Tuesday, January 30, 2007

FIve Points Association Internal Memo Leaked!

Our news editor recently slept with Amanda, the new Five Points Association intern, three minutes after meeting her at Chubbys and she left this behind at his apartment. Woops!

(Jokes! This memo isn't real, but you could imagine a recent FPA memo reading something like this......)


Five Points Association
c/o members only
cc. sales@free-times.com

Hey team!
I take it by now you’ve all read the ginormous front-page write-up by Jeff Wilkinson in (drum roll plz) The State this Sunday (Kelly, tell him the check’s in the mail, lol!) but what a good job!, hehe. I’m sure the letters are totally pouring in from Rock Hill to Orangeburg with people wondering like what the hell is 5-points and why is it on the front of their paper. It’s like crazytown what we can do when we all work together! ;)
Anyway, on to biz-nass. I guess it’s obvious that we goofed on the “Free Generica” campaign by trying to be too “ironic.” Like what’s up, people, hello! I thought irony was in. ugh! Anyway, Dennis, I got the proposal from The Gap this weekend and they said they’re right on track (and, duh, they totally loved the article too) so what I’m thinking is if you can get that guy you know on the zoning board to, like, re-zone Harper’s? we can put the Red Lobster there and we just won’t have to worry about parking AT ALL!!1
So, okie-dokey (<--- big dork, I know), well I’m really excited about all this and ya’ll should be too! Not just anybody can spin an entire city block of stores going out of business into a positive thing (and I can’t stress it enough how we have to stay. On. Track. With. The. Positive. Thing. [Denny if that means taking more workshops with Dr. Schwartz then we’ll expense it out as “petty-cash,” lmao) NOT a problem. Hello! Can we say Three Rivers, whaaaaat?
ALSO, I keep getting these angry letters from people who aren’t in the club but it’s totally mostly the (finger quotes) “local business boo-hoos” so I know I shouldn’t let it bother me, but dammit sometimes they can be soooo mean. I just keep sending them Starbucks gift certificates like Debbie said. Oh and Mr. Whit, remind everybody that the parking meter people are ONLY SUPPOOSED TO GIVE TICKTZ to ppl from OUT OF STATE. There’s one guy down there who is just giving them to seriously, like evvverybodddy.
And omg Merritt I almost forgot I still need your information so I can take that grant writing course for you on Pheonix University Online this week.
OKay well, I don’t want my “first official memo” [evvvvrrr} to go to long so I’ll finish it in like two shakes of a clams tail with just the information on who we’ve got on board to move to 5-points once we get all these family-shmamily businesses out of here like Councilwoman “bad hair” Sinclair in a constituency representation, um, thingie or something (I’m trying, ppl!). So…here’s what we got:
• Move over Groucho’s and paint me like a clown— Ronald McDonald is coming to town.
• Hot Topic (but they said Salty’s will totally have to go)
• Starbucks. (Seriously, in the BATHROOM of the one that’s already here… their idea, not mine!)
• A Border’s satellite store to replace Dr. Books.
• Super-DUPER-cuts
Holla for a Dolla
• Yesterday’s is just that—yesterday, lol, Ruby Tuesday’s, guys! We got ‘em.

So there it is, team, my first memoranDUMB, hahaha! I hope it’s OKay for everyone and if you need anything just tell my uncle and he’ll fax it over to me or leave it on my desk (which is like amaaaazing by the way, Thanx, Debbie for the pink EVERYyyerything).

Your new intern,
Amanda!




-----document obtained by Corey Hutchins------

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

First Friday’s in Five Points start Feb 2...Bring Your Glock


Despite the Five Points Association spending $90,000 on the Clean & Safe project, a few USC students found on Friday that the area is anything but safe.
http://www.les.sc.edu/crimealert.asp

The Five Points Association is kicking off one of its first events geared towards helping retailers, First Fridays. Starting Feb 2, evening events will be scheduled for the area and retailers will be open till at least 9pm.

The extra hours will give concerned citizens plenty of time to pop into businesses owned by Association board members and ask why money was spent to build a second fountain instead of installing extra lighting and police call boxes.

Perhaps the Clean & Safe crew will be present in their yellow Bat Mobile truck to keep us all safe with their push brooms while we shop. Bring plenty of quarters for parking meters if you plan on arriving before 7pm… and of course bring your glock.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Minimal response from workers on minimum wage issue


By Todd Morehead


The South Carolina chapter of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) fell far from the tree on Friday with only two of its estimated 100 members gathering to rally outside Sen. Lindsey Graham’s Columbia office.

