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My son Jackson participated in the Black Lives Matter protest today as leader of the College of Charleston Students for a Democratic Society.  It is his 23rd. Birthday. I wrote this Newspaper column on his 18th. Birthday, when he became a citizen.

To my Son:
Dear Jackson, 18 years ago, on the pages of this newspaper, in a column entitled “Love Covered With Sweat” Your mother and I announced your birth to the world.  You were born after a night of storms, on a day when the streets of Los Angeles erupted in riots and flames.  It was law day and May Day, 1992.  Deciding to remain innocent of who you would be until the moment you joined us, you should always know, that my learning I had been blessed with a son was the greatest thrill of my life.  You are the greatest gift of your mother’s love for me.

I have burdened you, willingly and unwillingly, with the baggage our family has carried through its generations.  You know our story through the centuries of farming, the elections, protests and the bloody contests of the Revolution, Civil War and WWII.
In memory, you have charged with Washington and Golden Head Edwards with the Continental Cavalry at Yorktown.  You have taken a stand on the bloody clay of Missionary Ridge with the 10th. SC and William E. Finklea. You have measured the sacred ground of our ancestral lands with your own legs on a hot summer afternoon in Zion, SC.  You have said farewell to my parents and my surviving grandparents at Magnolia Cemetery.  While I cherish the love of my surviving inlaws, the long bloodline behind us has fallen into the dust.  Those departed, however, remember you.  In every breath you pull from the sky you are their living memory.  They are proud of you today.

It was our unconsidered hope that you would blend in, be happy and make no trouble.  However, everything we were and everything we did made that unlikely.  The casual acceptance of injustice is not dinner table conversation at our home.  You have peeked into dangerous books.  It never occurred to us that raw authority should be the basis for family life.  You have attended political meetings since you went to the Democratic Breakfast club in a basket at two weeks old.  You delighted Big John, who marched with Dr. King.  You are more comfortable with a protest sign in your hands than a Game boy.  You love Paris.

For some time now, you have had a hand in making yourself.  This is the most radical decision an individual can make.  It provokes the widest resentment.  In a nation where “freedom” is the cheapest word, you know its actual value.  I have been startled to discover your view of justice and the facts can put you on a different road from your mother and me.

Yesterday, you scanned your hand signed petition into the computer and posted it on Facebook.  Then you tagged the names of the signers in the photo gallery, which surfaced the paper petition in the electronic sphere and stimulated awareness.  That’s a lot of work to get organic juice at the Wando High School food court.  It was an original concept in hybrid community organizing and electronic activism.  In 18 years of bringing computers and politics together, I’ve never seen anything that worked like that done.  I’ve also met few people who would spend four tedious hours doing it.  
I’m also startled to discover the scanner on the home printer works.  It has never worked for me.

This week you will register to vote.  Last weekend you were one of the youngest delegates to the state Democratic Convention.  Many aging fighters smiled to see you in your shirt and buttons.  Many of them, in small and different ways, are your parents as well.  They loved your infantile enthusiasm.  They marveled at your confidence addressing Charleston City Council at the age of 8.  They valued your first adolescent efforts at being a citizen activist.  As their bodies aged, yours grew tall and strong.  As defeats beat them down, you grew up.  Welcome to the tough, thin line which stands for justice and fairness in South Carolina and holds back the excesses of power and greed.  You are one of us now, equal and arriving just at the time of the most important fight imaginable, for the survival of the species and the future of the planet.
You are free to make your own decisions now.  You live in our home by choice.  From here on we are a family because we want to be.

Help us to learn to love the adult our son has become, to accept your strength and to value who you make yourself.  Forgive us if we still see the tiny, precious five pound baby we once held in our hands in your blue eyes.  We cannot forget the love we felt for that infant.  Understand that we still remember sending you to school on your first day, your toddling steps across Moultrie Playground downtown and the first time you shot away from the Hobcaw Yacht Club dock in a little sailboat.

Few children have more press clippings than baby pictures.  Thanks for tolerating a published childhood.  You will always be my favorite subject and the only thing I write about which I can count on your mother to read.

There is a bright, new I-phone coming to you on your birthday.  The corrupt, decaying and dishonest society around you is about to get a wake up call.  Many of your peers are asleep in a cocoon of seamless distraction.  They will not leave Plato’s cave.  You are headed into the harsh light of a new age.  Others will follow you.
Welcome to the hard job of 21st Century Citizenship in America.  Happy 18th. Birthday William Jackson Hamilton IV.

William Hamilton ( is an attorney who lives in I’On Village.


Charleston, SC- Transit in the Lowcountry needs your support today. While we’ve been working to plan a better system for the future long standing problems and exposure to the dysfunctions of our national politics threaten the survival of CARTA bus transit service here.

On May 31 the current Federal funding authorization for public transit runs out unless it is renewed or extended. As we’ve seen for the past few years Congress is capable of shutting down the entire government for weeks. The once unthinkable interruption of essential government services is now common. Mark Sanford’s bill to end federal funding for public transit is still pending in the US Congress despite his assurance he only introduced it to spark debate.

We don’t know how long CARTA could operate if Federal Funding was interrupted. We expect another round of bus route cuts in June that have been under study for six months. This will be the fourth round of route and service cuts in Seven years during which CARTA has managed to increase total ridership on its remaining service. However increased ridership is nothing to celebrate for the riders on nights, weekends and in areas which have lost bus service.

We’ve been preparing for these challenges for four years, since a federal transit budget cut slashed support for public transit across the United States. We’re now part of a growing network of public transit rider’s groups in hundreds of cities. We supported the effort in Columbia, SC to bring their transit system back from the dead through our connections in the SC Progressive Network. Locally we have pro transit neighborhood groups forming on James Island, N. Charleston and in Summerville as well as Truckers for Transit.

We’re not where we need to be and frankly, now isn’t the best time for the work with cities in an uproar and summer coming, but we have to push forward now.
We’re asking everyone we’re in contact with to sign our online petition opposing Mark Sanford’s bill to cut federal funding for public transit and to ask your friends to sign online.

We’ll be at Charleston City Hall this evening (Tuesday, April 28) at 5 pm to speak out about the irresponsibility of building a huge new residential development West of the Ashley without building transit in. We would use help leafleting the crowd. We can have prosperity, development and community, but we can’t continue to build and develop if every new household adds a dozen additional car trips a day to the road system. A world where every trip to work, shop, go to soccer practice or attend church requires two car trips and two parking spaces in impossible. There will never be the space or the money to build that many roads and those roads will be of little or no use to our working poor, disabled and elderly populations who can’t drive. Please read up on the proposed development and join us at Charleston City Hall at 4:45 pm today.

I know you’re tired and you don’t have much confidence in the system any longer, but last week a US Congressman interrupted his day to wait on us and hold a 20 minute skype conference on public transit. When we get loud, things move. This work is hard, but sitting still in traffic on I26 while our cities burn will be harder. If I’m lucky, we’ll reach some people today online and at city hall. Hopefully, I’ll be able to catch the #40 bus home so I can tend my tomatoes. They’re up two feet and the grow in compost made out of the stuff we threw out of our kitchen last year.

You can turn garbage into fresh tomatoes and you can turn the problems we have no into a great new regional rapid transit system too. Let’s help each other.


