►The Bimonthly Newsletter of the Dorchester County Democratic Party◄ June/July 2011 Volume 3, Issue 3
With your support, here is
THE PLAN TO WIN IN 2012 good paying jobs for the people. Like fundraising and having parties? Our County Plan is clear, and I need you Then volunteer to help Debbie Morpersonally to find a place where you can tellaro, our Second Vice Chair, with help contribute to our goal of getting Defundraising activities, and help Nancy mocratic voters to the polls in November Seufert with our upcoming Alice Cice2012 and electing Democratic candidates! nia dinner. If have a knack for writing, graphics Help us have successful Voter Regisor Public Relations, contact Rob tration drives at churches and barber Groce and join his efforts. The Dorchester County Executive Comshops/salons where we have a major- Finally, at all events, we have a chalmittee has unanimously agreed on its ity of potential Democratic voters. lenge from Town Councilman Aaron Strategic Plan for 2012, and we are off We need people who can work comBrown - bring a guest to our funcand running with our sights set squarely puters and telephones to help update tions! At all Democratic activities, if on the November 2012 elections. Votebuilder with good emails and you bring a friend and get them intertelephone numbers so we can contact ested, we can grow our party and get Issues are our key; unlike the Republicans, our County Democratic voters. more down to meet our goals. we believe in a moral budget that does Learn how to be a good precinct not put balancing the budget on the poor leader – Clayton Seufert can help you The next 18 months are going to be excitand middle class. Unlike the Republicans, prepare to address Democratic voters ing, so find a place to participate and let’s we believe strongly in Public Education – in your precinct door-to-door. go! no vouchers for the rich and their private You can help David Rison find good schools. And we believe in a State and Richard Hayes, Chair candidates to run in ALL County County Government that concentrates on elected offices. We have had an exciting spring in the South Carolina Democratic Party and at its convention on April 30th! The SCDP has new leadership led by our new State Party Chair Dick Harpootlian, First Vice Chair Jaime Harrison, Second Vice Chair Melissa Watson (from Berkeley County!), and Will Maxey as Third Vice Chair.
In this issue, read about the latest scummy tricks by the Republicans in South Carolina on pages 5, 8 and 9
INCLUDED IN THIS ISSUE
New officers elected at state convention— page 2 Voter Registration Committee—page 3 Looking for candidates—page 4 What does it mean to be a “Democrat”? — page 5 Update on Annual Dinner—page 6 New Voter ID requirement challenges Democratic voters—page 8 SCGOP’s war on public education—page 9 Dear Editor—page 10 Calendar of Events—page 12
New officers elected at state convention It had a juicy build-up in the weeks prior to, with competitive campaigns that were covered by mainstream media across the Palmetto State, but the annual convention of the South Carolina Democratic Party still closed with an encouraging tone.
Harrison’s victory, even by default, was widely celebrated at the convention, and due to the impressive credentials he brings to the party.
Officer candidates had volunteers work the crowd for 90 minutes prior to opening the floor for official start of the event. Many hands got shook, signs were waved, and campaign stickers got stuck on the lapels, hats and shirts of practically all of the over 1,000 attending delegates.
While follow-up runoff elections were anticipated for the 2nd Vice Chair position, it only took one round to elect Melissa Watson to the seat.
And after a series of nominations and endorsements of the three candidates for party chair, delegates cast their votes on paper ballots, even despite formal objection to that procedure from one attendee.
Clayton and Nancy Seufert introduce new party resolution pertaining to a “moral budget.” The resolution passed with no opposition. Plurality wins are not allowed, only majority, but Watson, who was nominated by DCDP Chair formal demonstration at the steps of the Richard Hayes, took over 50 percent of the capitol building in February. The Seuferts’ 849 votes in the first round even though she resolution was unanimously approved by had three opponents. delegates.
Dick Harpootlian, who previously served as party chair from 1998 to 2003, was elected with 61 percent of the vote.
Carol Fowler, who did not seek reelection for her then-position of party chair, took 28 percent of the vote. Other candidates Sheila Gallagher and Kathy Hensley came in third Phil Noble, the candidate with whom Harpoot- and fourth, respectively. lian traded jabs through media for the past two weeks, took 32 percent, while Marion A runoff was required to select a 3rd Vice County’s party chair Lee Jenkins received 7 Chair, however. A widely-endorsed Will Maxey percent of the vote. took about 45 percent of the vote in the first round, while D.C. Swinton took 35 percent Frank Holleman, chair of the convention, and Ra Shad Frazier-Gaines scored 20. announced the winner before opening the floor to further contests, and Noble later took Frazier-Gaines’ following endorsement didn’t the podium to congratulate Harpootlian on help Swinton in the second round, though, his victory. which went to Maxey 56-44. The race for 1st Vice Chair was decided days before the convention when candidate Mike Evatt announced a suspension to his campaign. Jaime Harrison, an African-American delegate originally from Orangeburg, was sole eligible candidate for the office due to requirement that its holder be of different racial ethnicity from the party chair.
