The Price of Liberty is Eternal Vigilance
August 25, 2019
To our viewers
Age and adversity has taken its toll. There will be no more postings on this web site. It is not that we lack the will. We just lack the stamina. Charlestonwatch was formed about 15 years ago in an attempt to fill part of the void in the media coverage of local political events. Our early attempts were ambitious and at a time when we had more energy. Those times have past. Did we make a difference? We cannot tell, but we tried.
July 30, 2019
A heartfelt challenge to Black Fathers
Below is a mildly edited transcript of a speech given recently by Council member Henry Darby to Charleston County Council. It was impromptu, emotional, provocative and plain speaking. It is so relevant today with the issues of education and crime bedevilling the community. What is particularly relevant is that Mr. Darby is black and the Principal of North Charleston High School. (Editor)
June 19, 2019
City Council, June 18
Increased scrutiny planned for public works
Council to change law in relation to vehicle collisionsMarc Knapp
Discussion over the Spring- Fishburne Drainage project dominated the Ways and Means Committee meeting on Monday. The Committee had a number of items relating to the project on its agenda, all of which related to increased spending. As the multi million-dollar project is already estimated to be $53 million over budget, Council members were not happy. Two of the items were sent back to the Public Works Committee. But perhaps more importantly, Council agreed that the present approval process for capital projects was inadequate and the Council members needed to be more fully briefed and in a more timely manner.
May 29, 2019
City Council, May 28
Still a way to go on restraining hotel development
Concerns about police leniencyMarc Knapp
The much-discussed amendment to the Accommodation Overlay was given first reading last night. As many Council members and others said, it was a good first step. We expect that the amendment will ultimately have second and final readings, but between now and then, there will be some changes. Perhaps they will not be major, but the proposed ordinance needs considerable refining and clarification.
May 15, 2019
City Council, May 14
Another fractious meeting
Mayor’s office to be auditedMarc Knapp
Council last night voted unanimously for an audit of expenditures by the Mayor’s office and a report back to Council in 60 days. Council member Griffin, who spoke of abuses by the Mayor and his wife, made the request, or more accurately, the no-holds- barred-demand.
April 24, 2019
City Council, April 23
Mayor takes heat over law school property sale
Committee to be formed to amend Accommodation OverlayMarc Knapp
It was not a good night for the Mayor. The Council and Ways and Means meetings took up nearly 5 hours and a good portion of this time was discussion over the sale of the Law School property, and changes to the Accommodation Overlay zoning. Over both items, the Mayor had little support from Council and was strongly criticized.
Posted by Warwick Jones at 04:17 PM
April 10, 2019
City Council, April 9
Questions raised about policing
A pick up place for Uber and Lyft on King Street?Marc Knapp
Last night’s meeting was short and devoid of major controversy. There was the recognition of the passing of Senator “Fritz” Hollings and his significant service to the State and the nation. And also recognition of Council member Seekings who took over the lead role in managing this year’s “Bridge Run” following the passing of Julian Smith. The Bridge Run was the largest ever. Suggesting the considerable time and effort expended, the Council member said that it was the last bridge run he would oversee. Next year he planned to run and not manage.
Posted by Warwick Jones at 11:31 AM
March 27, 2019
City Council, March 26
Council refutes criticism of police force
Harsher limit to vagrancy on King and Market Streets
Compared with meetings earlier this year, last night’s was short. There was nothing controversial on the agenda that provoked long debate though many of the items were of interest. However, a comment in Citizens Participation spurred some heated and lengthy responses from Council members.
March 15, 2019
City Council, March 14
Council turns hostile
Mayor's proposal for Municipal Court has little support
Mayor Tecklenburg sustained severe bruising last night. Council members took issue with a number of items that he supported. But the most resolute opposition was to a proposal to appoint Ms. Kelsey Willey to the Municipal Court. Whether it was because of this or other issues, in our opinion the atmosphere over last night meeting was acrid with a level of hostility to the Mayor above anything we have seen previously. And in our opinion, the action of the Mayor in attempting to appoint Ms. Willey to the Court was egregious.
