than the blue building in my slideshow which is directly on Shem Creek; it passed and was built and it has parking beneath it. This building is also a “football field” off Shem Creek. In fact, it’s on the corner of Mill and Coleman. How tall is 52 feet? It’s roughly the height of the Lighthouse next to Red’s Ice House. And what is the biggest reason we shouldn’t build this so-called parking garage? The answer: It will forever change the essence and view of Shem Creek.

So on the latter, I set out to prove myself wrong and the “snobs” right. I took my trusty camera to Red’s Ice House, walked the docks and attempted to photograph (from Shem Creek) the 50 foot tall lighthouse from any angle. I even climbed on the rails to see if I could get a glimpse. Not only could I not photograph it from any angle at any point on Shem Creek, I had to climb nearly to the second level of Red’s Ice House to even get a glimpse of it. At this level, I contend, you “might” get a glimpse of this office building/ parking garage from the deck of Red’s Ice House and you’d have to have a building burn down to see it from the creek. In other words, I’d have better odds of drowning in the creek while trying to see the building than actually seeing the building from the creek (and I’m a pretty good swimmer).

Many of the people who have attacked me, saying things like “we won’t have this in our town,” “where are you from,” and “where do you get your shrimp” are missing the point I’m trying to make, yet proving my point exactly. As a Mt. Pleasant business owner, a long-term resident of nearly two decades and a commercial and residential property owner, it seems the only thing that gives credibility is that I needed to have grown up here to have a strong opinion. If not, I’m wrong! Personally, I think that is snobbish and so does about 50,000 of our neighbors who quietly shake their head in awe at such an attitude.

That said, the pictures in this slide show very clearly, that this building has nothing to do with Shem Creek, will not change it’s view and is not a parking garage. Just imagine if everyone was this stirred up about saving the true essence of Shem Creek: Shrimping? How much progress would be made if all this energy and all of this debate was solely focused on saving Shrimping, the true essence and heritage of Shem Creek?

Calling out Politicians for FAILURE.

I am frequently very hard on our politicians in South Carolina; Let me explain why. I have interviewed a number of them. Most of them really are a bit delusional. Their hearts are in the right place on issues, but they have an unrealistic view of how to get things done for the residents.

Many South Carolina politicians are living in the 1980s. I grew up in the 1970’s an 1980’s watching a city the size of Charleston explode in growth and population. Traffic as a result of poor planning, was a mess. We are well on our way to those conditions here in South Carolina (and specifically Charleston) because of our small-minded approach to growth.

People simply want to move to Charleston; businesses want to move here too. And, we’ve got to embrace that reality instead of fighting it every step of the way. We block Cruises, big-box retailers, roadway expansions; we even by land next to land next to the land of a park to stop development essentially pushing the inevitable growth out further and snarling traffic even more.

Many of the residents in South Carolina want to maintain the core integrity that makes this place so attractive. And, politicians do understand that. However, what they are missing is how to merge the desires of the voters with the inevitable growth we must manage and then explain it to residents effectively.

We are good people here. We want to do the right thing; we just don’t know how, and that’s what I have been calling out. Our leaders just don’t have the experience to take the City or this State into the future and because of fear of the unknown and a deeply-rooted, small-minded mentality. People fear most what they cannot predict, what they cannot know. That’s why leaders must have vision and the ability to articulate it effectively. Our leaders are reacting to need for expansion of the roadways, growth of the population, they think that they must do something to slow it down or stop it. This area will either proceed to grow or it will begin to die. There is no “in-between” in business and in life. A great city will either remain great and grow as a result or it will die as a result of failed policies and declining quality of life.

And that’s my biggest fear for our area is that we, as people, need to embrace change; but, we’re not. And, we need to dig deeper to understand what’s really happening in our community. In the 1980’s, residents of Isle of Palms fought the introduction of the Isle of Palms Connector; it was needed. It was argued it would ruin The Island. It was built, and it improved it. The I-526 debate is the same. It is believe this expansion will ruin Johns Island, when in fact the Island is being ruined by traffic gridlock in the absence of the roadway.