(Read about our new party officers on pg. 3) Following officer elections, the delegation voted to approve proposed party resolutions, which included: recommendation for independent commission to review proposed new districts across the state; call for practice of auditing all voting machines following elections; and resolution to improve new voter representation and registration. Additional resolutions were also introduced and approved, and were formal opposition to the photo ID requirement of voters that was forcibly introduced by state Republicans, and a formal statement of appreciation of outgoing party chair Carol Fowler.
Dorchester delegates listen to state party officer candidates.
Dorchester County delegates Nancy and Clayton Seufert introduced a third additional resolution from the floor, calling for proposal to support a “moral budget,” a theme that has been widely promoted across the state, including a
Rep. Jim Clyburn’s annual fish fry (the night before the convention) was stormed by Team Eastvold! Under Captain Jonathan, the mini-Eastvolds worked the crowd campaigning for party officer candidates.
At a luncheon immediately following the convention, Georgetown delegate Susan Smith called for a round of appreciation for outgoing SCDP executive director Jay Parmley, and presented Parmley with a parting gift from many state party activists. He served SCDP since 2007. Parmley recently accepted the same position with the North Carolina Democratic Party, which is to host the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.
Meet the new party officers! Dick Harpootlian, party chairman About: Harpootlian is an attorney in Columbia who’s neck-deep in political connections. He’s been very active in Democratic politics in South Carolina, and even served this same spot from 1998-2003. It was under Harpootlian’s previous term as chair when SCDP helped unseat a Republican governor after only one term, and for the first time in the history of our state. Trivial notable: Harpootlian represented the young lady who sued Gov. Sanford in 2009 for refusing Recovery Act funds, based on its impact on public schools in South Carolina. Jaime Harrison, 1st vice chair About: Harrison is a native of rural Orangeburg who went on to Yale on scholarship, and got his law degree from Georgetown Univ. He later returned to Orangeburg to teach at a local school. He’s been floor director for Rep. Clyburn, and worked as Executive Director of the U.S. House Democratic Caucus, too. Trivial notable: Harrison was positively focused in a feature article of Politico, a national journal that normally leans GOP. Melissa Watson, 2nd vice chair About: Watson is chair of our neighboring Berkeley County Democratic Party. A teacher by trade, she’s accomplished quite a bit for the party since being elected county chair in 2010. Berkeley Democrats now have a round-the-clock voter registration, and have many more regular meetings and functions, too. Trivial notable: Watson just completed her dissertation towards her doctorate degree. Will Maxey, 3rd vice chair About: Maxey was an active participant in the 2010 election cycle, who not only volunteered for many elections, but was even a paid staff member of Vincent Sheheen’s campaign for governor. Trivial notable: a native of Horry County, Maxey recently completed his undergraduate studies at Clemson.
VOTER REGISTRATION COMMITTEE
By Marty “loose hips need lips” Turney
Diane Urig and Ethel Campbell are our Dorchester County leaders for Voter Registration. Diane Urig has prepared a package, which will be presented at the next Executive Committee meeting. This package will contain all the necessary information to register voters. No additional training is needed. The Voter Registration Committee will be developing a list and a calendar of registration sites. We will need people to staff these events. Remember, you will be registering all potential voters that meet the requirements. South Carolina does not register by party. You must register to vote a minimum of thirty (30) days prior to any election. You must also reregister anytime you change your name or address. So just pick up your package and read through the material, call Diane Urig at (843) 771-0461 to advise her of your location and set up your registration table. You are now in business to register voters. Or call Diane and volunteer your assistance for the committee’s scheduled sites.
WE NEED YOU TO REGISTER NEW VOTERS!
Looking for a few YES, WE CANdidates!
