To the Contrary

Spurrier out of bounds

Last season's strong finish, followed by a highly rated recruiting class, further elevated most University of South Carolina fans' already lofty regard for Gamecock football coach Steve Spurrier. But Mr. Spurrier strayed out of bounds when he blasted the school's refusal to admit two of his recruits.

"The Ol' Ball Coach" diverted from standard media-day fare by declaring any player who met the NCAA's minimal academic qualifications should get into South Carolina, warning: "As long as I'm the coach here, we're going to take guys that qualify. If not, then I'm going to have to go somewhere else."

... Clemson's Tommy Bowden pitched a similar snit six months ago -- though, after his team's late-season collapse, not quite as publicly -- over a school committee's ruling that he couldn't sign two of his "committed" recruits. So predictably, many Gamecock fans who ridiculed Coach Bowden then are backing Coach Spurrier now, just as many Tiger fans who backed Coach Bowden then are ridiculing Coach Spurrier now.

Being true to your school shouldn't require such double standards. But being true to a university's proper mission does require that admissions policies be determined by the proper authorities -- not football coaches.

The new treasurer

Part of the reason the voters of South Carolina elected Thomas Ravenel state treasurer last year was because he promised to be a vote for reform on the state Budget and Control Board.

Just days after Ravenel resigned due to his arrest on drug charges, lawmakers replaced him with one of their own. They didn't take time to look outside the General Assembly. They wouldn't even consider the governor's suggestion. They seized the opportunity to grab more power by putting a lawmaker in the position, which will give them a majority on the Budget and Control Board.

The situation is a snapshot of what's wrong with the structure of state government in South Carolina. ...

It is simply wrong for lawmakers alone to make the decision on who will serve almost a full term as state treasurer. There should be a special election next year, in conjunction with the regular election, to let the people choose who should fill out the remaining term.

The constitution should be changed to call for such elections. Lawmakers should be held accountable for their arrogance and their stubborn resistance to improving and modernizing South Carolina government.

Beach smoking

Local government is justified in banning smoking indoors because workers who want to remain gainfully employed often can't dodge secondhand smoke.

The town of Surfside Beach has taken its no-smoking ban to the extreme, preventing the lighting up in businesses, in parks and on beaches, where secondhand smoke is not confined as it is in a room. ...

Communities are beginning to step up to regulating smoking, but the beach issue remains a litter problem. Surfside Beach needs to hire additional officers to patrol the beach, enforce its litter laws and ticket butt flickers. ...

Smoking is unpopular, but it is still legal according to state and federal law. Surfside Beach and other communities are trying to impose majority will on a group when policing the scofflaws who litter might be the more prudent action.