(0208) Week of Jan. 9, 2008
New Powdersville High
coming to District One
Anderson School District One Board of Trustees unanimously approved a recommendation by Superintendent Dr. Wayne Fowler Tuesday to proceed with a bond referendum for a District wide building program that includes renovations and additions to all District One schools and includes building a new Powdersville High School.
Preliminary cost for the building program, described as Phase I by Dr. Fowler, is $85,750,000. Fowler said the plan is to meet the needs of the growing District for 2008 through 2013. He said in five to six years, he would recommend replacing the two middle schools which will be approaching 60 years old.
The Board also unanimously approved a resolution authorizing a bond referendum to fund the building program. Dr. Fowler said he had spoke with the election board and plans are already in place to hold the referendum on March 18, to ask the public to support the proposed building program.
If approved, the new high school will be built on property the District already owns next to Powdersville Elementary school on Hood Road.
The District purchased 89 acres approximately 20 years ago, eventually building Powdersville Elementary and Middle Schools on the property to meet the needs of the fast growing end of the District.
Dr. Fowler said there is approximately 40 acres beside Powdersville Elementary which will be the site of the new high school. There is already a place for a football field and track at the site, he said.
The new high school will be a 2A size school designed for 800 students, according to Dr. Fowler.
Dr. Fowler said by the time the new school is finished, Wren High School, currently at 1700 students, will be at approximately 1800 students.
If approved, design and construction will take about three years, Dr. Fowler said. Students attending Powdersville Elementary and Middle schools will feed into the new high school.
Dr. Fowler said 8th graders at Powdersville Middle will be the 9th graders at the new High School. There will not be mandatory attendance lines, following the current District wide policy that is in place, allowing students from across the District to attend a school if there is space available.
Preliminary total cost for the building program is estimated at $85.75 million. A new high school is estimated to cost $49,560,000.
Estimated costs for the proposed additions and improvements to the rest of the District One schools are as follows:
Concrete Primary, $3,750,000; Cedar Grove Elementary, $2,670,000; Hunt Meadows Elementary, $100,000; Palmetto Elementary $2,810,000; Pelzer Elementary $200,000; Powdersville Elementary $100,000; Spearman Elementary, $4,550,000; West Pelzer Elementary $100,000; and Wren Elementary, $3,960,000.
Palmetto Middle, $4,760,000; Powdersville Middle, $2,220,000; Wren Middle, $3,960,000.
Palmetto High improvements are estimated at $4,150,000 and Wren High is estimated at $2,260,000 or $6,420,000, depending on whether a new high school is included.
A complete list of details on proposed improvements and additions to each school is available online at www.thejournalonline.com.
The proposal will cost the owner of a $75,000 home $52.50 per year additional taxes.
The owner of a $100,000 home will see an additional $70 per year.
On a $125,000 home, the increase will be $87.50 and on a $150,000 home, the increase will be $105 officials said.
Anderson School District One Board of Trustees were recently presented estimates for three building and renovation proposals being considered to meet expected growth needs for the District.
The proposals were narrowed down to one Tuesday, when the board unanimously approved a recommendation by Superintendent Dr. Wayne Fowler, to proceed with Option One, which includes a new high school. A bond referendum is being planned for March 18 to let the community decide.
Preliminary estimates on the original three proposals ranged from approximately $40 million to almost $86 million.
According to a presentation by M. B. Kahn Consturction Co. Inc., each of the three options being considered includes proposed additions and renovations to the Districts nine elementary schools, three middle schools and two high schools.
Additional options are whether to build a new high school or a new Freshman Academy or just go with the needed additions and renovations.
Option One, at $85,750,000 includes a new Powdersville high school. This was the proposal approved by the board Monday night.
Option Two, at $40,350,000, was the least expensive and included only additions and renovations proposed at each of the schools in the District.
Option Three included the proposed additions and renovations to all schools and a new Freshman Academy at Wren High School.
Under option one, total cost is estimated at $85.4 million. A new high school is estimated to cost $49,560,000. A new school will result in reduced need for additions, and resulting reduced cost for improvements at Wren High School. Wren High estimates are $2,260,000.
Estimated increase in property tax on a $125,000 home for this option will be an additional $87.50 per year.
Under option two, with no new high school, cost for improvements at Wren are estimated at $6,420,000. Increased tax on a $125,000 home will be $32.50 per year.
