A Letter of Caution to Charleston and neighboring communities

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By Mark A. Leon

This commentary is brushed with admiration and fueled by optimism, but must be posed with an air of caution, because with change comes adjustment; with adjustment, comes resistance.? Given the rapidly changing landscape, education and acceptance are critical for ensuring a positive future for Charleston.

Last week, a story broke centering around an attack on a transgender female outside a downtown Charleston nightclub.? This led to questions on whether this was a targeted attack.? Yet, a hush remains over the community.? As an active resident for many years, I have observed some clear cultural practices:

  • This is a culture that bottles up emotion and works hard to “not” rock the boat
  • There is limited government activism and strength in rallying over a cause
  • There is deeply embedded resentment and separation between rich and poor; black and white

We hear that Charleston is the friendliest city in the country and one of the top destinations for new residents and career opportunities, but look at some other issues that will arise as we continue to become one of the fastest growing regions in the South and the country.

  • If Charleston is one of the friendliest and most welcome cities in the country, why did the government feel the need to apologize for slavery, an act that was abolished over 150 years ago?
  • If it is necessary to remove slavery from our historic story line, why are housing communities still called “plantations”, the term or location that many associate with slavery?
  • The hottest area of economic growth in the Lowcountry is construction. With that, we are seeing more and more migrant and immigrant workers.? Is this community comfortable with that?
  • With the career opportunity growth and South Carolina ranked one of the lowest in the nation in academic standards, how we will fill those much-needed skilled roles to meet the demands of the area? This question becomes even more critical with the recent announcement of the new Google Data Center and the existence of over 250 active start-ups.
  • In the latest census, Charleston County residency is 95.7% white and black.? A demographic shift will change significantly in the next 10 plus years.? How is the city going to adjust?
  • We currently have a commuting traffic issue in the city metro. With Volvo, Nexton and the expansion West of Summerville, this will create a second bottleneck of traffic on 26.? How is this being addressed?
  • As traffic issues continue to mount, the infrastructure changes to more modern architectural design and the fight against unfair treatment of the carriage horses mount, will the historic Southern culture of Charleston soon be gone?
  • Can the Lowcountry survive with the increased pressures of new development and resident growth, while we still cannot solve the issue of flooding and poor water quality?

These are questions that have run through the minds of many and unfortunately, we seem to be allowing our local governments free reign to capitalize on changes without taking steps to solidify the future.? The future is being compromised and contrary to what government and media is saying, it I not for the better.

More tourists, more money, increased costs and more homes are not always the right direction of progress.? In addition, progress does takes time.? The rate we are progressing is not healthy.

I hope we start to organize and stand in numbers as one voice to either slow down change or prepare for the future.? If not for us, for our children.

When Art Loses to Development in Charleston

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By Mark A. Leon

For those of you that have spent time or live in the James Island area, you are all too familiar with the strip mall that housed the old Cha Cha’s Mexican Restaurant and Bar and Rogue Motion, now in the hear of West Ashley.? That was a place that still holds special memories for me.? A place where I established new friendships that remain today.? That piece of real estate between Gold’s Gym and the Brick House Kitchen is nothing more than piles of rubble now, making way for a new look and feel of James Island and Charleston.

Yet, behind the rubble, lies a reminder of some of the creative street art that has given Charleston is creative flavor and unique voice.? These remains, are another reminder of a different time, a different place, where the dollar wasn’t the dominate force that drove the decisions in this community.

This was a time and place where community, affordability, art and music, family and tradition were our foundation.

Today, we walked the grounds one last time to say goodbye to another piece of our history as we await the likes of a Target Store to reinforce the new landscape of Charleston.

10 Ways Charleston, S.C. has changed for the worse

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By Mark A. Leon

Charleston, South Carolina has taken on a new face.

The new modernized Charleston, with a focus on increasing tourism, corporate infrastructure, increased pricing, more crowded streets, cranes owning the skyline, traffic bottlenecks in all directions and inflationary spikes may be helping this booming economy, but it isn’t what everyone wants.? There are a great many that miss the local first, charming historic appeal of the old Charleston.? We wanted to share some of the ways Charleston has changed for the worse based on social chatter and mood indicators of those that live and breath the Lowcountry air.