The organization is calling for Senator Graham to support the proposed federal minimum wage hike without tacking on a bill that would attach special interest tax breaks. The original bill, first introduced by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA), would raise the federal minimum hourly wage for the first time in nearly a decade from $5.15 to $7.25 in three phases over the next two years. The U.S. House already passed the bill with no tax breaks attached.

Senator Graham, however, has vowed to only support the bill if it comes as part of a larger package, stating that simply raising the minimum wage would deny job opportunities for young people as small businesses-- financially strapped from paying higher wages-- wouldn’t have enough revenue left over to afford to create positions for teenagers.

“If you’re a full time worker with skills and the ability to produce, you’ll blow by the minimum wage in about sixty days,” Graham told conservative radio talk show host Mike Gallagher in August. “Nobody is making the minimum wage that is a full time worker with a good work ethic...”

Ideally, according to Graham, the bill would also include tax credits for tuition, would provide tax cuts for married middle class families and would do away with the current death tax, which Graham described as “socialist.”

Hector Vaca, a lead coordinator with the SC ACORN chapter, isn’t buying it.

“Over the past decade Congress has given themselves nine raises, yet the people haven’t gotten anything,” he pointed out at the Friday rally. “Working class families deserve to be paid for their hard work.”

Doubtless, the workers of South Carolina would support a hike in pay, yet they seem reticent to publicly rally in support of the bill.

“I can’t get anyone to come out,” says Jean Busby, who heads up ACORN’s Columbia office. “I think that a lot of people believe that nothing can change, that this is the way it just has to be. A lot of people are afraid that they’ll lose their jobs if they rally in public.”

ACORN isn’t letting the low turnout dampen their spirits, though.

“If they don’t pass the [minimum wage] bill on a federal level,” said Vaca, “we’ll push to have it passed on a state level.”

 

Truth Hurts

Here's the audio from the first article on FPA.
One unhappy camper claimed they were misquoted, so I figured they have told that lie to enough people at this point that it was a good time to post the audio.

http://www.columbiacitypaper.com/hiltner.wav


The real lies in this audio are the claims that I can pick up bank statements for FPA at Carolina First, which is not true...and the promise to provide me with board minutes and surveys.

We've been asking for this information and more since May and the FPA continues to intentionally violate open records laws.

I wonder why?

- Paul Blake





Five Points Swindle
Editorial by Paul Blake

The Five Points Association gets hundreds of thousands of your tax dollars. Too bad the association is currently defunct.

