By Mark A. Leon

On January 20th, 2000, a protest on the Charleston, SC sparked a police riot and got the attention of a nation.  Seventeen years later, we remember the five individuals that became the center of the protest, riot and trial.  This was an event where class struggles and racism came together for one explosive chain of events.  The trial coined a vocal moment called, ‘Free The Charleston Five’.

In January 2000, after a march on Colombia, SC 3 days earlier to lower the Confederate flag from the State Capital, 150 members of the International Longshoremen’s Association Local 1422 held a militant picket to protest the use of non-union labor by a small, renegade shipping line on the Charleston docks. The demonstration soon escalated into a violent face-off between authorities numbering over 600 and the workers, five of whom now faced trial for felony rioting charges in what has become one of the most closely-watched Southern labor battles.

Jason Edgerton, Elijah Ford Jr., Kenneth Jefferson, Ricky Simmons and Peter Washington Jr. were tried on federal charges of “felonious riot.” Considered by many as targets of a racist anti-union assault aimed at the heart of labor, as the bosses seek to break a key outpost of unionism in the South: Charleston, the East Coast’s second largest port.  At the time, only 4% of South Carolina was unionized.

Freeing the South Carolina dock workers became a national and international cause, and eventually the state backed down, agreeing to release them on misdemeanor charges. ILA Local 1422 has continued to be a vital center for community action in the area, including serving as a meeting ground for the Charleston Black Lives Matter movement after the police shooting of Walter Scott in April 2015.

Today, with the Boeing anti-union activism in South Carolina, Walter Scott, Emanuel AME and smaller unspoken incidents, it appears, we may not have moved much in the last seventeen years, other than becoming a little more peaceful in our feelings and actions.

Excerpt of Article in The Internationalist, June, 2001:

“Three days before the police riot of 20 January 2000, ILA Local 1422 participated in a march of tens of thousands in Columbia, the state capital, demanding that the Confederate flag be taken down from above the statehouse. The brutal attack in Charleston was in good part a “payback” from the racist state government. Yet the protest against the hated flag of slavery and KKK terror was exploited as a vehicle by the capitalist politicians of the Democratic Party – the same party of racism and exploitation that put the flag there in 1962 as a threatening show of hatred of the civil rights movement against Jim Crow segregation. In response to the protests, a “compromise solution” backed by Governor James Hodges and Charleston mayor Joseph Riley, Democrats elected with union backing, moved the racist banner from the top to the front of the building.

South Carolina labor does the legwork for the Democrats, and in return gets kicked in the teeth. After the longshoremen helped elect Hodges governor, he nominated Local 1422 president Ken Riley to the Port Authority, that is, to serve as a “labor statesman” helping the bosses administer port workers’ exploitation. The maritime companies said no way – and the nomination was promptly withdrawn. The longshoremen, together with a range of “progressive” groups, responded by picketing the state Democratic Party in Columbia. Yet in Charleston, the Local 1422 union hall doubles as Democratic headquarters! Now the Republicans seek to ram through a bill, known as the “Riley Act,” banning “card-carrying” unionists from serving on state boards so that, in the words of lieutenant governor Harvey Peeler, “the right-to-work foundation of our pro-business climate is never again compromised by union politics.”

Today, the two Carolinas boast the lowest rate of unionization in the entire United States: just above 4 percent. South Carolina is one of two states that do not comply with the federal minimum wage law. Low-wage, non-union labor has been the attraction for “run-away shops” including from France (Michelin tires) and Germany (BMW and others). Seeing themselves as born-again plantation overseers, the capitalist authorities have a special hatred for black longshore unionists who are a nucleus of labor organization in this state, where attempts to drive workers into virtual slave-labor conditions are cynically called “right-to-work” laws.”

Read more about the history and politics of the Charleston Five Incident:  Facing Flag Article ‘Flashback: The Charleston Five and the black struggle for justice’ (2015) and The Internationalist Article ‘Defend the Charleston Five!’ (2001)

 

2017 Boeing Anti-Union Commercial Ad

2017 Boeing Anti-Union Commercial Ad

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Charleston Native? You’re Invited To Locals Free Day!

