Monday, August 22, 2011

From the House

Bluffton Today

We got an amazing number of calls and emails commenting on last week’s column, primarily on the animal abuse and the “bottle bill” that will be coming up next session. As always, I appreciate the responses we get to topics presented in the column. Over the years, it has been a fertile field of ideas, many of which have found their way into legislation, and ultimately into law.
As much as I enjoy the conversation when you call, sometimes it is better if you will compose your thoughts into an email. That way, when we conduct hearings on the various matters under consideration, I can enter your correspondence into the official record, as well as read your words before the committee or subcommittee charged with reviewing the issue. Some of the emails we received on the bottle bill were absolutely masterful. They represented several different takes on how to encourage recycling of beverage bottles, as well as examples of unintended consequences of different laws in other states.
The idea that the state might impose a deposit on disposable beverage containers is not without controversy. Both sides of this issue were well represented in the calls and emails we received. As with most of the matters that come up for legislative treatment, there is no completely clean, good answer to the question. Mostly it is a matter of whether we should even consider a legislative solution, and if so, which is the one approach with the best cost/benefit ratio. Obviously, the more serious input we have, the more likely we will arrive at a good outcome. You are an integral part of the process and, in truth, you make me look pretty good sometimes. Thank you.
There is a side to this that I need to touch on, albeit reluctantly. While the overwhelming majority of constituent contacts we handle are serious, businesslike transactions, we are beginning to see more and more rude or insulting comments and suggestions. Having been a businessman for most of my life, I know that not everyone is a satisfied customer. If you have a complaint, I want to hear it. I need to hear it. However, if you are unkind to my staff, or use language that would make your mother cringe, perhaps you should calm down before making that call or composing that ugly email. If you think it’s a good idea to torture animals for our amusement, explain it to me calmly. If it is truly your right and privilege to throw your empty beer bottles on the side of the road, make a case for it. Maybe I’m missing something.
It’s no secret that we have an unemployment problem in our state. I work on it every day. I think about it every night. There are two local folks that not only think about it, they decided to make their own jobs. Bud and Shirley Mingledorff are a couple of friends of mine who are fun Bluffton people that want to take you fishing. If you don’t want to fish, they will ride you and your friends around in one of their nice boats while you enjoy our beautiful Lowcountry. If you want to take a bunch of folks over to Savannah for dinner on River Street, Mingledorff Charters might be just how you want to get there and back.
Bud and Shirley may not have the answer to all our economic woes, but they are certainly a part of the solution--and a creative, fun part at that.