Should so few people have a say in what happens?

I am one of the less-than-700 voters who participated in the referendum for the Boiling Springs Fire District. Think about that: fewer than 700 voters. I’d wager many individual Boiling Springs subdivisions probably have more than 700 registered voters.

Why the low turnout? Should so few people have a say in taking more taxpayer money (or conversely, the quality of our fire protection services)? Was it because nobody knew about the referendum? I heard rumors that an intended mailing only made it to a small number of voters. I know I didn’t receive one.

Was it because the referendum was held on May 8? We recently had a special election. The midterm election is this November. Why was this referendum on such an unusual date? I’ve only been a Boiling Springs resident for about six years. Is this kind of thing typical?

At best, it would appear it was a missed (or mishandled) opportunity for the fire district to make its needs known to the community and allow EVERYONE to make an informed decision. At worst, it might appear there was a concerted effort to make voter turnout as low as possible (either to defeat or enact the millage increase).

The incredible housing growth I’ve seen in Boiling Springs over the past six years no doubt results in an increased need and cost for fire protection. Certainly this issue will come up again in a future referendum. When that happens, I encourage our elected officials, county board of elections and Boiling Springs Fire District administrators to evaluate what went wrong with this referendum, and make the necessary changes so the community understands the issues, their questions are addressed, and everyone is aware of exactly when the referendum will be held.

 

Bill Ballantyne, Boiling Springs

 

Man for all seasons

Spartanburg lost a giant of a man on May 5. Newt Hardie, the main founder of the Kudzu and Tree Coalition, was a man with a mission.

I first met Newt when I went to his “office” at Panera Bread. Gracious and persuasive, he won me over with a laptop presentation and a cinnamon roll. Newt literally jumped into the tangle of ivy, wisteria, kudzu, privet and countless other invasive species that had strangled our lovely trees. He used pruners, chain saws, bush hogs, if lucky, and whatever implements he could find. When a huge crown of a wisteria root was found at Cleveland Park, he celebrated by giving us each a slice of it. Better than a blue ribbon!

From the Rail Trail to the Cottonwood Trail, along our most traveled roads into the city and beyond, he gifted Spartanburg with an oasis of beauty. And the icing on the cake — it was all done without poisonous chemicals and sprays.

Many would be content to retire after a lifetime of service to his country in the Navy, in private industry with Milliken, and to his church, but Newt reinvented himself into a horticulturist, environmentalist and pied piper. If you think one man cannot make a difference, I beg to differ. Take a look at Newt — a man for all seasons.

 

Prudence Scott, Spartanburg