The new West Ashely Development near Charleston SC should

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From Best Friends of Lowcountry Transit

This statement was prepared for the April 23rd. protest at the Office of US Congressman Mark Sanford in Mount Pleasant, SC. At that protest the Congressman agreed to meet with the demonstrators via Skype from his DC office. An intense, but polite 20 minute exchange took place during which the congressman said he introduced his bill to completely defund federal support for public transit over a period of five years to stimulate debate. 3 other members of the SC Congressional delegation are among the 8 co sponsors. Sanford stated he didn’t want to see local transit service end. The current federal authorization to fund public transit across the entire United States expires on May 31, 2015. Activists with Hungryneck Straphangers continue to work on the issue in their Stand Up 4 Lowcountry Transit effort..

On Tuesday, Japan set a new rail speed record of 374 miles per hour on their experimental mag lev research line.  In 1850, it was possible to travel by railroad between Charleston and Summerville faster than you can now at rush hour on I26. In two years, it may be nearly impossible to make the trip for four or more hours every day. Our region, which pioneered passenger railroad transportation for this hemisphere with the Best Friend of Charleston in 1830 is slowing to auto induced gridlock.

Mark Sanford’s proposed bill to end federal public transit funding would deprive CARTA and hundreds of other transit systems across the US of over a third of their total funding. These systems have been underfunded and neglected for decades. The North Neck CARTA bus I and a candidate for Mayor of Charleston rode on Tuesday was six years past its design life, carrying 30 people on a small bus designed for 24 seated passengers.

Sanford complains transit systems are subsidized by gas taxes, but his proposal would continue to grant cars a six billion dollar a year subsidy from general government funds. The amount now granted to transit from the transportation trust fund comes from general tax revenues much of which is paid by the half of the population which does not drive. Sanford proposes to leave 30 million transit riding Americans with about half of the inadequate service they have now while continuing to use their tax money to subsidize the automobile.

Sign our online petition against Sanford's Bill

Sanford would force the working people of his own district, who make our tourism and medical industries possible, to attempt to operate cars with their limited income. He has voted not to increase their minimum wage six times.  They would face an annual six thousand dollar a year ownership cost  and two thousand dollar downtown parking cost they can’t possibly afford. Many would join the 10% of drivers on our roads now who aren’t licensed or insured. For those who find automobile operation impossible, including many of our disabled and senior citizens, dangerous bicycle trips and walks home in an area plagued by one of the nation’s highest rates of pedestrian and cyclist fatalities would be their only option.

The huge dishonesty within Sanford’s justification for such callous treatment of his own constituents is his refusal to admit the huge subsidies government already provides operators of private automobiles, estimated to be over five thousand dollars per year, per car.  Much road construction locally has been funded by sales taxes on goods other than gas through the half penny sales tax.   Police and fire department car wreck emergency costs add to that total. In Mount Pleasant, a public works employee, whose pay, benefits and vehicle cost the town over 50 thousand dollars a year spends most of his time sweeping up broken glass and debris at the locations of car wrecks.

Were we to add on top of that the two trillion dollar cost of our military presence in the Middle East to help secure the world oil supply (which Sanford has voted to increase ), a gas tax of over 12 dollars a gallon would be required to cover the car’s full cost to society.

In a city where climate change will put Murray Boulevard on the Battery under water at high tide for several hours a day by the end of this century, we should add the infrastructure costs of walling off the historic city from the rising sea, well over half a billion dollars for one part of one city to the cost of the car.

However. the worst impact of Sanford’s shortsighted attempt to defund public transit is our Lowcountry being forced to compete in a global market for young innovative talent without transit. Charleston needs to be a place which produces software, attracts visitors with high quality cultural events and generates local employment without resorting to expensive corporate subsidies, 280 million dollars was recently appropriated to build new access roads and highway ramps for Boeing. The cost of that road project alone would be enough to build a true regional rapid transit system for entire Lowcountry like the Swift Bus Rapid Transit system Boeing workers enjoy in Washington State.

The generation now bringing innovation to the challenging economy of this century does not love the car as their grandparents did. “According to Federal Highway Administration, from 2000 to 2010, the share of 14 to 34-year-olds without a driver’s license increased from 21 percent to 26 percent.” Higher income young people are more likely to walk, bike or use transit. “From 2001 to 2009, young people (16 to 34-years-old) who lived in households with annual incomes of over $70,000 increased their use of public transit by 100 percent, biking by 122 percent, and walking by 37 percent.”

If we allow Mark Sanford and the three other members of our State’s Congressional Delegation to destroy public transit here and in the rest of the US, the Lowcountry grants a permanent competitive advantage to communities like Atlanta, New York and Portland where robust transit systems are built and operating now.  These young innovators, who could be the job creators of a high tech, Charleston future, will chose to live where their time and money can be spent on something better than a car standing still on a gridlocked I26.

William Hamilton, Hungryneck Straphangers
(843) 870-5299 or

You can download a PDF of this document with footnotes to the sources referenced. If you want to cut and paste your content, remember to think about how you're going to handle your footnotes.


Should Mark Sanford's Bill to end Federal Funding for Public Transit be passed by the US Congress

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Mount Pleasant, SC- Members of Best Friends of Lowcountry Transit & Hungryneck Straphangers, supported by other members of the SC Progressive network, will hold a protest at the offices of Congressman Mark Sanford and US Senator Lindsey Graham in opposition to a bill introduced by Sanford to eliminate all federal funding for public transit in the United States on Thursday, April 23 at 10 am. The offices are located at 530 Johnnie Dodds Boulevard, Mount Pleasant, SC 29464-3083. For more information on the protest see

Prior to the protest, supporters of public transit will hold a Stand Up 4 Transit demonstration at the nearby corners of Johnnie Dodds Blvd. and Houston Northcutt Blvd.

As part of the demonstration, local transit riders will offer statements to the media and anyone else present about the importance of public transit and the long history of support for transportation and communication by our Federal Government including the monumental efforts to build the transcontinental railroad, Panama Canal, interstate highway system and the transit systems which now provide access to work and opportunity for 30 million Americans.

During the demonstration petitions will be delivered to Sanford and Graham’s Offices and members of the transit riding community will visit staff there to share their concerns.

Members of the Network will also attend Wednesday night’s ALTI26 regional rapid transit planning meeting at the Military Magnet School in N. Charleston from 6-8 pm.
Sanford’s bill would slash federal transit funding to nothing over a period of five years, eliminating on third of the funds CARTA currently uses to operate and rendering the Lowcountry regional rapid transit system now being planned nearly impossible to construct. CARTA might be forced to eliminate over 40% of its service. The exact impact of such a massive loss of support has not yet been calculated.

In addition to Sanford’s bill, if Congress US does not act to reauthorize federal funding for transpiration before May 31 the current temporary authorization will expire. Transit funding, as well as federal funding for road and bridge construction would end on June 1st.

Hungryneck Straphangers communicated their concerns about the bill to Sanford’s office on April 8, but has had no response from the Congressman.  Congressman James Clyburn, who also represents parts of the Charleston area, is a strong supporter of public transit.

For More Information Contact
William J. Hamilton, III
Attorney at Law, Coordinator Best Friends of Lowcountry Transit
(843) 870-5299


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In this April 4, 2015, frame from video provided by attorney L. Chris Stewart representing the family of Walter Lamer Scott, city patrolman Michael Thomas Slager checks Scott's pulse in North Charleston, S.C. Slager was charged with murder on Tuesday, Apr
Charleston, SC- One man was killed and another wounded in a shooting at the corner of East Bay and Reid Streets in the City of Charleston on Saturday, April 18 at 11 am, under an overcast sky. These shootings took place steps away from one of the primary routes tourists use to reach this historic core of the old city. That morning the Post and Courier, the South's oldest newspaper published an article After Walter Scott's Death, Fight for Change Divides Activists making the case that the local African American community of activists was fragmenting and dissolving as interest in the Walter Scott shooting predictably wound down.

