Guest column: 3 councilmen backing Kelso

From the October 29, 2008 Georgetown Times:

For three elected members of a local County Council to write a letter such as this letter is unprecedented, but we have concluded we have a serious problem which needs to be remedied. Per the South Carolina Election Commission there are 22,676 registered voters in Legislative House District 108 who are resident in Georgetown County. County Councilmen Ron Charlton, Jerry Oakley, and Glen O'Connell together represent virtually all of these Georgetown County District 108 constituents.

We are respectfully asking you to consider voting for Jill Kelso for S.C. House District 108.

Vida Miller has NOT behaved as a friend of home rule or local county government. Some examples:

Members of the Georgetown County Board of Elections and Registration historically had been appointed by Georgetown County Council. But, in 2006, after Vida Miller was not successful in getting the Georgetown County Board of Elections and Registration to approve her request to create Deputy Registrars, the result was swift and sure. Mrs. Miller, as chair of the local legislative delegation, introduced a "local" bill in Columbia to take away the appointments from County Council, wipe out the board, and give the appointments to the Legislative Delegation. Gov. Mark Sanford vetoed the bill as unconstitutional, which it almost certainly is, but, as is typical, the veto was quickly overridden. So, now the Georgetown County Board of Elections and Registration is not a Georgetown County Board at all. It is the Legislative Delegation Board of Elections. Your local property taxes pay for the staff and for the other costs, but the county has absolutely no control whatsoever over its own Board of Elections.

During Vida's tenure, the boards of Horry-Georgetown Tech, Waccamaw Regional Council of Governments, and the County Transportation Committee have likewise met the same fate and are now under the control of the Legislative Delegation. Think about that for a moment. Even the Georgetown County Transportation Committee, which oversees road maintenance, is NOT a county committee at all. It should be named the Legislative Delegation Transportation Committee.

We wish that Mrs. Miller was as effective in helping us with our road problems as she has been at manipulating and controlling appointments to boards and commissions, but that is not the case. GSATS is the acronym for Grand Strand Area Transportation Study. It administers millions of dollars annually which come from federal highway funds. Vida is the Chairperson of GSATS, but at one point there was not even one project in unincorporated Georgetown County listed on the current Transportation Improvement Plan. Of late, funds for improvements to the Sandy Island Road/Trace Drive intersection with US 17 were approved more than two years ago, but NOTHING has been done.

We could go on and on, but we hope we've made our point. We will leave the other issues, such as just how liberal is Vida, to others to determine. Our issue is a very narrow one. Vida is NOT a friend of home rule or local government, and that is detrimental to our efforts to effectively serve you.

We are certain that Jill Kelso IS a believer in home rule and respects local government. We KNOW that Jill will support, NOT IMPEDE our efforts to effectively manage county government. We respectfully urge you to help us and vote for Jill on Nov. 4.

Ron Charlton, District 2
Jerry Oakley, District 1
Glen O'Connell District 6