Do you live in Charleston and have you been looking to take a carriage ride with us?

You’re in luck!

Locals Free Day is a special, one-day event on Sunday, January 29th from 9:00am to 4:00pm where you and your family can take a FREE ride on us!

All you need to bring is a valid I.D. with your Charleston address to 8 Guignard Street (just off of East Bay). Parking will be available in our lot on the corner of Anson and Pinckney Street.

Come all and come early because carriages fill up quickly. Last year we gave around 700 free tours.

Not only is this a great way to see our beautiful city and learn some history, but also to get educated on our top of the line animal welfare program. Most importantly, this is our gift to say thank you for all the years of support!

Even if you can’t make it to Locals Free Day, we encourage you to come by the Big Red Barn anytime and visit with us and our animals. You can see firsthand how we care for our horses and mules and what a typical day looks like for them.

After 45 years of calling the historic Lowcountry home, we look forward to partnering with the Charleston community even more in the future and we hope to see you at Locals Free Day on Sunday, January 29th.

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The King Street Marketing Group and Halls Chophouse are pleased to welcome Steve Slifer, CEO and Chief Economist at NumberNomics, LLC, Thursday, February 2 at noon for Small Business Lunch at Halls.

Formerly the Chief U.S. Economist for Lehman Brothers in NYC, Mr. Slifer has a firm grip on where our economy is headed in 2017. “In times of uncertainty, whether you are running a business or planning your investments, knowledge can be your most valuable asset.”

  • Will economic growth rise in 2017?
  • Will the Fed begin to raise rates more quickly?
  • How will this impact you, your business and the Charleston area economy?

CLICK HERE TO ORDER YOUR TICKETS NOW

 

From 1980 until his retirement in 2003, Mr. Slifer was the Chief U.S. Economist for Lehman Brothers on Wall Street. In that role he directed the firm’s U.S. economics group and was responsible for the firm’s forecasts and analysis of the U.S. economy.

Prior to that he spent a decade as a Senior Economist at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve in Washington, D.C., forecasting growth in the money supply.

He has written two books about the various economic indicators and how they can be used to forecast economic activity.  He also writes a regular bi-weekly economics column for the Charleston Regional Business Journal.

Mr. Slifer has been widely quoted in press and on television, was voted the top economist by Institutional Investor magazine five years in a row and in 1997 was named as one of the top 100 “Faces to Watch in the Next Millenium.”

Each month, Small Business Lunch at Halls features a distinguished speaker from the business, civic or political arenas upstairs at Halls Chophouse with an imaginative three-course meal prepared by Executive Chef Adam Jakins.

Tickets are $31 per person plus tax and processing fee for the luncheon. Doors open at 11:45 a.m. and lunch is served promptly at noon. Limited seating provides an intimate experience with each speaker.

Click Here to Purchase Tickets

Halls Chophouse is located at 434 King Street in downtown Charleston. Convenient parking is available at the Visitors Center Garage on Ann Street between King and Meeting Streets.

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Return of the Highrollers!

CHARLESTON, S.C. – Are you one with the FORCE? Join The Lowcountry Highrollers for their 2017 season opener “Return of the Highrollers“!  A Star Wars themed bout where we invite our amazing fans to help dictate gameplay and rules! SITH or JEDI?  YOU can use the FORCE by donating your dollars to alter the game for the LIGHT or the DARK SIDE all to help us raise travel funds for the 2017 season.

The Rebellion will take on the Empire on Saturday, February 4th, in our Star Wars themed night of derby action, doors open at 6:30 PM, 1st whistle at 7 PM

Want to send a skater to the box or add an extra blocker to the pack? How about just some old fashioned points buying? YOU get to decide how this bout will play out! Here are few of the options to choose from:

$1 Add a point to a team’s score
$4 Add a grand slam (5 points) to your favorite team’s score
$5 Add a blocker to the next jam
$5 Subtract a blocker from the next jam
$5 Reverse skating direction for 1 jam
$10 Remove a jammer in the next jam

There will be a half-time costume contest so come out dressed to impress in your most creative Star Wars themed attire.
Beer and wine will be available for sale (21+); along with delicious food provided by Boss Dogs, a local favorite of the Charleston food truck scene!