The S.C. Secretary of State’s office confirmed on Monday the Five Points Association (FPA) had failed to file required financial records with the state by the Aug. 15, 2005, deadline.
“The organization is expired,” Melissa Dunlap, the chief of staff at the secretary of state’s office, told City Paper.
Dennis Hiltner, the president and acting treasurer of the association, was required by law to file by the deadline but failed to do so. When City Paper asked questions, including why the association missed the deadline and whether holding both the office of president and treasurer created a conflict of interest, Hiltner told the newspaper, “I won’t be the treasurer after next meeting.”
When asked why, he said, “I just decided.”
Five Points Association Executive Director Merritt Brewer announced during the Aug. 24 membership meeting that the association received $220,000 in hospitality tax funding for 2006.
During that membership meeting, FPA Vice President Jeff Whitt announced decisions about the allocation of the funds. Part of the money will be used to finance and advertise a future pub crawl involving Budweiser, the purchasing of pub crawl t-shirts designed by Virginia-based Portico Publications, owner of the Free Times, and the hiring of C.C. Riggs Advertising Agency.
Columbia City Council's approval of funding for a defunct organization should raise questions from Five Points merchants and Columbia taxpayers. How can the city give hundreds of thousands of dollars in hospitality tax revenue to an organization that has failed to file proper paperwork with authorities?
“The city gets a full copy of financial statements before they are awarded money,” Brewer said, claiming that the decision to provide funding likely came before the FPA was required to file paperwork with the state.
Mayor Bob Coble said he didn’t know whether the city looked at the FPA’s previous financial records before giving away hospitality tax money.
“Obviously the Five Points Association is a well-known entity,” Coble said.
Coble also said he was aware of a new organization that merchants had started in Five Points and also said he believed Hiltner has done a “very good job” with the FPA.
But that “very good job” would certainly be debatable for anyone taking the time to look at the tax return filed for special events in 2004.
According to records obtained by City Paper, some of the FPA’s special events— which are subsidized by public money— are money-bleeding operations.
Paint Five Points, for example, lost $20,607 in 2004.
The Five Points After Five event lost $8,926, but the year prior (2003) shows a $6,037 profit. Why the $14,963 difference in just one year?
More questionable, though, is the incredibly popular Saint Patty’s Day festival. For the 2004 festival, the FPA claims it made only $64,080 in profit. Not bad, eh? Well, that’s after claiming a whopping $279,723 in expenses.
Where did all the money go?
City Paper doesn’t know. And neither do taxpayers.
When asked about the expenses, FPA representatives assured the newspaper that they would be forthcoming with the details of these expenditures. So far, the organization hasn’t been.
“I think it’s a situation where they are doing the same thing over and over,” said Randy Dennis, who thinks Five Points After Five should be breaking even and not losing money.
The supposed “successful” concert series creates a great amount of exposure for Budweiser. The beer company, in turn, writes a tax-deductible check directly to the association. This “donation” gives Budweiser tens of thousands of dollars worth of advertising placed by the association as well as signage at the event. The hundreds of thousands in taxpayer dollars funneled to the association by City Council, tax exceptions and synergistic partnerships make it a sweet deal for all involved, including Free Times, a City Paper competitor that has not reported aggressively on the FPA.
Meanwhile, many of the daytime merchants located in Five Points feel excluded. In May, 18 merchants formed a new organization called Our Five Points, as first reported by City Paper. One of the founders, Elizabeth Cromer, owner of It’s All In The Name, claims the group now has about 30 members.
The most recent Paint Five Points this summer left out two obvious Five Points merchants.
“I’m a new gallery in Five Points and I wasn’t aware of Paint Five Points and they didn’t tell [Portfolio Art Gallery owner] Judy either,” said Laura Brown owner of The Artists Basement.
City Paper has had its own experiences with the FPA. In May, the first meeting that representatives for this newspaper attended, Hiltner added to the agenda his complaint of black City Paper newspaper boxes chained to lampposts and trash cans. His concern was over destroying expensive green paint. This concern came the same week that City Paper reported on the formation of Our Five Points.
City Paper has since moved offices to Five Points and joined the FPA at the Aug. 24 meeting. The newspaper immediately offered to sponsor Five Points After Five. Brewer agreed to allow the sponsorship.
But Brewer, of course, is outranked by President Hiltner. Brewer later wrote in an e-mail to City Paper, “I can only have 1 print sponsor. They give us a great deal too. The Free Times has long been a part of this event and they promote the hell out of it! The are necessary (according to my surveys) for the success of the event. Your being a part of the association is great... and because of that I will help you with whatever you need, but I can’t have 2 print sponsors for 1 event.”
This “successful” event lost $8,926 in 2004.
Meanwhile, the official sponsors for the event include 10 bars and restaurants and two radio stations. Brewer promised to provide City Paper with the “surveys” in the next two weeks.
“They are not representing the merchants in Five Points,” said Cromer of It’s All In The Name. “I think new leadership would be a good thing.”
When repeatedly asked why the association filed in 2004 with Hiltner’s signature but not 2005, Hiltner raised his voice. “I forgot, Paul,” he snapped. “Hang my ass.”
Instead, I think we’ll just show our readers the rope.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Savage Love Web Extra

So after having a crappy web site for a year and a half and winning our own "Worst Web Site" award for '06, it was time for a change.
We'll have a new web site up on Monday that will include neat things like Savage Love web extras. Here's one now for you sicko's that can't wait.




I thought your response to FOG was spot on. The fact that she dumped a guy whom she had contemplated marrying over a foot fetish (of all things) was bad enough—from what we can infer, the guy was never overbearing about his kink, and rubbed FOG’s feet for her pleasure (relief after a hard day of waiting tables) as much as his own.
But what I think is worse about FOG was revealed in her letter: “I know a lot of freaks write to you, and I enjoy reading about freaks, but I don’t want to date a freak.” So she wants to read about the problems of “freaks” but not have to deal with “freaks” on a personal level. As long as the freaks remain the other in the paper and outside her personal realm, it’s okay; when she has to deal with a sicko that likes to rub feet in her own life, then it gets way too real.
It seems like FOG is unaware that all guys bring some idiosyncrasies with them—whether it’s feet or pegging or calling you mommy during sex, or a host of other non-sex-related baggage. She should have counted herself lucky to find a guy with such a mild fetish (she reads the letters in your column, after all, and gets freaked out by a foot fetishist?!) and lived happily ever after. Hopefully karma does exist and the next guy she dates will dump her flat for a more tolerant girl.
On Your Side