10 Ways Charleston, S.C. has changed for the worse

  • Folly Beach is modernizing and monetizing – In case you blinked, there have been some significant changes to our favorite area beach.? We would like to emphasize a few:? 1.? Folly Beach is now charging entrance fees to its street festivals including this weekend’s Folly Gras.? 2.? Arctic has implemented paid parking on the streets.? 3.? The beach entrance parking lots no longer accept money in an envelope.? You must use a phone app to pay for your parking.? 4.? New construction is spiking around the area of Center Street.? 5.? Finally, a digital sign has been added on Folly Road.
  • Local First in downtown Charleston is a thing of the past?– Remember:? Bluestein’s Clothing, Morris Sokol Furniture, Bob Ellis Shoes, King Street Grille, Piggly Wiggly and Hughes Lumber – If you are a local and have been for a number of generations, you are seeing familiar businesses close faster than we can keep count.? There is a simple explanation: the percentage of tourists is growing year over year and the percentage of local patrons is shrinking due to the overcrowded conditions caused by this spike in tourism.
  • Corporate billboards are taking over the city – You need not have lived here long to see the rise of corporate foundations in downtown Charleston and beyond.? Let us highlight some of the big entrances into our charming community:? Starbucks and Whole Foods (West Ashley), Starbucks (James Island), Walgreens (Corner of King and Calhoun), 5 Guys Burgers, Moe’s Southwestern, 3 Starbucks on King Street, West Elm, Louis Vuitton, IHOP, Publix, Vans, Aldo, Forever 21, H&M and more to come in downtown Charleston.
  • Church steeples beautifying the skyline is becoming a thing of the past – Cranes, construction, cranes, construction – That has been the look of our skyline for five plus consecutive years with no indication of a slowing in development.? With the massive projects in the medical district, the corner of Crosstown and Lockwood, across from Joe Riley, Upper King Street and Upper Meeting Street, Charleston is changing forever and rapidly.
  • Charleston is more becoming more known for breweries than the churches of the Holy City – Don’t commit to this number, but we now have over 30 breweries in the Lowcountry and it is estimated there is a brewery for every 10K – 12K citizens in the county.? I am not sure if that is worth celebrating or very alarming.? Charleston is now becoming more known for its craft beer than its history and Holy City architectural charm.
  • Tourism first, local second – We had another record year of tourism.? It is estimated 4.2 million people came through the Charleston International Airport in 2017.? That does not even factor in car traffic.? That is a big number.? It is great for our local economy, but it is a pain point for locals who are fearing the inconveniences of spending time in Charleston.? This truly is a shame.? It is one thing to pledge “Buy Local”, but another to take action to ensure it is happening.
  • Reasonable commutes have vanished – There isn’t much to say here.? You just need to live it every day to understand.
  • Taxation is disrupting local commerce and recreation – I was recently in Minneapolis and Philadelphia where restaurant food and alcohol tax are 6.0%.? I was pleasantly shocked.? For those that have never been here and plan a trip in the near future, this is a key piece of information:? Charleston County sales tax is 9.5%, restaurant food tax is 10.5% and restaurant alcohol tax is 15%.
  • Increased parking rates and penalties have crippled locals ambition to spend time on the peninsula – It was only a few years ago, you could park in a garage on a Sunday and pay a flat fee of $5.00.? It was just over 10 years ago, that a parking ticket cost $10.? Some even remember $7.00.? Now that fine is $45.00 and a garage will cost you $20.00 or more for just a few hours.? There is opportunistic greed and it is very active in our community.
  • Shem Creek has lost its coastal appeal – There is now a parking garage with office suites on the grounds of Shem Creek, a place once known for fishing, kayaking, shrimping and a local coastal hangout.? Times have changed on the Creek.
  • Bonus:? Timeshares in Charleston – If you did not hear the latest news, the Charleston city council approved the development of a 100 unit timeshare on the corner of Calhoun and East Bay in downtown Charleston.

Dear Mayor Tecklenburg, we would like our city back

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Dear Mayor Tecklenburg,

As we look back at 2017, we witnessed record tourism in the Lowcountry, rises in sales tax to 9%, restaurant tax at 10.5%, alcohol restaurant tax at 15%, rising cost of parking garages, increases in parking ticket fines, heavier traffic, road construction throughout the peninsula, continued pollution of the skyline with cranes and building development, family businesses continuing to close their doors and locals turning their heads wondering why we are letting this all happen so fast without any type of regulation or control.

