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ISSUE 13.29
Jul. 18, 2014

RECENT ISSUES:
7/11 | 7/03 | 6/27 | 6/20

Index

News :
Heat wave: Tearing us apart?
Photo :
Roadside stand, Eutawville, S.C.
Legislative Agenda :
DSS oversight panel to meet
Palmetto Politics :
Hate is back in the headlines
Commentary :
Time in office is big change for governors' office
Spotlight :
S.C. Association of Counties
My Turn :
Corruption: A social issue?
Feedback :
Drop us a line
Scorecard :
Four down
Megaphone :
Understated yahoo
In our blog :
Take a look
Tally Sheet :
Research what they did
Encyclopedia :
Charleston Renaissance

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NUMBER OF THE WEEK

5.3

That's the state's June unemployment percentage, according to the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce.  The number has stayed steady since April.  More.

MEGAPHONE

Understated yahoo

“It doesn’t make sense to turn down a platform that enables you to spread your ideas to a bigger, more diverse audience."

-- Thomas Ravenel, the Charleston felon and former state treasurer who filed to run as an independent for U.S. Senate this week, which is when he also said the above when announcing he'd return for a second season as part of the cast of Bravo’s “Southern Charm." More.

IN OUR BLOG

Take a look

We encourage you to periodically visit our blog, govt.statehousereport.com, because it contains insightful commentary from people like economist Holley Ulbrich, education reformer Jon Butzon and watchdog Lynn Shuler Teague.

ENCYCLOPEDIA

Charleston Renaissance

(Part 1 of 2)

The Charleston Renaissance (ca. 1915–1940) was a multifaceted cultural renewal that took place in the years between World Wars I and II. Artists, musicians, writers, historians, and preservationists, individually and in groups, fueled a revival that reshaped the city’s destiny. Such organizations as the Charleston Sketch Club and the Charleston Etchers’ Club, the Society for the Preservation of Spirituals, the Jenkins Orphanage Band, the Poetry Society of South Carolina, and the Society for the Preservation of Old Dwellings provided opportunities for groups to foster artistic expression deeply rooted in Charleston’s past.

Many individuals, largely natives, were responsible for shepherding these organizations: Alice Ravenel Huger Smith and Elizabeth O’Neill Verner; Augustine T. Smythe and Herbert Ravenel Sass; DuBose Heyward, John Bennett, Josephine Pinckney, and Julia Peterkin; Susan Pringle Frost, Alston Deas, and Albert Simons.

The Charleston Renaissance benefited from a large number of books, many illustrated with paintings and prints by local artists, as well as documentary photographs. A seminal volume was "The Dwelling Houses of Charleston, South Carolina," published in 1917 and consisting of house histories by D. E. H. Smith accompanied by picturesque drawings by his daughter, Alice Smith.

Ten years later Albert Simons and his partner Samuel Lapham issued the lavishly illustrated volume "The Early Architecture of Charleston." Both books instilled a sense of pride in Charleston’s architectural past and stimulated the historic preservation movement. Spurred by these individuals, Susan Frost, and others active in the preservation society, the municipal government in 1931 passed the nation’s first preservation ordinance and established the Board of Architectural Review to oversee all demolitions and changes to structures in the historic district.

That same year the spiritual society issued "The Carolina Low-Country," a compendium of essays on plantation life, with an emphasis on spirituals. These and the many other books published at this time served to document Charleston’s cultural heritage, and because they were accessible and easily transported they served to disseminate the charms of the Lowcountry to a broad audience. One story, more than any other, brought national attention to Charleston: the tale of Porgy, by DuBose Heyward. It appeared in 1925, first as a novel, then as a play on Broadway in 1928, and finally in its best known form, as the folk opera "Porgy and Bess" in 1935.

Although an art colony per se never emerged, artists created images that served to attract visitors to the area. Initially, the artwork of Alice Smith, Elizabeth O’Neill Verner, Anna Heyward Taylor, other local aspirants, and Alfred Hutty (a transplanted northerner) emphasized picturesque views that veiled the reality of a city that had seen brighter times. These paintings and prints were exhibited in such places as Chicago, Washington, and Philadelphia, broadening the appreciation for the Lowcountry.

Because the watercolors were often small-scale and the prints accessibly priced, many tourists purchased them as souvenirs of their visits. Ultimately, other artists were enticed to the area, converting Charleston into a mecca of sorts for painters and printmakers. ... to be continued in the next issue.

-- Excerpted from the entry by Martha R. Severens. To read more about this or 2,000 other entries about South Carolina, check out The South Carolina Encyclopedia by USC Press. (Information used by permission.)

