"If there's anything we can do to honor these nine firefighters, it's to teach our firefighters and ourselves not to let the same thing happen to us."
Gordon Routley, head of the independent review team that analyzed the Charleston Fire Department's response to the Sofa Super Store fire in 2007. He was speaking at Fire-Rescue International earlier this month. Source: www.FireRescue1.com
Saggy Pants Ban On Hold
Charleston City Council delayed action on a proposed saggy pants ban last week, but those in the audience still got a good floor show. State Sen. Robert Ford (D-Charleston), who is by all accounts a full-figured man, compared what he looks like shirtless to Michael Phelps and City Councilman Wendell Gilliard pulled out a department store dummy to show his outrage at those who "bust a sag." Recognizing that the council could not support the proposal (with two key members absent), supporters found enough votes to defer the ordinance until later this year.
Baggy pants bans have been under discussion in communities across the country over the past few years. Earlier this summer, Jasper County put off final approval of its proposed saggy pants ordinance.
In one of his familiar, off-the-cuff spoken-word poems, Ford noted that women are discriminated against because Phelps and other male Olympians can take their shirts off. Women are equally discriminated against, Ford argued, because men are allowed to wear their pants below their ass. Providing the translation at the end of the piece, Ford said that young men need to pull their pants up.
"We should wear pants in a decent way," he said.
Above the laughs and snickers from the audience and fellow council members, supporters of the saggy pants ban were relentless, linking the fashion trend to drug use, gang violence, and disrespect for the community.
"I'm not trying to legislate morality or take a person's rights away," said Councilman James Lewis. "But decent citizens have rights too."
City lawyers explained that, as long as the backside is not exposed, the saggy pants don't break rules against indecency. Legal counsel Adelaid Andrews also said these types of laws could be easily challenged.
"The constitution is going to be very protective in regulating clothing and freedom of expression and freedom of speech," she said. "I'd like to see how other cities have dealt with this in a non-judicial fashion."
Council members argued the proposed ordinance would actually pull resources away from addressing problems like violence and drugs.
"I don't think the City Council needs to be the fashion police," said Councilwoman Deborah Morinelli.
It's a phase kids are going through, said Councilman Aubrey Alexander.
"My father would have loved this council in the '60s, when I had the long hair and the psychedelic T-shirts," he said.
Gilliard's ready to take the pot shots.
"This is the place to put it on the table," he said. "I'll take the criticism, but let's start the dialogue." —Greg Hambrick
The number of broken bones kite-surfing enthusiast Kevin Kearney sustained while taking on Tropical Storm Fay on a Fort Lauderdale beach. The Miami Herald reported that Kearney grew up in Charleston, which suggests the city's claim to YouTube fame is secured once again ... until a cop pushes a kite surfer over at Waterfront Park
Wanted: 15 Green Thumbs
Charleston County is looking for residents and experts to be a part of a 15-member panel to create a solid waste disposal and environmental sustainability plan. The year-long Green Ribbon Committee will work with a consultant to draft the plan while pulling in suggestions from residents and municipalities. The county is looking to fill the committee with experts on energy management, solid waste, recycling, real estate, and environmental sciences, along with residents from various parts of the county. Applications are available at www.charlestoncounty.org and are due by Sept. 15. The County Council will appoint the committee in October. —Greg Hambrick
That's the estimated value of 480 pounds of pot found in a North Charleston office building. Source: Live 5 News
Lindsey Graham: Prince Maker?
Delaware Sen. Joe Biden was so last week. On Friday, Aug. 29, all eyes will be on Sen. John McCain and his pick for the Republican vice presidential candidate. Early leaks suggested Mitt Romney or Paris Hilton, but some reporters say South Carolina's Sen. Lindsey Graham holds the answer.
"Besides the presidential candidates, no one has thought more about who should be picked than Lindsey Graham," reported Mark Halperin on Time's political blog.
But who could it be? The Washington Times reported last week that Graham was lobbying hard for Joseph Lieberman, the former Democrat and 2000 vice presidential candidate.
The Washington Post also reported last week that Graham may be an avid breadsticks fan after the McCain bus made a surprise stop at an Orlando Olive Garden.
"According to McCain's aides, it's not the Arizona senator, but Graham who is a devoted Olive Garden fan," reported Perry Bacon Jr. —Greg Hambrick
Seven Things We Have Seven Of
At least, we think we have seven of them. Like John McCain and his houses, we'll have to check on these and get back to you.
1. AAA batteries
2. Rolls of toilet paper (uh oh, make that six)
3. Used gift bags
4. Leftover tater tots
5. Concert T-shirts we'd never wear again (sorry Paula)
6. Framed pictures of mom (Note: still not enough)
7. Swans a swimming