The following positions will be on the ballot in Dorchester County in 2012: County: By Katharine Eastvold, who is looking for the remote control County Council: Districts 4 (Incumbent Larry Hargett (R)), 5 (Incumbent Richard Rosebrock (R)), and 6 As we head into the long, hot days of sum- yet. The (obviously Republican(Incumbent Bill Hearn (R)) mer 2011, voting and elections and candi- majority) House committee in Auditor dates are the farthest thing from many charge of proposing new maps Clerk of Court people’s minds. It’s an odd-numbered has released tentative state Coroner year; don’t we get to take a break now? House and Congressional district Probate Judge But the good folks of the Dorchester maps. We have yet to see a proCounty Democratic Party Candidate Reposal from the Senate side, and Register of Deeds cruitment Committee never rest in their some redrawing of County Coun- Sheriff dedication to making sure you have cil districts will also take place by Treasurer choices at the ballot box in November this fall. However, the General State Legislative: 2012. Assembly will not approve any House: Districts 94 (Incumbent Jenny Horne (R)), 97 proposal officially until August, (Incumbent Patsy Knight (D)), and 98 (Incumbent In 2010, over 70 percent of state House and after that the Department of Christ Murphy (R)) races were uncontested. That means that Justice must study and approve Senate: District 38 (Incumbent Mike Rose (R)) in many cases we didn’t even give it the changes under the provisions of old college try. Our goal for 2012 is to field the Voting Rights Act. Even after Congressional District 1 (Incumbent Tim Scott (R)) candidates in all races – and if we have that, lawsuits may be filed and Congressional District 6 (Incumbent Jim Clyburn (D)) some contested Democratic primaries, so will have to be settled or debe it. We’re not just looking for warm bod- cided before we know exactly PLEASE NOTE: ies who meet residency requirements, how the new map will look. The boundaries of all state and federal districts are being though; candidates should align with a slightly changed, and will be in effect for the 2012 elecDemocratic vision for our county and That said, given what the Repub- tions. (County council districts may be changed, too.) state, be active in their communities, and licans have proposed, we already be willing to work hard and yes, raise some have a fairly good idea of how These still aren’t definite and are likely to be changed money. these districts will look. For the before final approval, but here’s a link to the proposed new most part, the differences will be state house districts: There’s a lot the Candidate Recruitment along the edges; if you live near http://redistricting.schouse.gov/HousePlanDistrictMaps.html Committee can’t do. We can’t force anythe middle of your district, one to run, and we can’t stop anyone from chances are good that you’re still To see the many proposals for new US congressional districts (we’re getting an additional one for 2012), use this filing. And no, we don’t have any money to there. Although it’s likely that give candidates or potential candidates. Dorchester County’s state House link: http://redistricting.scsenate.gov/ What we can do is approach men and delegation will get larger next PlansSubmittedByExtendedDeadline.html women that we – and you – think might year, the new districts will make good state representatives or county probably only have bits and treasurers or members of county council, pieces located in our county, and That link above also includes one map for proposed new state senate districts (under “ACLU Senate”). and ask if they might be interested in run- their representatives will likely ning in 2012. The Committee is also a great come from other counties. As far resource for people thinking about runas we know, Districts 94, 97, and 98 will but it takes a lot of preparation. The earlier ning. What are the residency or other restill be the primary Dorchester County we start getting candidates out in their quirements for the position I’m interested House districts. However, if you have ques- neighborhoods and planning their fundin? Where exactly is County Council Distions, the Committee can help you figure raising tactics and becoming visible, the trict 4 located? How much time and out whether your place of residence will more success we’ll have next November. money does it take to run for office? Will I be drawn into a new district. We want to have time to answer your ever see my family again? How do I call questions and give you the resources you someone and ask for money for my camSo, if you might be interested in making need (and July 15 is only eight months paign? We have some expertise and a county and state government a little betbefore the filing deadline anyway). We whole lot of maps and numbers between ter, please talk to chair Richard Hayes, also want to send a message, loud and us, and we can either answer these kinds Candidate Recruitment Committee chair clear and early, that Democrats in Dorof questions or point you in the direction Dr. David Rison, or any member of the chester County are serious about 2012 and of someone who can. committee by July 15. (You should also not just fielding a few people at the last feel free to give us the name of your minute. Committees can’t do that, and the One frequently-asked question is how re- spouse, friend, or neighbor – although it county party organization can’t do that. districting will affect where you need to would be common courtesy to warn them We need individuals willing to serve their live in order to run for a particular posithat we’ll be in touch…) Why so early? communities and their party – we need tion. The short answer is: we don’t know Ordinary citizens can run great campaigns, YOU.