I was in court with the officer who shot Walter Scott a few months ago.  I've had many cases as an attorney involving the N. Charleston Police Department.  I've lived in the Charleston area nearly my entire life. I've spent one Week in Paris and 99 hours in the camp of Occupy Charleston. I know there is a lot wrong with and missing from the community I've spent my life in where my work as an activist and an attorney. My work has helped bring us to the sad place we are.  Better, as always, than a few more miserable Southern places and the miserable rest of the state.

The Post and Courier owns The Charleston Mercury weekly, progeny of the famous Newspaper that's special “The Union is Dissolved” edition was reproduced on the pages of your High School American History book.The editorials penned by their Editor during the Civil Rights movement are among the most arrogant of the Southern press of the period. The newspaper's editorials attacking Judge Waites Waring in the 1940s for supporting desegregation contain many of the same elemental assumptions behind the content of this article. Charleston is special in that the races have always gotten along here without real conflict under the wise guidance of it's etablished and mutually supporting black and white leaderships. See A Passion for Justice : J. Waties Waring and Civil Rights

The official story line, which Charleston's disintegrating blue blood elite and chaotic on the make business, tourism and development community longs to return to is that the system has handled the fallout from the Scott shooting (which it has done fairly responsibly).  Now everything can now go back to the happy, quiet way it has always been here. The cries of “No justice, no peace” will soon fade back to the voices of a few weary and irrelevant activists. By the start of the Spoleto Festival everything will be back to normal in the City of Porgy and Bess.

Of course anyone who has actually paid attention to Porgy and Bess or the last 345 years of history here knows how delusional that hope is. Charleston, like Disneyland, is a tourism oriented destination which generates and largely believes it's own mythology. We're the city of Rhett Butler from Gone with the Wind.

However there is a reality of real people with real problems.  Race, violence, economic conflict, sexual tension and natural disaster have churned life in the Holy City since 1670.  They'll continue to do so for the remaining hundred years or so left before the ocean covers King Street at High Tide. I confess to loving both the myth and the reality.  I'm glad I won't live to see the City's wet and salty end in a hurricane which arrives at high tide after I'm laid to rest on historic Magnolia Cemetery.

Our family plot in the Greenhill section of Magnolia is only 5 feet above the current sea level, so if your grandchildren see my vault pop out of the sea bed and rise to float on top of the surf after the ocean rises, please knock a hole in it and let me sink. I would like to stay here.  I wish I had left when I was younger for a more progressive place, but at 55 it's so late in the game now that I'll just fight it out here to the end.

An Enduring 345 year history of activism

This is the city where veterans of the American Revolution returned home and demonstrated against a political and economic system rigged to the advantage of wealthy slave owners. The rural militia, including armed slaves, rode into the city and shot them down in the streets.

This is the location of the Stono Rebellion, on of the nation's largest, most deadly slave insurrections which ended with a bloodly slaughter on the banks of the Edisto River. Many years later the more famous Vesey rebellion was ended before it started by arrests and executions.

This is the city where slaves and former slaves crept into the city from the Federally occupied sea islands during the civil war gathering intelligence on the Confederate Defenses. At the same time fire companies of free blacks saved the city from burning to the ground. After the war, Charleston saw a vigorous reconstruction.

In 1867 a brave former female slave's decision to board the new horse drawn street cars sparked two days of rioting for their desegregation which ended in a victory which lasted until separate but equal standards were established decades later.

There are dozens of more examples of how Charleston hasn't been the quiet garden of social harmony managed by it's noblesse oblige aristocracy the tour guides and tourists books tell you it's been. The history runs down to the Hospital Strike of 1969 and a sweeping county wide victory for Obama in 2008. We have a massive gay pride festival. Despite what the paper reports and the tour guides say, Charleston has never been a quiet garden ruled by people who wear seersucker suits and drink gin and tonics on their plantation verandas.

North Charleston, where the Scott shooting took place, is very different from Charleston.  It has a sweatier, more military and more industrial recent history. It's been trying to remake itself since the huge Navy Base and Yard there was shut down in the 1990s. It's a majority minority city with poor areas, strong traditional neighborhoods and some hip new 'hoods like Park Circle.

The activists and North Charleston City Officials now involved in the current struggle over the Scott shooting are also involved in the fight for the mixed redevelopment results that expensive effort has achieved. The police crackdown, now over two decades old there, has as it goal to clear the streets of N. Charleston of crime and facilitate the city's economic and social transformation. The crackdown tactic hasn't been working. I won't attempt to analyze that here.  It's important to know that the city and the activists have been fighting for the same thing, a better city. It has been a hard, long struggle with a lots of conflict. Neither side has surrendered to the other and neither side has surrendered to the criminals.  The criminals haven't surrendered either.

Charleston, N. Charleston and my suburban Town of Mount Pleasant across the Cooper River are the urban engines of a blue county in a terrifying backward, blood red state. SC Gov. Nikki Haley, who tries to rule SC, is a woman who escaped a failing underwear store by paying Sarah Palin 200 thousand dollars for an endorsement event. Haley now wants to be Vice President. Not even Charleston's conservative aristocracy wants to be part of South Carolina.

On Memorial Day weekend, thousands of black motorcycle club members will arrive at Myrtle Beach (SC's Tourist Destination for people with no taste of all races) for Black Bike Week where Gov. Nikki and a militarized army of police officers will be waiting for them. While the magnitude of the disaster can't be accurately predicted, nothing good is going to happen. We have no way of knowing who will shoot at whom under what circumstances. Three civilians were killed there last year by an unknown shooter, probably with a rifle. We do know that under the right circumstances, Gov. Nikki can make herself into a national right wing hero sitting on an armored vehicle with a gun like Boris Yeltsen in Moscow, saving SC from the black motorcycle gangs. If she can do that, Haley will be positioned to follow Scott Walker into DC for a new house at the Naval Observatory or a cabinet position.

Thank God, I'll be in Charleston watching operas and listening to Chamber music at Spoleto between going to activist meetings and actions that week. Last weekend, Black Lives Matter, or some variant,marched into the pricy High Cotton Sunday brunch and read a list of the black people killed by cops in the United States.  Later they marched, uninvited, through the 2nd. Sunday street fair.  It's going to be an interesting Spoleto.

The Struggle Against the Struggle for Peace, No Justice

If you read today's article, the Post and Courier will inform you, in more detail than it traditionally invests in the stuff it inserts between advertising, of every rift and dispute in the local African American Peace and Justice community.  They cheerfully talk about declining participation, people leaving town and how the young hell raisers have, have not and should defer to their trusted elders. Dot Scott of the NAACP wants more attention. The kids demand too much. It's going to be just like the Civil Rights movement with Malcomb X and Martin Luther King where the good, peaceful guy won.

Of course they both ended up dead, which is a poor happy ending by most standards. The Civil Rights movement didn't end. Neither did injustice and killings of all kinds, but It's going to be OK because nothing is really going to change.

I know most of these activists. I'm the middle aged white guy who always shows up with too much literature talking about public transit. I have my own demonstration next Thursday because our Congressman Mark Sanford (the hiking to Argentina former Lovernor of SC) is trying to end all federal funding for public transit in the entire country. If congress doesn't pass a transportation bill by May 31 one third of the funding for public transit in the US will disappear. 30 million people ride buses and trains to work in the United States. Most of the people riding those vehicles and most of the people operating them are minorities and women.