Why are we so “bass-ackwards” here in our thinking?

Our political leaders are acting like salespeople; just telling people what they think they want to hear instead of explaining to people what they need to hear. And, many of the voters are so detached, they don’t even remember their lies when it comes time for re-election. Politicians are elected to be leaders and to communicate with the people, stay out of their way in business, and insure that basic services (security, police, fire, transportation, roadways) are stable and available.

In many ways, our “leaders” are failing at this task.

Are we teaching our Children to be Good?

Parents and grandparents are praising their kids for the wrong things. We praise their academic abilities, we praise them for athletics for doing well, athletics for being artistic and drawing and doing well for their looks. We praise them for being beautiful, we tell our girls how gorgeous they are all the time. And we reinforce basic achievements without ever really focusing on what’s important. Parents should reserve their praises for the highest achievements and not basic expeditions.

Do you want your kids to be successful, good, smart or happy? Ask your kid what they think you want them to be and their answer will surprise you. Do you want your kids to be successful, good, smart or happy?

Parents should reserve their praises for the highest achievements, not basic accomplishmnets. We don’t need to teach them to being the best in athletics is the most important or having the best grades in school defines them as a human being. That’s what our schools are doing, that’s what we are doing as parents. We don’t need to teach them that being a great artist is wonderful or the fact that they are beautiful and little Johnny over there is not so pretty. We are teaching them to partake in all of the things that ultimately unfortunately are wrong with society. We just need to teach them to be good.

Germany didn’t start World War II and start the Holocaust because it lacks smart, happy, or successful people. It started World War II and the Holocaust because it lacked enough good people to stop a Dictator like Hitler. We are beginning to lack enough good people beginning in this country. It’s not bad to be a top athlete. In fact it’s a great thing if you are good. It’s not bad to be a straight A student if you are good, but if you cheat to get straight As, that’s not good and being a great student, then, isn’t good.

If you are taught that you should be judged in life because of your looks, if you are not first good that does you no good. What’s an example then of being good? How about if someone lost their iPhone and you instead of keeping it for yourself were to say, “I’m going to find the owner.” A lot of people in society would say, “Huh! Free, Free iPhone! Wow! Whoa! It’s my lucky day! I am smart because I picked it up, I am happy because I got it for free and I am successful because I didn’t have to pay for it.” “But I wasn’t good.” What if there was an elderly person on a bus or subway or train somewhere and you had the last seat available and you gave it to them? What if you stopped to help someone learn the right way to do something that’s struggling.

Politically, we do this as well. I didn’t say running a race for charity, I didn’t say giving free food to hungry people, I didn’t say healthcare for free to sick people, I didn’t say housing to people who are homeless, I didn’t say unemployment forever to people with no job, I didn’t say anything of that, democrats, Oh! you thought you were going in this direction. Wrong! None of those things are good. They help for a moment. They don’t take what you have, your abilities, your intuition and your knowledge and impart that ability to someone else for the rest of their lives. They only help for a length of time you are willing to help which means you are not being good when you write someone else a check, and say, I am going to help you for a day or two. You are trying to make yourself feel better. We all do it to some extent. We feel bad about something, we want to make ourselves feel good, because we feel bad we write a check but we don’t really ever love anyone else and how do you spell love and business in life, it’s T-I-M-E, give your time, but we give a little help and then it ends. It’s over. We feel better. We felt bad, we need to feel better.

So, I will go back to the original question. If you were to ask your kids “Do you want to be successful, good, smart or happy and what do you think I want from you?” “What do you think I want for you?” You may be surprised at how your kid would answer, but the right answer is, “I just want to be good.”

Being “good” is simply about helping our neighbors without expecting anything in return. Are we teaching the next generation this lesson?