Under option three, building costs for a new freshman academy, are estimated at $21,360,000. The estimated increase in tax on a home valued at $125,000 will be $52.50 per year.
Estimated costs for the proposed additions and improvements at the rest of the District One schools are as follows:
Concrete Primary, $3,750,000; Cedar Grove Elementary, $2,670,000; Hunt Meadow Elementary, $100,000; Palmetto Elementary $2,810,000; Pelzer Elementary $200,000; Powdersville Elementary $100,000; Spearman Elementary, $4,550,000; West Pelzer Elementary $100,000; and Wren Elementary, $3,960,000.
Palmetto Middle, $4,760,000; Powdersville Middle, $2,220,000; Wren Middle, $3,960,000.
Palmetto High improvements are estimated at $4,150,000 and Wren High is estimated at $2,260,000 or $6,420,000, depending on whether a new high school is included.
See seperate story for a complete list of details of proposed improvements and additions.
Anderson School District One is currently considering a projected building program which includes classroom additions to all but three schools, new front entrances for three elementary schools, camera upgrades for all of the districts schools, and assorted specific upgrades at various schools.
Superintendent Dr. Wayne Fowler said the needs are based on meeting projected student growth in the District over the next five years and added safety.
The following projected building needs are being considered:
The Districts nine elementary schools have varied needs including classrooms and new front entrances to improve safety.
Cedar Grove Elementary needs two kindergarten classrooms, five other classrooms, a bookroom/storageroom and a new front entrance with additional office space to accommodate a larger school and to ensure safety. Estimated cost $2.67 million.
Palmetto Elementary needs two kindergarten classrooms, six classrooms, workroom/bookroom and new front entrance. Estimated cost $2.81 million.
Wren Elementary needs two kindergarten classrooms, 8 other classrooms, an office for the assistant principal, storage/book room, a new front entrance and a bus circle at the side of the building. Estimated cost $3.96 million.
Pelzer Elementary needs repair to exterior and interior of the Pelzer Auditorium and repair plaster on the interior of the school. Estimated cost $200,000.
Spearman Elementary needs include replace restrooms on the grade 3-5 wing, two kindergarten classrooms, six other classrooms and expand kitchen and cafeteria. Estimated cost $4.55 million.
Concrete Elementary needs two kindergarten classrooms, 8 classrooms, storage/bookroom, assistant principals office and remodel kitchen and cafeteria. Estimated cost $3.75 million.
Hunt Meadows and West Pelzer Elementary schools are sufficient to meet expected growth for now, however estimated improvements needed are $100,000 each.
All elementary schools in the District need upgraded security systems including digital cameras, call back features for P.A. systems and keyless entry for exterior doors.
Wren Middle and Palmetto Middle Schools will each need eight new classroooms in addition to remodeling buildings with new wiring, plumbing, painting and new exterior doors. Estimated cost $4.76 million for Palmetto and $4.56 million for Wren.
Powdersville Middle will need eight new classrooms, estimated cost $2.22 million.
All three middle schools need upgraded security systems including digital cameras, call back features for P. A. systems and keyless entry for exterior doors.
Palmetto and Wren High Schools each have different needs to meet expected growth.
Palmetto High will need six classrooms and expansion of the cafeteria. Athletic needs include expanding the field house, remodel old field house and add bleachers for girls softball and boys baseball. Estimated cost $4.15 million.
Wren High will need 16 new classrooms. Options include an addition on site or a new Freshman Academy on a site near the school (for 700 students). Another alternative would be a new high school (900 students).
Wren athletic needs include a new track and a multipurpose athletic facility for all sports plus restrooms. Estimated cost $2.26 million.
Both high schools need upgraded security systems including digital cameras, call back features for P. A. systems and keyless entry for exterior doors.
A new Powdersville High School is estimated at $49.56 million.
Estimated preliminary costs for the three proposals were presented to the board recently during a work session.
The proposals were: One - Building a third high school in the District, a new Powdersville High School, along with necessary additions and renovations - total estimated cost of $85.75 million. This proposal was approved Tuesday.
Proposal two - An addition to Wren High School along with other necessary additions and renovations thoughout the District - estimated cost $40.35 million.
Proposal three - Build a new freshman academy at Wren High School along with other necessary additions and renovations - estimated cost $57.55 million. The new freshman academy cost is estimated at $21.36 million. This proposal received the least support from focus groups.
