Monday, July 6, 2009

Governor sadly reaping the whirlwind

Bluffton Today

I hope you all had a suitably festive and patriotic Independence Day. In that spirit, I want to thank you for the calls and emails this last week. The system set in motion on the 4th of July, 1776, works when you contact your representative and let me know what is on your mind and how you think the government should function.

I thank you, and the founding fathers thank you as well. You continue to make their vision of representative democracy the light of the world.

We set a record for constituent contacts last week, breaking the previous mark by a wide margin. Most of the conversation had to do with the Sanford melodrama. I also had a chance to speak with many of you at the Farmer’s Market last Thursday, and the governor was the main topic.

You and I, as usual, are pretty much in synch on this sad situation. Regardless of our political inclinations, we all seem to think the governor continues to violate the Primary Rule of Holes, that is: when you are in a hole, you need to stop digging.

I spoke with Governor Sanford last week. Honestly, I’m concerned that the relentless international condemnation and ridicule has begun to affect his perspective and equilibrium. I don’t say that to be unkind at all. I have enormous respect and admiration for the governor and particularly for the office he holds. I hope he can get some time to sort out his circumstances.

Right now, to use the biblical terms he has come to favor—Mark Sanford is reaping the whirlwind.

For those of us whose answer to this annoying distraction is to go fishing, there is a new wrinkle to the pastime. You now need a license to fish in salt water, regardless of whether it is from a boat or from a dock or even from the bank. As you know, I’m not a big fan of new taxes. However, this new license is as close to a user fee as we can get. Also, the fee schedule of $10 for in-state and $35 for out-of-state is pretty nominal, with the proceeds going to keep the fishery in good shape with better management and enhanced enforcement of conservation laws.

One of the beneficiaries of this new funding is the Waddell Mariculture Center out on Sawmill Creek Road here in Greater Bluffton. Al Stokes and his crew have absorbed more than their share of budget cuts recently while still managing to carry on with their mission. They have sought and found a creative mix of private monies and grants from individuals and groups that understand the absolutely essential role that the Waddell Mariculture Center plays in keeping our game fish populations healthy. You will hear much more in the very near future about this great facility and how they do a tremendous job of keeping the Lowcountry an ecological treasure, as well as fantastic place to fish.

Next week, barring more melodrama, I want to talk about the new port and how it’s progressing.