Wednesday, June 4, 2014

In South Carolina news...

In local news, it looks like South Carolina will have uniformly BAD ROADS for another year, at least.

Our roads are secondary to the election. (Aren't yours?) Our awful Governor, Nikki Haley (at left, making excuses), does NOT want to be accused of being "pro-spending" before November. If you wonder why our roads are a wreck, keep this in mind. Safety is NOT as important as Nikki's re-election, of course.

Remember, when she was elected, I pointedly asked: Can the infrastructure of this state stand four more years of total neglect?

I was dead serious, although several local readers believed I was joking. Obviously, we see that I was pretty good at fortune-telling, even without my Tarot cards.

It's even worse than we thought, according to Nikki's ex-boyfriend and one-time mentor, Will Folks at FitsNews:
Three years ago S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley‘s Transportation Department (SCDOT) ran out of money and had to stop paying contractors. The result? All paving and maintenance work in the state ground to a halt (although totally unnecessary boondoggles still got their money).

Haley got her agency out of the jam by (wait for it) requesting and receiving a $52 million bailout from the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama. Just six weeks after she approved what at the time was the largest spending plan in South Carolina history …

Gotta love those “Tea Party” Republicans, right?

Anyway … what is past is prologue, it would appear.

This week, SCDOT commissioners met to discuss the agency’s fiscal outlook … which isn’t good.

Specifically, they admitted their cash balance would be in the negative beginning later this summer – a shortfall that is expected to last for several months. In fact the cash crunch could be much deeper – and extend into 2015 – if the federal government can’t (or won’t) pay states reimbursements from the recent ice storms. [...] At a recent commission meeting, S.C. Sen. Larry Grooms asked point-blank if the agency was going to have another problem paying contractors like they did in 2011. Agency leaders claim they have a contingency plan, but the ice storms were unforeseen, and the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) is already warning states that they will have to decrease payments, beginning in July.

“The trajectory for the highway account has worsened,” federal transportation undersecretary Peter Rogoff said at a hearing in Washington, D.C. earlier this month.

In fact the cash crunch may start affecting states prior to July …

SCDOT is currently run by Haley’s former college roommate. She assumed the position after the governor’s first pick, Robert St. Onge, resigned his office in disgrace earlier this year.
Ugh. Saints preserve us. This woman CAN'T MANAGE MONEY.

At left: Nikki Haley's independent opponent, attorney Tom Ervin.

Outside the local library, the well-scrubbed Tom Ervin partisans had tables all set up, taking signatures for Ervin, their Independent candidate. I usually sign all petitions for Independents to get on the ballot, since as a Green Party member, I want more parties involved in the process, in addition to the Majors. So, I joked to the well-scrubbed partisans that I was a socialist, red as they come, but if they want, I will sign.

They glared. They obviously needed signatures, because they grimly and wordlessly handed me their pen. So I signed. I told them to get rid of the governor, and they just glared some more.

So, Tom Ervin, teach your people to be NICE. Even if I AM a red, I vote strategically and have consequently voted for Ron Paul twice. My vote counts as much as anyone else's, whether I'm a red or not. Put that in your bong and smoke it.

Which brings me to say something nice (!) about the Governor. About the bong, I mean.

Nikki Haley Signs Medical Marijuana Bill Into Law:
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) signed the Medical Cannabis Therapeutic Treatment Research Act into law Monday, clearing the way for children with severe epilepsy to use cannabidiol oil (CBD), a non-psychoactive derivative of cannabis, to help reduce their seizures if recommended by a licensed physician.

The bill, which passed the Senate unanimously and cleared the House with a 92-5 vote, will also designate a new clinical trial at the Medical University of South Carolina dedicated to evaluating the effectiveness of CBD in controlling epileptic seizures.

Seven other states -- Alabama, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin -- have also implemented similar CBD-only medical marijuana proposals in the past four months.
It's a start.

Mr Daisy joked that since several children have died in DSS care, Nikki figured she better do something for the children, quick. The election, remember?

The SC Department of Social Services scandal has resulted in Lillian Koller's resignation, and not a moment too soon. (Once again, I warned you about her too.)

From WLTX:
Columbia, SC (WLTX) - South Carolina Department of Social Services Director Lillian Koller has resigned amid continuing concerns about the agency that she ran.

Koller submitted her letter of resignation to Governor Nikki Haley Monday morning, and Haley accepted. In the letter, she said she felt her continued presence at the agency might be causing problems.

"It has become more and more apparent to me during the past few weeks that my being the State Director is causing a distraction and making it more difficult for DSS to continue the measureable improvements made to the Agency during my tenture that have improved the lives of citizens we serve."

She said it had been a privilege to be the director.

The resignation comes a day before state senators were to discuss a no-confidence vote on Koller.

Koller's agency had come under scrutiny over how it handled cases, including some where children died. One of those was the death of 4-year-old Robert Guinyard, a Richland County boy who died after being given back to his parents. Last week, his parents were convicted of killing the child.

In another case, also out of Richland County, DSS employees were criticized for failing to find a mother who Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott says didn't give her child the proper medical care. The coroner concluded the neglect led to the boy's death. In the wake of the incident, DSS changed an agency policy, saying it would request law enforcement help if it couldn't locate a child withing 72 hours on its own.

During a state senate committee hearing looking into allegations within the agency, concerns were also raised about the workload of DSS caseworkers.

Haley had stood by Koller through the criticism, and in a statement after the resignation, praised her work within the agency.

"Lillian Koller is a dedicated public servant and child advocate, and a wonderful and loving mother - and I am so grateful for her service to South Carolina," said Haley. "Under her leadership, DSS closed a $28 million deficit, moved more than 20,000 South Carolinians from welfare-to-work, and has done wonders to improve our foster care system, placing more South Carolina children in stable, healthy families."

Koller had been director since 2011. Amber Gillum will served as the interim director until a permanent appointment is made.
Closing deficits! Now, that's important.

Children? Safety? Roads? Our money? Not so much.


JoJo said...

I hope she gets voted out this year.

bryce said...

couldnt believe it about the weed. she must think it will help her with the libertarians. ervin is marketing himself as libertarian-lite on the coast

jovan said...

And keep in mind, Haley was in the state legislature when they started cutting SCDOT's budget to the bone. This was in 2003. This is why you see new regulatory, warning and guide signs, but no new pavement. Signs are cheaper to maintain than highways. Obviously, Columbia does not get it. They would rather give handouts to corporations who don't need it than to take care of their constituents.