PALMETTO PRIORITIES

Palmetto Priorities Statehouse Report encourages state leaders to develop and implement Palmetto Priorities involving several issues to make the state better a better place. Click the link to learn more about our suggestions for bipartisan policy objectives.

Here is a summary of our Palmetto Priorities:

CORRECTIONS: Reduce the prison population by 25 percent by 2020.

EDUCATION: Cut the state's dropout rate in half by 2020.

ELECTIONS: Increase voter registration to 75 percent by 2015.

ENVIRONMENT: Adopt a state energy policy that requires energy producers to generate 20 percent of energy from renewable sources by 2020.

ETHICS: Overhaul state ethics laws.

HEALTH CARE: Ensure affordable and accessible health care.

JOBS: Develop a Cabinet-level post to add, retain 10,000 small business jobs per year.

POLITICS: Have a vigorous two- or multi-party political system of governance.

ROADS: Strengthen all bridges and upgrade state roads by 2015.

SAFETY: Cut the state's violent crime rate by one-third by 2016.

TAX REFORM: Remove outdated special interest sales tax exemptions as part of an overall reform of the state's tax structure to be completed by 2014.

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News

Heat wave: Tearing us apart?

New climate change study projects longer heat waves, more deaths

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher

JULY 18, 2014 -- If you think it's hot this summer, just wait 45 years. Unless something is done to mitigate the amount of greenhouse gases pumped into the sky, heat waves will be longer and more intense -- and more people will die in South Carolina.

A new study of heat and its impact in the eastern U.S. by researchers at Emory University and other institutions suggests "that numbers of heat wave–related deaths are likely to be an order of magnitude higher in 2057–2059 than in 2002–2004. ... Effective mitigation and adaptation measures will be crucial to reduce the potential for catastrophic outcomes, particularly in the most vulnerable geographic regions."

In other words, the weather of the future is going to get worse unless policymakers deal with greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.

According to the research, there was a 40 percent chance of at least one heat wave in the eastern U.S. in 2002-2004 and it lasted an average of 3.4 days. Using modeling, the study projected two outcomes for the future:

  • Reductions. Assuming moderate greenhouse gas emissions combined with a wide range of strategies and ways to reduce emissions, the study projected the Southern coast would have about two heat waves a year with an average of 1,400 heat-related deaths by 2057 to 2059.

  • More of the same. But with the continued use of fossil-fuel intensive energy consumption, the study projected up to four heat waves a year for our region with an average of 3,556 heat-related deaths for the same period.

Study underscores urgency of action, some say

The new Emory study reflects the kind of data found in a 2013 report by the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The 101-page study, "Climate Change Impacts to Natural Resources in South Carolina," was conducted as part of the department's mission to be the steward of the state's natural resources, which DNR says pumps about $30 billion a year into the state and is responsible for about 230,000 jobs.

"Access to abundant recreational opportunities and natural assets play an important role in economic growth and quality of life at the local, regional and state levels, so protection and enhancement of our natural resources can and should be part of our overall economic development strategy," DNR Director Alvin Taylor wrote in the report's forward. "Any changes to our coastal environment could cause substantial economic consequences. Shoreline changes affect property uses, land values, tourism, and natural resources management as well as traditional uses such as hunting and fishing, timber management and agriculture."

The DNR report specifically found that "climate-related changes may adversely affect the environment in many ways, potentially disrupting or damaging ecological services, water supply, agriculture and forestry, fish and wildlife species and their habitats, endangered species and commercial and recreational fishing. One particular impact is sea-level rise and its effects on coastal areas. Rising sea level may amplify problems of coastal flooding, coastal erosion, and general disruptions to sensitive coastal and estuarine ecosystems."

In spite of several calls for more field studies, modeling, strategies, future research and more baseline data, the DNR report made virtually no recommendations for ways to reduce greenhouse gases to protect the state's natural resources -- even though the 2013 report recommended "policies and opportunities -- focus on grants, legislation, partnerships and strategic planning" as one core part of its climate change efforts.

When asked how legislators would get specific policy recommendations to deal with climate change, State Climatologist Hope Mizzell responded for DNR:

"Our agency will continue to focus on establishing baseline measurements through monitoring and data analyses in order to make well–informed natural resource management decisions, assessments and predictions of future environmental changes. We will continue to collaborate with colleges, universities, and other agencies on climate-related issues.  Specific examples of collaborative work include our ongoing involvement with coastal vulnerability studies, offshore energy development, landscape scale habitat protection and a five-year project to develop a new statewide water plan.  The output of these efforts will be available to be used to inform those who set policy for our state."