•••

Just wanted to offer a little support to FOG—this sort of weird fetishy stuff is even more common than you think. I used to date this girl who I thought was normal, and who would give me blowjobs (sometimes I get erections). One day she tells me she enjoys doing it, so of course I broke up with her! I was like, “They don’t call it a ‘job’ for nothing, freak!” Then there was this other girl I liked to have sex on, but one time she started making this, like, pleasurable moaning sound and I realized she was really into it! Fuck that. I don’t need that sort of weirdness in my life.
But keep the faith, FOG, there are normal people like us out there. I finally met a girl who is disgusted by physical contact, and who I get my own selfish pleasures out of by telling her no one will ever love her. See, stories like ours can have happy endings!
Seriously Another Dumbfuck

•••

I think you went a little hard on Freaked Out Girl.
Yes, she’s naive and selfish and has probably had her concept of masculinity formed by watching Hugh Grant vehicles. However, what I don’t think you took into consideration was that she was being involved in sexual behavior without her knowing and therefore, without her consent. Had these foot rubs occurred in the context of sexual behavior, you would be 100 percent right. But the behavior was occurring in a nonsexual context. I would react differently if someone asked to take my Polaroid to take it home and shit on it and masturbate versus adding it to their men-with-mustaches scrapbook. What he did was wrong, even if he’s probably much less of an asshole than she is.
A. J.

•••

Hey, FOG? How can you be so quick to judge someone?! Did you in fact enjoy the foot rubs? Of course you did! Not very many boyfriends will rub their girlfriend’s feet every night after work! Who freaking cares if he enjoyed it as much or more than you did? Did you ever feel threatened while he was rubbing your feet? I’m guessing no since you let him do it so often.
Having a foot fetish is so innocent! I am a 28-year-old female and I LOVE FEET! I love rubbing feet! I love it when my feet are rubbed! Toe sucking is fucking awesome! Even people who don’t expect it to be think so once they experience it!
I’m glad that Dan has been using you as a shining example of sexual immaturity and selfishness! You deserve every lashing he’s given you! It’s girls like you that give us straight girls a bad rap!
Foot Lover For Life

•••

Your response to Freaked Out Girl was a little harsh, Dan, in that it ignored a pretty fundamental part of the equation: Her boyfriend hadn’t been honest with her. He was getting his rocks off by massaging her feet. Sure, she liked the massages, but how does that exempt him from telling her that he’s using her sexually in a way that she is unaware of? Your response to that woman who recorded the noises of men in a nearby public restroom was pretty straight up—it was wrong. So why does Mr. Foot Fetish get a free pass for lying about using his girlfriend sexually in a way that, while without harm, is unacknowledged? FOG is definitely an intolerant asshole, but her boyfriend was using her feet without telling her. She’s got some right to be pissed.
Katie

•••

This girl had a man who would massage her feet when she got off work? Most women can’t find a man who will pick up their underwear! Why the hell does she care why he did it. He did it! I am a male and do not have a foot fetish, but I would love to date somebody who would massage my feet all the time. They could be as sexually excited as they wanted as long as they kept rubbing.
You are right, FOG is going to regret breaking up with the guy. It will be when she is married to some ass who won’t help around the house much less massage her feet, while she spends much of her day chasing kids around. She will think back to the guy who would sit and massage her feet for her. She will think how she could have been saying, “Sure, you can rub my feet right after you finish the dishes.” Boy, she is going to regret this.
T.

•••

Dan, your analysis of FOG was close, but not quite on. Her issue wasn’t that he derived pleasure from it, too. Her issue was the broader, crippling female life traps of expectation and validation. Her expectation was that this act was purely selfless because he loved her. Selfless, like all those times she did things for him—not necessarily of a sexual nature, without ever mentioning that it bothered her, or that she’d rather not, or any other self-denying actions that so many women put up with without ever expressing their own preferences. (Hi Mom, how ya doin’?)
To have someone rub her feet, just for her, was a true indication of how he must feel. It validated her worthiness to him by his acting the same way she acts. When that bubble got popped—through honest, good faith communication—she recoiled from that activity because her expectation that he was doing it just for her.
Clearly FOG has never spent much time in her head wondering about what makes her tick, otherwise she’d have figured out that there is simply nothing wrong with him getting off on rubbing her feet. If you both benefit, isn’t that an ideal model?
Psychologist in Action