Posted by Warwick Jones at 01:43 PM
February 27, 2019
City Council, February 26
HCF to appeal BZA decision on Meeting Street hotel
Affordable Housing issuesMarc Knapp
It was not on the agenda but should have been. It was the decision of the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) to approve a 252-room hotel at 431 Meeting Street. BZA members reportedly were not happy about the approval but thought they had no grounds to disapprove. The Historic Charleston Foundation thought other wise, and has lodged an appeal to the applause of many of us.
Posted by Warwick Jones at 04:01 PM
February 16, 2019
County Council, February 12
Moving ahead to redevelop Naval Hospital property
Book value will be $5 million!!Warwick Jones
Not surprisingly, Council gave the go-ahead to the plan presented by staff at the last Council meeting for the redevelopment of the 3600 Rivers Avenue site. There were suggestions that development be deferred until the study by the Urban Land Institute was complete. But staff told Council that if the County were to gain occupancy of the new building by Fall 2021, planning needed to start immediately.
Posted by Warwick Jones at 08:08 PM
February 13, 2019
City Council, February 12
A decision on Spring –Fishburne project - at last
Construction freeboard raised to 2 feetMarc Knapp
The large cost over run for the Spring – Fishburne US 17 drainage project became very apparent about two months ago. A proposed payment to the engineering consultant and approval for a construction contract for Phase 4 are items that have sat on the Ways and Means agendas for the last 3 if not 4 meetings. But voting was deferred until last night. And in our view, the Committee floundered for more than an hour over a decision we believe was simple and obvious, but sadly, hardly satisfactory.
Posted by Warwick Jones at 05:21 PM
January 23, 2019
City Council, January 22
Flooding and stormwater management dominate meeting
More mitigation likely this year
Flooding and stormwater management dominated discussion on City Council last night. First there was the State of the City address by the Mayor and this was followed by discussion of a proposed 6–month development moratorium on James and Johns Island.
Posted by Warwick Jones at 03:30 PM
January 20, 2019
County Council. January 17
Developing a plan for the naval hospital site
From where will the money come?Warwick Jones
The purchase of the old naval hospital was ill-fated. Originally, the County was to lease space which it and government agencies would occupy. The owner failed to provide the necessary space in the stipulated time, the County terminated the lease, the developer filed for bankruptcy and for reasons we don’t fully understand, the Court awarded the developer damages. These damages were satisfied by the purchase of the property by the County for $33 million. OK, it was a little more complex than but that was the essence.
Posted by Warwick Jones at 08:42 PM
January 09, 2019
City Council, January 8
Questions over Spring-Fishburne drainage project consultant
A rezoning request going nowhereMarc Knapp
The two items were on the agenda but voting was marked deferred. Notwithstanding, they certainly got our attention and that of Council. They related to spending on the Spring – Fishburne drainage project.
Posted by Warwick Jones at 11:27 AM
December 19, 2018
City Council, December 18
Super majority requisite remains for vote on PC disapprovals
Legal advice to be sought by CouncilWarwick Jones
As Council member Waring reminded us, the issue of the limited ability of the Council to override a disapproval decision by the Planning Commission (PC) has been before Council about 4 to 5 times. After last night’s meeting, nothing changed.
Posted by Warwick Jones at 12:04 PM
December 08, 2018
County Council, December 6
December 05, 2018
City Council, December 4
November 28, 2018
City Council, November 27
City Council, November 27
Amended plastic bag ban approved
Restoration on Battery Wall to begin early next yearMarc Knapp
Clearly, many Council members were not comfortable with the amended ordinance banning plastic bags and forms of polystyrene packaging. Some sought a deferral of a second reading vote, at least until next month to give the ordinance more consideration. The deferral vote failed and ultimately, all Council members voted for the ordinance with the exception of Council members Lewis and Mitchell. Press Download file to see Amended ordinance.
November 14, 2018
City Council, November 13
City bans plastic bags, at least for now
Generating support for a natatorium in West AshleyWarwick Jones
We thought the City’s plan to ban plastic bags would have little opposition. And indeed, the public comments were over whelming in favor. Council ultimately approved the ban but the vote was not unanimous and the approval was only for first reading. Some Council members wanted the opportunity for second thoughts before the final readings.
Posted by Warwick Jones at 04:05 PM