Alan Hancock, program coordinator for the Conservation Voters of South Carolina, said the DNR report did a pretty good job about laying out the science related to climate change in South Carolina, but more was needed.

"We need better, high-level coordination among all parts of state government," he said.

More leadership needed to translate science

A big step forward to deal with climate change, Hancock said, is an update of a 2008 report commissioned by the Sanford administration. The year before, Gov. Mark Sanford asked about 50 business, government, nonprofit and conservation leaders to develop specific policy recommendations on what could be done throughout the state to reduce greenhouse gases.

The group developed more recommendations [see the report here], but some have become outdated with new technology and research, Hancock added.

"We also need a larger, coordinated effort in South Carolina to address climate change and energy policy," he said. "Right now the efforts are happening, but they need executive-level leadership."

In other words, he said, Gov. Nikki Haley needs to get involved like Sanford did.

What's next

South Carolina currently does not have a coordinated state energy plan.

According to the S.C. Coastal Conservation League, "Our state’s leaders must prioritize creation of a comprehensive and pragmatic vision for the Palmetto State’s future. A South Carolina energy and climate policy can help ensure long-term economic competitiveness for our state by reducing polluting fuel imports, limiting energy expenses and protecting South Carolina’s unique natural resources.

"Such a policy can help develop under-utilized home-grown resources like energy efficiency and renewable energy, which reduce pollution while generating tens of thousands of high-quality jobs. By taking a leadership role on these issues, South Carolina can attract new industries and spur clean energy entrepreneurship throughout the state."

Fortunately to many, the federal government is requiring more energy planning as part of a recent Environmental Protection Agency mandate for clean power plans to reduce carbon pollution at power plants.

"It is going to require a state plan to do that," Hancock said. "We think South Carolina is well-positioned to meet the goals of that plan" through collaboration of power companies, conservation leaders and government leaders. State plans are due in 2016 with reduction targets met by 2030.

"That underscores our urgency in the need to act," he said. "The ways we can do that are increasing our solar power use in South Carolina and increased energy efficiency policies that will save people money on their power bills."

And as the new Emory heat study highlights, unless something is done sooner than later, it's likely that heat waves will get longer and more people will die from the heat.

Andy Brack is editor and publisher of Statehouse Report.  He can be reached at:  brack@statehousereport.com.

Photo

Roadside stand, Eutawville, S.C.


Patti Connor takes a phone call at the
St. Julien Plantation roadside produce stand just outside Eutawville, S.C.  At this time of the year, you can find these stands across the rural South offering fresh fruits and vegetables such as peaches, corn, peas, melons, okra and more. More: SouthernCrescent.org. Photo by Andy Brack.

Legislative Agenda

DSS oversight panel to meet

The state Procurement Review Panel will meet 10 a.m. July 21 (Blatt Building, Room 501) and 9:30 a.m. July 22 (Blatt 108) to discuss and consider two cases. The first meeting is a conference call.

Also next week, the special Senate oversight panel that has been looking into activities at the state Department of Social Services will meet 9 a.m. July 23 in Gressette 308. The meeting will be broadcast live on the Web.

Palmetto Politics

Hate is back in the headlines

Just after news broke that the Ku Klux Klan dropped bags of candy in an Oconee County subdivision on Sunday with the recruiting message, "Save our land; Join the Klan" came disturbing news that the organization is holding an Abbeville rally next weekend.

According to WYFF TV, the New Empire Knights of the KKK will hold its first-ever "KKK Jam" on private property somewhere in Abbeville near its "national headquarters" on July 25 to July 27. Featured will be speakers, live music and a "Sunday Night Cross Lighting."

Just what South Carolina needs -- more hate, many wags observe.

But anti-Klan advocates will counter on July 26 with a Unity Rally Against Hate in Greenville at the Hughes Main Library in downtown Greenville from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Featured as keynote speaker at this event will be Lecia Brooks, outreach director for the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Pride of Greenville Men's Chorus.

The SPLC, which monitors hate groups around the country, reports South Carolina has 20 hate groups out of the more than 900 it keeps up with. The list includes three Klan organizations. More.

Ethics Commission ducks backward

Count us as among those who were surprised to learn that State Ethics Commission Chair James Burns put a gag order on all commission employees except the director from talking with the press.

“The point is not to squash openness at all or to not be transparent,” said the Columbia attorney told The State this week in what seemed to be the spin of spins.

An old political adage finds that if it walks and talks like a duck, it's probably a duck.

Hence the new directive is likely intended to "squash openness" by thwarting the ability of Deputy Director Cathy Hazelwood, who has been a primary conduit for information for the media, from being able to talk to the press. The directive puts the onus on Director Herb Hayden, who has not been prompt in answering questions by this publication in the past.