I care about those minorities and women. So do a lot of other white people here. However the Post and Courier article suggests that white people supporting a black cause delegitimatizes it. If one black leader and two white activists show up for a dull planning meeting, that's a failure. When 200 people show up for an event with Jesse Jackson on Thursday, after the uprising is supposed to be over, they leave that out of the article because it violates the story line.

Charleston is changing.  This process has been taking hold since Hurricane Hugo tore the old, delicate city I now miss apart in 1989 and the Navy Base closed a few years later. The global economy has landed with the brutal "money now" weapons which blast everything kind, decent and old away. The people buying 200 year old historic homes in the city to be used as part time trophy houses six weeks a year don't even know the once important local social clubs which exclude them exist. The internet and an upstart weekly City Paper have dissolved the hold on public attention and information once possessed by a traditional media controlled by a handful of local aristocrats.

The most famous Charlestonians of the moment inhabit the detestable Bravo Network reality show Southern Charm, an adolescent paean to alcohol and sex. The show is presided over by disgraced former State Treasurer T-Rav (who went to prison for cocaine), his 30 year younger girlfriend and their beautiful new baby whose two christenings are the only Christian church sacrament her parents have shared. The people horrified by the agitation on one side and Southern Charm on the other dream of running the city again. They read the Post and Courier to obtain comfort the way sleepy children anticipate a bed time story.

Has the revolution arrived in Charleston?  Will the activists unite? Can Boeing be unionized, or will they be allowed to pay $10 an hour less for local hires than people they bring in from their airplane factories out west. This is a plane factory SC taxpayers paid a billion dollars in subsidies to be built here.  Will the new effort to make the Medical University finally address the issues they managed to defy the Civil Rights activists on during the Hospital Strike in 1969 finally achieve results for the people who mop, clean and serve at the area's largest plantation? Will we build a new regional rapid transit system or will the CARTA transit system go broke and slash more bus routes? Who will be elected Mayor to replace Joe Riley, now winding up 40 years in office? Will the people spending a hundred bucks on a tourist brunch at High Cotton be allowed to munch their cantaloupe in peace?

While SC is dominated by retrograde Conservatives, they've never had a solid grip on Charleston. With Hillary seeking the presidency, the Koch Brothers don't want to sink a lot of cash in a state they mostly already own. The local racists don't have much of an appetite for nose to nose street confrontations in the age of the internet. Of course today, everything can change overnight. I've never seen demonstrations and rallies for ten days in a row here before. I've never seen Five national TV networks with cameras pointed at Thomas Dixon or Poppa Smurf at the same time, each with a cable connected directly to a live satellite feed.

Future Struggle in an Old City

Local activists know the struggle will go on here for about another hundred years or so before Charleston either wins or loses its struggle with the rising sea. A racially diverse, somewhat divided activist community will continue to work for change with its new internet tools and its new national connections. The huge meeting hall the Longshoremen's Union built to make real work for change possible here is where you can find us working together and fighting each other nearly every night of the week.

The Post and Courier will continue its centuries long practice of assuring everyone that the commotion is over and everything is OK long past the point where their saying it makes it so. They will still be at it when children have go to the Charleston Museum to see what a daily edition made with ink and newsprint looks like.

Scott's shooting won't be forgotten. The attempt to put things back where they were will be ever less successful. Those reading Post and Courier articles telling them otherwise can enjoy that delusion. The hard fight for a better community here in Charleston will go on. At 4 pm, Sunday April 19, there is a four hour gathering at the Longshoreman's Hall to prepare to continue that struggle.


I believe the Walter Scott shooting

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Don Brock is the tender of the Ashley River Bridges which connect historic Charleston, SC with its West Ashley suburbs.  He spends many of his nights above the bridge in the silver tender's house (surrounded by lights on the Southern bridge, the adjacent older bridge is also controlled remotely from his location).  Don's an old friend having Christmas Breakfast with us this morning, but he'll be back up there waiting to open the bridge tonight from 4 - Midnight.  The bridge isn't working right now so he job is to communicate about emergencies and with any ships which might be trying to clear the bridge. It's pretty quiet.

The river this bridge crosses is one of the most historic in the United States.  It runs up about a mile to the location where the colony of South Carolina was founded in 1670.  The British fought their way across it in the Revolution to occupy Charleston.  During the Civil war the retreating Confederates burned it down.  A new Venitian style WWI Memorial bridge with four spired houses was constructed early in the 20th. Century. This plainer bridge came mid century.  A barge ran into this bridge about 50 years ago as it was opening and damaged it. A new tender's house was constructed with a gabled roof and special lighting about a decade ago. Currently, this bridge is best known for the effort to devote one of it's lanes to a bike path which would allow cyclists on the East Coast Greenway and locally to travel between Charleston and West Ashley.

Image of the Bridge House Don Works in. Traffic on this bridge is all one way, so you'll see it on the left side.

It's quiet up in the bridge house.  The Ashley river only runs inland about 20 miles before it fades into the swamps, so there's very little commercial traffic.  Pleasure boats and barges for maintaining docks and bridges compose most of the traffic which induces done to put the cranky machinery of the two bridges into motion.  It occasionally sticks, which is why the older bridge is getting maintenance work and 12 hours notice is required to authorize an opening.  Don is taking those calls up in the bridge house if you need the bridge opened, mostly on marine radio, channel 9.

Don is currently working through a shelf of obscure Buddhist books and some pre revolutionary Russian comedic literature. He view runs from Ft. Sumter, across James Island to the rooftops of the old city and the medical complex.  He keeps a sharp eye downriver past the Marinas and beyond the newer James Island Bridge, to the Atlantic. On the radio, he can hear the work of our area's two other bridge tenders, at Wappoo Cut and on the Ben Sawyer Swing Bridge to Sullivan's Island and the chatter among the pilots and people who make our port work day and night.

This holiday season and every night tens of thousands of people mind our bridges, fire stations, police departments, public words depots and waterworks quietly making sure things work through the night.  It's quiet, often lonely work in a busy world. The water coming out of your tap, the power racing through the wires and the plows waiting on the snow are all staffed by people. When your troubles raise you from your bed at night, you can remember that they're up too.

If you are traveling east on the Ashley River Bridges along Highway 17 tonight, look up and tap your horn, flash your lights and let Don know you know he is there.  Don will be looking out for you and waiting to open the bridges again.  He can't have visitors in the Bridge house, but he doesn't have to be alone.  Wish Don a Merry Christmas when you pass over the Ashely River tonight.

Democratic Candidate for Congress Elizabeth Colbert Busch talking to transit riders on the 41 Coleman Blvd. Bus in Mount Pleasant, SC on Mrch 14, 2013
On Dec. 13 our local pro public transit advocacy group, Hungryneck Straphangers, will take a break from petitions, board meetings and protests to see what rock n/ roll, cand canes, prizes and fun can do to make the bus better.

Mount Pleasant, SC- Coleman Boulevard is Mount Pleasant’s holiday main street, running from the end of the Landmark Ravenel Bridge, past over 250 independent businesses to Ben Sawyer Blvd. and East Cooper’s gateway to the beach.  On Saturday, Dec. 13 Jingle Bus will connect it and downtown Charleston so you can shop and celebrate while enjoying music and getting a chance to win free prizes every 10 minutes for 12 hours while a professional driver deals with the traffic.

Jingle Bus takes CARTA’s 41 Coleman Boulevard Bus and upgrades it to a larger bus and a holiday festival on wheels. The event in sponsored by the William Hamilton Law Office, in partnership with CARTA and the Town of Mount Peasant.

