Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Agenda: Relief for stopped trains?; Utility chair says McMaster is playing politics; Flaggers consider lawsuit

Bill would stiffen penalties for trains that remain stopped on tracks

Posted by Sam Spence on Tue, Dec 12, 2017 at 11:49 AM

  • Flickr user northcharleston

Santee Cooper Chairman Leighton Lord says he won't step down voluntarily after Gov. Henry McMaster said he would fire him over the failed VC Summer nuclear project. Lord says McMaster is playing politics since he's supporting Catherine Templeton in the 2018 gov election. (Templeton supported Lord's 2010 run for attorney general.) Source: The State, P&C, WaPo

Another log on the fire: After flushing billions of dollars from its customers' power bills into the failed VC Summer project, SCE&G's parent company says that cutting off the payments to the project (which has halted, to be clear) could push the company into bankruptcy. Source: P&C

North Chs. residents rejoice: A bill filed by a state rep. in Columbia would stiffen penalties for trains that stop traffic for extended periods of time during the day. Source: The State

Confederate flag supporters barred from marching in the Summerville Christmas parade say they are considering legal action. Soruce: P&C

P&C editorial: "Bigger cruises not welcome"

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Monday, December 11, 2017

Charleston-area YouTube star Angry Grandpa has died

Angry Grandpa amassed more than 3.4 million followers on YouTube

Posted by Sam Spence on Mon, Dec 11, 2017 at 5:44 PM

We're sorry to hear today that Charlie Green, the cantankerous, unfiltered Summerville man known on YouTube by millions of followers as Angry Grandpa, has died.

In a video posted yesterday, Angry Grandpa's son Michael Green, known as Pickleboy and Kid Behind a Camera, posted a tearful video breaking the news of his father's passing. After overcoming a bout with cancer last year, Michael said, Angry Grandpa was diagnosed with cirrhosis this year and passed away on Sunday. He was 67. Early videos of the man who would become known as Angry Grandpa and his son pranking each other were a first a hit on sites like Break.com and OG online communities like eBaumsWorld. Today, Angry Grandpa's YouTube channel has amassed some 3.4 million followers, viewers AGP referred to as his "Young'uns." This afternoon, Sunday's announcement video was #2 on YouTube's trending list.

In a 2013 cover story, then-CP staff writer Paul Bowers visited Angry Grandpa at his North Area trailer park home, wondering if the family's online antics were rooted in reality or just a put-on.

Here's Bowers:
It may well be that Charlie Green is a cunning practitioner of modern-day redneck minstrelsy, cursing and spluttering and wrecking his trailer for all the wired world to see — and laughing all the way to the bank. Maybe his rage is real. Or maybe he's like a pro wrestler, ever playing the heel and making his anger pay.

"I'm pretty sure, even in your life, things have happened that you'd like to say, 'Yaaaaaaggghhh!'" Green says. "But you don't do it, because the society that you're in, that's not OK. But see, I don't live in that kind of a world. I live in a world where everything's real. Problems are real. And I react real."

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Paving work on Spring and Cannon streets rescheduled for 2018

'Til Next Year

Posted by Adam Manno on Mon, Dec 11, 2017 at 4:29 PM

  • Photo via Google Maps
  • Spring Street.
It will be business as usual on Spring and Cannon streets for the rest of 2017.

Last week's unexpected mix of rain and apocalyptic temperature drops forced the city to postpone the milling and paving of Cannon and Spring streets for this week.

Thankfully, for those us who love sweaters and abhor traffic disruptions, the weather and the impending holidays mean that work on the streets will now be postponed until the "first available opportunity in 2018," according to a press release by the city.

So worry not, brunchers and shoppers, your streets are safe for now, with a 100% chance of smooth sailing coming in a few weeks.

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Framework for reporting sexual misconduct in S.C. capitol ranges from straightforward to nonexistent

Few details known about complaints

Posted by Adam Manno on Mon, Dec 11, 2017 at 4:26 PM

  • Flickr user chapin_gamecock

In light of the never-ending-but-incredibly-necessary waves of sexual misconduct allegations that have crashed onto the shores of industries such as film, politics, stand-up comedy and journalism, we thought it necessary to revisit how our own representatives in Columbia, along with staff, can go about reporting inappropriate behavior in the Statehouse.

S.C. House of Representatives: Multi-Part

In a phone call with the City Paper, House clerk Charles F. Reid said:

Someone can report it to their direct supervisor: the Speaker [of the House], the clerk, or the chair of the Operations and Management Committee ... Then it goes through the appropriate channels.

Typically, a complaint about a fellow lawmaker or Statehouse staffer would go to the Speaker, who would then work with the clerk to investigate the complaint. There are alternative steps in the event that the complaint involves either the Speaker or the clerk themselves.

The current Speaker of the House of Representatives is James Lucas (R-Darlington). The chair of the Operations and Management Committee is Garry Smith (R-Greenville).

"If it involves the clerk, it goes to the Speaker who uses his legal counsel to assist him in the process," Reid said.

Inversely, if the complaint involves the Speaker of the House, the clerk would work with the chair of the Operations and Management committee. Along with the chair, the committee is currently comprised of six men and only one woman, Rep. Patsy Knight (D-Dorchester).

It's obvious from this mechanism that reporting sexual misconduct in the Statehouse may not be the most appealing option for lawmakers or staffers not wishing to run afoul of their coworkers. Reporting to the clerk is the only option that does not involve a superior for lawmakers.