The conclusion is that a select few real estate investors are making a fortune off this record setting growth while the local-residents continue to suffer. Why are we taking a backseat to tourism and opportunistic greed?

Maybe, if all this investment money was staying locally in the South, we may have some level of justification, but a tremendous amount is coming from Northern investors. There is irony there given the negative sentiment many have of Northerners moving in and infiltrating our Southern home.

For the last year, we have seen daily esthetic pollution with Lockwood continuing to be an eye sore by the Ashley Bridge, the intimate Joe Riley Stadium being overrun by a massive building development project, Upper King a continued push North with building development and gentrification and new condos/apartments all around the Cooper River Bridge. But, none of this is new to you and your administration as you have been the Mayor of record as the historic city of Charleston is being destroyed dissolving hundreds of years of simple Southern charm.

It is ok, you are not alone. Folly Beach, Mount Pleasant and West Ashley are following suit. With the new digital sign at the entrance of Folly Beach and a giant chair sponsored by Coca Cola on the pier, Whole Foods in West Ashley, Starbucks on James Island and office buildings, condos and hotels in Mount Pleasant and a parking garage at Shem Creek, it seems the end is nowhere in sight.

For those that have lived for many years in the Lowcountry with reasonable rent increases, new pressures are being felt. Older apartments and condos are starting to capitalize on this greedy focused economy, by renovating old units and raising rents to compete with the new developments and cost of living that is rising much faster than the national average.

What are we doing to solve the flooding issue that has plagued our city for generations? Any progress there or just ideas? Maybe we can get money from the Dewberry or Spectator that is getting $450 – $650 a night for a hotel room or the $250 price tag for New Year’s Eve. Maybe the parking garages that have more than doubled in prices in the last two years could provide financial assistance. Just a thought.

How do we explain the 2017 Charleston County budget? The total spent on Economic Development, Education and Health / Welfare is 26.6 Million.? All three combined is 6.9 Million less than Culture and Recreational spending (26% more). We are hurting in our classrooms with academic rankings low and teacher to student ratios becoming unmanageable and yet only 6.6 Million of 480 Million is allocated for Education. Only 16.1 Million was set aside for Health and Welfare when Charleston County has the largest medical system in the state and we have an opioid epidemic that is alarming. It seems spending is not being properly utilized.

You must feel honored knowing in two short years you have already left such a memorable legacy as Mayor of Charleston. We have witnessed the most development since the post-Civil War reconstruction and bear witness to multi-generational family businesses being closed to make way for conglomerate Real Estate Trusts and Investment tycoons.

You are leading a city known for family and tradition into an era where Charleston is becoming a Southern amusement park of high end shopping, dining, hotels and corporate logos.

We hope next year yields some significant changes and the emphasis turns from tourism to the needs of those that live and reside here.

Regards,

Charleston Daily

Charleston, South Carolina Entitlement Bill of Rights

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We ordain these words to the people of Charleston as the standard rights of entitlement as a Charleston citizen

Charleston, South Carolina Entitlement Bill of Rights

  • We shall always remain the Number 1 City in the United States and World under the doctrine of Conde Nast and no other publication, survey or list shall matter.
  • We shall continue to abolish homelessness and drive the poor black and white communities out of the proper
  • Cranes will serve as worship deities from above ruling the skies of the once Holy City
  • The history books will remember us as a city of racial injustice (Walter Scott / Emanuel AME) and weep for us
  • We shall be the leader in Instagram instant gratification filling the social platform with pretty people, pretty food and pretty things
  • We shall rejoice for Christmas with holiday parties, theater, comedy, dining and parades and shun the thought of cold weather
  • We will develop and praise the birth of the $500 a night hotel with butlers, carriages and $20.00 cocktails, yet not offer up a professional sports franchise for the locals to rally around
  • We shall drink on every occasion and every non-occasion, declaring all Charleston festivals a time of spirits and beer
  • The weekends of September through January will be National Holidays celebrating the piety of the Gamecocks, Tigers and Panthers
  • We will pray on rooftop bars bringing us closer to the heavens. I’ll toast to that
  • The beaches will be worship palaces of the flesh
  • Humidity will cleanse the soul by releasing all the inner toxins

In Charleston, we trust

 

Charleston, South Carolina Will Break Your Heart

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By Mark A. Leon

Last weekend, a friend, referencing to the social scene of Charleston, made a rather poignant remark, “there are no festivals in Charleston, just drinking events disguised as festivals.”? That comment spoke volumes as I more deeply examined the culture of the Lowcountry.? Several months ago, I wrote a piece referring that Charleston lacks soul and backbone.? The underlying theme of the piece is our indifference or lack of passion around social, economic and life issues.