All anyone needs to enjoy the fun on the bus, the Mount Pleasant Holiday  Market & Crafts Show and numerous merchant sponsored holiday activities along Coleman and Ben Sawyer Boulevards that day is a free pass available from over 30 merchants in Mount Pleasant, Charleston, N. Charleston and James Island. Jingle Bus also enables travel to Charleston with a stop at the Visitor’s Center downtown. A list of places Jingle Bus passes can be obtained and full Jingle Bus information can be found on the Hungryneck Straphanger’s Website at and includes the Mayor’s Office at Mount Pleasant Town Hall and the Visitor’s Center at Mount Pleasant Waterfront Memorial Park. Once you have a pass, make sure it’s stamped by a local merchant to validate it before you board.

A bus going 50 miles per hour over the Ravenel Bridge needs a lot of music to make it jingle. Jesse and Friends music studio is bringing nine hours of rock, folk and traditional music to the bus.  Jesse and Friends has gathered young talent from around the region ready to put the rock in our roll. Anyone wishing to play on Jingle Bus should contact Jesse and Friends. They’ll be joined by DJ Art of Listening with a special set of Christmas Tunes titled, “I’m No Dreaming of a White Christmas” from tropical celebrations around planet Earth, Sharon Robles on acoustic guitar and William Christopher, bringing the great songs which built America and holiday favorites to his keyboard. The music cranks up at 8:30 am with a special set dedicated to the workers coming into Mount Pleasant on the bus who help our hospitality industry welcome visitors and locals to a weekend of holiday fun. Full information on Jingle Bus for Musicians.

Present’s help make the Holiday’s fun and one will be given away every 10 minutes on Jingle Bus. Prizes include 30 orders of Banana Pudding from Page’s Okra Grill, 35 Appetizer’s or Deserts from Burton’s Grill, two bike tune ups from Mikes Bikes, two spa treatments from Stox Spa, Salon, treats from the Sprinkled Spatula and two bottles of anti Monkey But Powder from Royall Hardware. Print your name and phone number on the pass before you deposit it in the box on board to participate in the drawings.

The biggest prize of the day goes not to someone riding on the Jingle Bus, but to the Merchant who gets the largest number of passes used on the bus.  Mayor Linda Page is selecting a special prize from her family’s fifty year collection of antiques and unusual objects to serve at the Merchant’s Grand Prize for Jingle Bus 2014. Leaderboard updates will be tweeted from the bus with hashtags #jinglebus and #carta41.

Jingle Bus will take you over the river and into the woods and even if your Grandmother’s house isn’t in Mount Pleasant, it will be a fun ride for all.



Jingle Bus?

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Thu Oct 30, 2014 at 09:54 AM PDT

Rivers Ave. Paved With Gold

by wjhamilton29464

North Charleston, SC- State Representative David Mack surprised me by showing up for a Hungryneck Straphangers Bus with Us Transit Ride at the Mary Street Transit center on Friday, Oct. 3, 2014 at 6 am.  David hadn’t RSVPd and the routes we had scheduled for the morning didn’t run through much of his district. It was still dark. David and Sue Edward, a long shot Green Party candidate for the SC house, talked to transit riders under the bleary lighting of the parking garage until the #301 St. Andrews Bus pushed out of the predawn gloom and into the light.  My stalweart accomplice in Nerdy, AV club activism, Dave Crossley, a green party member, also wrote off two hours of sleep to join us.

The #301 ground through the West Side of Charleston and David patiently talked to one rider after another.  Despite years of desperate effort, many of the riders still weren’t registered to vote. Some of them clearly weren’t interested in the process of democracy.  David still patiently listened to each person’s complaints, bantered with the Green party folks and tried to make democracy work on the darkened bus.

By the Time we got to Citadel Mall, the sky had grayed with the coming of day.  Here were a mix of Express Bus, Local and Tri County Link riders, mostly coming in from the South end of the County to begin a long day of work downtown or in North Charleston.  Again David handed out cards, offered the encouragement and help his status as a member of the SC Legislature could afford regardless of where the rider came from, their status as a voter, their race or their economic status.  He seemed to enjoy and value each encounter.

After a long visit at the busy Citadel Mall Stop, we boarded the Northbridge bus to go to N. Charleston, it rapidly filled and David greeted and attempted to talk to each rider.
Not everyone wanted to talk.  Some looked at him, but wouldn’t pull the earbuds out of their head to speak to a senior member of the SC House whose record of fighting for the downtrodden is rock solid. Other’s knew little of Government and couldn’t grasp who David was since he wasn’t Barack Obama or James Clyburn.  I was embarrassed and ashamed for both he and the Green party candidates.  We had never done a ride on Friday, which I knew to be a poor day for a ride.  I had set this up to try to push some of the other Candidates into getting on the bus.  Several of them never did.  It’s hard out there.  People are angry.  It’s easier to lose while safely staying inside the bubble.  We have a list of those who took a ride.

David was out of the bubble.  Sometimes it worked and there was laughter. The rusting gears of our corroded democracy turned a little. The thing I like most about transit is the reality that those on board are on good days, a community.  I remember clearly the prayers and good wishes shouted after me into the night as I faced the long, dark walk to the hospital to see my wife last fall when I stepped off the #40 at Bowman Road.  They prayed to God on my wife’s behalf the way some of them talked to David Mack, as if the almighty might not listen unless they did it loud.

But David Mack is not God.  He can’t force the Governor to extend Medicaid to the 300 thousand people Nikki Haley robbed of access to a clinic or a doctor. He can’t bring back the home healthcare workers who relieved elderly parents of the massive burden of bathing their severely disabled adult children which they used to get once a week. David can’t make the toxins the Governor allows industry to pour into our groundwater disappear. He can’t take the lead out of the rivers. He can’t raise the children who have been beaten to death while DSS laid off hundreds of social workers from the dead.  On a bad day, David couldn’t even get now convicted Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell to recognize him so he could speak in the SC Statehouse.

On those very bad days David and the members of the Democratic Caucus were forced to sit in silence.  The Speaker of the House, now convicted of campaign finance corruption and stripped of the most powerful position in the State Legislature, forced them to listen to hours of speeches by tea party representatives attacking the President.  On those bad days, nobody listened to David Mack.

David, I and the Green Party people reached Superstop in North Charleston and made the short, scary dash across Rivers Avenue at rush hour to get on the #10 Rivers Ave. bus for the ride back to where we started, about six miles.

The mighty 10 is the backbone of our underfunded local CARTA transit system.  It is a monument to what human determination can accomplish.  It is a chain of buses, some now 19 years old with millions of miles on the Odometer which moves over 97,709 passengers in September 2014. Many of its buses were purchased for use at the Atlanta Olympics. Others are five year old rewards from the recovery act which President Obama used to kick start an economy in cardiac arrest. One is a new diesel, hydraulic hybrid bus which pushes off after each stop on the strength of air pressurized from braking energy captured as is slowed down. 45 thousand pounds of bus, carrying 60 riders, runs for a moment on thin air.  

The 10 is the only bus line in an area of half a million people where you can generally say that another bus will be along in 15 minutes.  It links our poorest, most desperate areas where you can’t find a job or a grocery store to the low paying service jobs in tourism and the medical sector downtown.  It runs through part of David’s district.

Friday morning had been a poor time for a ride.  Obviously tourism was down for the weekend and far fewer housekeepers and cooks had gotten a text to come into work from North Charleston. What we were left with was a light load of people, some on public assistance, some with nowhere particular to go. Some had lost their minds.