A new policy on comments by the agency will reportedly be discussed during the commission's September meeting.

Media attorney Jay Bender told The Post and Courier that Burns' directive was against the law because it was a change in policy without a motion, discussion or vote.

Commentary

Time in office is big change for governors' office

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher

JULY 180, 2014 -- Recognize any of these South Carolina historical figures -- William Ellerbe, Miles McSweeney, Charles Aurelius Smith or Wilson G. Harvey?
 
Don't be flummoxed.  We didn't either.  But all were governors of South Carolina in the Jim Crow era.
 

South Carolina currently operates under the 1895 constitution, a document ratified after Reconstruction to marginalize blacks and keep political power in the hands of a few legislators. This constitution, like similar ones in states across the segregated South, created a powerful legislative branch with much weaker executive and judicial branch checks on legislative power.

Governors, then as now, tended to have limited power. Under that constitution, which has been amended more than 300 times through the years, governors appointed some cabinet officials, served as head of the state National Guard, could pardon prisoners, commute death sentences, call the General Assembly into special session and use the line-item veto on appropriations bills.

In the years since the drafting of the 1895 constitution, the power of the governor to appoint cabinet heads has increased, but a governor's ability to call the General Assembly into special session has been given an end run by legislators. Now instead of ending a session in June, lawmakers simply "adjourn" so that their officers, not a governor, can call them back to Columbia.

Nevertheless, what has changed dramatically throughout the years is the time that governors serve.

The original 1895 constitution called for governors to serve no more than two consecutive two-year terms. From 1897 to 1927, the state had 10 different governors including William Ellerbe, a Marion planter who died in office in his second term at age 37. He was succeeded by Miles McSweeney, a Charleston native who eventually published a Hampton County newspaper. During McSweeney's time as governor, his lieutenant governor, James H. Tillman, shot and killed N.G. Gonzales, editor of The State newspaper. Clearly, it was a tough time to be in public service.

In 1915, Charles Aurelius Smith became governor -- for only five days. He filled the term left vacant when race-baiting Gov. Cole Blease resigned because he didn't want to attend the gubernatorial swearing in of Richard Manning III. Smith died in 1916, just a few months after his record of serving the shortest time as the state's governor.

Another short-timer was Wilson Harvey, a former Charleston mayor who served less than eight months in 1921-22 after his predecessor resigned to become a member of the federal Farm Loan Board.

In 1926, the constitution was amended to allow governors to serve one four-year term. Between 1927 and 1978, the state had 16 different governors, including Olin D. Johnston who served two separate stints as governor, from 1935 to 1939 and then from 1943 to 1945, when he went to the U.S. Senate.

Because governors had the bully pulpit for a longer time without having to run after two years, they started getting known for enacting broader programs. Johnston, for example, made a lot of inroads for mill workers and in improving working conditions. Fritz Hollings (1959-63) fathered the state's now-renowned technical education system, recruited industries and put muscle behind the state's public TV network.

Then in the mid-1970s, the state constitution again was changed to give a governor the chance to run for a second four-year term and, in turn, make more lasting impacts on the state. Richard W. Riley, the first governor in the state's history to serve for eight years, pumped leadership into improving education. His successor, Carroll Campbell, focused on building economic opportunities and bolstering the Republican party, forever changing the state's politics.

Nikki Haley is South Carolina's 116th governor since 1670 when William Sayle was appointed governor by the Lords Proprietor. She's the fifth since Riley to try to get a second term. But just as Jim Hodges stood in the way of David Beasley getting a second term in 1998, Vincent Sheheen is now trying to become the Palmetto State's 117th governor.

Andy Brack is editor and publisher of Statehouse Report.  He can be reached at:  brack@statehousereport.com.

Spotlight

S.C. Association of Counties

The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring Statehouse Report to you at no cost. This week's featured underwriter is the South Carolina Association of Counties. The SCAC was chartered on June 22, 1967, and is the only organization dedicated to statewide representation of county government in South Carolina. Membership includes all 46 counties, which are represented by elected and appointed county officials who are dedicated to improving county government. SCAC is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that operates with a full-time staff in its Columbia offices. It is governed by a 29-member Board of Directors composed of county officials from across South Carolina. The Association strives to “Build Stronger Counties for Tomorrow” by working with member counties in the fields of research, information exchange, educational promotion and legislative reporting.
My Turn

Corruption: A social issue?

