South Carolina editorial roundup
South Carolina editorial roundup
By The Associated Press
Sep. 05, 2018
Recent editorials from South Carolina newspapers:
The Post and Courier of Charleston on the disclosure of an audit over a nuclear project:
"Disclose or not."
That's the question Santee Cooper officials raised in 2015 before contracting firm Bechtel finished an audit of the nuclear reactors the state-run utility was working on with project partner SCANA and its subsidiary, SCE&G.
According to an analysis of documents uncovered by Post and Courier reporters Thad Moore and Andrew Brown, Santee Cooper leaders were referring to whether or not the information in the report should be shared with the utility's bondholders.
Their decision, of course, was not to disclose.
We know this because the Bechtel report's existence was only revealed after construction on the two nuclear reactors had been abandoned and $9 billion had been lost. And even then it took a stern warning from Gov. Henry McMaster to make the audit public.
It's no wonder Santee Cooper and SCANA officials wanted the information kept secret. Bechtel raised serious questions about the nuclear project's viability and suggested that estimates about completion timelines and final costs were unrealistic.
Obviously, those warnings would have been of vital interest to Santee Cooper bondholders and SCANA shareholders, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of South Carolina ratepayers who kept paying part of their monthly power bills toward a doomed effort.
State regulators and watchdog staff certainly ought to have been alerted as well.
Other notes show that the final Bechtel report was "scrubbed" of the most damning portions. And Santee Cooper and SCE&G officials questioned whether the report should be provided in writing at all.
In other words, they knew that things were going badly. They feared the blowback that would result if the information went public. And they chose to keep it secret and proceed with the reactor construction as if nothing were wrong.
So far, most of the investigation related to the nuclear failure has hinged on whether SCANA acted "prudently" in spending ratepayer money on the reactors. That's the legal standard that could determine how much SCE&G customers owe in the future for the project.
But these new documents, which The Post and Courier obtained after they were handed over to the federal Securities and Exchange Commission, raise even more serious questions. The revelations they contain detail activity that federal investigators will sift through for possible criminal activity.
State law enforcement also is conducting a probe.
It's possible that state regulators still would have given the nuclear project the go-ahead even after red flags were raised by the Bechtel report. Investors might not have panicked. After all, construction delays and cost overruns were well-known even if the audit's details were not.
But when given the decision to "disclose or not," Santee Cooper and SCANA officials chose to keep critical information to themselves. They remained silent while leading South Carolina into an economic disaster from which it could spend years or even decades recovering.
The Times and Democrat of Orangeburg on job satisfaction:
It's 6 o'clock the morning after Labor Day. Your alarm goes off. You bang around your night stand until you find it and shut it off. As you wake up, are you excited about going back to work? Or is that "Not again!" knot bulging in your stomach?
If you're thinking, "Not again!" you're not alone, though Americans' satisfaction with their work has improved in recent years.
In 2017, for the first time in more than a decade, a majority of U.S. workers were satisfied with their jobs.
According to data from the Conference Board, job satisfaction reached 50.8 percent, up from 49.6 percent in 2016 and above the 50 percent threshold for the first time since 2005.
Still, job satisfaction is far below the 61.1 percent who liked their jobs in 1987 and the 58.6 percent who said they did in 1995.
Life Coach, best-selling author and professional speaker Dr. Joey Faucette, who has coached thousands of business people, suggests asking yourself the following questions to help identify why you wake up with that "Not again!" knot in your stomach the morning after Labor Day.
(asterisk) "Am I bored?" Is it the "same job, different day" for you? Do you wonder if anybody cares what you do?
(asterisk) "Am I overwhelmed?" Maybe you just feel lucky to have a job, but the reality is that two other people on your team were laid off and you have their work to do too.
(asterisk) "Is my boss a psychopath?" Does your boss run "hot and cold," one day effusive about your work and the next day chewing you out for nothing?
(asterisk) "Am I worried about losing my job?" The financial pressure of spending what you make creates a lot of stress, especially with the uncertainty of job security rampant in American corporations.
(asterisk) "Is my significant other giving me that 'What's wrong with you?' look?" Face it, no one truly leaves work at work. Ask the one you live with, "How's my attitude?"