What does it mean to be a “Democrat”? By Nancy Seufert, who knows what it means to miss pork „n beans If you were misled into thinking this article was school homework assigned by a teacher – you’d be half right. Our illustrious leader, Chairman Richard Hayes, felt that we should start defining what we believe in instead of letting the Repukes do it for us, and I happen to agree. If you are like me, we do have ―friends‖ who say that they are Republicans, even though on 99 percent of the issues they believe as we do. Why is it that they continue to vote against their interests? It is because we have failed to define the issues. So what are the issues we have come to believe in? VOTER ID BILL The Republicans say we need fair and safe elections. Well, who can argue that? We do need fair and safe elections. OK – let’s all go out and change to the Republican Party. Oh, wait a minute – the Republican officials in our state are misleading us again. The problem with elections isn’t people fraudulently obtaining identifications in order to vote multiple times. The problem with elections is that the machines we are using don’t leave a paper trail and are not safe. The machines currently in use are ES&S iVotronic models. A quick look online tells us those machines were prone to viruses in 2007 (http:// www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/ duboard.php? az=view_all&address=102x2809345) and gives us a 51-page partial report of documented failures of the machine to review: (http://www.votersunite.org/info/ ES&Sinthenews.pdf). So what does the Voter ID Bill do? It requires voters to have a state-issued picture ID to vote. Maybe you are thinking, ―well, isn’t that a driver’s license? I have one of those and so should everyone.‖ Not so fast — at least 10 to 20 percent of registered voters in this state do not drive; my son is one of those people. We had to go to DMV and bring proof of identity (birth certificate, social security card, proof of residency, etc.) just to pay to get a stateissued picture ID card. What the Voter ID bill does is prevent the disadvantaged people (non-drivers, poor people, and the elderly) from voting. It also blocks seniors and disabled persons who don’t get their driver’s licenses renewed. And since our state’s licenses are
good for 10 years, it can block the many who overlook getting them renewed (as well as those who no longer look like their driver’s license photos after that long).
money to pay for it.
The short answer is this bill does nothing to stop illegal immigration, and costs money. It overlooks the fact that these illegal immiThe Voter ID bill does nothing to address grants only come here because companies the real problem we have with elections in are giving them jobs, and it does nothing to our state, and only makes it more difficult to punish the companies who cause this probvote. (See more on the Voter ID bill on lem. page 8). The only way to stop illegal immigration is IMMIGRATION BILL to stop employing illegal immigrants; how―If they shouldn’t be here, then we need to ever, that would make businesses responround them up and take them home!‖ Ok, I sible, and that doesn’t make the Republiguess we all cans very happy. can agree with The GOP wants folks to be MEDICARE/MEDICAID that. I mean, Xenophobic! FUNDING why give our Gerontophobic! jobs to those U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan is Taxaphobic! who are not loudly yelling that Medicare Anthropophobic! legal citizens. and Medicaid have an unShouldn’t the funded deficit of $38 trillion, police be able to so we need to stop it to arrest folks who keep it in place. break the law? (Are you ready But what is he talking to change parabout? Truth time: the $38 ties yet?) trillion represents the amount of benefits promNot so fast – ised but not covered by let’s look at the taxes over the next 75 facts of this one. years. I think it’s safe to agree the real Want to take a guess why problem with we don’t have those taxes? illegal immiBecause we must decrease grants is that the amount of taxes for the they are taking very wealthy Americans, jobs ―cheaper’’ Republicans say. So, lack than what of tax funds is the problem, Americans will which Republicans only work for them make worse by reducing (below a living the tax funds that could wage). That correct that problem. means BUSINESSES are Rep. Ryan has proposed hiring them. giving individuals up to $11,000 to purchase insurBut does this bill ance on the private market. address busiKeep in mind that up to 30 nesses? Of percent of the cost of pricourse not. It vate insurance goes to adbasically allows ministration; whereas twopolice officers to to-three percent goes to detain a person And because the GOP is administration in the Mediwho doesn’t care budget. Catagelophobic! have Budgetophobic! ―papers.‖ (Well, Just like when we gave Voterphobic! I don’t have millions to the drug compaDemocratiphobic! ―papers,‖ do nies with the prescription you?) drug plan, Ryan’s plan does nothing to address the real problems. The bill also requires our state to set up a department to investigate the status of all (Continue reading “What does it mean to be a „Democrat‟?” on page 6) these detainees while we don’t have the
What does it mean to be a “Democrat”?
Alice Cicenia Dinner: SAVE THE DATE!
(continued from page 5)
By Nancy Seufert, who is the best date you could ever have
It helps rich insurance companies by giving them more money, it helps rich citizens by overlooking the fact they pay very little money in taxes, and it punishes seniors and low-income citizens by making sure they get less for their money from Medicare and Medicaid.
This year, the Annual Alice Cicenia Dinner will be held on Saturday, September 24 at the Holiday Inn Express. I have been asked to chair the dinner, and I have accepted this task.