We flock to the bottle and the gridiron.? Life, for many is surrounded by food, beer, wine, alcohol and football.? It is a lifestyle for many, but one that can suck you in and leave scars.

More importantly, there are selected moral flaws embedded into the lifestyle of the Lowcountry.? Some uncover them early, while others need to truly spend time to be awaked.

Here are some conversation worthy observations that outline why Charleston will ultimately break your heart

  • The Lowcountry is very opportunistic. Don’t get me wrong, competition and business savviness is a good thing.? Ask Gordon Gekko.? With the Lowcounty saturated with small business owners, the need to shake your hand if you shake mine attitude has dampened the mindset of selfless generosity.? It is difficult to partner without the need to provide something in exchange.
  • Entitlement – One should never feel entitled to anything.? It creates greed, apathy and a lack of compassion.? Charleston’s bragging over the annual or semi-annual accolade of one singular publication has created this ugly face of bragging about how great this city is.? That look is not attractive on anyone.? Especially in a city with issues around education reform, economic development, infrastructure, flooding and cost of living hitting critical mass.
  • Charleston is bad for singles. Spend time in a bar, Meetup Group or a book club and discuss the challenges of single life in Charleston.? It is an eye-opening topic.
  • We are a tourism first destination and locals are no longer the priority of our elected officials. The amount of hotel development, increased push on the cruise traffic, skyrocketing cost of living, tax increases and natural land being destroyed for urban expansion has been in our faces for over half a decade and that is showing no signs of slowing down.? Since 2015, The Dewberry, The Spectator, Grand Bohemian, Hyatt Place, Holiday Inn Express are among the structures that are becoming the new Charleston.? The corner of King Street and Calhoun, is now a major brand eye sore with Walgreens, Chipotle, Starbucks, Panera Bread, 5 Guys Burgers, Moe’s Mexican and Carolina Ale House.? The authentic natural historic small down appear of Charleston is a thing of the past now.
  • Morning rush hour, evening rush hour, festival traffic, weekend traffic, downtown traffic, Summerville traffic, 526, 26, 61, 17: ?It is an endless game of stop and go.? With an infrastructure of islands and peninsulas not built to handle the capacity of growth the only solution is increased mass transit or a Light Rail solution.
  • Locals don’t want to co-exist with transplants. Talk to a transplant and ask them how many Charleston born friends they have.? I will bet a silver dollar, you can count them on one hand.? There is a reason for that.

Charleston is a special place.? It has been the backdrop of great cinema, a well sought after wedding destination, one of the most beautiful spots on the East Coast for sunrises and sunsets, incredible, yet uniform, dining options and it is outwardly cordial and friendly.? It also has an underbelly that can suck you in and spit you out.

Knowledge is power and having the right conversations will keep you educated to ensure you have selected the life you want and the place.

My Long Distance Dedication to Charleston, South Carolina

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Dear Casey,

I am here in Charleston, South Carolina, but feel so distanced from the home I once knew.? From walking the streets of King and Morris just six short years ago, to the corporate takeover, Charleston has lost an identity that it has shaped for the last 350 years.

Five years ago, Charleston breathes the air of a small town built on tradition, family values and a comforting feel of belonging.? I took comfort walking the streets in a tee, shorts and flip flops saying hello to familiar faces and enjoying the comfort of my neighborhood downtown.

From Bob Ellis to Morris Sokol, generations of family owned businesses created a feeling of familiarity and comfort.? All around, I witnessed the most majestic church steeples, while walking on sidewalks not yet crowded by nameless faceless people.? It was a time when you could sit at a bar and get to know your bartender or get a beer and burger for $10.00.? Parking was ample and the streets were safe of solicitation, loitering and petty crime.

Charleston was a home for those that lived the Lowcountry life with pride and simple small town appeal.

Something happened along the way.? The people that maintained tradition, built relationships and make Charleston a home you loved every day got lost.? Church steeples got replaced by cranes and multi-million dollar hotels.? Rooftop bars became the new skyline.? Prices went up, taxes increased, the streets become ambushed by tourism, streets fell apart, construction has been the only constant for five straight years and Lowcountry residents have turned away from the peninsula.