•••

Your vitriolic response to Freaked Out Girl was childish and unprofessional. I would expect a decent advice columnist to be quite a bit more detached and objective, focusing on delivering actual advice instead of spewing your whiny invective. It seems to me that Freaked Out Girl struck a chord with you on a personal level. I suspect that as a homosexual, you identify in some way, whether conscious of it or not, with “freaks” and “weirdoes.” And you obviously are very defensive of these freaks. Clearly, it serves you to claim you’ve never met a “normal man,” although you contradict yourself in the very next sentence: “… kink and variance seem to be a natural, intrinsic aspect of male sexuality.”
Care to back that up with evidence? Can you cite any legitimate study that demonstrates that kink is the norm among men?
Just because Freaked Out Girl doesn’t want to be with a freak that gets off on feet doesn’t make her selfish. There are plenty of men out there capable of engaging in “normal,” healthy relationships who don’t feel the need to spank their partners, get peed on, or obsess about feet.
R. L.

•••

I can’t help but feel that you’ve seriously dropped the ball on your “advice” to Freaked Out Girl, the girl who reacted badly on finding out the foot massages her boyfriend gave her were actually a fetishistic turn-on for him.
First, when somebody uses you as a tool for his own sexual arousal without telling you, no matter how mild it may be or how little you know about it, it’s a bad thing. Just ask any woman who’s sick and tired of being ogled by strangers on the street, or anyone who’s ever found out their photo is being used by strangers on the internet to wank off to. It is not an irrational or selfish reaction to object to the idea that someone is not only doing something more for their pleasure than yours, but being dishonest about why they’re doing it.
Second, when you realize that somebody’s attraction to you lies overpoweringly in one particular aspect of your physiology rather than in the total package, it is neither irrational nor selfish to be afraid that you’re being objectified—just ask any woman with significantly bigger breasts than average. Plenty of women have asked with perfect legitimacy of their boyfriends, “Is he interested in me, or only in my ass/breasts/lips?”
Third, by her own admission FOG is only 20 years old. There are plenty of people at that age, Dan, who through no fault of their own are “sexually immature” by the definition you seem to imply (I myself didn’t lose my virginity until I was 23). It is neither irrational nor selfish to be freaked out by a fetish you haven’t encountered before, especially if you don’t know much about fetishes at all to begin with.
S. J. B.

•••

The fact that FOG dumped her boyfriend because he received any pleasure from rubbing her feet at all revealed not just some innate selfishness, BUT THAT SHE IS AS KINKY AS HE IS, ONLY IN THE DOMINATRIX SORT OF WAY, whether she realizes it, admits it, or not. You could have used her as an example to show your readers that we are ALL kinky—not just straight guys.
E. H.

•••

FOG mentioned that one of her “concerns” with having a foot fetishist for a husband is that she is unsure if he is marrying her or her feet. When she finds her mythical fetishless mate, will she feel more certain that he is marrying her and not her vagina? (Why can’t he marry both? It’s a package deal, really.) FOG’s ex is certainly one lucky man to be rid of an unappreciative bitch like her. Hope he finds a woman who knows how lucky she is to have a man that actually wants to rub her feet.
D. K.

•••

Okay, seriously, that’s some powerful hypocrisy you’re peddling there, Dan.
Sexual preferences, whether learned or innate, are things we don’t have a lot of control over—agreed? And even if they aren’t, it’s only in very rare cases that a “fetish” is genuinely worthy of universal disgust. So why is the same not true for sexual dislikes? If FOG finds foot fetishism repugnant, why does this make her worthy of such disdain? Is this not how she’s wired? Or is that not her choice? Isn’t it possible to have a “no-fetish” fetish?
FOG wasn’t saying she though foot fetishists were bad people; she just said she didn’t like it. I’m sorry, but it’s really, really hard to fuck or get foot massaged by somebody who’s getting a hard on or a clit on by something you find intolerable, and for some (not all) no amount of sexual charity will ever remove this disgust. Did FOG try? Maybe not. But why does FOG’s boyfriend’s pleasure automatically trump her displeasure? You’ll say, I guess, that a foot fetish is a harmless kink and since everybody ought to be GGG and sexually unselfish she’s a real jerk. Okay, true, her definition of “normal” is narrow and she’ll likely have dull sex the rest of her life. So? Let her find a picket-fence salesman named Vanilla Jim, set up permanent residence in the missionary position, and live boringly ever after.
Toleration does not require participation. Since when did sexual liberation become “being okay with just about everything” and not “being okay with what you like—even if what you like is dull sex?”
Tyranny of the Fetish

