Speaking of Politics, including I-526

If all that money is spent on an unpopular project, I wonder what will be the status of the infrastructure bank to make much-needed improvements to crucial interchanges (some of which might help alleviate West Ashley traffic problems) and parts of I-26? Isn’t that where the best potential for profit is, profit that might wing in shaped something like a Boeing Dreamliner, just as an example?

Going through some of the mail, Walter Duane says he enjoyed the column about unwanted house pests.

“Your method is no doubt effective, but I find it a bit convoluted,” he writes. “I loan my poor relatives money when they come to stay; I try to borrow money from my rich ones. Needless to say, they don’t come to visit again.”

Jim Augustin has a couple of New Year’s observations. Intrigued by auto mechanics, he nonetheless finds them somewhat inscrutable. After exhaustive research, he remains baffled by how mufflers work. (Ca-ching!) He also recognizes that there’s a major problem with South Carolina’s penal institutions: The prison walls never seem to be built to scale. (Ba-dum-bum!)

Regarding Bob Dylan, Irving Rosenfeld writes (in part), “Dylan’s early songs were folk songs, many of them protest songs against war in general and the Vietnam War in particular. They were great, but once he acquired his electronic equipment, they were anything but great.

“His early songs were good poetry put into song. Later, his songs made no sense and sounded like they were composed while he was high. Once asked what a song meant, he replied that the words didn’t mean anything, just words that sounded good to him. Even later, like during the last decade or so, he has attempted to revert to prior form. Some of them were religious. They actually had meaning. Critics liked those. I don’t. But at his best, Dylan sang his songs with intensity, feeling and emotion that nobody has equaled.

“You also mention Mayor Riley’s age at 67, which seems younger to you all the time. Me too. (I’m 73.) Perhaps Mary Clark should run for office. That would be ironic, wouldn’t it? She who detested the city of Charleston becomes mayor!”

It certainly would. The spectacle of the race would then be most intriguing: Joe Riley versus Mary Clark versus David Farrow. What a fascinating political menage … I mean melange.

By the way, speaking of politics, it’s clear that Farrow’s spirited foray will put a shine on his personal resume, so much so that I’ve heard on good account his nickname will now change from Gootch to Gucci.

Further speaking of politics (and to think that Mama told me never to carry on about such things), a P & C letter to the editor that appeared a couple of Sundays ago promoting the completion of the Interstate 526 Beltway really got my attention. In it, the writer compares the beltway to completion of the James Island connector and the Ravenel Bridge, and that a “noisy, squeaky minority is overwhelming the majority and reason.”

He further states that jobs will be created in the short-term, $460 million will be lost if we don’t use it, quality of life will improve and emergency evacuation will not be a catastrophe.

“Please do not let the few loud, clanging gongs hinder the future of our community,” he writes.

From what I understand, this would certainly add new meaning to the term “minority,” who appeared to outnumber the “majority” by at least 2-to-1 at the public hearings, if not more. The DOT clearly recognized this and acted accordingly.

Although I’ve never been very good at math, adding a bridge or replacing another does not add up to (i.e. compare with) a beltway, from any point of view. And I didn’t realize that we sit on the precipice of catastrophic emergency evacuation, particularly with the new Stono and Limehouse bridges effluxing barrier island traffic.

If all that money is spent on an unpopular project, I wonder what will be the status of the infrastructure bank to make much-needed improvements to crucial interchanges (some of which might help alleviate West Ashley traffic problems) and parts of I-26? Isn’t that where the best potential for profit is, profit that might wing in shaped something like a Boeing Dreamliner, just as an example?

My vision for the beltway, which I’m sure is ill-informed and short-sighted, is this: A circular object with a set of jaws and teeth like that of a great white shark that starts eating away at its own tail, only to die quickly from accelerated self-cannibalization and obsolescence, leaving in its wake traffic demands that greatly and disproportionately exceed those that gave birth to it in the first place. Not to mention all the other inherently negative implications, which have been discussed previously ad nauseam.

Or is this just another interpretation of “progress”? When it comes to a city and surrounding environs as precious as Charleston’s, how much of this type of progress can we really stand? I know I sound like a broken record when it comes to this particular project, but there’s GOT to be a better way.

Edward M. Gilbreth is a Charleston physician.

Post and Courier

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