"The ideal policy allows the victim alternatives to report to upper management (or those with authority over the harasser) without having to first report it to the harasser — in the event the harasser is his or her boss," said M. Malissa Burnette, an employment and labor law attorney based in Columbia, via e-mail to the City Paper. "If, of course, the 'top guy' is doing the harassing, both the anti-harassment policy and the reporting mechanism fail."

Whoever ends up handling the complaint gets to choose what outside legal counsel they hire to investigate it. If the powers-that-be decide to move forward, allegations are sent to either the House Ethics Committee or a state law enforcement agency, depending on the severity of the claim.

"The House is very open in this process and in trying not to inhibit anyone who may wish to report," Reid said.

The House uses no specific fund to settle claims. This is in sharp contrast to how the U.S. Congress settles cases of sexual misconduct. There, victims are paid confidentially through a special U.S. Treasury fund, which has paid $15.2 million dollars in 235 awards for various Capitol Hill workplace violations (including more than just sexual misconduct), according to The Washington Post.

U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minnesota) announced his resignation on Dec. 7 after multiple sexual misconduct allegations. On Dec. 12, voters in Alabama will decide whether or not to send Roy Moore to the Senate. Moore has been accused of pursuing underage girls.

The State found that two S.C. House lawmakers have resigned since 2015 due to sexual harassment complaints. The Columbia newspaper also reported that allegations of sexual misconduct have cost the state more than $13 million in the past 10 years.

The hurdles inherent in reporting sexual misconduct, which we covered last week, are evident in how some at the Statehouse choose to handle their allegations.

"It happened," Rep. Anne Thayer (R-Anderson) told The State regarding her account of a fellow lawmaker grabbing her from behind without consent at least twice.  "I handled it."

The City Paper has submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for the House's official written policy on sexual misconduct, as well as information on the number of complaints filed in the past five years.

S.C. Senate: TBD

In response to a similar FOIA request by the City Paper, Senate clerk Jeff Gossett said,
The Senate does not have any records that are responsive to your request. Nor, at this time, do we have a formal no harassment policy in place.
Gosset pointed the City Paper to a statement by President Pro Tempore and Sen. Hugh Leatherman:
Several weeks ago, I instructed the Clerk of the Senate and the Counsel to the President Pro Tempore to prepare a no harassment policy for the members and employees of the Senate. That work is ongoing, but I will have the policy in place by the beginning of next session.

Outlining a policy would help keep the Senate accountable when it comes to sexual harassment.

"Reporting per the policy actually helps to hold the employer liable if the employer then fails to take 'immediate and appropriate' action," Burnette said.

For now, since the Senate has no policy or reporting mechanism regarding sexual harassment, an employee must first "exhaust" his or her administrative procedures, according to Burnette. That means filing a "Charge of Discrimination" with the state Human Affairs Commission within 180 days of the event, or with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission within 300 days of the event. If a settlement is not reached, the employee is eventually given "Notice of Right to Sue" along with a deadline for filing a lawsuit, which must also be carefully followed.

State Sen. Mia McLeod (D-Richland) told The State that "it would be off" if the Senate had no instances of inappropriate behavior.

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Charleston-based Yik Yak co-founder set to launch The Q, a competitor to HQ Trivia

Final Answer?

Posted by Sam Spence on Mon, Dec 11, 2017 at 1:58 PM

Joseph Monahan is The Q's Scott Rogowsky - APPLE APP STORE
  • Apple App Store
  • Joseph Monahan is The Q's Scott Rogowsky
Amid bleeps and bloops about Trump tweets, fantasy football, and cheap flights to far-off lands, I've been paying especially close attention to two notifications a day for the past few weeks. At 3pm and 9pm, HQ Trivia lights up my phone, letting me know it's time to play along with some 400,000+ of my closest friends.

HQ Trivia, a live-streamed trivia show that's played twice daily on your phone, has absolutely blown up over the past month or so. All that growth has made it hard for the game to keep up, leading to a ton of laggy video, unhappy players, and even canceled games.

Will Jamieson - PROVIDED
  • Provided
  • Will Jamieson
That's where The Q comes in. Founded by Will Jamieson, one of the creators of Yik Yak (R.I.P.), The Q hopes to draw players with a similar formula that performs better even under heavy traffic.

Jamieson told The Ringer that he thought his most recent venture, a live video streaming company named Stream, was a natural fit to remedy HQ Trivia's frustratingly slow service, but found the company unresponsive to his appeals. So Jamieson sprung into action, starting development on The Q in late October and working in private beta over the past few weeks.

After squashing some bugs in its beta build, The Q reportedly plans to launch an updated, improved version of its app this week. And while HQ is iOS only for now, The Q already has iOS and Android versions.

The Q works similarly to HQ Trivia: Users launch the app at the designated start time and answer questions until they respond incorrectly. The last players standing after a dozen or so questions get a cash prize, but Jamieson says they may have a few riffs on that format. Normally, HQ Trivia's purse is $1,000 split among winners. The Q's winnings are substantially less, but winners can also choose to receive their payout in Bitcoin, which could mean you win a lot or absolutely nothing. And just like HQ Trivia has Scott Rogowsky as its "Quiz Daddy," The Q has Joseph Monahan as its smiling host.

Conveniently timed to start 30 minutes after HQ's twice-daily games, look for The Q push notifications at 3:30 and 9:30 p.m. Download the app in the iOS and Google Play stores. Follow The Q on Twitter at @theqtrivia.

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