•••

Out of all the crappy girlfriends/boyfriends I’ve read about in Savage Love, FOG was the crappiest yet. You just were not harsh enough on this chick. She’s insane.
To FOG: I’m exactly your age and even I can tell you it’s things like this that relationships are all about: meeting each other’s needs. You need foot rubs… and he wants to give them to you. In fact, he really likes giving them. What’s the problem? And what’s so wrong about a foot fetish? If you are familiar enough with Savage Love to be writing in then you know that there is A LOT WORSE OUT THERE
Fetish-Free Young Dude

Charleston Bans Smoking

Our columnist Will Moredock celebrates the Charleston ban, meanwhile Columbia still has the we "pretended to ban it" thing going on. Keep smokin it if you got 'em Columbia........



Charleston Clears the Air By Will Moredock

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we’re smoke-free at last!

So it appears that Charleston will finally become a smoke-free city.
After more than seven years of debate, discussion and study, City Council voted 9-4 last Tuesday night to snuff the butts in Charleston bars, restaurants and private clubs in the name of public health. One more reading and vote is required and that will likely come on January 23. The ordinance will go into effect in July and Charleston can finally breathe easily.
As late as this ordinance was in coming, there is still plenty of reason for celebration and congratulations. Perhaps the first to take a bow would be Dan Carrigan and Dianne Wilson, who have campaigned tirelessly through various organizations to achieve this day. Many citizens, business leaders and medical professionals came out at last week’s council meeting – and at several previous meetings over the years – to speak in favor of the ordinance.
At the January 9 meeting, representatives from the Charleston Branch NAACP, Trident United Way, Charleston Area League of Women Voters, the Hollings Cancer Center, the Medical University of South Carolina, the American Lung Association, the S.C. Hospital Association, the College of Charleston and the state Department of Health and Environmental Control all spoke in favor the new law, as did several business owners and workers. Two musicians appealed to make the venues where they perform free of secondhand smoke.
Kudos also for former Councilman Dr. Duke Hagerty, who first brought the issue to council’s attention in 1999. Charleston was the first municipality in the state to consider comprehensive smoke-free workplace protection. And thanks to Councilmen Paul Tinkler and Henry Fishburne, who kept the issue alive on council for more than two years.
Mayor Joe Riley showed real leadership as he addressed the council and the packed council chamber – the kind of leadership he should have shown on this issue years ago. He said what others on the council and in the community had already declared: The U.S. Surgeon General’s report on second-hand smoke, issued last July, tipped many opinions in favor of a smoking ban. The report said that there is no such thing as a safe amount of second-hand smoke and that air-filtration devices do not make air safe to breathe.
“Just because (the smoking ban) was not accepted before does not mean it was wrong,” Riley said in an eloquent and passionate statement. “It just means that we have new information, we have a new understanding….
“For me, in this process of consideration…I am confident that it is our responsibility to create smoke-free workplaces for people to work.” People could not simply change jobs because they don’t like breathing second-hand smoke, the mayor said. “People work where they can get a job.”
As they had in past meetings when the smoking ban came up for a vote, most black council members refused to come on board. In early discussion Tuesday night, James Lewis Jr., Robert Mitchell and Wendell Gilliard all expressed doubt about the smoking ordinance.
Gilliard seemed especially troubled as he spoke about the plague of violence that has racked the black community in the last year, leaving a record number of dead bodies – most of them young black men – on the streets of Charleston and North Charleston. “I think we need to rearrange our priorities,” he said. “I think we need to rid our community of illicit drugs and illicit guns.”
He held up pages from the Post and Courier, that paper’s annual report from each of several recent years on homicides in the Lowcountry. The pages were filled with small pictures of the year’s dead. “So you ask, what does this have to do with cancer? I can see it in your faces. Well, I’ll tell you: It’s another form of death.”
The anguish in his face and voice left no doubt with anyone that Gilliard was wrestling with the devil. And in the end, the councilman won, casting his vote for life.
One party that comes away from this long and surly debate with a badge of shame is the Post and Courier. Charleston’s daily newspaper has been morally AWOL on this issue, as it has on so many before.
The P&C continues to take the position that property rights trump public health, good public policy and common sense. This was the same position the reactionary old newspaper and its reactionary owners used to argue against desegregating public accommodations a half-century ago. And it’s the argument earlier generations of Southerners used to defend slavery.
The Post and Courier remains on the wrong side of history and the Curse of the Manigault hangs over this old city like a cloud of stale tobacco smoke.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Hard Words at Speakeasy


Local bartender comes unhinged at the mere sight of Columbia City Paper publisher, Paul Blake. Ensuing rampage leaves customers stunned.

