Palmetto Opinion

Editorials from around South Carolina: crowded roads, ex-Eutawville police chief, refugees in Spartanburg

Crowded roads

If spending 41 hours of your life each year stuck in traffic — at a cost to you of more than $1,000 — isn’t stressful enough, consider this:

It’s going to get worse, unless the powers that be get to work on solutions.

The state needs to stop dithering and increase the gas tax to bring in money to maintain and expand the road system.

Counties are going to have to come up with more money to support road projects.

Local governments should encourage alternatives to driving cars by providing safe routes for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Police can help by more and better enforcement of the laws.

And governmental bodies must act on decades of conversation about the demand for more and better public transit.

But reducing traffic congestion also will require the public to change its attitudes about transportation by, for example, carpooling and using available public transportation.

Post & Courier


Police shooting

Ex-(Eutawville) Chief Richard Combs pleaded guilty to misconduct in office and received a sentence of house arrest and probation. The family of the late Bernard Bailey was present for the proceedings this past week in Orangeburg, resigned to the outcome but saying they do regret that Combs never spent one day in jail.

The word that was and will be used now is “closure” — no more legal case hanging over Combs, no more wondering by Bailey’s family whether there will be “justice.”

For all, however, there will never be a real end to the impact of what happened on May 2, 2011. Combs’ life and career will never be the same. And Bailey’s family must live on with only memories of a loved one they lost forever at age 54.

The case speaks to the tragedy that surrounds today’s controversy related to police-related shootings — those involving officers being blamed for the death of suspects, notably African-Americans, and those involving the killing of police offices in the line of duty.

Times & Democrat


Refugee buck-passing

Spartanburg residents learned earlier this year that World Relief, a faith-based organization, plans to resettle 60 refugees in Spartanburg this year. Some of those refugees, from Congo, Burma, Rwanda and Iraq, are already here. Some are already working on their English and their assimilation into the community. More refugees are expected from Afghanistan, Nepal, Ukraine and Syria later this year. …

Residents want to know whether the State Department is screening the refugees well enough to exclude criminals and terrorists. They want to know what additional costs refugees will put on state and federal social programs. Even the local questions are concerns outside the jurisdiction of the county, including what kind of expense non-English-speaking refugee children will impose on the schools.

These are not the kind of questions the Spartanburg County Council is equipped to answer. Yet opponents of the resettlement are pinning their hopes to stop the program on the council, and advocates for the refugees are hoping the council will not act.

Why? Because state lawmakers put off the call for them to look into the program by shoving responsibility off onto the county. Lawmakers adopted a budget amendment prohibiting state funds from being used for the resettlement program unless the county council approves it.