Don’t forget to purchase tickets for our raffle to win some awesome prizes! Proceeds from the raffle will go to Donor’s Cure! Find out more about this amazing local charity here:  https://www.donorscure.org/

After the bout, come celebrate, eat some amazing food, enjoy drink specials, and see who will snag bout MVPs.  The after party will be at Charleston Sports Pub, 9730 Dorchester Road, Suite 207, Summerville.

Children under 5 get in FREE
Ages 5-10  – $5.00
Adult $10.00 advance; $15.00 day of
Military Discount – $10.00 at the door, with ID

BUY MORE TICKETS AND SAVE $$$ – Buy 10 or more ADULT tickets and get $2 off each ticket with Promo Code: Return17

The Lowcountry Highrollers is a skater-owned and operated all-female flat-track roller derby league based in Charleston, S.C. The team’s mission is to promote sportswomanship, female empowerment and community consciousness through activities, events and charity involvement. For more information about the Lowcountry Highrollers please visit us online at www.lowcountryhighrollers.com.

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The James Island Vikings Host 7th Annual Bo Roast & Chili Cook-Off

Proceeds of the event will be given to Camp Happy Days for the 6th straight year, benefiting children battling cancer and their families

Charleston, SC- The James Island Vikings were originally formed as a Dragon Boat team and helped raise money for Cancer through Charleston’s Dragon Boat Festival.   In 2010, the Vikings lost close friend, Nancy Brown after a year long battle with breast cancer. The tragic loss hit home and shook the Viking community, especially Nancy’s partner, Bo. The following year, in 2011, the first Bo Roast and Chili Cook-off was held at James Island County Park to help Bo fund a life changing journey to hike the Appalachian Trial. His hike was called ‘Blazin’ for Boobies’. The Vikings made a joint decision to continue donating to cancer programs and the following year, selected Camp Happy Days as the beneficiary of the Bo Roast & Chili Cook-off. Since 2012, the proceeds have been given to Camp Happy Days, a local non-profit that provides year long services to children battling cancer and their families with cost free programs and activities. In an effort to raise money for Camp Happy Days and to aid the fight against Pediatric Cancer, the James Island Vikings will host their 7th Annual Bo Roast & Chili Cook-Off on Saturday, January 28th at the Smoky Oak Taproom on James Island.

Set up for the event will begin at 11am. The event will run from 12pm to 6pm and will include an Oyster Roast, Chili Cook-Off, and live music featuring Hunter Ford, Mark Jackson, Eddie Bush and The Shakin’ Martinis.

If you think you have the best chili around, enter the chili cook-off! An individual or team can enter the cook-off for $25; restaurants can enter for $50. The deadline for chili entries is Wednesday, January 25th. Custom, handmade wooden plaques will be given to best Individual/Team, Best Restaurant and People’s Choice.

Sponsorships are also available and include recognition on the event shirt and 2 VIP tickets. Current sponsors include; Blue’s Burgers, Snagajob, Garage 75, AC Heating & Air, Charleston Fram & Wheel, Cynthia & Brian Jenkins, Life Trax, Life Cool, Butler & College, Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit, Atlantic Inc Termite Pest, iMortgage, SC Property Pros, YachtSalvage.com, Swich L, Headwater Research Inc, Lawhorns Machine Shop, Local 616, CLI Accounting Services, Man vs Magnet, Jack O’ Cups, Seanachai, Keepsakes Florist, Lowcountry Diesel, Callie’s Charleston Biscuits, Tin Roof and New Age Contractors. The deadline for corporate sponsors is Friday, January 20th.

For more information about the event, to participate, or to become a sponsor, contact Bo at (843) 277-5056, Mike at (843)324-7057 or email jamesislandvikings@hotmail.com.

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Media Release: NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. – Over the next 12 months, Lowcountry AIDS
Services will be expanding its HIV testing and prevention efforts into
rural areas of Berkeley and Dorchester counties as well as into
high-risk areas of Charleston. To help fund the program, LAS has
received a $35,400 grant from the Roper Saint Francis Physicians
Endowment.