By Stan Welch
Williamston Town Council took action on several items of business Monday including advertising for a town administrator, a codes enforcement person and safety and security equipment for Town Hall.
Advertisement for a town administrator was approved, pending changes in the language which would clarify the requirement for either a certain level of formal education in public administration, or the acceptance of actual experience in place of the formal education. The position will be advertised in local newspapers, as well as with the Municipal Association of South Carolina and the Appalachian Council of Governments.
Councilman Otis Scott reported that he would be meeting this week with a representative of the ODell Oil Company concerning the companys proposal to provide fuel to the Town, including pumps equipped to accept swipe cards.
The question of the Town hiring a building and codes officer was discussed. Chief David Baker reported that the training needed to be certified was considerably different than the training normally received by his officers. It would involve quite a bit more than just sending one of my officers for a few courses. Its almost a separate career to do this job.
The town currently has several properties which have been slated for demolition. A budget of $40,000 is in place for this year to pay for the demolition of several of those homes. Town Attorney Richard Thompson told Council that he was preparing an ordinance that would give the town authority to perform either voluntary or involuntary demolition of condemned properties.
You certainly have enough on your plate already to use up the budget for this year. I am basically adopting an ordinance used in Greenwood, because it has been tested and upheld in court. The problem is you need someone with the credentials to give you the authority to condemn properties. Even those that the owner is willing to have demolished should be certified as condemned so that there is no question that a home that is demolished met the standards for that, and wasnt demolished at someones request in order to save them the expense.
Chief Baker reported that the county building and codes officer had said he would come over one day and examine the various properties currently slated for demolition. He said he would be glad to do that for us, but its kind of at his convenience.
Councilman Carthel Crout recommended that approach, saying, Lets go through it one time with the County and see what we really need, where were headed with this.
Councilman Scott made a motion to advertise the position as a part time position with the salary being negotiable. The Mayor seconded and discussion followed.
Councilman Marion Middleton, Jr. suggested that the advertisement clarify that resumes were being sought with the possibility of such a position being created. That way we arent committed to anything.
After further discussion, Council voted to amend the language to define the position to as needed. The amendment and the original motion were simultaneously approved by a vote of 4-1.
A proposal for a study of the Towns water rates was eventually tabled after some discussion. The study would cost $4980, a sum Mayor Clardy called money well spent. His motion to approve the study failed for lack of a second. He then followed with a motion to table the issue until the February meeting to give Council time to study it.
Councilman Middleton later tied his failure to support the study to problems he says exist in getting accurate figures on the status of the Towns finances. We just dont have the numbers we need. I cant justify spending more money while we dont know how much money we have.
The issue apparently centers around accounting software purchased earlier this year by the Town.
Both Middleton and Mayor Clardy agreed that more accurate information is needed. But Clardy pointed out, and Middleton acknowledged, that the cash flow for the Town is healthy.
We are simply having trouble getting complete numbers because were in the middle of the audit and were closing out the years end and theres just a lot going on, said the Mayor, who assured the council that bank balances could be provided for the Towns various accounts.
Both Councilmen Middleton and Crout asked that the information be provided. We cant continue to operate the town blind like we have been, said Middleton.
Council did vote to spend $35,000 installing two new pumps at the wastewater treatment plant. The expense will be recouped when the RDA grant funds to upgrade the WWTP are received, since the replacement of the pumps was part of that upgrade. The old equipment simply failed early and has to be replaced before the update.
Following a fifty minute executive session to discuss the McPhail property and to discuss safety and security issues, Council voted to seek bids for additional security equipment for the Town Hall.
Councilman Crout had questioned the need for that matter to be discussed privately, citing the Freedom of Information Act. What do we need to talk about that in executive session for? That seems to be a public issue to me, said Crout.
Mayor Clardy responded that the FOIA allows an exemption for such matters and that the town attorney had agreed that such a matter was eligible for executive session protection.
Councilman Scott made a motion to strike the fifth agenda item from the agenda, and was seconded by Councilman Harvell. The item involved a hearing to be held concerning a pardon for former Mayor Marion Middleton, Sr.
Councilman Crout asked Scott why he was striking the item and Scott said the town had no business getting involved in a personal matter. Crout agreed, saying, This should never have been on the agenda.
Mayor Clardy said he did not place the item on the agenda to be contentious or controversial.
This Council has twice issued resolutions stating the Towns position on this matter. I am simply seeking direction as to the towns position so that I can represent that position before the Pardon and Parole Board.