It was a lady who had lost her mind who sat down to talk to David on the 10.  David smiled and listened minute after minute.  My horror at the reality of what I was seeing overwhelmed me. I doubted this woman would vote.  If she did, there was no telling who she would vote for. She had an overwhelming set of problems.  She was sick, poor and marginally homeless. She could find more mercy to help her stay off the street than men in a society increasingly applying lifeboat rules to who suffers sometimes are. She had been couch surfing with relatives.  She had eaten. She had lots of complaints, mixed up with problems and confusion which seemed to mean nothing at all.

David was listening to her like she was a winner of the Nobel Prize.  It went on and on.  This wasn’t the purpose for which I got out of bed at 5 am that morning.  People need to connect. They need to vote. The willingness to stand up as a citizen is being beaten out of them, one disaster at a time.  This woman was one of the victims who offers the struggle ahead nothing more than the burden that extending mercy to her from a ravaged storehouse of public support will cost.  She was one of the “costs we need to squeeze out of the system” which the Governor is so happy to talk to the business community about. “Out of the system” means to allow her to die as soon and as cheaply as possible, like the 1000 people who will be killed by lack of access to Medicaid in SC this year will.

I was depressed. Even on the shabby hilltop on which we SC progressives are surrounded, David’s time, attention and energy is still a precious resource.  I watched it being lavished on this hopeless suffering women which God has inexplicably abandoned to struggle in our miserable state.  It was not “a great day in South Carolina.” David, however, continued to hang on her every word the way some politicians attend to fundraising reports.

As the bus pulled into Charleston and the crowd on board began to thin, I looked around. I realized everyone had been silent for several minutes.  As they rose from their seats to dismount I looked at the nurses, housekeepers, dishwashers and construction workers who make my city possible for 8 dollars an hour.  They had quietly surrendered their opportunity to speak to a member of the legislature so this women could have it.

As I looked around, trying to pay attention the way David had been, I realized the other passengers had all been listening to the entire exchange.  They had watched their legislator, the Hon. David Mack (D) North Charleston, patiently absorb the chaos and incoherence of the woman’s stream of consciousness. They had proof that David would listen to the poor woman, long and patiently, and were confident that when they had something to say, that he would listen to them.

I remembered the admonition of our Lord, that whatever you do to the least of these, you do to me. It’s the power God has given to us all, the hardest one to use.  David was using that power.  In the long book of life inscribed in heaven, he’s solidly ahead in the polls.


Should Candidates for PUblic Office Ride Public Transit as Part of their Campaings?

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Democratic Candidate for Congress Elizabeth Colbert Busch talking to transit riders on the 41 Coleman Blvd. Bus in Mount Pleasant, SC on Mrch 14, 2013
Charleston, SC, USA- On Tuesday evening, Oct. 28 Hungryneck Straphangers will publish the list of Lowcountry Political Candidates and Political Leaders who have been on the public transit bus with us during this election cycle and back to Feb. 2013.

The Web page is already set up:

We also have a detailed page about Transit Issues and guidance to voting for better Transit in the Lowcountry in the 2014.

Members of the Media interviewing candidates may want to ask them about the results of our Transportation Proposals Survey.  We've just completed a resurvey of the top ten responses from our orginal 15 item preliminary survey and the top responses are essentially the same.  On both surveys, establshing a commuter rail system linking Summerville, Moncks Corner and Charleston to and through North Charleston was the overwhealming favorite of respondents even though the proposal called for taking the 100 million dollar additional cost out of road construction projects.

We will continue to offer guided rides to Lowcountry Candidats and political leaders of all parties through to Friday Morning at 10 am. Written inviations have been hand delivered to Lindsey Graham, Mark Sanford, Thomas Ravenel, Vincent Sheheen, and Bakari Sellers. Weve sent a blanket invitation to all other Republican candidates through their Charleston County Chairman via Facebook, receipt of which was aknowledged. We expect several additional rides this week.  Full information on that effort can be found at:

Indications are that if the economy continues to grow, traffic in the Charleston metropolitan area will degrade to regualr periodic systemwide gridlock in between one and two years from now, the period during which all officials elected next week will serve.  It nearly reached such levels in 2007 before the economic crash.  Lower employment levels, a rise in online purchasing activity (nobody drives to Blockbuster any more) and an aging population has delayed our return to a level of congestion which brings us to the verge of systemic failure, but it is now rapidly approaching.  The Friday afternoon regional traffic lockup of two weeks ago, caused by several routine car collissions, is a taste of what is coming.  All the road projects proposed and funded, including 526 and the new road around Boeing cannot reasolve this regional problem.

We hope the media will offer voters the oppotunity to learn what our political leaders think about the proposals the public voted on.

With Gridlock so close now, we're not planning a major effort to persuade the public to build major regional rail or alternative transportation systems at this time.  Studies have already been done.  We recognize that the will to fund and build them will only arrive when the cars stop moving.  The question is which of these candidates will be ready to address that problem when gridlock becomes a three times a week occurance in the Lowcountry.


If a candidate for public office rode public tranist as part of their campaign I would be:

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My Name is Rachel Corrie,
A Play of Palestine Based on the Historic Events and Records
October 26th, 2pm
ILA Hall 1142 Morrison Drive
For more information please call Merrill Chapman at (843) 200.1977

Lowcountry Peace will present  My Name is Rachel Corrie  on Sunday, October 26th at 2pm at the International Longshoreman’s Union Hall at 1142 Morrison Drive, Charleston, SC 29403. The play features Ashley Malloy and is directed by Josh Perlstein. It depicts the life and death of social justice activist Rachel Corrie in Palestine, where she was crushed by an Israeli bulldozer.  Donations for admission will be accepted on a sliding scale from $10 to 15.

Rachel Corrie grew up in Olympia Washington and traveled to Gaza at the height of the second intifada with the International Solidarity Movement in January 2003. On March 16th of that year, she was killed by an Israeli bulldozer while selflessly defending a Palestinian family's home that was to be demolished for the establishment of illegal Israeli settlements. Shortly after her death actor Alan Rickman (of Harry Potter fame) and journalist Katherine Viner compiled Rachel's lyrical and insightful writings into a one person show. Many have compared her journal to the writings of Anne Frank.

The play was first performed at the Royal Court Theatre in England and has been subsequently performed all over the world in over 250 productions.

In the play we witness Rachel mature from a precocious and deeply perceptive adolescent in Olympia to a young woman who travels to Gaza to find her voice and her place in the world. Rachel felt she had an obligation to pursue peace in the face of unimaginable danger and suffering.

This performance tour not only intends to tell Rachel's story, but also to raise awareness and funds for The Freedom Theatre in the West Bank, Palestine. The theatre was founded in 2006 as a place where young people could find refuge and transform their frustrations towards the Israeli Occupation into acts of theatrical creation.

The performance will be followed immediately by a discussion about the situation between the Israelis and Palestinians. All are welcome.

Merrill Chapman
Lowcountry Peace
cell (843) 200-1977


Today, the right wing noise maching is amplifying Ann Romney's claim that had Mitt Romney been elected President, we would not be figting ISIL in Iraq.

Had Mitt Romney been elected President, or John McCain or may a merciful God forbid it, had Sarah Palin ascended to the Presidency when John McCain’s heart or mind failed him under the acute stress of a job which has turned Barack Obama gray, we would not now be fighting ISIL in Iraq and Syria.

In Mount Pleasant, SC, I hear the C17s flying over my home out to sea at night, heavily loaded with weapons and supplies. I know where they are going. It is far more war than I want, but a much smaller conflagration of fear and hate than we might have had.
Had Romeny, McCain or Palin become our President, we would be fighting some of the men in ISIL in Iran.  There would be a native army of a million men, dug in on their home ground completely committed to defeating us there, backed by arms suppliers in Russia and China.  We would, by now, be embroiled in a struggle for American national survival which would have ended the partisan divide in our politics with the realization that about 500 million Moslems were devoted to killing us all.