EDUCATION South Carolina’s graduation rates are about the worst in the nation, and our high schools have the highest dropout rate. Our ACT and SAT test scores remain in the bottom, too. Republicans say these figures mean we should offer vouchers instead of fully funding education. I hope you all are willing to sit through the truth. Our teacher salaries rank 32nd in the nation, and classroom sizes are high, too. Funding for schools gets less and less, and schools are tasked to do more with less money. Our new Supt. of Education Mick Zais won’t seek millions in federal grants for South Carolina’s public schools, demonstrating an ideology that is becoming all too common in our state –– turning down needed money to either make political points or pander to what is sometimes a great deal of out-of-state money pushing for privatization of education.
We have arranged for Linda Ketner, 2008 Candidate for US Congress, to be our guest speaker. Just like our Democratic Party, our annual dinner has grown and evolved over the years. The dinner committee is planning to honor the works of two Democrats who upheld the values shown by Ms. Cicenia. These two individuals will be announced in the next Blue Note. Historically, the dinner has been our annual fundraising event. The dinner ticket price is $25 for advance purchase and $30 at the door. We will be holding a silent auction and have a few large auction purchase items. We of course are looking for sponsorship and will be having program sales. Anyone wishing to volunteer this year is encouraged to call me at 843-478-3585 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Well, no surprise, since Zais thinks that we shouldn’t have any Pre-K plans because ―children don’t learn anything that young.‖ When our schools have fewer teachers, who aren’t properly paid to begin with, our youth won’t be able to learn and won’t want to stay. (Read more about the SCGOP’s attacks on public education on page 9.) BUDGET South Carolina, like other states, faces a revenue problem. So instead of raising taxes we cut them? The Repugs wanted to cut social safety net programs, and offer businesses a $100 million tax break.
We’ve all grown so accustomed to the beautiful beaches that make up the eastern border of our state that we probably take them for granted sometimes.
Ok, will someone explain to me, if we are losing money, why would we give $100 million to businesses? Democrats understand that fixing this problem requires both cuts to spending and increased revenue. This is why we want to pass a moral budget.
But sometimes we need to remind ourselves of the risks our Atlantic coastline faces due to offshore drilling. And we need to remind others about these risks, too.
Forcing working-class families to tolerate poor and under-funded education for their children, and so that rich people can pay less taxes on their homes, is not a moral budget option.
On June 25, South Carolinians can join together for the 2nd annual “Hands Across the Sand” event, where we can protest offshore drilling that threatens our beaches, and can promote alternate and clean energy formats, too.
Making a working-class family pay the exact same dollar amount in taxes for a $6,000 used car as wealthy family pays for their $100,000 luxury vehicle is not a moral budget option. And until we correct our budget and its sources of funding to realistic, practical – and moral – avenues, we’ll be stuck on the same sinking ship. In conclusion, these points are what it means to be a Democrat, especially right now regarding these topics that seem to mean the most to voters, and which too many voters are misinformed about. To be a Democrat means addressing these issues by letting people know the truth.
There are currently three “Hands Across the Sand” events planned in South Carolina for that Saturday—in Folly Beach, Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach. To learn more about these specific events and to RSVP, visit this web page: http://handsacrossthesand.org/ organize.php?state=South%20Carolina South Carolina is one of 25 states that will feature events for the occasion.
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New “Voter ID” requirement challenges Democratic voters For many years have Republicans in South Carolina introduced bills to restrict voting rights. These ―Voter ID‖ bills would require all voters to present a state-issued identification card with photo, such as a driver’s license, in order to vote on election days. When citizens register to vote in South Carolina for the first time, and any time they reregister at a new address, though, they already have to show that identification. That’s a simple, well-established fact. It’s done that way to ensure full eligibility to voting rights on first registration, and to ensure voting in correct district races. And any time a registered voter wanted to participate in an election, he or she simply had to show up and provide a copy of a voter registration card or even some type of bill that shows his or her name and residential address to ensure eligibility. But now the SCGOP wants voters to present state-issued ID on every election day from now on. And on May 12, the SCGOP got its most recent Voter ID bill passed.
to vote. Making this more questionable in our state, South Carolina ID cards and driver’s licenses are valid for 10 years (five years for seniors). Due to that length of time, the expiration date on IDs is commonly overlooked, and many have expired driver’s licenses without realizing it. In fact, there are 178,000 registered voters in South Carolina with expired ID cards. And how valid are those photos for determining true eligibility? Everyone complains about the quality of those photographs on the day their ID cards are issued. And even if the pictures are stunningly beautiful in precise and accurate depiction, how many will still resemble their license photos over time, especially after 10 years? What the SCGOP is telling South Carolina voters is, if a woman colors her hair, she might not be eligible to vote. If a man shaves off his moustache, he might not be eligible to vote. And neither women nor men could be eligible to vote if they simply just age normally over a 10-year period, and no longer fully resemble the photos on their 9 ½-year-old ID cards.
license because she doesn’t drive anymore, will no longer be able to vote. Persons with or who incur disabilities that prevent them from driving don’t commonly renew what photo IDs they originally have, because of the limitations those disabilities impose on them. They will no longer be able to vote under this new law.
