Wednesday, January 9, 2013

From the House

Bluffton Today

Mary and I appreciate all the calls, emails, and Christmas cards we received during the holidays. It is both heartening and humbling to realize how many of you who started as political supporters have become personal friends. We certainly try to do a good job for all our constituents, but somehow it is a little different when you realize you are taking care of your friends and their families.

In that vein, I had a good meeting with my friend David Brown regarding the Osprey Village project. Osprey Village is the work of a group of dedicated parents hoping to create a “purpose-driven neighborhood” to house and provide meaningful work for their developmentally challenged adult children in our area. The idea is very compelling and should not only potentially reduce costs but also could allow these folks to become part of the larger community, as well as contribute to the economic vitality of Southern Beaufort County.

Already, an organization serving this population called PEP (Programs for Exceptional People) is an integral part of a Bluffton based business called BottlesUp, owned by internationally known glass artist Laurel Herter. Once a week, a contingent from PEP arrives at the BottlesUp facility on Heyward Street in Old Town Bluffton. These folks assemble and install the caps and rings on these gorgeous designer water bottles. Not only are they outstanding workers, they are cheerful and exceptionally conscientious in their duties. I believe many of the parts of the Osprey Village model are in place. We will hear more from David and company as this model comes to realization.

My comments last week that good communication is about 90% of good governance brought a lot of comment. One of the folks who seems to have taken it to heart is the candidate for Weston Newton’s old seat on County Council, Tabor Vaux. Tabor was until recently an assistant solicitor in the office of my friend Duffie Stone. He is now working in the family law firm, but has taken time out from his legal duties for extended conversations with each member of the Beaufort County delegation. We are all impressed with his level of commitment and his understanding of the issues currently facing the county. Many of those issues are going to involve hard choices. If preparation and dedication make for good decisions, we are very likely going to see another effective councilman sitting in the Bluffton seat on Beaufort County Council.

Finally, I always beat the drum for not drinking and driving and having a designated driver. As the father of teen-agers, I guess I’m just hard wired for that. However, a good friend called the other day with an idea that was so good, I just wanted to pass it along. This fellow is the father of kids in high school and college. Every Friday and Saturday night, he puts $25 on the kitchen table so that if any of his kids or any of their friends have anything to drink, they can take a cab to his house and pay for it with that $25.
We all know that a DUI will be about a thousand times more costly than that cab ride. As parents, we are constantly and acutely aware that drunk driving can sometimes also involve the loss of that which is infinitely more precious than any amount of money.

Next week, I’ll have some play-by-play on the new session, but I just had to pass along that piece of practical wisdom. Politics is important, but for me, it’s always a notch or two below keeping our families safe.