Monday, November 1, 2010

Old Town is still region’s economic bright spot.

Bluffton Today

Thanks for all the good calls last week regarding the “Going to the Dogs” oyster roast fundraiser. Keep it on your calendar. I am sure the Boeke’s and Brook’s Bed and Biscuit would appreciate all the help they can get. These are good folks that are doing good work for our animal companions and friends.

Speaking of good folks, there are a pair of wonderful schoolteachers who are opening a children’s bookstore in Bluffton. The store is called Booksalicious and it is unlike any business I have seen. It is located near Cork’s in the Promenade and will feature readings and story times and a host of events that will excite the young ones with the love of reading. Booksalicious should be opening as you read this and would be a great place to take your kids or grandchildren. It is also a testament to the strong local retail economy that an independent bookseller would choose this time and this place to open a store.

Last weekend, we had the 6th Annual Bluffton Arts and Seafood Festival. It is put on by Bluffton Rotary and is always well run and a big hit with visitors and locals alike. All the reports I have heard were of great sales, not only for the exhibitors, but local merchants as well. It seems that Old Town Bluffton continues to be the economic bright spot of the region.

There is seemingly the perfect mixture of activity and laidbackness (maybe that’s a word), a solid arts community, great restaurants, and a presentable road infrastructure. There is even a rumor that appropriate signage is about to occur so that visitors can find their way around to all the areas surrounding Calhoun Street and the businesses located there.

Even as the recent election campaigns have raged on, I have been preparing for the next session. One of the things I am working on is my Red Tape Reduction Initiative. This is a project that I have been pushing for nearly 10 years. Each year, we get something through the House that somehow founders in the Senate. It’s frustrating, but much of what I hear from you in business is how you are being red taped to death by the various levels of government.

This year, with pro-business Senators Tom Davis (R-Beaufort) and Clementa Pinckney (D-Jasper County), I believe we will pass meaningful legislation that will offer some relief to businesses from the more egregious forms of red tape. Well, tomorrow is election day.

I know many of you have already voted and that’s great. However, recent elections have been marked by disappointing turnout, especially among young folks and those somewhat new to the area, excluding Sun City. Make sure you check the papers for where your precinct votes. I know there has been some confusion in the past on this, but it’s better now.

Seriously, I want to urge you to get out and exercise your right to vote. If you are not interested in voting, then don’t complain that government doesn’t pay attention to you. In truth, it is you who is not paying attention to government, and that rarely leads to good outcomes. What usually leads to good outcomes is an educated, informed, and participatory electorate. Voting is the most basic and important form of participation. See you at the polls.