Once quaint boutique buildings, now parking garages, business districts or $600 a night hotels.

Then something even more devastating happened.? Local family owned businesses began to close because long time patrons stopped fighting the invaders that the political engines welcomed with open arms.? Construction and policies were designed for tourists leaving the locals in the dust.

We lost our identity in Charleston.? We lost the home that was once ours.? Yesterday, the Lowcountry spoke on Election Day and voted for change.? They voted for affordable housing and a slow-down of the growth.

I don’t know what the future holds for Charleston, but I know it cannot continue in the direction it is moving.

I hope the leaders of today see that our children are growing up in a community with quality of education issues, water and health concerns, increased crime and driving fatalities, cost of living spiking faster than inflation, diminished infrastructure, long term flooding concerns and internal strife that is being ignored.

If we don’t take responsibility now, we may not have a tomorrow.

I pray for a return to innocence in Charleston.? For a place that is safe and healthy and one that brings smiles to all its citizens.

Casey, can you please play “Come Back Song” by Darius Rucker to everyone that remembers a simpler and better Charleston.

By Mark A. Leon

 

 

The Real Reasons We Shouldn’t Expand James Island

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By Mark A. Leon

The natural progression of the light speed transition in the Lowcountry is James Island.? From a proximity perspective, it is within three (3) and ten (miles) from historic Charleston and two (2) to ten (10) miles from Folly Beach.? This is prime development land any way you shape it.? Local and out of state investors see the writing on the wall and they are trying to take advantage of all the available property.? This is evident in the number of downtown closures, extraordinary development of new hotels and boutiques and a city that is transitioning away from the historic culture it had built.

There are a few things we know to be true about James Island

  1. Parts of James Island are under Charleston jurisdiction.
  2. As tourism and population growth continues, James Island is a prime location for housing and hotel development.
  3. Charleston has a mayor with a background in real estate development
  4. Outside money is pouring in to capitalize on the popularity of this area.

There is tremendous admiration for the residents of James Island that are taking to public forums, digital chatter and petitions to curb the expansion of this beautiful area.? We stand in solidarity.

Let us for a moment remove the politics, the greed and the overwhelming clout and money tearing this area and look at the core reasons why expanding James Island is a poor idea.

McLeod Plantation

Why James Island Should Not Expand

  • During the peak season, traffic to Folly Beach (with a heavy emphasis on festivals and weekends) can be backed up for miles causing disruptions to daily traffic patterns on Folly Road and hurting local businesses.
  • Constant traffic throughout the day on Folly Road has deterred consumers from stopping at businesses on road because of the difficulty to get back on the roadway, especially in the opposite direction.
  • Construction on Fort Johnson and Harborview, Camp and Folly and Central Park are only the beginning of massive road work to accommodate the growth and increased driving volumes.
  • The intersection of Maybank Highway and Folly Road and the draw bridge can be a logistical nightmare. This already has an affect that stretches to John’s Island and River Road.? Think about what a 20% growth in new residents will do.
  • The Annual Festival of Lights causes a two plus week annual influx of traffic that congests the James Island Connector, Central Park, Riverland and Maybank. Expansion could force changes to a major local area tradition.
  • Folly Road offers an abundance of bars (Bohemian Bull, The Barrel, The Brickhouse, Cajun Blues, The Break, White Duck, Lowdown Oven and Bar, La Hacienda, La Carreta, Garage 75, Kickin Chicken, O’Brion’s Pub, Stag Erin Pub, Zia, How Art Thou, The Pour House). That is 16 bars in 7 miles.? That is only a small snapshot.? Many restaurants offer alcoholic options as well.? With a limited staff of law enforcement, dramatic growth in population could have a negative effect on roadway safety.
  • James Island offers an aesthetic of simplicity, natural beauty and serenity. With places including fishing docks, Sunrise Park, Dock Street Park, McCleod Plantation, James Island County Park, Stono River, more apartments/condos and increasing traffic will destroy the natural element this community has grown accustomed to.
  • Our restaurants and bars still have a local hometown appeal. Bartenders and patrons, staff and guests have personal relationships.? It is what separates the island from the peninsula.
  • James Island continues to face challenges around alternative transportation (biking and CARTA). This is an area that must be resolved before we can move forward with this level of expansion.
  • New state of the art development will raise property values forcing up rents and housing prices.