In a partnership between the Medical Society of South Carolina and
Coastal Community Foundation, the endowment provides annual grants to
nonprofit organizations for the express purpose of improving health,
wellness and access for tri-county area residents. The grants committee
focuses on four community health needs, including access to services and
coverage for uninsured and underinsured. The committee also gives
priority to emerging needs in the community.

Lowcountry AIDS Services’ expansion highlights both of those areas.
The Charleston region has been identified by the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention as an “emerging community” for its high rate
of HIV infections and AIDS cases. LAS identified a significant increase
in new HIV infections in 2015 with an almost 200 percent year-over-year
infection rate. Additionally, IV drug use, especially with opioids, has
been increasing nationwide, with rural areas hardest hit and adding risk
for further HIV infections.

HIV testing in rural communities helps LAS reach audiences that are
rarely offered HIV tests through their medical interactions and allow
for dissemination of educational information to help rural residents
make more informed decisions related to their sexual health.
Additionally, targeted, high-risk populations need increased
opportunities for access to testing and educational programming in
communities with reduced access to healthcare, lower income and higher
prevalence, such as jails and homeless shelters.

The funding provided by the Roper Saint Francis Physicians Endowment
will complement and expand LAS’ existing testing, outreach and HIV
prevention education which is funded through Trident United Way, the
S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control and private donors.

Program expansion provided by this grant will allow LAS to go beyond
performing free testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted
infections at its office in North Charleston four days a week. LAS
expects to reach an additional 20 percent by hosting testing events and
programs in areas outside its office – that equates to about 240 or
more additional individuals who will be tested and more than 1,000
people will receive educational materials and safer-sex materials to
help decrease potential for HIV and STI infections. All newly diagnosed
HIV-positive individuals identified through expanded testing will be
linked to medical care within 30 days.

LAS will add a part-time testing and prevention specialist to perform
off-site testing and prevention services two to three times per week.
These testing events will focus on partnerships with more than 20 rural
health clinics, in-community health providers, wellness clinics and
commercial pharmacies.

“In 2015, our agency identified 33 percent of the new HIV infections
from the entire statewide pool of those found by community based
organizations, even though we only cover about 15 percent of the state
population within our service area,” said Bradley Childs, LAS
executive director. “We know the need is great in our community and we
have to expand our outreach efforts. We are grateful to the Roper Saint
Francis Physicians Endowment for this funding so we can continue to help
even more individuals and connect them to medical care.”

About Lowcountry AIDS Services
Lowcountry AIDS Services is nonprofit organization serving men, women
and children living with HIV/AIDS in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester
counties. LAS provides case management, access to medical care, housing
assistance, financial assistance, nutritional assistance and legal
assistance along with an array of other supportive services to hundreds
in the Charleston area. LAS also works to prevent this epidemic through
education, media campaigns, community outreach and free, daily HIV/STD
testing. For more information, visit aids-services.com .

Lowcountry AIDS Services on Social Media

Facebook: facebook.com/LowcountryAIDSServices
Twitter / Instagram: @LowcountryAIDS

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By Jhovaan Reinds

Hello Charleston

And thanks for having us in your town!

Four years ago, in New Zealand, my husband and I got the email. ‘You’ve been selected for further processing for the United States Diversity Visa’. We freaked out, and went to our local bar. We were not big shots. I worked in a picture framers and he manned the phones for a health insurer. We’ll never get this opportunity again, we said. Let’s do it!

Today, I write to you from the beautiful James Island. We’ve been here for one week, staying with some very patient and loving locals. Squirrels chat outside in the warm sun under a gorgeous blue sky. Are we sure its winter here? This is not winter where I’m from!

People wave at us from the road edge while they push strollers and walk dogs. There are no sidewalks here but the residents seem happy to share their front yards with the public. From the trees hangs a beautiful moss, making them look cuddly and inviting. Until my host points out that bugs live in there and to not touch it.