We would have cities on fire, pocked by the ground zeros of major terrorist attacks.  An enraged population would have ostracized, attacked and attempted to exterminate the Moslems found within our borders if they weren’t sitting in Internment camps.  Mobs would probably be hunting down the Hindus as well since most people would be too terrified to be bothered with the difference. We would be in the grip of a police state that would be crushing any possibility of dissent while 300 thousand American men and women would be fighting in a regional war which would probably stretch from Syria to Afghanistan, the surviving remnant of the 400 thousand we had already sent to the front.

There would be another quarter million draftees on their way to reinforce them.  It would be a mobilization on the scale of WWII against enemies empowered by the Internet (where the power was still on), high speed travel, asymmetrical warfare in a world where you can level a building with the contents of a backpack.  Our domestic police forces would be using everything which could project or stop a bullet on our streets between the times when a shoot on sight curfew wasn’t in force.

Mitt’s friends in the 1% would be enjoying the vast opportunities of a survival economy where the private sector had the privilege or rationing the ability to meet every basic need including transportation, food, water, energy and medical care.  They would be busy sucking up all the capital and property left outside their control as fast as terror, poverty and the tears of children could drive it in. They would be fighting each other for the concrete, rebar, ammo and food supplies for their luxury bunkers.  They would be wondering how long, and to what extent they could trust the private security companies and the guards they employed to protect their families.

For the right, it would be the dreamed for fulfillment of every nightmare they’ve ever invented. Every excess and impulse they harbor would be completely indulged.  The streets would be full of flags and broken glass.  It would all be guns, and no butter. All the social safety program would be defunded.  The prisons and internment camps would be full of people shackled into round the clock work to sustain the war effort.  Everyone with ambition, intelligence or a sound pair of legs would be in uniform. It would be the only place in our society where they would have the opportunity to apply their talent or intelligence. If you were a teenager who wanted to drive a vehicle, your family’s car would be on blocks and your only option would be something with a military camo paint job on the other side of the planet.

However, the right would discover that it wasn’t like the way they choose to remember WWII. Smaller families who did not know their neighbors would be shattered by the loss of their few children.  Marriages would disintegrate. The churches might be full, but the prayers would be full of regret and resentment directed to a God which in their hearts, America no longer trusted. A social fabric thinner, less resilient and deeply divided by race, class and religion would shred as the suffering and losses mounted. A nation awash in firearms would become violent and criminal while the police focuses on keeping riots out of the streets.

The left, would be locked in its “free speech zones” being persecuted and ignored. Meaningful debate of complex issues would have completely disappeared, making our current anemic national dialogue and media look, in recollection, like a graduate level discussion of King Lear at Harvard.  The questions people would have on their minds would be focused on their next mean and the strength of the bars on their windows which might be made from park fences hacksawed into sections and through bolted to the walls.

Gas would be over $10 a gallon.  Transportation and energy would be unsustainably expensive.  Deeds to real estate would become part of the currency.  Inflation, not the regular kind, but the terrifying sort where money chases evaporating resources would, in an era where the speed of printing and distribution of paper money is no longer relevant, simple destroy the concept of government sanctioned currency. We would be on a barter economy, stuff for things and things for stuff.  Behind that would be a very unrepublican government assistance program which would gather at gunpoint and dole out subsistence where they believed it mattered.  Bomb builders would eat. Ballerinas would starve.

The 1% would be holed up behind razor wire and guards, comparing the quality of their bullet proof vests and armored vehicles. What used to be the middle class would be looking for ammo, food and rocks. Suicide would burn through the population like an epidemic. Epidemics would burn through the population like the black death.

All of these things have happened before: Russia in 1917 and 18.  Germany in 1931. France during the worst parts of the 100 years war. Rwanda, Cambodia and Somalia in our lifetimes have collapsed into genocide. Explosives spend only a tiny share of their time as the friends of civilization.

The hapless, George W. Bush Presided over an administration which secured power in a manipulated election.  Without voter suppression, Al Gore would have won Florida by tens of thousands of African American votes instead of maybe losing it by about 500. Bush vacationed while the warnings of 9-11 sat on his desk and his staff worried about they type of warfare which makes arms dealers rich.  It’s hard to make a billion dollars arresting angry men with box cutters. All the hope we felt in the Millennium moment crashed to the ground with the World Trade Center.

Bush squandered two trillion dollars on wars he may have thought had something to do with Osama Bin Laden and which Dick Cheney knew would make his friends wealthy.  Dick failed to grasp how dangerous poor, dirty men with guns can be. They inflated a real estate bubble with imaginary money and nearly everyone could buy a poorly built house until a lot of them had their entire wealth carried off in foreclosure. Finally, in September 2008 the music stopped and we came within days of having no food in the grocery stores. It took the largest transfer of wealth from the middle class to the 1% in the history of the Earth to get the corrupt system turned back on.

We elected Barach Obama.  I was in Pensacola, Florida doing voter protection. The nation rejected McCain and Palin and the billionaires began a political war to demonstrate to America, particularly its poor and minorities, that it isn’t going to matter who you vote for.  We elected Obama again, and they still don’t listen.

Occupy rose, connected and was crushed in two months. It survives, discredited and reviled, in a thousand ways outside of politics and media.

We labored through a healthcare signup process sabotaged by the Insurance companies it protects and computer systems which weren’t ready and failed until we succeeded in signing up 8 million people, including my own family.  It still didn’t count.  The Billionaires spent enough money to get people who had never had health insurance and got the Medicaid expansion and zero cost to hate the President. In South Carolina 300 thousand people didn’t get covered by the expansion, but most of them are too alienated and discouraged to acknowledge their situation by thinking about voting.

They shut the government down so, among other things, my wife’s workload at a job dependent on government contracts and her heart condition put her in the hospital resulting ultimately in her leaving work.  People suggested she should manager her time better.  

My congressmen, Mark Sanford left his wife for his mistress and then left his mistress for another woman. Sanford was elected after the end of his disgraced time as Governor over 17 other Republicans in the primary, many of whom got to church three times a week, have 30 year marriages and pay their bills on time. He will be reelected this November, to represent me and Charleston, SC, without Democratic opposition.

Finally, a President elected to get us out of Iraq was forced to send our Military back into Iraq because the brutality of ISIL was more than most of civilization could take.  If you really want to know what America would probably look like by now had McCain, Palin or Romney become President, you can probably get a good idea by examining life in the Caliphate before a President with the Nobel Peace prize blasts it out of existence.  Knowing no drama, Obama, he’ll probably finish that ahead of time and under budget. The Republicans will say he did it wrong. Like healthcare, they won’t be putting out a detailed proposal on how it should be done right before the decisions are made.

Our President is trying to govern a frightened and bruised nation. In South Carolina, stupid on steroids has taken over politics. It’s more than my votebuilder canvassing software on my tablet and hours walking my precinct meeting alienated African American voters can fix. I will be screaming at the next fund raiser who calls my home on the phone. I am tired of enabling them. If you are a candidate who wants to get up at 6 am and ride the bus with me to meet voters, (which I do on a regular basis) I’ll be waiting at the Mary Street transit center ready ride with you, manage a singup clipboard and tweet out your progress.
If you want to squander my money on pain free television advertising which ignores the power of the mute and fast forward buttons on a TV remote, waste someone else’s money.