Low-income residents, and especially those who live in rural parts of the state, Under this new law, everyone will have to don’t regularly get driver’s licenses reshow a current state-issued ID card with newed, either. They don’t need them, they photo. If a voter forgets to bring that ID, can’t afford a vehicle to begin with, and that person will not be able to vote. If the ID Many seniors don’t renew driver’s licenses, they usually have no way to travel the longis provided but is expired, that person will either, and when they reach an age they no distance DMV offices are from their homes. not be able to vote. If poll clerks decide a longer feel comfortable driving. So the 80This Voter ID law will block many younger person doesn’t resemble the photo on that year-old voter, who didn’t want to wait in and even first-time voters, too. Student IDs ID well enough, that person will not be able long lines at the DMV office to get a new will no longer be accepted as valid identification on election days or for registration. An 18-year-old high school senior who’s yet to get a driver’s license will not be able to register to vote because his student ID is no longer eligible. A college student originally from another state, and who has resided here for years while attending a South Carolina university, will not be able to vote, either. Her student ID is no longer eligible. There has never been any incident of voter fraud in the state of South Carolina. Not one. There’s no record of anyone posing as another voter, or trying to vote under a false name, or trying to vote twice, or using a fake ID. There is no evidence of any type of incident that this new requirement of state-issued photo IDs would address. Interestingly enough, most of the specific voters likely to be affected by this law – disabled persons, rural citizens and students – typically vote Democrat.
South Carolina Republicans say the cost of instituting this new Voter ID law will be $930,000—that’s what it could cost to issue new ID cards to voters who currently have expired ones, they say. Another study by the DNC Voting Rights Institute says the total cost upon SC taxpayers will amount to $17.7 million, however.
So why does the SCGOP now require voters to show state-issued picture IDs? Because they want to keep as many Democratic voters as possible out of the voting booths on election days. No other reason.
The SCGOP’s war on public education The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) ranks South Carolina dead last in academic proficiency and education reform – that’s 51st, behind all other states and Washington, D.C. It stands apparent, then, that our state Dept. of Education needs all the help it can get. The SCGOP, however, seems hell-bent on preventing any change to this status, and is even refusing the funds needed to make necessary improvements. Because of its low ranking, South Carolina is one of nine states eligible to receive grants of up to $50 million from the U.S. Dept. of Education’s “Race to the Top” program. Under former Supt. of Education (and Democrat) Jim Rex, the state twice received much-needed funding from this program that not only helped South Carolina improve its schools, but helped keep teachers from being laid off, too. But new Supt. Mick Zais, a Republican, announced on May 25 that he would refuse these federal funds, and only for political (and rather Confederate-like) reasons. “More federal money for education will not solve our problems,” he said. “Schools need less, not more, federal intrusion to increase student achievement.” Zais also introduced a plan that would change how school teacher salaries are calculated, and which would result in lower pay for many. It doesn’t begin or end with Zais’ recent actions, however. The state Republicans’ war against education has arranged many skirmishes over recent years, and appears to be setting the stage for more battles, too. Recall former Gov. Mark Sanford’s attempt in 2009 to block $700 million in federal grants $285 million of which was for public schools and state colleges – from being used in South Carolina. It took a series of lawsuits (one by a high school senior represented by our state party’s new chair, Dick Harpootlian) that went
all the way up to the state supreme court to get that funding. Had it not come through, the state would have been forced to lay off over 1,000 public school teachers.
And who has directed this state group? Chad Connelly, who was recently elected new chair of the state Republican Party. Connelly was paid $63,500 a year as director of South Carolinians for Responsible Government, which is The consistent Republican war on education in nothing more than a pro-voucher front group South Carolina is best documented by the operating a scheme to get public tax dollars to campaign donations of Howard Rich, a Liberpay for private education. tarian millionaire from Philadelphia with business offices in New York City. So where does all this leave our public schools, which are already in financial distress? Subject In recent years, Rich made questionable dona- to even more risks, more teacher layoffs and tions to Republican candidates in our state, even school shutdowns. amounting to roughly $500,000 in total for each election.