Changes are already in motion.

The Carmike Cinema was closed and an entire staff was told in one day, they lost their jobs.

Residents lost the only area roller rink.? Drivers are making illegal U-Turns and going through red lights due to uneven traffic light patterns and lack of patience.? There has been a rise in local area accidents.

The battle is simple:? Corporate greed vs a standard of living built on community, family and comfort.

Keep fighting James Island.

Even if change is inevitable and the island turns into condos and hotels, know that you fought until the end.

Dock Street Park

Charleston Traffic: A Sh*tfest wrapped in a Clusterf*ck: Who is paying the price?

By Mark A. Leon

This afternoon, there was an accident on Highway 26 westbound near Aviation causing a backup nearly to downtown Charleston.? While on Highway 526 near Highway 17, the westbound traffic was blocked off due to another accident causing a 1 hour plus delay.? On River Road on John’s Island, a semi-truck jackknifed off the road blocking off traffic on both sides.? On the crosstown due to construction and a car stalled on the entrance to the crosstown off 26 Eastbound, there was a stop and go back up.

This was today.? This could be any day.

On a typical day, we experience traffic patterns causing extreme pain points throughout our home roadways.

  • The James Island connector can be backed up five or more lights during afternoon rush hour from downtown.
  • Folly Road is constant traffic in both directions throughout the day.
  • Savannah Highway, Bees Ferry, Highway 17 in Mount Pleasant, Harborview Road on James Island, Long Point Road in Mount Pleasant, Route 61 in West Ashley, Ashley Phosphate and Dorchester in North Charleston all suffer tenaciously difficult traffic issues.
  • Rivers Avenue is an adventure and not one for the weak
  • Cooper River Bridge leaving downtown Charleston during rush hour can be a parking lot

Who is suffering from this traffic mayhem that seem to not have a simple answer?

  • The South Carolina drivers wallets and pocketbooks – It was announced this week that South Carolina is raising the gas tax in increments over several periods to support a new state highway funding bill. Beginning July 1, the gas tax will go up 2 cents up to a total of 12 cents a gallon.
  • Vehicle owners in the Lowcountry – We can isolate a location like the Westside, Spring Street, Cannon Street and so on, but for locals, the wear and tear on our vehicles is punishing due to cracks, potholes and construction. A few months ago, the Post and Courier ran an article indicating that the average area car owner spends nearly $1800 annually in car repairs due to poor roadways and flooding.
  • Local business owners – In the past, the Lowcountry has had issues with isolationism.? Folks from James Island didn’t go to Mount Pleasant.? Downtown residents didn’t go to West Ashley and so forth.? In the last five years, that sentiment has grown stronger.? A 10-mile journey can run you 40 minutes or more and that is forcing many to stay truly local.? For small business owners who are fortunate to expand, they are opening multiple site locations throughout the Lowcountry, but for those that do not have the finances to expand, they are being pinched because they cannot get people from other communities to come and shop.? This is forcing many to shut down or look to e-commerce to grow their business.
  • Law Enforcement Charleston and Berkeley counties have amazing and dedicated men and women that work tirelessly to preserve our safety. With increases in accidents and more able bodies needed to support their efforts, state and local law enforcement are being taken away being visible in their communities.
  • Entire infrastructure of Charleston – Most of historic Charleston, SC is below sea level and we are surrounded in most directions by water and marsh. That is okay for walkers, and horse drawn carriages in our quaint historic town.? Even from a strategic standpoint, this area was blessed during the Revolutionary and Civil Wars because it made it very difficult for enemies to penetrate land and easy to defend.? Unfortunately, this area is not built for 45 new residents a day and 4.2 million tourists annually.? You don’t need a Master’s Degree in Urban Development to see that.

Traffic truly is a sore subject here at home.? Some don’t even venture out between 7:00 AM and 9:00 AM or 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM on weekdays or try to leave for the beaches after 11:00 AM on weekends.? The results are “slow”.

The biggest fear, isn’t the inconvenience, increased gas prices or cost of vehicle maintenance, but that the future of the natural resources, the stability of the roadways and the safety of our citizens are in jeopardy.

