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Allen violates campaign promise

Posted: October 6, 2012 - 11:01pm

People take their road names pretty seriously around here.

In fact, some politicians take those road names more seriously than their own campaign promises.

We’ve had a proliferation of vanity names for street-stubs. Grovetown High School, for example, fronts William Few Parkway, which everyone knows. But its address comes from its service entrance, “Warrior Way,” which no one knows.

The newly combined Columbia County Chamber of Commerce, Development Authority and Convention and Visitors Bureau office is on what the commissioners recently agreed to rename “Business Boulevard” so the half-block side-street will sound niftier on letterhead.

I’d hate to be the receptionist who has to constantly give directions by telling otherwise puzzled people, “We’re behind Zaxby’s. Next to the Board of Elections.”

And just down the street, the new TaxSlayer (semi) high-rise in Marshall Square is on a street with the honorary name of “TaxSlayer Drive,” even though the street already has a name: Allen Drive.

It was the latter that prompted discussion Tuesday night among Columbia County commissioners before they agreed to grant the honorary name for the tax-prep company. The concern came primarily from County Commissioner Charles Allen; the relatively new street is named for his father, and he didn’t want to dim that honorific.

The compromise is that the street is still Allen Drive, but TaxSlayer gets to address envelopes with its name, too, with confidence that the post office will sort it all out.

Funny, though. Charles Allen fretted about the effect on a street name for someone who is no longer with us. But he didn’t express any concern, not even a tiny bit, over the commission’s unanimous vote that same night to add to the number of living people who will have to pay the county’s stormwater utility fee.

Why is that a big deal? Well, it’s like this: When Allen was running for reelection in the July 31 Republican primary, he topped his signs and ads with the slogan, in bold, capital letters, “Repeal the Storm Water Tax.”

Everyone at the time – including, we now know, Allen himself – knew the slogan was phony baloney. During his first term in office (though he’s served before, long ago, as a Democrat), Allen never raised a peep about the nearly decade-old stormwater utility fee. So why the sudden crusade for the repeal of something he never even brought up?

His opponent, Butch Holley, wondered the same thing, and in a campaign video scolded Allen for making a cynical ploy for votes.

Whether it was Holley’s lack of funding or experience, or Allen’s ample connections, or the resonance of that cheap marketing slogan, Allen won reelection resoundingly with 70 percent of the vote. Political science 101 says a 10-point spread is considered a mandate, so certainly Allen could claim a 40-point victory as a ringing endorsement for implementing his No. 1 campaign promise: “Repeal the Storm Water Tax.”

So why, then, was Allen one of four votes (with one commissioner absent) to expand the stormwater utility fee without debate – even though the expansion means more of Allen’s District 3 constituents now will have to pay the fee that Allen promised to repeal?

Evidently Allen takes that honorary name of a street with no residents more seriously than his own campaign promise affecting hundreds of his neighbors.

(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. Email barry.paschal@newstimesonline.com, or call 706-863-6165, extension 106. Follow on twitter.com/

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Comments (5)


"As long as the water flows and the grass grows"......

Politicians will lie to be reelected. They are like the scorpion who bites because he is a scorpion. Thus we have a system of rule by flawed human beings. Almighty God warned us about kings and princes in his word. And God cannot and does not lie. Num 23:19


Suddenly, yes suddenly.....

the commissioners who are privy to plans for development years before the concrete is poured are surprised by the urban sprawl. And the subsequent problem of "stormwater". Urban sprawl in Riverwood Plantation and Grovetown. And no plans were made for the amount of rainwater run off created by concrete, asphalt, roof tops, patios, deck, pools areas, etc. No plans as to how to get this water to the Savannah River.

Now we need more storm drains and rib rap on the creek banks. Possibly more earthen dams between Grovetown and Riverwood Plantation?

Alas, a plan of reaction instead of pro action is found. Taxation. The "wild card" in the commissions deck. Taxation solves every problem.

Would that the unemployed, the impoverished and your average Joe taxpayer could just "raise taxes" on their neighbors to cover their poor planning and misjudgements.


Support Charles Allen

Charles is doing a good job. Everybody should be nicer to him.


71% slaughter

From News-Times Oct 2nd..."...To meet the needs of people living near the Riverwood development in Evans and in the Wrightsboro Road area near Grovetown, a proposal was made to extend the stormwater service area to include approximately 673 additional parcels of property." So let's see... if a teacher doesn't agree with wasting money on a field trip, money that is already allocated for that field trip, does that teacher says screw you students, we ain't going. No. The teacher has been given money to use for a field trip so why hurt the students by not using that money for a field trip? So now, we have a politician who feels a storm water tax should be repealed. But until that happens, IF it happens, does that politician say NO, DON'T USE THAT MONEY THAT IS ALREADY SITTING THERE. No, he doesn't. He keeps doing his job appropriately allocating money that is there. From what I read Charles Allen was just voting to spend the TAX that is already there. Allocating where money is spent, money already there, has nothing to do with his belief that the TAX shouldn't even exist. Let's say that again... Allocating where money is spent, money already there, has nothing to do with his belief that the TAX shouldn't even exist. I find it hard to believe that a "slogan" on a bunch of signs could give a 71% slaughter in an election. But although I know he won because he does the right thing when representing his constituents, I'll take the compliment for handling his campaign marketing where we slaughtered a guy who is supposed to know...umm...marketing? The only phoney aspect of the marketing slogan is the origin of the stupid tax, and the sad situation that we even had to use such a slogan. But hey... it worked because people are tired of being taxed to death. Although I agree with Barry most of the time, its likely 71% of Allen's district disagrees with Barry Paschal's column, as do I.

Barry Paschal

Your analogy is incorrect, Redfire

Your analogy is incorrect. Charles Allen voted to extend the area covered by the stormwater utility fee, which means that additional people must PAY the fee who were not previously paying it. That money was NOT already there - but it will be now, thanks in part to Charles Allen, who broke his campaign promise by voting to impose the fee on those residents.

Perhaps he can claim he voted for it when his wife - the tax commissioner - explained to him that the stormwater utility fee is a fee, and not a tax. Maybe she could explain it to you, too.