The following is a first person account, written by a witness (and participant).

Columbia, Dec 21-- Blake, a Speakeasy regular, shuffled into the bar at approximately 10:30 p.m. to meet City Paper Managing Editor, Todd Morehead, and local freelance writer Harry Iarch. Mr. Iarch’s wife and brother-in-law—a marine who had lost a buddy in Iraq the day before—were also in attendance as well as others.

A live jazz trio in red Santa hats crooned out velvety Christmas classics in the background, while women in black dresses drank expensive looking Martinis and tried to look interested in the cigar smoking cubicle types. A hipster on one of the leather couches laughed loudly, apparently at his own joke. A student stood and made his way past a crackling fire to the men's room. All in all, a warm holiday cheer purveyed throughout the room.

After standing at the end of the bar for ten minutes without being served, Mr. Blake used his cell phone to call George, a bartender on staff that evening whom City Paper jokingly voted “Worst Bartender” in the Worst of Columbia issue. The newspaper staffers watched George pick up his phone at the far end of the bar.

Blake: “Yeah, I’d like a Beam and Ginger.”

George looked around, spotted Blake at the end of the bar, grinned at him and closed his phone. George is actually one of City Paper’s favorite bartenders due to his sense of dark humor and penchant for brutal one-liners. But before George could make it down to the end of the bar, he was intercepted by another bartender named Ryan, who brushed past him and made way for Blake, charging through a cloud of cigar smoke that swirled around in his wake.

“Get out!” he snapped.

“What?”

Ryan rolled up the sleeves on his starched white shirt. “We’re not serving you.”

“Why not?”

Ryan jerked his thumb back towards George. “You wrote bad things about the bar! You voted him the worst bartender in Columbia!”

“Everyone knows that was a joke. Hell, George is proud of it!”

George shrugged and nodded.

Over by the fireplace, the jazz guitarist writhed in his Santa hat and plucked out a cheery solo. The holiday revelers at the end of the bar, however, began to sense impending trouble. Harry Iarch, a bearded hulk in a brown blazer, scowled and took a step closer to the bar. His wife stood from her chair to put a calming hand on his bicep.

“You mean to tell me you’re not going to serve him because of something he wrote?” Iarch was overheard asking Ryan. “You’ve got half a dozen customers here with him who are spending money.”

“He’s got to go,” Ryan said flatly.

Blake, no stranger to being kicked of bars, folded up his $20 and walked out.

“Close my tab,” Iarch said.

Iarch signed his receipt and slung it at Ryan before pouring his drink out on the bar. The bartender stared at the receipt for a long moment, his eyes bulging with rage and apparently repulsed by an extra message scribbled on the receipt.

“F--K YOU!” Ryan bellowed. “OUT!”

Other patrons began to grab their things and leave.

Iarch drew himself up with mock stateliness. “I’m the food editor for The State newspaper and just wait till I— ”

“GET OUT!”

A few moments later, the City Paper staffers were on the sidewalk on Saluda Street. A couple of girls who had just left Speakeasy because of the scene inside approached. The brunette nodded toward the bar entrance.

“What was that bartender’s deal?”

“He didn’t like what we wrote,” Blake said and shrugged.

The girls grinned, shook their heads and walked off.

"I'd heard this town was screwed up," Iarch's brother-in-law stated in bewilderment, "but this is crazy."

"Welcome to South Carolina."

“Well,” Blake said, “let’s head down to Delaney’s. I need a drink.”

Moments later, two Delaney’s bouncers also denied Blake entry. Only one of them did the talking while the other one stood back with his arms folded (possible flexing his neck muscles).

“We heard about what just happened at Speakeasy. They called ahead about you.”

“Ryan asked me to leave and I left,” Blake said.

“Yeah? Then who poured the beer down the length of the bar?”

“It was a whiskey,” Iarch said. “And besides Paul was outside when that happened.”

“Guilt by association,” the bouncer said smugly.

“No,” Blake said, “it’s because of something we wrote. We just wanted to have a nightcap and spend money in your bars, but Ryan’s apparently pissed about us voting George worst bartender in Columbia.”

The bouncer smirked. “Yeah, I heard about that.”

“George thought the award was funny,” Morehead said. “He was gonna wear his ‘I Hate Columbia City Paper’ shirt, pose with the framed award, and send it into the paper.”