I am still glad that Barack Obama is our President.  I wish he was more progressive, more pro labor and aggressively leading a fight from our side to “take back our country.” I am however, still very grateful we have not arrived at the hell we would have been delivered to had we not won the 2008 election.  We could have and should have done much more with our victory, but I recognize that all congressmen and senators serve money. I’m just grateful that my son, who would be a poor, disobedient soldier, wasn’t sent out to be killed by a right wing Sergeant who hated him in some blood soaked desert on the other side of the planet.  I’m happy that the power is on, the water is drinkable and the Mount Pleasant farmer's market is full of twenty different varieties of jewel like cherry tomatoes.

I grieve the loss of the hope I felt at midnight when we celebrated humanity's arrival at a new millennium, but I am glad we have a President who thinks and believes, ultimately in the value of human life and understands its varied and delicate nature. Perhaps I exaggerate, but history has shown us worse. Worse to some degree is what we woudl be living in were Romney, Palin, Paul Ryan or John McCain our President today.


If I could choose today I would want our President to be

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Democratic Candidate for Congress Elizabeth Colbert Busch talking to transit riders on the 41 Coleman Blvd. Bus in Mount Pleasant, SC on Mrch 14, 2013
Charleston, SC- A Charlestonian's question for this half century shall ever be: where are we: where are we going: and how shall we be saved?  Our next three days may tell. Can we prosper or shall we drown? Lincoln speaks to the Holy City yet.

"The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present."

Twenty-five years ago I awoke to the humid, still air in my Mother in Law's home, West of the Ashley in Charleston where my wife and I had stayed while Hurricane Hugo ground over the Holy City. Aggie asked for batteries. Since the yard was blocked by downed trees, I walked to the Piggley Wiggly Supermarket to get some. Nothing was recognizable.  Power lines lay on the ground like spaghetti after a High School cafateria food fight.  All the light poles at the shopping center had been torn from their bases.  The windows of the Grocery store were shattered and looters were climbing through the openings.  I returned to my now deceased mother in law's home to tell her that the store wasn't safe to enter and we would have to make do with the batteries we had that day.

As I was heading back, the police pulled into the parking lot in two black and white cruisers. A fire truck with firefighters and chain saws and men from public works could be heard clearing a single lane on the highway.  Shortly thereafter, an aging SCE&G Transit Bus on the North Bridge route began pushing it's way along the littered road.  

What I learned, as a strong, young lawyer whose house took only modest damage is that people have to help each other.  I threw myself into the recovery effort doing everything from helping clear historic graveyards to providing legal assistance at the emergency center.  It was my great and cherished privilege to be a witness to the last time that the grand old city of Charleston stood up and defied disaster.  I learned that the stone and brick of the old city was not held together with mortar, but with memory. Life is a journey a community takes together, like people on the bus.

I felt that city push itself up from the wet, leaf covered pavement before the leadership of Mayor Joe Riley, in view of the world.  Two weeks after that trip to the grocery store as he read the words on Aaron Copland's Lincoln Portrait at a concert by the Charleston Symphony. The moment was broadcast to the planet from the satellite trucks around the old customs house mentioned in the last scene of the Opera Porgy and Bess.  

Our Mayor, Quoting a President whose leadership in the Civil War brought disaster to Charleston, read the great man's words in the aftermath of our disaster and the city stood up. "The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves and then we will save our country."

That is when Charleston stood up.  I felt the moment.  Everyone did.

"The occasion is piled high with difficulty and we must rise with the occasion."

We would rebuild the Charleston over ten long years. However we never saw the terrible power of money and how the desire for and lack of it could transform our old town.  We had survived three wars, an earth quake, a dozen major hurricanes, long periods of economic privation and epidemics.  After the hurricane, everything got renovated.  The world came to visit and stay. Autocentric transportation planning enabled the metropolitan ares to sprawl out from the city center another ten miles, consuming more raw land for houses, strip shopping centers and roads than the entire city had used in the previous 300 years of settlement and development.  Downtown gridlock appeared at the holidays, then tourist season and now several times a week nearly all year round. Porgy couldn't afford to live on "plenty of nothing" and his goat cart wouldn't be safe on our streets.

The SC Dpt. of Transportation completed an enormous Mark Clark Expressway around the city, a new bridge to James Island, and six laned Johnnie Dodds Blvd. into something which looks like an Interstate through Mount pleasant.  They are currently engaged in a bitter fight about extending I526 across John and James Islands.  

We stared a new Transit Authority, CARTA and shut it almost completely down for two years after a series of failed referendums.  We've developed a nasty set of statistics about pedestrian and cyclist fatalities, which includes losing the lives of the fastest South Carolinian to ever mount a bicycle and the city's preeminent cycle transit planner.  Less remembered are the men and women attacked, robbed and killed during long night time walks home along roads without sidewalks after the buses stopped  running.

Road construction here is fantastically expensive due to our wetlands and rivers.  The Ravenel Bridge cost nearly a billion dollars. In most places there is nowhere for more road to go.  There is a rising call to end all further economic development, residential construction and tourism development and just pull up the welcome mat to settle down to a future or stagnation and gridlock.

The Automobile cannot take Charleston where it needs to go in the time remaining before carbon driven sea level rise puts this cherished city under salt water for good.

"We must think anew and act anew"

Monday is the 25th. anniversary of the morning I climbed over trees to go to the broken store and it beins a process of attempting to disenthral ourselves from old dogmas    

Better bus stops for Public Tranist are endorsed in today’s Sunday Edition of the Post and Courier, with a call for stops which are lighted and contain police call boxes. (Our proposal also calls for bus pullouts and bike racks at stops). Hungryneck Straphangers thanks everyone who has assisted in the month long effort to prepare our community for Tuesday’s 25 year planning meeting on Daniel Island with the SC Dpt. Of Transportation.

Three upcoming events create a powerful opportunity to sieze the wheel from the snoozing drivers which are steering our region towards sprawl, gridlock and what for Charleston will be a disastrous carbon driven rise in sea level. It’s been 25 years since Hugo. We’re looking 25 years ahead.

Monday, 11 am – We’ll gather at intersection of Market and Anson Streets in downtown Charleston (the most congested spot in the entire city) to hold a media and press conference announcing our plans for Tuesday and the results of our Transit Priorities Survey.  George Hopkins, Loreen Myerson & Rev. Thomas Dixon, among others, will speak.  The conference will be held on the patio in front of Café Paradisio.  Full details at

Monday, 6 pm- Gabe Klein, the visionary mobility planner who has remade Washington DC and Chicago will speak regarding mobility on the Charleston Peninsula on Monday, September 22 at 6 pm in The Charleston Museum Auditorium, 360 Meeting Street.  In this second public presentation, Gabe Klein will focus on his perspective and recommendations for Charleston, to include specific ideas for the Charleston Peninsula and the Historic District.  Facebook signup

Tuesday, 4 – 7 pm-  We’ll provide a bright, red shuttle bus to take Transit Riders and Cyclists from CARTA Superstop in N. Charleton to the SC DOT 25 year planning meeting at the Daniel Island School on Daniel Island.  The meeting is from 5-7 and provides an opportunity for public input into the plans for SC’s entire transportation system for 25 years, now until 2040.  Full details at

The Editorial in Today’s Post and Courier can be found at

"We will save our country."

Hopefully, starting Monday, the Holy City will realized "The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present."  We know,  "The occasion is piled high with difficulty and we must rise with the occasion." A walkable, connected city which enables travel on foot, by bike and on transit can liberate Charleston so that even those still in a car spend less time standing still. "As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves and then we will save our country."

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