We’ve seen Folly Beach, our first glimpse of the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a stunningly calm cobalt colour in comparison with the Pacific. I’ve seen my first dolphin in person, hanging out with huge pelicans begging for shrimp from the trawlers at Shem Creek. We’ve walked along the waterfront, admiring the historic buildings and famous Pineapple Fountain. We’ve taken the time to discuss the engineering feats of the Ravenel and Don Holt bridges. The Angel Oak in Johns Island has awed us and provided much quiet contemplation in the company of curious, laughing children.

What has really struck us though, is the hospitality of the people. Whether in Cory’s Grilled Cheese on Maybank, or Queology in downtown, or The Mill in Park Circle, everywhere we go we are treated as friends. That’s different for us, and knowing that a kind, helpful person is waiting to help with coffee and ‘biscuits with grits’ makes waiting at the DMV all the more worth it.

So thank you again, Charleston. We are looking forward to getting to know you more, and contributing to your vibrant community. You have special people here and a care for your heritage like nothing we’ve seen before. In the meantime, we are available for car washing 7 days a week (well, I might send the husband! He’s great with a sponge).

Yours for the indefinite future.

Jhovaan and Nicholas.

 

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Photo Credit: Jerry Coli

Photo Credit: Jerry Coli

DANIEL ISLAND, S.C. – Close to 20 percent of new moms will experience
maternal mental illness. That means more women will suffer from
illnesses like postpartum depression, anxiety and OCD in one year than
the combined number of new cases among men and women of  tuberculosis,
leukemia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s
disease, lupus and epilepsy.

On Mother’s Day weekend, local nonprofit Postpartum Support Charleston
invites the community to stand up for these mothers and mothers
everywhere. The 14th annual Moms’ Run + Family Fun Day [3] is
Saturday, May 13 at MUSC Health Stadium on Daniel Island. Registration
for the event is open and early-bird pricing is available through Jan.
31.

The event raises money for Postpartum Support Charleston, a largely
volunteer-run organization dedicated to eradicating the stigma
surrounding maternal mental illness to ensure all women who suffer
receive support. The organization offers free peer-to-peer support
groups, educational programs for the public and the medical community as
well as providing grants to women who are not able to afford treatment
for PPD or related illnesses.

Photo Credit:  Jerry Coli

Photo Credit: Jerry Coli

The annual Moms’ Run — Postpartum Support Charleston’s largest
fundraiser — is a 5K run/walk open to all ages followed by free events
and activities for families. Participants and their families can arrive
at 7 a.m. for pre-race Family Fun Day festivities. At 8 a.m., runners
and walkers can join the 5K run/walk through Daniel Island and ending
back at MUSC Health Stadium.

A Family Fun Day and awards ceremony will follow the race. Participants
can enjoy music, free food and plenty of children’s activities,
including a jump castle, face painting, crafts and games. Family Fun Day
is included in race registration.

“So many new moms suffer in silence from this all-too-common illness.
We want mothers to know they are not alone,” said Elaine DeaKyne, PPD
survivor and board president for Postpartum Support Charleston. “Our
race not only provides important funds for our work in the Charleston
area, but also is a way for all of us to join together and raise up the
mothers in our community.”

Early bird registration fees through Jan. 31 are $25 per adult; $30 for
stroller registration (includes 1 adult & 1 child; $5 each additional
child in the stroller); $15 for children 10 and under. Beginning Feb. 1,
prices go up to $30 per adult; $35 for stroller and $20 for children. A
Support the Cause option at $25 is available for non-runners who want a
T-shirt and race bag.

All runners are invited to create a race team and raise additional money
for Postpartum Support Charleston. Sponsorship and exhibitor
opportunities are available;

Click Here for Full Event Details

or email momsrun@ppdsupport.org.

About Postpartum Support Charleston
Postpartum Support Charleston is dedicated to eradicating the stigma
surrounding maternal mental illness (such as depression, anxiety, OCD
and psychosis during and after pregnancy) to ensure all women who suffer
receive support. For more information, visit www.PPDSupport.org.