How do you increase your work satisfaction and move from just making a living to making a life and a living? Faucette recommends a six-step process he refers to as L.I.S.T.E.N.
The first step is to LISTEN to your life for passion. ...
The second step is to INVEST in your talents. ...
The next step is to discover your STYLE. ...
The fourth step of making a life and not just a living involves some outer work, specifically assessing the TERRAIN of your work environment. ...
The next step also involves outer work. Discovering your passion, talents and style and the terrain of your work place, you are now ready to ENGAGE the world's needs. ...
Find a need that your passion, talents and style meet, align the terrain accordingly and you achieve what Faucette calls your NATURAL SWEET SPOT. Your natural sweet spot is when you are clicking instead of clanking.
Index-Journal of Greenwood on readers' partisanship:
Damned if we do, damned if we don't.
...That might strike some readers as a bit coarse, but bear with us a little bit.
We're not trying to be whiners here; rather, we are trying to use this space to clear up what we believe are misconceptions and share with you the fix we find ourselves in of late.
We'll start on a positive note by seeing the bright side of this dilemma. If people whose politics is left of center are equally upset with their newspaper as those whose politics leans more right, perhaps we're committing journalism the right way.
A number of readers who align with President Trump think the paper shares only anti-Trump commentary and coverage. Obviously they have missed some of our content, and certainly have missed some of the syndicated columnists, such as Cal Thomas and Star Parker, who clearly are in the president's camp.
Last week, we covered U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan's annual Faith and Freedom BBQ in Anderson. He brought some big names with him, to include Gov. Henry McMaster, and former Trump campaign managers Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie. We have covered the incumbent's annual event in the past.
While we did not hear from angry Trump supporters to acknowledge our coverage of what nearly amounted to a Trump rally in Anderson, we did hear from others a few days later because we did not cover the SC3 fundraiser for Duncan opponent Mary Geren in Clemson. Suddenly we went from being the left-wing Trump-bashing rag to being the right-wing rag that refused to give coverage to an event because — obviously — we are anti-Democrat.
Some readers based this observation on the fact that we did produce a followup story to the Geren fundraiser. It seems our anti-Democrat bias was evidenced by the fact we chose to focus on comments made at the event by the state Democratic Party chairman, Trav Robertson. Robertson went on a tirade against the president, Duncan and McMaster, questioning their faith and patriotism, among other things.
So, if we were not in attendance at the Geren event, why did we bother to dig up this one aspect? Fair question, actually. But the story's genesis came from Geren herself because she sent us and other media outlets a news release in which she clearly distances herself from Robertson and his remarks, saying he "crossed the line."
Bear in mind the criticisms in the rhetoric were not lobbed by someone in the audience. No, they came from the chairman of the party that is supporting Geren in her effort to unseat Duncan. That's really hard to ignore. And, frankly, we couldn't ignore it when Geren made it a focal point of a news release.
For the record, Geren's candidacy has not gone uncovered by this newspaper. We covered the Greenwood County Democratic Party's event when she and a host of other candidates were in town. And even though we did not cover last week's event in which Greenwood's Trey Ward was a guest speaker, we have effectively covered Ward's message on why he's left the Republican Party.
Despite what some readers think, we don't base our decisions to cover news and events on whether we agree with people's politics, race, sexual orientation, religion, ethics or any other litmus test you can think of. Heck, most of us cannot stand the thought of trying to cram double-digit numbers of hot dogs in our gullets in 10 minutes, but we still cover the annual hot dog eating contest during the Festival of Discovery!
Year in and year out, Clemson fans accuse the newspaper of bias favoring Carolina. And, as you might have guessed, Carolina fans accuse of bias favoring Clemson.
There's something about sports and politics that results in rabid fandom and partisanship. So when Gamecock fans come at us with spurs up, Clemson fans come at us with tiger claws extended, Democrats come at us with a donkey kick and Republicans come at us with tusks aimed at our guts we have to figure that while we might not be perfect and equitable down to the word count, we do a decent balancing act.
Damned if we do, damned if we don't? It goes with the territory. Always has. But damn right, we're going to keep on doing our level best to cover the community we serve. We'll take the acerbic vitriol with the accolades along the way.