Rich’s scam donations to Dorchester County officials
State election law sets a maximum contribution of $1,000 per election cycle for candidates for state house and senate. The maximum is $3,500 for statewide offices. Rich regularly breaks that law, though. He makes multiple donations of maximum amounts using various business names – all of which he owns – and all from the same address. He also arranges donations from his political associates and business partners.
Rep. Annette Young, House District 98 $1,000 1/08/2010 332 E 11 LLC, 73 Spring St Rm 408 NYC $1,000 1/08/2010 Rich Lending, 73 Spring St Rm 408 NYC $1,000 1/08/2010 188 Claremont LLC, 73 Spring St Rm 408 NYC $1,000 1/08/2010 Silver & Silver Properties LLC, 73 Spring St Rm 408 NYC $1,000 1/08/2010 538-14 Realty LLC, 73 Spring St. Rm 408 NYC Christopher Murphy, House District 98 $1,000 10/18/2010 Jeffrey S. Kruman, 31 Evergreen Row, Armonk, NY $1,000 10/18/2010 Paul R. Farago, PO Box 8907, Asheville, NC $1,000 10/18/2010 Robert Costello, 2135 Sherman ave, Evanston, IL $1,000 10/18/2010 Irwin A. Zamore, PO Box 8907, Asheville NC $1,000 10/18/2010 Coolcal LLC, 1420 Walnut St., Ste 1011, Phila, PA
Mike Rose, Senate District 38 $1,000 10/17/08 470 W. 166 LLC, 73 Spring St. NYC $1,000 10/17/08 4220 Broadway Inc., 73 Spring St. Rm. 408 NYC $1,000 10/17/08 405 49 Associates, 73 Spring St. Rm. 408 NYC $1,000 10/17/08 123 Lasalle Associates, 73 Spring St. Rm. 408 NYC $1,000 10/17/08 332 E 11 LLC, A Partnership, 73 Spring St. Rm. 408 NYC $1,000 10/17/08 188 Claremont LLC, 73 Spring St. Rm. 408 NYC $1,000 10/17/08 51 First Ave. LLC, 73 Spring St. Rm. 408 NYC $1,000 10/17/08 Kathleen Nelson, 4912 Lochridge Rd., N. Little Rock, AR $1,000 10/17/08 Joseph Stilwell, 26 Broadway 23rd Flr., NYC $1,000 10/17/08 Marshall L. Stocker, 741 Broadway, Hanover, MA Most of his donations $1,000 10/17/08 Michael Dokupil, 3617 Albans, Houston TX $1,000 10/17/08 Peter Petruzzi, 1165 Francisco St. 7, San Francisco, CA are made in the last $1,000 10/17/08 Patrick Byrne, 700 Bitner Rd., Park City, UT month before an election, meaning record of $1,000 10/17/08 John Kirtley, 339 S. Plant Ave., Tampa FL $1,000 9/19/08 Douglas Levine, 2760 N. Bay Rd., Miami Beach, FL his contributions doesn’t $1,000 9/19/08 Paul Farago, PO Box 8907, Asheville, NC become public until after $1,000 9/19/08 Robert Costello, 2135 Sherman Ave., Evanston, IL $1,000 9/19/08 Sandra Leong, 45 E 25th St, 39B NYC election day.
And the true goal of Rich, as well as his associates who join him in this donation scam, is to end public education. Even worse, he wants the tax dollars devoted to public education to go to private schools, instead, leaving middleEDITOR’S NOTE class and low-income families without any Please note that DCDP is very proud of the educational opportunities. public schools in our county, and even despite the war declared on them by the state RepubliRich is on the executive boards of national can Party. groups against public education, including Our county school districts rank above national Legislative Education Action Drive and Parents average in testing, and DD2 is rated best in the in Charge Foundation. Rich also established and serves on the board of Americans for Limgreater Lowcountry region. ited Government, another anti-public educaWe’re also getting new schools to accommo- tion group, which has a state chapter known as South Carolinians for Responsible Governdate our population growth. ment. We can’t let the SCGOP try to take that away.
After getting rid of a Republican governor who tried to refuse money for our schools, we now have a Republican education superintendent who is doing the same, and without any contest. We have a loony billionaire from another state who is openly against public education, and who funds the campaigns of Republicans in South Carolina. (See them all here and here). And now there’s the new SCGOP chair who has worked for that loony billionaire. Where’s this going to stop, and when? In the voting booth, on the next election day.