The agenda item was stricken by a 4-1 vote with Mayor Clardy opposed.
By Stan Welch
Anderson County Council began the new year by electing District Five Councilman Michael Thompson as its Chairman. Former Chairman Waldrep made several remarks before opening the nominations for Chairman.
In those remarks he expressed his hope that, despite significant differences among the Council, perhaps we can give you a good year of administration and the kind of government you deserve.
He went on to again chastise the Council, saying that they have abdicated their authority by placing more and more authority in the hands of administrator Joey Preston and his staff. He cited the recent decision to purchase an 800MHz communications system as an example of that abdication.
He also repeated his concerns about the difficulty he experienced in receiving accurate and complete information from the administration, concerning the countys finances.
We have a lawsuit that will be heard by the State Supreme Court on January 23. That should be a very interesting hearing and encourage all of you to join me and Ms. Wilson in Columbia to hear those arguments presented. Can this administration, or any other, refuse to provide public information to elected officials?
Some of his remarks proved prophetic before the evening was over. I hope that no one on Council will be denied the opportunity to represent their constituents. To treat one member of this Council differently than the others is to effectively punish thousands of people in this County.
After reading a resolution thanking Waldrep for his service as Chairman, and presenting him with the gavel he used during his term, Chairman Thompson quickly gave an indication of what was to come, reading a warning to the public concerning the nature of their comments and their behavior. It soon became apparent that his gavel may be used as a hammer, as he immediately attempted to prevent one of the Councils most persistent critics from speaking during the public comment portion of the meeting.
Dan Harvell stepped to the podium to speak on behalf of what he described as the real Anderson County Taxpayers Association, at which point Thompson interrupted him and asked if his group is registered with the Secretary of State. Harvell said they were not. Thompson then demanded that Harvell provide a list of the organizations members or he would not be allowed to speak.
Councilman Waldrep called for a point of order, and stated, The ruling of the chair is illegal, unfriendly and improper. I would ask that the Council vote to overrule the Chair on this matter. Thompson retorted that Harvell had failed to provide a list of the organizations members and added, I rule him out of order.
Council voted 3-3-1 on the question of overruling the Chair, with Mr. Greer abstaining. That vote effectively supported the Chairs ruling.
The dispute has its roots in an action taken last year by a group which named itself the Anderson County Taxpayers Association, and incorporated under that name. They have since maintained that the original organization, which does not charge dues and is therefore exempt from any registration requirement, cannot use the name any longer.
One member went so far as to demand that then Chairman Bob Waldrep rule out of order anyone using the name who isnt a member of the registered group. That demand has apparently found a friendly ear since Thompson assumed the Chair.
Harvell then asked if he could speak as an individual, and Thompson refused to allow it, ruling Harvell out of order and telling him to sit down.
Waldrep immediately asked, Does this Council now deny individuals the right to speak? Is that what we have come to?
Councilman Greer made a motion to allow Harvell to speak, with Councilwoman Cindy Wilson providing a second. Following a brief discussion, Council voted 4-3 to allow Harvell to speak.
Harvell called the county government one of the most secretive in the state and called for a full investigation if there proves to be no backup documentation for the credit card receipts that have been sought by Waldrep and Ms. Wilson.
Thompson, undeterred by the procedural setback, then read a portion of the County ordinance which states that no agenda item will be allocated more than 45 minutes, and that any vote to extend the time for discussion of any given item must receive a unanimous vote of Council to be allowed.
That requirement has not been enforced in the time since Thompson came on the Council, with the decision to extend discussion having been approved or denied by a two thirds majority vote.
Again, Councilman Greer intervened, making a motion that the rule be suspended until the next meeting of Council, when he asked that County Attorney Tom Martin have an ordinance prepared that would remove the requirement for a unanimous vote, and establish a simple majority as the standard. Ms. Wilson seconded and the motion passed 4-3. That left the restriction in place, however, since the vote to extend time requires a two thirds majority.
District Two Councilwoman Gracie Floyd then asked for Councils assistance in dealing with a problem at Broadway Lake.
The Broadway Lake Advisory Committee had failed to meet in order to address the question of whether to lower the lake this year, during drought conditions. Councilman Waldrep suggested that one more effort be made to convene the committee, and if that failed, simply dissolve the committee and act in its absence. Councilman Greer made a motion similar to that, but including the appointment of a new committee if the current one failed to meet. That motion passed 5-2.