Find PSC on social media:
Facebook: facebook.com/PostpartumDepressionSupport
Twitter / Instagram @ppdsupportchs
Event hashtag #MomsRun2017

Photo Credit:  Jerry Coli

Photo Credit: Jerry Coli

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Note:  Due to Bad Weather projected, the Taste of Folly Block Party scheduled for Saturday, January 21st has been moved to Saturday, January 28th.

How do you compliment some of the best Winter weather we have seen in years? – Easy:  Taste of Folly 2017:  January 20 and 21 on Folly Beach

The Edge of America’s largest Foodie event will kick-off with a 5th Annual Signature Cocktail Competition at Tides / Blu on Friday, from 7-10 p.m. with live music from Red Cedar Review.

Saturday we’ll shut down four blocks of Center Street from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. for a community festival featuring 20 Folly Beach-based food vendors, dozens of local art vendors, kids activities, carnival games, a mechanical shark, live music By Me & Mr. Jones and Dallas Baker & Friends, a hot dog eating contest, chili cook-off, silent auction, date auction, server Olympics and more.

Local food vendors will be competing for “Best in Show” awards.

The Friday night event is $15, and all of Saturday’s events are free. Proceeds benefit participating local Folly Beach charities and nonprofits.

Want to Participate

To enter the chili cook-off, contact Lorne Chambers at editor@follycurrent.com.

To sign up for the date auction, contact Cathryn Matheu at Cathryn.matheu8@gmail.com.

To be a vendor, volunteer, sponsor or donate a silent auction item, contact TasteOfFolly@gmail.com.

Event Schedule
Friday Night at Tides / Blu:
7-10pm Cocktail Competition
Live music by Red Cedar Review
$20

Saturday Schedule:
Main Stage:
11-12 Dallas Baker & Friends
12-1 Hot Dog Eating Contest
1-2 Dallas Baker & Friends
2-3 Date Auction
3-4:30 Me & Mr. Jones
4:30-5 Awards Ceremony

Other Events:
12-2 Server Olympics
12-2 Chili Cook-Off
11am-4pm Silent Auction

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If you spend any time on social media and frankly, you may have to be living in a bubble or underground not to, the phrase “paradise” is often thrown around when describing Charleston.  As an avid supporter of the beauty, culture, community and charm, it is often easy to do.  We also need to look at the big picture of a geographic region and understand, that reaching the plateau of paradise is often challenging or impossible.  Setting those expectations, can also set others to fail, by painting a false picture of “paradise”.

This article is meant as a tool of awareness that Charleston has its own set of challenges and daily wears.  Like any other city, we have our flaws and many we deal with regularly, while others are growing to potentially explosive proportions.

Here are some of the reasons, Charleston is not always “paradise”

  • Postal System Challenges:  If you are a local, the news that we have a poor postal system in Charleston County should come as no surprise.  From the long lines and slow service to the delayed delivery times, even for local postal items, there is tremendous room for improvement in our postal system.  Often, the daily home deliveries are inconsistent and not uniform.
  • Limited Nature Preserve Outdoor Options:  If you are an avid runner, hiker, biker or adventurer, the term Lowcountry has never had a more defined meaning.  If you are looking for mountains or waterfalls, the closest destinations are four hours plus away from Charleston.
  • Heavy Taxation:  Charleston County just approved in 2016 a 0.5% tax increase bringing sales tax to 9.0% (Higher than New York City).  Our restaurant food tax is 10.5% / restaurant alcohol is 15%.  In a 2016 study, South Carolina was rated the third worst driving state and this has resulted in increases in automobile insurance rates.  This author saw a 22% annual increase in insurance rates without any incident.
  • Housing Costs:  If you are in the real estate market, you are capitalizing on a golden opportunity.  If you are looking to buy a home or rent, you need to do a bit of research, because it may be very costly.  We are in a housing bubble.  One that could grow or explode very quickly.  Recently, a house was sold on The Battery for a record $6.2 Million and houses throughout the county are seeing sharp rises.  This is also affecting rental costs on the peninsula.  In the Elliotborough Section, we found a 3 bedroom, 2 ½ bath for $3600 a month.  In 2010, a two-bedroom ranged from $900 – $1300 a month.  Today, that same option is averaging $1600 – $2000.  With the added costs of utilities and internet, it is becoming a struggle to support downtown living.
  • Traffic: The only explanation this needs is experiencing this on a daily basis.  Whether you drive Savannah Highway, Bees Ferry, Highway 17, Interstate 526, Interstate 26, Folly Road or Calhoun Street, maneuvering through the Charleston area is nothing short of a driving nightmare.  If you have the unfortunate distinction of driving during rush hour or tidal flooding, the situation only gets worse.
Spring Street