In the December/January issue of The Blue Note, we encouraged all party members to let their voices be heard through many avenues, including letters to the editor. And many Dorchester Democrats did just that! Below you’ll find clippings of some of those letters to the editor, along with links to read them in full online. (And if we overlooked yours … much apologies! Send us a message and we’ll make sure it’s in the next issue.) We’re also reposting the addresses to local newspapers where you can submit your own letters, too! Here’s one from party chairman Richard Hayes that made the Post & Courier earlier this year:
Susen Shapiro’s letter made the Journal Scene:
“In my opinion the Republican Party is a wholly owned subsidiary of the health insurance industry and other profit-hungry corporations. In case there is any doubt, the Republicans have hired insurance and health care industry lobbyists for key positions on committees and staffs.”
“It seems to me that it is inappropriate for an elected official to insult the citizens at a public meeting. If Mr. Hearn doesn't think he should represent and respect all citizens of Dorchester County, whether or not they agree with him, then he is a poor example of a Councilman.”
Click here to read the rest of Hayes’ letter.
Click here to read the entire letter. Dr. David Rison’s letter to the local newspaper:
Here’s Marty Turney’s letter to Journal Scene: “These 4 items are neither Republican nor Democratic suggestions. Rather they are suggestions that we as a state together can support or we can just sit in our lovely state with our memorable Civil War history and do nothing but complain.” Click here to read the entire letter. Rob Groce’s recent Journal Scene letter: “Our state congress recently passed a bill requiring voters to provide government-issued photo identification on election days. It remains a mystery, though, why Republican officials – who were the only ones who voted for this bill – insisted on it.” Click here to read the entire letter
Where to Send Your Letters (Be sure to include your street name, town and phone number!)
Post & Courier email@example.com Journal Scene firstname.lastname@example.org Eagle Record email@example.com Charleston City Paper firstname.lastname@example.org OR submit your letter on its website: http://posting.charlestoncitypaper.com/charleston/ SubmitALetter/Page
“I hope that the County Council will not try to reduce county expenditures in these hard financial times by cutting the small sum that Dorchester County residents pay to support our public libraries.” Click here to read the rest of the opinion letter.
Here are a couple from Marylou & Bob Ielfield that appeared in the Post & Courier: “Our budget problem is partially due to the national economy but also to the fact that our Republican leadership, under Sen. Glenn McConnell and Speaker Bobby Harrell, with its obsessive dread of taxes has brought our economy to the danger point.” Click here to read the rest of the above letter to the editor. “We look forward to reading the secret of a short-term General Assembly member who, in 2010, had just one bill passed, which pertained to cosmetologists, and who had serious problems with the Internal Revenue Service concerning both her personal and business taxes and had to be rescued by being given a $110,000 job by the CEO of a large hospital group. It will also be interesting to hear why her first official action was to give large raises to her personal staff, and why she talked about restoring the food tax and seemed to have no clue to addressing a budget deficit of nearly a billion dollars.” Click here to read all of that letter.
Any other questions?
No? GOOD! Then let’s get the party started! Our president’s re-election campaign is officially underway, and will need your support! And what better way to show that support than with your very own “Made in the USA” coffee mug—complete with birth certificate and all—right from his campaign? Just visit the official campaign website, (www.barackobama.com/store) where you can order that coffee mug depicting the birth certificate for a minimum donation of $15. You’ll also find many other campaign doo-dads, too, ranging from t-shirts to bumper stickers to buttons to car magnets! (Minimum donation amount varies per product. )
FOUR MORE YEARS!
Calendar of Events
June June 13 DCDP Executive Committee Meeting 7 p.m. at the County Code Building (Remember: this is the building BEHIND the County Council Chambers of 500 N Main St. in Summerville) June 15 Candidate Recruitment Committee 7 p.m. at County Council Chambers 500 N Main St in Summerville
Did you notice the nifty artwork on page 1? That was created by Mario Piperni, who makes such politically apropos artwork on a regular basis, and which you can see at his website (www.mariopiperni.com). Thanks, Mario, for letting Blue Note use your artwork!
June 18 Monthly Breakfast 9 a.m. at Ryans (1314 N Main St in Summerville) Speaker To Be Announced Total cost for buffet, coffee and gratuity is $8. **TELL THE CASHIER YOU’RE THERE FOR THE DCDP—YOU’LL PAY IN THE BACK ROOM LOCATION OF THE MEETING** June 25 Hands Across the Sand Events planned in Folly Beach, Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach. See this website for times and locations: http://handsacrossthesand.org/organize.php?state=South% 20Carolina
July July 4 Independence Day Wave a flag and eat some barbecued chicken! July 16 Monthly Breakfast Meeting Location To Be Announced Speaker To Be Announced July 20 Candidate Recruitment Committee 7 p.m. at County Council Chambers
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