Chairman Thompson continued to dominate the meeting as several other items were discussed.
During a discussion of the solid waste ordinance, Waldrep was questioning the establishment of an automatic consumer price increase in that fee, which will automatically increase it each year. Thompson cut him off, saying, We only have five minutes allotted for these ordinances, so we cant have a lot of discussion. Move along, please.
Later, during a discussion of the Councils adoption of the stormwater manual, Ms. Wilson was ruled out of order for her comments and was refused a point of order when she asked for it.
Later, during her scheduled presentation on the question of credit card expenses and documentation, Wilson raised the question of the protocol for reviewing such information, as required by county administrator Preston. So the protocol is basically to go through you, isnt that right? Waldrep added his concerns, saying, Is there a written protocol for obtaining information from this administration, Mr. Preston?
As Preston and attorney Tom Martin conferred, Waldrep went on. Youve conferred with your attorney now, perhaps you could answer me. Mr. Martin, since you are ruling from on high, what is your answer?
Martin replied that home rule establishes the requirement to address county employees through the conduit of the county administrator, an answer Waldrep disputed. He said, That is your interpretation of home rule. I want to get you on the record on this matter.
Later during the second citizens comment portion of the agenda, again preceded by Thompson reading a definition of the conduct and comment allowed, Rick Freemantle, a declared candidate for the District Six Council seat in the upcoming election, began by asking Chairman Thompson to repeat that definition.
Thompson refused and when Freemantle asked again, he told him to sit down. No sir, I will not sit down. I am an individual citizen and I have a right to speak here.
Thompson finally paraphrased the definition and Freemantle continued, saying that it was clear that Thompson was still hunting terrorists.
The reference was to a presentation made last year by Thompson when he linked the Anderson County Taxpayers Association to al Qaida and other terrorist groups.
By Stan Welch
The most recent effort to craft a capital project sales tax (CPST) proposal to provide infrastructure in Anderson County got underway Monday afternoon at the Anderson County Civic Center.
The newly appointed commission, comprised of Rusty Burns (Pendleton), Dick Bales (Easley), Bob Burriss (Belton), Vance Clinkscales (Anderson), Kirk Oglesby, Jr. (Anderson) and David Jones (Belton), met with Anderson County Transportation director Holt Hopkins, and a sprinkling of elected officials. Mr. Jones was elected chairman and Mr. Burriss was elected vice chairman.
The formula for appointing the various members is defined by the state law which established the local sales tax option in 1997. That formula calls for three appointees by County Council, with the largest town in the county appointing the other three members. All of the county appointees are from the Belton area.
Sheriff Crenshaw, who could receive funding from the tax to expand or build a jail, was on hand.
He was unable to provide any hard data on the possible cost of the expansion or new construction. He said the department is waiting on a study that is being conducted to determine those figures. He was hopeful that the study would be available to the Commission for their deliberations.
Also on hand were several candidates in upcoming elections, including John Skipper, who is running for sheriff and Sarah Dawdry, who is running for the solicitors office.
Rep. Carl Gullick, from York County, gave a presentation on the use of the CPST in his district. Gullick was serving on the York County Council when that County imposed a sales tax. He spoke glowingly of the results of that decision, and the road construction it made possible. Rep. Mike Gambrell was also on hand.
A representative for Wilbur Smith, one of the worlds leading road construction companies, updated a CPST study done two years ago when a similar tax proposal was unanimously denied by council. The figures presented indicated that the tax, if approved and implemented, would generate approximately $148 million over the seven year maximum life of the tax.
That number is based on the projected figure of $14.8 billion in net taxable sales in Anderson County over that same period. The figures also indicated that approximately 38% of that amount would be generated by tourists, those working in Anderson county while living elsewhere, businesses headquartered elsewhere, and other sources other than Anderson county residents. That percentage would equate to approximately $56 million of the total.
The Commissions duties are relatively clean cut. It is their job to determine which capital projects should be included on the list to be funded, to prioritize those projects, and to formulate a referendum question incorporating that list and its consideration by voters into a form to present to County Council for its approval.
The tax can be used for several types of infrastructure, including roads, bridges, and closure of county landfills. Current proposals for projects include funds for the detention center, road projects and possibly the construction of water lines, although there are related issues to be resolved concerning that proposal.