Spring Street

  • Flooding:  Charleston is coastal living.  There is no denying the unquestionable beauty of the harbors and beaches, but there is also a sustainable issue about flooding on city streets and residential areas.  As an attendee of the recent mayoral debate, flooding was a critical topic throughout the discussion and remains today.  One consistent element the audience took away from the seven candidates, is that no one has a sustained answer on how to address and correct the issue.
  • Unspoken Racism: We are one of the friendliest cities in the country, if not the world.  We don’t protest or riot and we keep to ourselves except for the friendly smile or ‘hello’.  That doesn’t mean we opening believe in equality for all.  Charleston has a clear separation of black and white.  In economics, housing, lifestyle and treatment.  Southern racial tensions are high in Charleston and those that choose to ignore it, are making a clear statement as well.
  • Construction:  You would be hard pressed to remember a time in the last three plus years when there weren’t cranes, construction vehicles, cones or detours destroying the esthetics of The Holy City.  Drive down Lockwood, President Street, Spring Street, King Street, Calhoun or Meeting.  Watch out for potholes and construction workers.  It has been a long time since we didn’t have to walk through a construction tunnel or see a crane blocking one of our beautiful church steeples.
  • Affordability: We have a Mayor that campaigned on “livability”, yet failed to look at affordability as Charleston continues to grow to a “high end” residential and hospitality community.  With the new community taking over Sergeant Jasper, boutique shopping on Upper Meeting, Northern expansion of Upper King, high end hotel development and retail, Charleston is becoming less about appealing to locals and more about tourism.  That position was made very clear when in 2016 when Hughes Lumber, Bob Ellis Shoes and Morris Sokol Furniture closed (All local foundations that stayed in business from 60 to 100 plus years).
  • Identity Crisis: For those that don’t know, James Island resides under two jurisdictions, James Island and Charleston.  There are even two different garbage pick-ups in the same neighborhoods.  Is James Island part of Charleston or its own municipality?  West Ashley has fought for its own namesake for years, but it is still part of Charleston.  This identity crisis needs to be addressed.
  • Corporate Name Tags:  I moved to Charleston partly because of Jestine’s Kitchen and a local record store.  It was the small-town appeal that won me over.  Today, there are 9 Starbucks downtown, Five Guys Burgers, Chipotle, Panera, Subway, Moe’s, West Elm, Williams-Sonoma, Urban Outfitters, Forever 21, Godiva, Victoria’s Secret, American Apparel and an Apple Store.  We expect those corporate name tags to continue to grow.
  • Lack of Ethnic Food: Food is king in Charleston.  Hello, ‘Top Chef’ just filmed here.  You can search the peninsula far and wide (Campus Food excluded) and you will find a large void in ethnic food options.  Traditional Southern cuisine owns downtown.  There are derivatives of that theme, but still one-sided.  If you want true ethnic options, North Charleston offers the best selection.
Radcliffe Street

Radcliffe Street

  • Cooper River Bridge and Ice – I will be the first to say, the Cooper River Bridge is one of the most beautiful bridges I have ever seen.  It is part of who we are and folks around the world identify us by its majestic span.  Many years ago, when the architectural designers laid plans and built this bridge, it came with a flaw, falling deadly icicles.  We don’t often get freezing level temperatures, but when we do, it can and has shut down the bridge that connects Mount Pleasant to Charleston over the harbor.  This shutdown forces traffic to detour to 526 and 26.  If you have lived through it, you have stories, but we don’t recommend it.

Debate and expressionism is healthy.  It breeds creativity and ignites change.  We hope this article opens your minds and reminds you that Charleston is a remarkable place to live, but we have areas that are not perfect.

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