Time Travelers Letter to You (Embrace the Now)

Dear Present Day Human,

This is a letter from the future to you today. I recently spent some time observing your behavior, interests and patterns of action to understand what went wrong. Let me jump right to the punchline. We are all screwed. At least those that are still human. We still account for 44% of the intelligence beings on this planet, but that number is dwindling. Back to the conversation at hand. What did you all do? Maybe the better question is, what did all not do?

After the last few weeks living among you, I have come to several conclusions:

  • Corn dogs are amazing.? Holy crap are they good.? You all should have like a corn dog eating contest and send the winner on an all expense paid trip to the Lamix Galaxy.? Wait, do you even know where that galaxy system is?? Anyway.
  • That Big Bang Theory is pretty spot on.? Geeks are the sexy ones now.? In high school, I was going to go to the dance with the most beautiful human and then I got a C on my lunar algorithm and advanced space measurement exam and she went will Xanbert.
  • I don’t understand your fear of spiders.? If you saw the size of them now….Moving on.
  • Money is cool.? We don’t have money anymore.? During the last equalizer period.? I believe you all would call that the apocalypse, all social status was destroyed and we had to rebuild from scratch.? Women took the helm because the men had their heads up their arses.? It seems that whole MMA spun off this death cage sports phenomenon which became our form of justice.? The male population slowly dwindled away.? We were pretty much there for sperm in the end.? We are starting to repopulate again though, but we don’t have much control.
  • How do you not see the signs people!? This thing you call social media where anyone can say anything and 10 seconds later it is meaningless.? It is killing you.? All of you.? You don’t know how to feel anymore and this is just the beginning.? Emotions are now something you read about in history books.? When a person says they are depressed, ignoring them is a bad idea.? When a singer talks of rape and killing, you should probably get them help.? Instead of hiding behind those mini electronic things, you may want to start feeling again.? I am not supposed to change history, but if I nudge it along in a better direction, who is to complain.? It sucks in the future.
  • Fast food.? I’ll make it simple.? If you can eat something that is 600 calories and 70 grams of fat in 2 minutes.? Let me make sure I add this up right.? You can eat 18,000 calories and 2100 grams of fat in one hour.? That would be 432,000 calories and 50,400 grams of fat in 24 hours.? I did have to use my brain chip number import device for help.? That is a very very bad.? Let me repeat.? Very very bad.
  • Have more sex.? I don’t know what it is, but it looks insanely awesome.
  • What is the deal with drug use.? Do you even know what you are talking about anymore.? It seems like it would make sense if it made you feel good or healed you, but it seems like if it looks like a pill or in a needle, then its cool to do.? Still don’t get it.? I am not even going to try.
  • The religious wars ended about 300 years from now.? I hate to give you a spoiler, but no one won.? Turns out we were all wrong.? I think the final tally was 5.5 billion killed and one goat.
  • Love your parents.? In a couple of hundreds years, your parents will look something like a test tube.
  • See the world.? We’re gonna destroy it all soon.? Seriously, gone.? All of it.? Pyramids, Grand Canyon, Mayan Temples, Towers, Miley Cyrus, all of it.
  • I saw that show Futurama.? It’s true.? So spot on.? So when you are close to dying, make sure you have a good haircut and moisturize your skin.

Here is the deal:

time2

I see people dying all around in wars, suicide and gangs.? Children and families killed for nonsense reasons.? Senseless death.? We live a long time now because half of our body is mechanical and we are a little numb in the caring department, but we still have some of the things you call emotions.? I have watched those people that tell stories of war instead of helping stop it.? Oh, yes, the news people.

All I notice is people sending messages about how bad it is or how sad they are, but there isn’t any compassion or action to help.? I look at many of you and I see myself.? I don’t like that very much.? I don’t like that at all.

I was born into this.? I was conceived in a lab, mixing body parts and metal to create what I am today.? I have searched through many dimensions to find the point where it all changed.

I’m finally here.? I finally found the moment where compassion began to die.? I don’t know how to stop it.? This is the first time that I’m lost in my journey.

I can’t tell you how to live.? To you, I am just another person among you in a crowd.? A passing face, a nameless being.? I will say this as my parting words:? Think about the future you want for yourself and your children.? If you see what I see everyday, I don’t think you want that future.

As I enter through my time corridor and return, I will go back with what you call “optimism and hope” when I return, things are different.? Things are better.

Sincerely,

Sam (Zerbling)