Over the years the team at The Island Eye News has done a terrific job! However, Brian Sherman’s front page article on July 15th about the IOP Connector misses the mark. First the article states “Without input from the city, SCDOT restriped the bridge….” The facts are that SCDOT restriped the connector OVER THE OBJECTION of the city in direct violation of SC Law and the State Constitution. “Secretary” Hall, she requires those that are graced by her presence to address her as Madam Secretary, ordered that the bridge be restriped without a traffic study or any other qualified opinion. In doing so she violated SC Statute 57-5-820 which requires the consent of the city as well as Article 8 of the State Constitution which guarantees the right of all municipalities to govern within their respective boundaries. Ms. Hall did this after a visit to our island in January of 2021 where she complained to our Mayor that she was not given the respect her high office commanded. To punish the island and prove her power, she ordered the connector be restriped in the middle of the night to take away our emergency lane. Can’t make this stuff up.
The article goes on to state that SC Statute 57-5-845, signed into law in June of 2021, “permits municipalities to charge for parking on state roads, but only with approval from SCDOT” is also inaccurate at best. This statute is unconstitutional on its face, violating Home Rule, Taxation without representation, Equal Protection and is a Taking. These are not trivial things. Every municipality in South Carolina has the constitutional right to manage parking within any road right of way within their jurisdiction. Currently, SCDOT only has the right to remove parking that interferes with the safe and free flow of traffic. This statute attempts to take that right away from just 4 communities; Isle of Palms, Sullivan’s Island, Folly Beach and Edisto Island. The statute goes on to dictate that parking must be free, unless Ms. Hall consents to paid parking, requiring these 4 communities to provide police, fire, trash, EMS and maintenance services “free of charge”. This shifts the cost of day parking onto the backs of the local tax payers and is a mandated local tax by our Legislature. Is Ms. Hall now the appointed dictator of our island?
Finally, the article states that the bill “sponsored by State Senator Larry Grooms” (and our own Senator Chip Campsen) was “heralded by the Charleston Beach Foundation, a group that was formed after the IOP denied non-residents access to the island…”. The article leaves out that the Charleston Beach Foundation is a small self-serving group only interested in free government services. It also fails to state that the duly elected IOP City Council was obligated to comply with Governor McMaster’s state-wide order closing all public waterways as a result of COVID. The only option City Council had was to close island access until such time as the Governor lifted his order. Island access was returned to normal once the Governor’s order was lifted.
The truth is that our constitutional rights are being taken away from us by legislators pandering to small special interest groups. If this concerns you, get involved. Stand up for the constitutional rights of all South Carolina citizens and demand that SC Statute 57-5-845 be repealed, that our connector emergency lane be restored and that our elected officials follow their oath and uphold our Constitution.
Blair Hahn, Isle Of Palms