Adam Artigliere, of the McNair Law Firm, explained that the County Council cannot amend or alter the question as it is presented to them. They can have input into the process but once that question and that list of priorities is presented, it cannot be changed.
He also explained that the referendum question, once accepted by council, must be approved by the US Department of Justice prior to its inclusion on the general election ballot.
That drop dead date for presenting an approved question to the election commission is August 15. Working backwards from that deadline lets us establish other dates that we must meet. For example, this Commission needs to make its presentation to Council in April, preferably for first reading approval at the April 1 meeting of the County council, but no later than the April 15 meeting. That would allow second reading at the April 15 meeting, or no later than the May 6 meeting. Third reading could then take place at the May 6 meeting, but no later than the May 20 meeting, which is the absolute latest we could get approval and meet the other deadlines.Appointed commission studying
Williamston Police Chief David Baker reports that the recent holiday season was surprisingly quiet, as the following report will confirm. We had a very peaceful holidays by most standards, and especially compared to last year, said Chief Baker.
Among incidents investigated: Dec. 24 Ptl.M.W. Ritter and Sgt. Z.E. Gregory responded to 15 Traxler Street after receiving a call from Jessica Rhodes at that address. Rhodes, WF, 17, 57", 158 pounds, blond/grn, reported that she had just assaulted Anna Plumley, a WF, 60 , for taking her cell phone from her. Rhodes said she had pushed Plumley. Plumley said that Rhodes had trouble keeping her temper. Rhodes was arrested and booked for simple assault.
Dec. 26 Ptl. M.W. Ritter was dispatched to the Fast Fuel where he arrested Eugene King, BM, 38, 52", 135 pounds for disorderly conduct. King was walking unsteadily and had a strong odor of alcohol on is person, according to the police report. He was transported to the WPD for booking.
Dec. 28 Sgt. A. Digirolamo and Sgt. D.E. Whaley investigated a complaint of petit larceny at the Subway restaurant, where Linda Graham, an employee, reported that a tall thin black man with a navy blue coat and gray sweat pants had asked her for change for a hundred dollar bill. Upon handing him five twenty dollar bills, she asked if he had the hundred. He said it was in the car and fled on foot.
Several days later, on January 3, Capt. K. Evatt executed a warrant on subject Timothy Clement, BM, 61, 195 pounds, 22 years old at his residence at 1116 Bell Road.. Clement later confessed to the theft both orally and in writing, according to the police report.
Dec. 29 Sgt. M.D. Creamer was on patrol when he observed Voris Fleming, BM, 39, 61", 155 pounds, walking unsteadily on Anderson Drive. Upon making contact with Fleming, Sgt. Creamer determined that he was intoxicated and arrested him for public disorderly conduct.
Dec. 31 Ptl. M.W. Ritter responded to 29 Cleveland St. where Sean Cabaniss reported the theft of a white 16 foot enclosed Pace trailer, with two appliances inside. The total value of the loss was $6000.
Jan. 4- Ptl. M.W. Ritter and Sgt. Z.E. Gregory were on patrol when they observed a blue Dodge pickup truck traveling on Tripp St. Ritter was aware that the driver had an outstanding warrant for failure to appear in court. Michael Bolt, WM, 54, 510", 145 pounds, of 390 Mahaffey St., was arrested for the bench warrant. The passenger, Martha Bolt, WF, 45,56", 165 pounds, of the same address, was also arrested on outstanding warrants. Both were transported to WPD.
Anderson County Sheriffs Deputies investigated the following incidents:
Dec. 31 M.J. Burns was dispatched to 146 Murdock Rd. where Katie Garrett reported that her van had been taken while she slept. She said her uncle had been staying with her for two weeks and that he was the only one there who could have taken it. He had done it once before and left it at Garretts mothers residence.
Dec. 31 C. Holbrooks was dispatched to 423 Johnson Rd. where Charles Emery reported the theft of the copper from the heat/ac unit at the location as well as the copper wiring from the house. Estimated value was $2000.
Dec. 31 W.B. Simpson responded to 301 Conners Blvd. where Jeanine Green, WF, 54, reported that while she was talking to a person identified as Robert Bowling III, of Greenville, on his cell phone, the man entered her residence and ripped a recording device she was using to record the call from her hand. He then left. The device was valued at $49.
Dec. 31 T.L. Chapman responded to 103 Carson Creek Rd. where Edward Jones reported that someone had broken the glass in a double sliding door at his residence, causing $300 in damage.