By Frits Jonkers
Special to Statehouse Report

JULY 18, 2014 -- Earlier this summer, H. 3945, widely known as the “ethics bill,” died on the floor of the Senate. Leaving aside the debate about the bill’s true effects on political corruption, we should all agree that the mindset behind the bill’s inception—the desire to ensure transparency and accountability in the Capitol building—is noble.

Friedrich Hayek, a Nobel-Prize-Winning economist, might have attributed the recent push for reform to the growing academic consensus that corruption within government is economically harmful—that it retards economic growth, leads to the abuse of human rights, and undermines the rule of law. Although helpful and compelling, such an approach shouldn’t be thought of as a complete argument against corruption, because it misses a key part of the evaluative process: the rightness of an action detached from its consequences.

To put it another way: looking at the effects of corruption while passing over corruption itself accepts the premise that if the effects of corruption are good, then corruption itself is good. It would be like deciding whether killing another person is good or bad by debating the merits of overpopulation. The first question should be, “Is killing right?” not “Does killing get the job done?” Similarly, we shouldn’t first ask, “Does corruption help or hinder society?” but rather, “Is corruption right?” In that sense, the fight against corruption is more a social issue than an economic one, and, unlike most social issues, we can all agree that the answer to that last question is “No.”

Unhelpfully, plenty of scholars have tried to define corruption in various and sometimes conflicting ways. However, in those debates the schisms tend to form around minor, semantic differences, and for our purposes the most common (and most general) definition will serve. Corruption is “the abuse of public power for private gain.” No matter how little faith you may have in that definition, you can rest assured that, like an elephant, corruption is much easier to recognize than to describe.

Still, everyone agrees, at a theoretical level anyway, that corruption is wrong. In South Carolina, we elect our government officials (or at least we elect the people who appoint them). We also, through our tax-dollars, pay their salaries and expenses. We do this because we expect there to be a cop on call to prevent our cars from being jacked. We expect there to be a fire engine nearby to prevent our homes from being burnt down. We expect there to be a school to send our kids to. We expect the trains to run on time. For a government official to accept a job under the pretense that he will ensure that the government fulfills those duties, only to use the money and that power for his own private benefit, is theft.

And theft is not okay. Right?

Right. But when you take the discussion out of the theoretical put it into the world of reality, things get a bit murkier.

Many times, voters can justify supporting a bad egg by weighing that wrongness against the work that a legislator has done. “He may not be perfect,” they say, “he may not play by the rules, but he always looks out for our town/family/his constituents/etc.” If your business is being regulated into the ground, and the only way you can stop it is by lining the pockets of a county councilman or a state senator, then that’s the price you have to pay.

Well, maybe. But how much time and energy does that corrupt politician spend on getting rid of the onerous regulations so that other businesses aren’t strangled by them? Almost certainly the answer is: Not much. That’s because such regulations are one of his sources of revenue. Without them, distraught business-owners wouldn’t need to line his pockets. Even in this case, then, the corrupt politician is preserving a dysfunctional system so that he can continue taking what doesn’t belong to him—namely his constituents’ extra cash.

And that’s the crux of it: corruption is stealing, and it takes a lot to justify theft. In a sense, then, corruption is as much a “social issue” as capital punishment or abortion, with the fascinating difference being that Americans are not divided over it. It stands to reason that if politicians are, in fact, engaging in corruption, then they have a vested interest in making sure it can go on unhindered. The only way to enact real, meaningful, social change is for those who are outside, you and me, to use that consensus and hold the State House accountable.
Jonkers, a student at Baylor University, is a summer research fellow at the S.C. Policy Council.

Feedback

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Scorecard

Four down

Burns. Recently-appointed Ethics Commission Chairman James Burns needs to get off his kick about telling commission employees to clam up. His directive is exactly the opposite of what the watchdog agency is supposed to stand for.

Zais. Thumbs down to lame duck state Superintendent Mick Zais who says he will kill Common Core in S.C. before he goes away. More.

Klan. Just. Go. Away.

Thomas Ravenel. You. Too.

credits

Statehouse Report

Editor and Publisher: Andy Brack
Senior Editor: Bill Davis
Contributing Photographer: Michael Kaynard

Phone: 843.670.3996

© 2002 - 2014 , Statehouse Report LLC. Statehouse Report is published every Friday by Statehouse Report LLC, PO Box 22261, Charleston, SC 29413.
Excerpts from The South Carolina Encyclopedia are published with permission and copyrighted 2006 by the Humanities Council SC. Excerpts were edited by Walter Edgar and published by the University of South Carolina Press. Statehouse Report has partnered with USC Press to provide readers with this interesting weekly historical excerpt about the state. Republication is not allowed. For additional information about Statehouse Report, including information on underwriting, go to http://www.statehousereport.com/.