“I know,” the bouncer said. He seemed to regret was happening. “Look,” he said, “we were told not to serve you, so we can’t.”

“Let’s go,” Morehead said. “Why do we want to give these f--king people our money anyway? There are plenty of bars down here.”

The group headed to Tavern on the Greene and ordered a round of drinks. Moments later, Morehead clicked his frosty pint glass with Blake’s.

“Well,” he said, “looks like we’ve got the Worst Bartender award already sewn up for next year.”

Sugarplums and Lumps of Coal: The State of the Lowcountry

Sugarplums and Lumps of Coal

We’re handing them out for 2006

By Will Moredock

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

Yea, I know it’s been used before, but it’s a pretty good line and a perfect description of 2006. And so, with apologies to Mr. Dickens, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

First, the best of times. A deal was put together to save Morris Island from development. Bobby Cremins came to the College of Charleston to coach the Cougars basketball team and their future never looked brighter. John Graham Altman III, the racist, homophobic fool who represented House District 119 in the General Assembly for a decade has been retired. It looks like the push for oil drilling off the South Carolina coast has been stopped – at least for now.

And the worst of times. People continued to pour into the Lowcountry, threatening our environment and way of life with their sheer numbers. Some 135,000 new homes are in the pipeline in the tri-county area. The Republican Party maintained its death grip on statewide offices in the November elections. They now have a near monopoly on corruption and mismanagement in Columbia. The killing in Charleston and North Charleston set new records in 2006. This is part of a nationwide trend, but that doesn’t make it feel any better.

There are some groups and individuals who deserve special attention and we would like to recognize them at this time with a sugarplum or a lump of coal for their Christmas stockings. Let’s begin with the lumps of coal.

So without further ado…the first envelope, please. (Drum roll here.)

The Post and Courier, Charleston’s “newspaper of record,” gets the season’s first lump of coal for yet another year of mediocrity and uncompromising mossback conservatism. While the newsroom appears to be making progress, especially in reporting on race and racial issues, the troglodytes in the editorial suite are beyond redemption. They continue to defend George W. Bush in the face of his six years of failed policy and needless war. They had continued to bash former President Bill Clinton in the years since he left office, but with his wife leading the pack for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, she has become their favorite target. And it only gets worse, year after year.

Luxury Cars of Charleston gets special attention here for sparking a racial incident with their crude and highhanded manner. When Jerome Heyward complained that his father had been deceived into overpaying for a Mercedes and had not received proper service on that car, a manager allegedly asked him, “Well, what do you want, a watermelon or a piece of fried chicken?” Protesters have been marching in front of Luxury Cars for the past week.

Chip Boling and his staff at Coastal Carolina Fair get a lump for another racial incident they inspired this past fall. First, they refused to remove a racist T-shirt that a vendor was selling from a booth at the fair. When a woman protested the T-shirt at the entrance to the fair, Chip & Co. had her arrested. Such consistently bad judgment is usually found in the White House.

Wallace Scarborough, the bad boy representative from District 115 gets a lump of coal, along with his girlfriend Catherine Ceips, the bad girl representative from District 124, in Beaufort. While their constituents thought their representatives were working hard for them in Columbia, the two married Republicans were involved in a very public Statehouse affair. The story, which broke in City Paper last summer, nearly cost Scarborough his reelection. Come to think of it, let’s give the voters of districts 115 and 124 a lump, too.

First District Congressman Henry Brown, who loves fossil fuel, gets a nice big lump of coal for his support of legislation that would have allowed oil drilling off our coast. In fact, let’s give Henry a bundle of switches to go with that coal.

Of course, Charleston had its heroes and heroines this past year and two of them were Pat Jobe and Alice Gray Gregory. Jobe and Gregory launched “The Connection,” a Comcast Cable television program for progressives who want to know what’s going on in the Lowcountry and how to get involved.

The voters of House District 119 gets a sugarplum for electing a decent man and progressive Democrat, Leon Stavrinakis, to the Statehouse. Are these the same people who kept electing John Graham Altman?

A big sweet sugarplum to Sullivan’s Island for becoming the first municipality in the state to enact a general smoking ban. And plums to Greenville and Columbia for following suit. So what is Charleston waiting for?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

BUM of WEEk tee's now available!

Bum of the week tee's

"Dat Cooter Cat" is on front with bum logo on back. We will be producing these tee's but for now you can get them at Cafe Press

Make sure you check out the "I smoke Crack" tee with willy's bum card on back.