Dec. 31 C. Holbrooks was dispatched to 906 Anderson St. to the Hardees where the manager reported that a bank bag containing $254 was found to be missing when the stores safe was opened on that day. Written statements were obtained from store employees and the restaurant chains loss control team was coming in to investigate.
Jan. 1 R. R. Adams responded to the Waffle House at 103 Assembly Dr. where a store employee reported that a white male and a white female between 18 and 25 years old had ordered and eaten two meals valued at $17 and then left without paying.
Dec. 31 M. Voigt responded to 116 Twenty Nine Court where Marvin Mills, owner of Southeastern Sprinkler, reported the theft of the copper from a heating and air conditioning unit on the side of the business.
Loss was estimated at $1500.
By Stan Welch
Well, another year of County Council meetings is about to begin. And just to make it more interesting, its an election year. And if that werent enough, its a Presidential election year. And for the icing on the cake, a capital project sales tax commission has begun its task of coming up with a referendum question that would impose a one cent sales tax for purposes yet to be determined.
Whew, theres gonna be some high speed lying going on over the next six months. Sorry, I meant to say campaigning.
By the time you read this column, a new Council chairman will have been elected. That information will be available elsewhere in this issue. Ive already expressed my opinion about the possibilities for that election, and the results of those various possibilities. For the record, Im betting on Michael Thompson. Just a hunch.
The bigger issue is the existence of a five vote bloc on the Council that seldom if ever wavers in its consistent support of administrator Joey Preston. Of course, rumors abound and considerable evidence exists that Preston is actively involved in helping the members of that majority obtain campaign donations from a list of donors which, by his own admission, he makes available to the candidates he favors.
How such active and partisan participation in the electoral process passes any definition of legal or ethical behavior is beyond my comprehension. Of course, I cant comprehend why anyone cares about Britney Spears state of mind, either. At any rate, the voters of Anderson County can expect Preston and his apparatus to be deeply involved in both the primary and general elections this year.
Just as aggressively as he supports his supporters, Preston also targets those he sees as enemies. The pathology that makes a public administrator perceive elected officials as personal enemies is a topic too complicated for a single column; but Prestons record of recruiting and supporting candidates to oppose constant critic Cindy Wilson makes it clear that such a perception does indeed exist.
That pathology will likely find an additional focus in this election year, since former Council chairman and District One representative Bob Waldrep did not perform as expected during his term as chair. Waldrep, who provided a counterpoint to Wilsons persistent allegations against Preston and his administration, can expect to hear things about his personal and professional life that even he may not know. Rumor and innuendo are both commonly accepted tactics in the Anderson political arena; used with little discrimination by those on both sides of the road.
Waldrep, who has seen his share of rough and tumble politics, has been open about expressing his surprise and dismay at discovering just how personal and vindictive the political scene has become at the local level. His efforts to instill some decorum and civility into the Councils actions were taken as a sign of weakness and turned against him, as various members of Council challenged him and his rulings at every turn; resembling nothing so much as a bunch of unruly school children bedeviling a substitute teacher, who knows he isnt allowed to take a ruler to the miscreants backsides.
But I suspect that his experience with the personal and ugly aspects of local politics is just beginning. He has clearly joined Ms. Wilson on the hit list. It will be interesting to see who is recruited to run against Waldrep in District One.
Rumor has it that Brian McCarty, a Lexington lawyer who has recently moved back to his hometown of Honea Path, might run against Wilson. That would be Cindy Wilson, not Ron Wilson, whom McCarty attacked prior to Wilsons election in 2006. McCarty challenged Wilson, Ron, not Cindy, based on his well known membership in Southern heritage organizations. McCarty went so far as to challenge Wilson to a debate; a challenge which Wilson quickly accepted, and which McCarty failed to meet, ostensibly due to the death of a family friend.
McCarty as opponent to Cindy Wilson might be the only possible matchup that would actually increase Wilsons already impressive margins of victory in the last two election cycles.
For those Council members who may face tough races themselves, let me offer an old Oriental parable about the futility of trying to make ones self look taller by cutting off the heads of all those around them.
Instead, rise to the demands of leadership that you promised to accept when you were last sworn into that office you hold. Approach the issues and their solutions with an eye towards serving the people of both your districts and the county in general, rather than serving your own ambitions and those of others.
Seems to me you might be surprised at how quickly that lifts your head and shoulders above the crowd.